The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Nov 28, 2012

You can still get your classical music fix in the Twin Cities this holiday season

Posted by sschouweiler

Recent announcements of still more cancelled concerts, now stretching through December for both Minnesota Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (a Knight Arts grantee), hit the news last week in the face of as yet-intractable contract disputes between the musicians and board/management for both vaunted institutions. Even so, there’s still plenty of live classical music in the offing around the Twin Cities, and if you’re looking for a fix in the next few weeks, I have a few suggestions.

Accordo, an octet composed of principle string players from the Minnesota Orchestra and SPCO. Photo by Tim Rummelhoff.

As part of its fourth season — presented by The Schubert Club (a Knight Arts Grantee), Northrop Concerts and Lectures, and Kate Nordstrum Projects — Accordo will perform a concert, “A Tribute to Debussy on his 150th” on Monday, December 3 at Christ Church Lutheran in Minneapolis. The acclaimed Twin Cities-based chamber ensemble, an octet comprised of the principal string players from both SPCO and Minnesota Orchestra, will present a crowd-pleasing program with pianist Benjamin Hochman, including works by three legendary French composers — Ravel, Debussy and Fauré — as well as the Czech-born Janácek. For details and ticket information, visit: Cantus’ holiday concert looks especially promising this year. In partnership with poet Patricia Kirkpatrick and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, the nationally regarded men’s vocal ensemble will present “Christmas with Cantus: Lessons and Carols for Our Time,” a contemporary approach to the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. The ensemble is offering a number of these concerts around the Twin Cities, two of them in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul: Friday, December 14 and Saturday, December 15 (both performances begin at 7:30 p.m.). For a full list of concert dates, times and ticket details, visit: Pinchas Zukerman, the violinist, violist and conductor who led SPCO from 1980 to 1987, will return for an all-Mozart concert/fundraiser for the musicians of the SPCO on Sunday, December 2.

And even though their parent organizations have cancelled shows through the end of the year, the musicians of both Minnesota Orchestra and the SPCO are offering programs of their own in various venues around town through December. First up, the musicians of SPCO are presenting an all-Mozart program (a fundraiser for the musicians’ ongoing negotiation efforts), with the aid of conductor and violinist Pinchas Zukerman (who led SPCO from 1980 to 1987): Sunday, December 2 (3 p.m.) at Wayzata Community Church. A couple of weeks later, the players will perform Handel’s “Messiah,” with the Minnesota Chorale and soloists from Minnesota Opera (also a Knight Arts grantee), at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, December 20 and 21 (both shows at 7:30 p.m.). For more information on these and other upcoming events, visit:

Minnesota Orchestra’s musicians have also taken programming into their own hands, scheduling two holiday concerts in December: “Ode to Joy” at the University of Minnesota’s Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis, December 15 (8 p.m.) and 16 (2 p.m.), under the direction of Edo de Waart, the orchestra’s music director from 1986 to 1995. (Ticket information is here.) In addition to Bach’s Double Violin Concerto, the musicians will perform Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, complete with a chorus 80-some voices strong. For more details on this and other upcoming events, visit:

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