Minnesota Orchestra:

Friday, February 25, 7 p.m.

Orchestra to Perform All-Beethoven Program

The Minnesota Orchestra will perform at Dassel-Cokato Performing Arts Center, Friday, February 25 at 7 p.m. Led by music director Osmo Vanska, the orchestra will perform an all-Beethoven program. The concert is part of a five-city "2005 Minnesota Tour" (February 17-25) continuing the Orchestra's nearly 100-year-old tradition of touring throughout its home state. Internationally recognized, the Minnesota Orchestra has performed all over the world, including 24 countries and 662 cities. The all-Beethoven program, featuring the Fourth and Fifth symphonies, coincides with the Minnesota Orchestra's ongoing project to record the complete Beethoven symphonies for the BIS label.

"It is of course important for an orchestra to travel internationally to build its reputation around the globe," remarked Osmo Vanska, "but it is equally as important for us to tour our own state, serving our communities. For me, this tour offers the pleasure and privilege to become better acquainted with my adopted state."

Touring History

Founded in 1903, the Minnesota Orchestra has established itself as one of the most well-traveled American ensembles. During the heyday of rail travel, Minnesota was nicknamed "The Orchestra on Wheels." Its early days of touring date back to 1907, with the Orchestra giving its first major city concert in Chicago in 1911, a New York City debut at Carnegie Hall in 1912, and international tours throughout Austrailia, Canada, Cuba, the Far East and the Middle East. In February 2004, the Minnesota Orchestra completed a successful three-week European Tour under its new Music Director Osmo Vanska.

Minnesota Orchestra

The Minnesota Orchestra offers over 150 concerts each year, with nearly 400,000 attending, and reaches more than 85,000 music lovers annually through its outreach programs. The Minnesota Orchestra is heard through an award-winning series of weekly radio broadcasts, produced by Minnesota Public Radio and distributed to more than 150 stations nationwide, and through its vast collection of recordings dating to the 1920's. Having premiered and commissioned more than 175 compositions since 1903, the Orchestra continues to nourish a strong commitment to comtemporary composers. The Minnesota Orchestra is currently undertaking a project to record the complete Beethoven symphonies for the Swedish-based record label, BIS. Their first disc, featuring Beathoven's Fourth and Fifth symphonies, is set for release this winter. For more information on the Orchestra, visit www.minnesotaorchestra.org

Music Director Osmo Vanska

Finnish conductor Osmo Vanska joined the Minnesota Orchestra as the ensemble's tenth music director in September 2003. Praised for his intense and dynamic performance, Vanska is recognized for complelling interpretations of the standard, contemporary, and Nordic repertoires, as well as the close rapport he establishes with the musicians he leads. Also music director of the Lahti (Finland) Symphony Orchestra, he recently completed his tenure as cheif conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra of Glasgow. Vanska has recorded extensively for the BIS and Hyperion labels, and his over 50 albums have garnered numerous awards, including a Grammy award nomination in the category of "Best Orchestral Performance."

Program

Beethoven's nine symphonies set a new standard of orchestral writing for the 19th centruy, which many later composers--including Brahms, Schumann, Mahler and Bruckner--found both inspiring and intimidating. Beethoven's Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major was given its first performance in 1807 in the Vienna home of one of the composer's major patrons, Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz. the Symphony No. 5 in C minor, known for its dramatic ta-ta-ta-taaah theme that opens the work, has become a part of our culture and can be hummed by virtually every person from age five to niney-five. It was given its premier in Vienna on a cold December day in 1808.

The Fourth and Fifth symphonies were written simultaneously, and the relationship between the two works is illuminated by English composer Rober Simpson: "The Fifth and Fourth symphonies might be thought of as belonging to the cat family, the one fierce, the other lovable, but both sharing compact suppleness of movement, a dangerous lithe economy that makes them akin and, together, different from their predecessor, [the Eroica]. The Fourth belongs to the Fifth."

photos by Ann Marsden