Minnesota Symphony Orchestra Performs Live to Film Scores
The Minnesota Symphony is moving toward featuring live soundtracks to popular films, which has been a big draw for audiences. This season, they are performing live to five films, among some are 'It's a Wonderful Life', 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone', 'Disney-Pixar's Ratatouille', and 'ET'.
Grant Meachum, Director of the Live at Orchestra Hall Concert Series told the StarTribune, "It's still great music. It's just a totally different kind of great music."
The Grammy Award-winning Minnesota Orchestra, now in its second century and led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä, has long ranked among America's top symphonic ensembles, with a distinguished history of acclaimed performances in its home state and around the world; award-winning recordings, radio broadcasts and educational outreach programs; and a visionary commitment to building the orchestral repertoire of tomorrow.
Founded as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, the ensemble gave its inaugural performance on November 5, 1903, shortly after baseball's first World Series and six weeks before the Wright brothers made their unprecedented airplane flight. The Orchestra played its first regional tour in 1907 and made its New York City debut in 1912 at Carnegie Hall, where it has performed regularly ever since. Outside the United States, the Orchestra has played concerts in Australia, Canada, Europe, the Far East, Latin America and the Middle East. Since 1968 it has been known as the Minnesota Orchestra. The ensemble now presents nearly 175 programs in a typical year, primarily at its recently renovated home venue of Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis, and its concerts are heard by live audiences of 350,000.
The Orchestra's international tours have reaped significant praise, including a critically lauded 2010 tour of European festivals. During this tour the Orchestra performed at the Edinburgh International Festival, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and the BBC Proms in London-before cheering crowds totaling 12,000 for two concerts at Royal Albert Hall, one of which culminated in a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Under Vänskä, the ensemble has undertaken four European tours, appeared often at New York's Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center, and toured to Greater Minnesota in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014. In May 2015 Vänskä and the Orchestra performed two historic concerts and collaborated in educational projects in Havana, Cuba, becoming the first major American orchestra to perform in the island nation since the U.S. and Cuban governments announced steps to normalize relations between the two countries. The trip drew widespread international attention and prompted The New York Times to hail the Orchestra's new place "at the cultural vanguard."
The Orchestra's recordings and broadcasts have drawn acclaim since the early 1920s, when the ensemble became one of the first to be heard via these media-notably making its radio debut in 1923 by playing a nationally broadcast concert under guest conductor Bruno Walter. Its landmark Mercury Living Presence LP recordings of the 1950s and 1960s, under Music Directors Antal Dorati and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, have been reissued on CD to great acclaim. Under Osmo Vänskä, the Orchestra has undertaken several acclaimed recording projects, primarily for BIS Records. In 2014 the Orchestra and Vänskä won their first Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance for a disc of Sibelius' Symphonies No. 1 and 4.
Earlier recordings by the Orchestra and Vänskä include a five-disc cycle of the complete Beethoven symphonies that The New York Times wrote "may be the definitive [cycle] of our time." The recording of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony received a 2008 Grammy nomination for Best Orchestral Performance, and the album featuring the Second and Seventh Symphonies was nominated for a 2009 Classic FM Gramophone Award. The Orchestra and Vänskä also recorded a two-CD set of Tchaikovsky's piano-and-orchestra works with soloist Stephen Hough; a disc featuring Bruckner's Fourth Symphony; two albums of piano concertos with Russian pianist Yevgeny Sudbin, the most recent of which includes Beethoven's Third and Mozart's 24th; and two recent albums of Sibelius symphonies, including the Grammy-winning disc of Symphonies No. 1 and 4 and a Grammy-nominated album of the Second and Fifth Symphonies. In late spring of 2015 Vänskä and the Orchestra will complete their cycle of Sibelius symphonies by recording the Third, Sixth and Seventh Symphonies. Future recording projects include the Orchestra's first Mahler recording under Vänskä's direction-the Fifth Symphony-as well as a live-in-concert recording of Sibelius' Kullervo.