“Violinist Joshua Bell, pianist Stephen Hough and former music director Osmo Vänskä are the biggest names in a Minnesota Orchestra classical season that will include nearly 40 performances through July,” reports Graydon Royce in Friday’s (1/24) Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Robert Neu, the orchestra’s general manager, said about 50 percent of the schedule had been planned during the regular process—which began two years ago, before a 16-month lockout that ended with a contract settlement last week. Some concerts are drawn from a self-produced season that musicians put together. Others were assembled from scratch. Neu said that he, CEO Michael Henson and a group of musicians worked on the program. … Demand for tickets to the first two weekends of concerts, which were announced last week and went on sale Wednesday, crashed the orchestra’s website Thursday and resulted in long waits for telephone customers. Musicians will return to the stage Feb. 7-8 with former director Stanislaw Skrowaczewski conducting Beethoven’s Third Symphony. … The formal subscription season will open Feb. 20-22 with Michael Christie, music director at the Minnesota Opera and formerly at the Phoenix Symphony, conducting Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ and Stravinsky’s ‘Firebird.’ Vänskä, who resigned Oct. 1 after contract talks stalled, will return to Orchestra Hall March 27-29, when he conducts the Sibelius symphonies 1 and 4. The orchestra’s recording of these works was nominated for a Grammy and the musicians had scheduled this event as a celebration.”

Posted January 24, 2014