For April through August 2021 concerts, the Minnesota Orchestra will continue to broadcast Friday night performances live on Twin Cities PBS (TPT) and Classical Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and streaming free online at

Beginning in June, concerts will also be opened to attendance by in-person audiences of a limited size

Summer calendar in July and August will include additional performances to accommodate more in-person audience members

Performances will continue to be available digitally on-demand with free access at

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA (March 16, 2021) — The Minnesota Orchestra will conclude its 2020-21 Classical season with concerts in June that will re-introduce in-person audiences to Orchestra Hall, after nine months of performances that have been designed solely for at-home viewing and listening.

The Orchestra’s Friday night concerts between April and August 2021, including the summer season in July and August, will continue to be televised live on Twin Cities PBS (TPT)’s MN Channel; broadcast live on Classical Minnesota Public Radio (with exception of April 2; see notes in calendar below); and streamed live online for free at Limited-in-size audiences will also be invited back to Orchestra Hall beginning in June for two concerts led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä [pictured]. The ensuing July and August summer calendar—featuring the Orchestra and Creative Partner for Summer at Orchestra Hall Jon Kimura Parker—will include a slight increase in number of performances to accommodate more in-person audience members.

Music Director Osmo Vänskä said:

“We have been waiting for this moment for a long time, and it means a lot that we will be able to conclude the Classical season by welcoming audiences back to Orchestra Hall. Our aim this year has been to give people choices around how they can connect with the Orchestra, and soon they will be able to decide if they’d like to experience a concert by watching on television or online, listening on the radio or attending in person. Those June performances will be very emotional.”


For the remainder of the Classical season between April and June, the Orchestra will share seven Friday night concerts, offered every other week, with Vänskä conducting four programs and the others led by Principal Conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall Sarah Hicks, Marc Albrecht and Fabien Gabel. Soloists will include Concertmaster Erin Keefe, Associate Concertmaster Felicity James and violinist Karen Gomyo, as well as pianists Juho Pohjonen and Simon Trpčeski.

Throughout the 2020-21 season, the Minnesota Orchestra has committed to building concert programs that feature more works by composers of color living today and throughout history. All concerts through June continue this initiative by featuring music by composers such as Miguel del Aguila, Eleanor Alberga, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Yaz Lancaster, Chevalier de Saint-Georges and Carlos Simon.

These varied programs will include chamber ensembles of all sizes and full orchestra works, exploring themes of curious and mythological characters, whimsical tales, deep emotion and great celebration, music in memoriam and music of action.

The first of these newly announced concerts takes place on Friday, April 2, with a program that pairs musical selections from around the world with travel reflections from Orchestra musicians, featuring a special introduction by travel writer and television host Rick Steves.


Minnesota Orchestra President and CEO Michelle Miller Burns said:

“Our approach is to offer a gradual, phased return to live concert performances with in-person audiences. In June that means we will be ready to open Orchestra Hall to audiences with appropriate safety measures in place, such as staggered entries and departures, required masking and physical distancing. By July and August, we will increase the number of concerts the Orchestra is offering each performance week and potentially expand audience size, in alignment with Stay Safe MN guidelines. Safety and flexibility will continue to be our priorities as we enter this new and exciting phase of concert presentation.”

The summer season in July and August will feature pairs of concerts offered every other week inside Orchestra Hall, with Friday night performances presented for TV, radio, streaming and in-person audiences, and Saturday nights presented for in-person audiences. Creative Partner and pianist Jon Kimura Parker will play a featured role in many of the concerts and contribute his innovative take on summer programming; specific artists, programs and other details for summer will be announced in May. The “Summer at Orchestra Hall” experience that was originally announced for July and August 2020 will now be revised and presented in the summer of 2022.

Susie Park, first associate concertmaster and chair of the Musicians’ Artistic Advisory Committee said:

“As musicians, performing is a vital way that we connect with other people. We are grateful for all of the connections we’ve been able to make through our livestream concerts this year, but it will be incredibly powerful to reconnect inside Orchestra Hall with all of our friends and family. We also have some exciting new music to share!”


Minnesota Orchestra subscribers are being directly notified of changes to the 2020-21 concert season, with many of their originally-scheduled concerts now cancelled. Subscribers will receive the first opportunity to reserve in-person tickets. Tickets for the general public will be available on May 18.  


Beginning in June, the Orchestra will introduce a limited capacity, physically distanced seating chart with seats spread throughout sections of the auditorium (households will be seated together) in alignment with Stay Safe MN guidance for indoor entertainment venues. All concerts will be shorter in length, without intermission, to reduce gathering and lines.

Arrival and departure from the Hall will be staggered to limit congestion. Face masks are required for everyone in the building, and all attendees will complete a short symptom screening in advance of the event. The ticketing process will be entirely digital and contactless. Increased cleaning regimens are in place throughout Orchestra Hall, and ventilation standards continue to meet or exceed CDC guidelines.

Every employee of the Minnesota Orchestra has received, reviewed, and adheres to a strict Workplace Preparedness Plan.


Minnesota Orchestra concerts are currently presented through a three-way partnership between TPT, Classical MPR and the Orchestra. The TV broadcast and online livestream, hosted by conductor Sarah Hicks, introduces audiences to the music, musicians and venue of the Minnesota Orchestra, while featuring Classical MPR’s high-quality audio mix. Hicks has served as the Orchestra’s Principal Conductor for Live at Orchestra Hall since the series was founded in 2014 and has been on the Orchestra’s artistic roster since 2006.

Audiences are able to access Minnesota Orchestra concerts in the following ways:

  • For TV viewing on TPT’s MN Channel live on Fridays at 8 p.m. Central (audiences can check local listings for rebroadcast times);
  • For radio listening live Fridays at 8 p.m. Central on stations of Classical Minnesota Public Radio, including 99.5 FM in the Twin Cities and online at, hosted by Melissa Ousley;
  • For livestream viewing Fridays at 8 p.m. Central online at and on social media; 
  • Most performances will be available for free on-demand access after the concerts at

Minnesota Orchestra Calendar
 April, May and June 2021

*Please note: Program details are still being finalized.
Dates, repertoire, artists and seating capacity are all subject to change.

Friday, April 2, 2021, 8 p.m. (Digital only)

Minnesota Orchestra
Sarah Hicks, conductor
Felicity James, violin
Rick Steves, special guest

Program to include selections from:
BARBOTEU                     Equisse, Trio for Horn, Flute and Harp
LIADOV/Gurfinkel            Eight Russian Folksongs
D’RIVERA                        Aires Tropicales for Wind Quintet
MOZART                         Symphony No. 38
PIAZZOLLA                     The Four Seasons in Buenos Aires
ROSSINI                          Overture to La scala di seta
GRIEG                             Two Melodies
COLERIDGE-TAYLOR     Four Novelleten         
KOMITAS/Hicks               Vagharshapati Par
HAYDN                             Symphony No. 104

*This concert will be recorded by Minnesota Public Radio and portions of it will be shared at a later date.

Friday, April 16, 2021, 8 p.m. (Digital only)

Minnesota Orchestra
Marc Albrecht, conductor

DEL AGUILA             Herbsttag (Autumn Day)
SHOSTAKOVICH     Piano Concerto No. 1
SCHUMANN             Symphony No. 4


Friday, April 30, 2021, 8 p.m. (Digital only)

Minnesota Orchestra
Fabien Gabel, conductor

ALBERGA              Shining Gate of Morpheus
STRAVINSKY         Suite from Pulcinella
MOZART                Symphony No. 39


Friday, May 14, 2021, 8 p.m. (Digital only)

Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Brian Newhouse, guest host

LANCASTER              dis[armed] 
STRAVINSKY             Symphonies of Wind Instruments
PENDERECKI            Chaconne in Memoriam del Giovanni Paolo II for String Orchestra   
SCHUBERT                Symphony in B minor, Unfinished


Friday, May 28, 2021, 8 p.m. (Digital only)

Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Karen Gomyo, violin

SHOSTAKOVICH       Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a (after String Quartet No. 8)
SAINT-GEORGES       Violin Concerto in D major
SIMON                         An Elegy: A Cry From the Grave
MAHLER                     Adagietto, from Symphony No. 5


Friday, June 11, 2021, 8 p.m. (Digital and In-Person)

Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä, conductor
Juho Pohjonen, piano

SAINT-GEORGES      Symphony No. 2
CHOPIN                      Piano Concerto No. 2  
HAYDN                        Symphony No. 94, Surprise


Friday, June 25, 2021, 8 p.m. (Digital and In-Person)

Minnesota Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä, 
Erin Keefe, violin

VÄNSKÄ                             Overture [world premiere]
WEILL                                 Violin Concerto


July and August 2021 Concert Dates
**Symphony for the Cities will not take place in 2021. The Orchestra will return to perform in outdoor venues across greater Minnesota in a future summer season.

Friday, July 16, 2021 (Digital and In-Person)
Saturday, July 17, 2021 (In-Person)

Friday, July 30, 2021 (Digital and In-Person)
Saturday, July 31, 2021 (In-Person)

Friday, August 13, 2021 (Digital and In-Person)
Saturday, August 14, 2021 (In-Person)

Friday, August 27, 2021 (Digital and In-Person)
Saturday, August 28, 2021 (In-Person)

This program series is made possible in part by a generous lead gift from Kathryn and Charles Cunningham