Category Archives: Concerts

MN Varsity Showcase Artist to appear in two St. Paul concerts

Cellist Mark Prihodko
Cellist Mark Prihodko, 18, of Faribault performs Hungarian Rhapsody in the Minnesota Varsity Showcase Concert at the Fitzgerald Theater. (MPR/Courtney Perry)

At last Sunday’s Minnesota Varsity Showcase Concert, seven accomplished young performers and composers took to the Fitz stage to share their artistry with an enthusiastic audience in the hall and a live statewide radio audience.

One of these amazing young musicians will perform again this and next weekend. Sunday, May 8, at Hamline’s Sundin Hall, and next Friday, May 13, at Dayton Avenue Presbyterian Church, 18-year-old cellist Mark Prihodko of Faribault, Minn., will be joined by pianist Miryana Moteva — together known as Nouveau Duo — for programs of Beethoven, Debussy, Schumann, and Popper. Sunday’s concert details can be found here; next Friday’s here. You can also hear last Sunday’s concert here.

Mr. Prihodko recently learned that he was accepted at the Juilliard School and plans to attend there this fall.

Here’s a sneak peek at the Minnesota Orchestra’s New Year’s concert

No tuxedos, formal gowns or bouquets of flowers — this video is an unfettered look at musicians hard at work.

Ahead of its New Year’s Day concert featuring Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra released this video of Osmo Vänskä leading a Dec. 31 rehearsal. Watch the intense movements of conductor and musicians as they practice the first movement of Beethoven’s Ninth.

It’s a sneak preview of the Minnesota Orchestra’s concert that takes place Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. Classical MPR will broadcast this live concert; Brian Newhouse hosts.

Minnesota Varsity alum performs at Orpheum this weekend

Jason Shu (publicity photo)
Jason Shu (publicity photo)

Eighteen-year-old violinist Jason Shu — a 2012 Minnesota Varsity Featured Artist with the Take 4 String quartet — will be performing this weekend at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis.

He will join the Moscow Ballet as part of their “Musical Wunderkind” program, during their performance of “The Great Russian Nutcracker.” Shu will open the program with The Dying Swan by Camille Saint-Saëns, accompanying Moscow Ballet’s principal ballerina, Karyna Shatkovskaya.

This will be a new experience for Shu who, in a recent interview with the Pioneer Press, noted “it’s a completely new journey for me. I normally stick to my solo repertoire, so I’m excited.”

The performances take place at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Orpheum. For tickets, visit the Hennepin Theatre Trust box office.

A ‘mobile opera’ takes over Los Angeles

A car scene from Hopscotch (Vimeo screengrab)
A car scene from Hopscotch (Vimeo screengrab)

A Los Angeles-based opera company called The Industry has been in operation for only a few years, but they’re already making waves for their interactive and immersive productions. And their latest undertaking —Hopscotch — is certainly no exception.

It is being billed as ‘a mobile opera in 24 cars’, and involves over 100 different singers, musicians, dancer, and actors. A ticket gets you on one of the three performance routes, each with eight stops where 10-minute scenes are performed.

In a promotional video for the production, Yuval Sharon — Artistic Director for The Industry — explains:

“You’re invited into a car not knowing the destination. The car starts moving, and suddenly you’re drawn into the story with singers and musicians that are in the car with you. As they drive through the city, activity will be happening all around you.

“So at the end of that 10 minutes, you get out of that car, where another car is waiting for you. You get into that car and the next leg of the story continues. And it goes on, and on, and on, throughout the entire city.”

For audience members who would rather not experience the work through a car ride, there will also be a ‘Central Hub’ where spectators go to experience all 24 journeys via a live video stream.

Hopscotch runs on weekends through Nov. 22nd, with scenes happening all over the city of Los Angeles. Listen to NPR’s Michelle Lanz describe her experience with the opera, and see a teaser for the production below.

The athleticism of taiko drumming

Mu Daiko artistic director Jennifer Weir demonstrates a rhythm during rehearsal. (Euan Kerr | MPR News)
Mu Daiko artistic director Jennifer Weir demonstrates a rhythm during rehearsal. (Euan Kerr | MPR News)

“Taiko Groove” — an upcoming concert series at Concordia University — features a collaboration between Los Angeles-based On Ensemble and members of St. Paul’s Mu Daiko.

When you think of this centuries-old style of Japanese ensemble drumming, you probably imagine huge drums and a roaring, pounding sound that shakes the room. But as Mu Daiko artistic director Jennifer Weir pointed out in an interview with MPR’s Euan Kerr, the athleticism and movement is just as important as the music:

“What I love about taiko is, the way that you use your body is inherent to the form. It’s not merely the sound you make on the drum. That’s part of it, the rhythms, the tones, etc., but it’s really how you use your body as an instrument with the drum.”

See video of Weir and her Mu Daiko colleagues in rehearsal via the video below, and read Euan’s full report on the MPR News website.

Enjoying classical music on the go

The day was sunny and warm and music flowed from every venue in St Paul’s Lowertown. I had the privilege of hosting a number of St. Paul Classical Music Crawl tours this past Saturday, Oct. 10.

What a great group of people and what a great collection of musicians. We heard a string quartet from the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (at Union Depot), the excellent singers from Glorious Revolution Baroque (at the Baroque Room), student music from the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota School (at Black Dog Café), and members of the Minnesota Opera (at Nautilus Music Theater) all in the course of two hours.

In the photos below (taken in the various venues our tour group visited), we’re all smiles because the day was just that good!

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Photos: Minnesota Orchestra rehearsal and Cuban nightlife

Osmo Vänskä

The Minnesota Orchestra topped a day visiting “Music city,” a concentrated school for high school and college-age musicians, by getting comfortable in the Teatro Nacional de Cuba, the venue for tonight and tomorrow’s concerts.

After a rigorous rehearsal, Osmo Vänskä released the musicians, who enjoyed a meal in Plaza de la Catedral in old Havana, Cuba and then went out to enjoy a bit of Havana nightlife.

Photos by Nate Ryan

Rehearsal music stand

Strings rehearsal

Sheet music at rehearsal MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

Concertmaster Erin Keefe leads the violinists. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

Violinist Cecilia Belcher MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

Full rehearsal

Osmo conducts in rehearsal

Osmo conducts rehearsal in Havana. MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

The Minnesota Orchestra rehearses

Osmo Vänskä MPR Photo / Nate Ryan

Minnesota Orchestra at Teatro Nacional de Cuba, Havana, Cuba

Orchestra rehearsal at Teatro Nacional de Cuba,

Piano rehearsal

Cuban National Choir

Osmo Vänsä

Teatro Nacional de Cuba

View from the seats

Travel crates

The Melia Cohiba hotel where the Minnesota Orchestra is staying

Classic car

Swimming

City from beach point of view

Swimmers

A classic American car drives along the Malecón along the coast of Havana Cuba.

Pedicab ride

Pedicab driver at dusk in old Havana, Cuba

A small bar in old Havana, Cuba.

Dinner in the plaza

Dinner in the plaza

Mojitos

The streets of old Havana, Cuba.

Old Havana, Cuba

Septeto Habanero

Septeto Habanero

Dancing

Bartender

More photos and broadcast information at classicalmpr.org/cuba

Photos from opening night at the Ordway’s new Concert Hall

Last night, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra played its debut concert at the Ordway’s new Concert Hall. The program included Beethoven’s “Eroica” symphony, and was broadcast live here on Classical MPR. As Bill Morelock noted as he concluded Thursday’s broadcast, “The hall has been launched, it’s been christened, and it’s now home.”

We sent our own Nate Ryan to capture the evening in photos.

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

Associate Concertmaster Ruggero Allifranchini

Concertmaster Steven Copes

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

Inside the Ordway's new Concert Hall

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

Concertmaster Steven Copes

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

Members of the SPCO preparing backstage

Members of the SPCO preparing backstage

Members of the SPCO preparing backstage

Members of the SPCO preparing backstage

Members of the SPCO preparing backstage

Members of the SPCO preparing backstage

Members of the SPCO preparing backstage

Members of the SPCO preparing backstage

Associate Concertmaster Ruggero Allifranchini

Members of the SPCO preparing backstage

Members of the SPCO preparing backstage

Members of the SPCO preparing backstage

Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

The SPCO onstage at the Ordway's new Concert Hall

Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

Michael Barone charmed 'em in Los Angeles

Disney Hall organ 425.jpg

For all who couldn’t be there, Pipedreams host Michael Barone charmed the heck out of about 2,500 people at a standing-room-only Walt Disney Concert Hall on the night of Sunday, Nov. 23.

Michael BaroneThe organ celebrated its 10th anniversary that evening, and Michael, who’d been part of a consulting group for its original design, was master of ceremonies. He was masterful: funny, encylcopedically (yes, I just made that up), knowledgeable, passionate, and kept spinning the wheel of organists who came out to do increasingly dazzling things with the Disney keyboard.

For star power, Cameron Carpenter capped the evening, but St. Paul’s Aaron David Miller stole the show with a jaw-dropping improv on the Superman theme, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” an original tune just submitted to him, and a few others.

At the party in Los Angeles, it seemed it was the stars from St. Paul — Michael Barone and Aaron David Miller — who shone brightest!

You can read more about the event in this recap by the Los Angeles Times‘ Mark Swed.