AN ORCHESTRA MIX TAPE

The Minnesota Orchestra 2017-18 Season Sampler is just a hint of the diverse season to come

Image by Courtney Perry, courtesy of the Minnesota Orchestra

By Lianna Matt

On July 20, the Minnesota Orchestra is going to give their 2017-18 Season Sampler, an impressionists’ palette of the year to come. And when they say it’s a sampler of the whole season, they mean it.

Conductor Sarah Hicks will be bringing out Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Beethoven, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and even a tune from Chicago to give a shout out to when Cirque de la Symphonie comes to town, along with other iconic soundtracks in May. Fifty-three local musicians will also be joining the orchestra for Berlioz’s vibrant and love-driven Roman Carnival Overture as a preview to the season opener and a finale to the orchestra's fantasy camp, where they practiced with the orchestra for three days.

“People who have never even been to Orchestra Hall can guess that we play Beethoven, Mahler and Sibelius,” says Grant Meachum, director of the Live at Orchestra Hall. “But there’s so much more that we do.”

There’s classical music in store this season, of course, although it’s worth mentioning that this spring includes a night with Mohawk-styling, sequin-wearing, madman Cameron Carpenter, who will be bringing his organ out to play with a Rachmaninoff rhapsody. For more traditionalists, get excited for the January Tchaikovsky festival, some Sibelius during the celebration of Finland’s 100th year free from Russia, and a night reflecting on the Protestant Reformation that occurred 500 years ago—that one includes a world premiere.

Harry Potter isn’t the only movie the orchestra is playing to this season. They’ve gone “all in” on film screenings according to Meachum, with La La Land, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Little Mermaid and West Side Story joining the lineup. Chamber and jazz music are as strong as ever with intimate performances, and Sommerfest, the Minnesota Orchestra's summer series, is gearing up for another great year. Even the holiday series is getting new life with a premiere show that, according to the description, “goes to the heart of what it means to be in Minnesota during the holidays.”

All of this doesn’t even include Meachum’s own series—Live at Orchestra Hall. This all-encompassing, behemoth category has a diverse lineup this season, including celebrities such as Leslie Odom Jr. (Aaron Burr in Hamilton), a collaboration with the band Cloud Cult, and a time-traveling tour of the American songbook with trumpet player Charles Lazarus and The Steeles.

Suffice it to say, the Minnesota Orchestra plays more than classical music. For those unacquainted with the orchestra, the sampler concert is one of the best introductions you can get. For those who are familiar, well, there’s still nothing better than getting excited for what’s to come.

“It’s almost like a mix tape of what people could conceivably hear from the Minnesota Orchestra,” says Meachum. “Whether it’s a film or a Mahler symphony or anything else among the pantheon, the Minnesota Orchestra is always at the center, and it delivers like no one else can.”

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