Classical music – Twin Cities


Here’s a look at what’s happening on the classical music stages of Twin Cities.

‘Star Wars’ in concert: ‘Return of the Jedi’

April 21-24: Sarah Hicks conducts the Minnesota Orchestra as they perform John Williams’ score live at a screening of “Return of the Jedi,” the finale to the original “Star Wars” trilogy, first released in 1983. Williams won his third Oscar for the first ‘Star Wars’ and earned nominations for ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, ‘Jedi’ and the final trilogy that ended with 2019’s ‘The Rise of Skywalker’. 7 p.m. 30 April 21-23 and 2 p.m. April 24; Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls.; $107-$47; 612-371-5656 or

Stewart Goodyear and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra

The Saint-Paul Chamber Orchestra. (Photo courtesy SPCO)

April 22-24: Director and pianist Stewart Goodyear returns to the SPCO for a program of works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Inspired by Mozart concertos, Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto opens the program, which ends with Mozart’s last symphony, Jupiter, written when he was 32, just a few years before his death. 8 p.m. on April 22 and 23; Ordway Concert Hall, 345 Washington St., St. Paul; and 2 p.m. on April 24; Benson Great Hall, Bethel University, 3900 Bethel Drive, Arden Hills; $50 to $11 (April 23 is sold out, contact the box office for last minute availability); 651-291-1144 or

Minnesota Orchestra Music Makers

May 6: The orchestra chose seven emerging composers from hundreds who applied as the culmination of the orchestra’s annual Composer’s Institute. The orchestra promises to be “daring, colorful, tender and always surprising, the music confidently proclaims that the orchestra of tomorrow is in superb hands”. It is co-presented with the American Composers Orchestra. 8:00 p.m.; Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls.; $50 to $33; 612-371-5656 or

Minnesota Opera’s “Carmen”

Denyce Graves as Carmen in the 1991 Minnesota Opera production
Denyce Graves as Carmen in Minnesota Opera’s 1991 production. (Photo courtesy of Minnesota Opera)

May 7-22: French composer Georges Bizet based “Carmen” on a short story of the same name. At its first performance in Paris in 1875, its break with convention shocked the public. Bizet died suddenly after the 33rd performance, but “Carmen” has become one of the most popular and performed operas in the classical canon. Acclaimed mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, who starred in Minnesota Opera’s 1991 production of “Carmen,” returns to make her directorial debut. Co-produced by the Glimmerglass Festival, “Carmen” is sung in French with English translations. 7:30 p.m. on May 7, 12, 14, 19, 21 and 2 p.m. on May 8, 15, 22; Ordway Concert Hall, 345 Washington St., St. Paul; $228 to $25; 612-333-6669 or

At the top: Mass in B minor

May 14: The Bach Society of Minnesota celebrates its 90th anniversary with a performance of the Mass in B minor at the Minnesota Bach Festival. Conductor Matthias Maute conducts soprano Sarah Brailey, alto Victoria Vargas, tenor Nicholas Chalmers and bass Alan Dunbar. 7:30 p.m.; Ordway Concert Hall, 345 Washington St., St. Paul; $42; 651-224-4222 or

French PaviElle, Beethoven and the Saint-Paul Chamber Orchestra

St. Paul musician PaviElle French plays the piano.
St. Paul musician PaviElle French is preparing to debut her second work commissioned by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, a piece titled “Sands of Time.” (Courtesy of Kierra Lopac for the SPCO)

June 9-12: For the SPCO’s season finale, the orchestra presents two works by composers written two centuries apart. Local guest composer, singer and keyboardist PaviElle French will perform the world premiere of “Sands of Time”, an SPCO commission that celebrates love in all its forms. Also on display is Beethoven’s 4th Symphony. 6 p.m. June 9, 8 p.m. June 10-11, 2 p.m. June 12; Ordway Concert Hall, 345 Washington St., St. Paul; $20 for June 9, other shows are sold out (contact the box office for last minute availability); 651-291-1144 or

The Minnesota Orchestra performs Mahler’s 8th

June 10-12: Music Director Osmo Vanska concludes his final season with the Minnesota Orchestra with Mahler’s 8th Symphony, known as the Symphony of a Thousand. Four choral ensembles will join the orchestra: Minnesota Chorale, National Lutheran Choir, Angelica Cantanti Concert Choir and Minnesota Boychoir. The performance will also be recorded as part of the orchestra’s ongoing project to record Mahler’s 10 symphonies. Only one remains, Mahler’s 3rd, which will be recorded for a future season. 8 p.m. on June 10-11 and 2 p.m. on June 12; orchestra hall; evening shows are sold out (contact the box office for last minute availability) matinee is $60; 612-371-5656 or

Minnesota Beethoven Festival

June 26-July 17: Those ready to take a road trip can soak up three weeks of classical music at the Minnesota Beethoven Festival in the southeastern town of Winona. Unless otherwise specified, performances are at the Page Theater at St. Mary’s University. Lineup includes pianist Olga Kern (3:00 p.m. June 26), violinist Ray Chen (7:30 p.m. June 29), Manhattan Chamber Players (7:30 p.m. July 5), Merz Trio (7:30 p.m. July 7 ), Minnesota Orchestra (8 p.m. July 9; Lake Park Bandshell; and 4 p.m. July 17; Winona Middle School Auditorium), the King’s Singers (3 p.m. July 10; Chapel of St. Mary’s of the Angels), Ariel Quartet (7:30 p.m. July 12) and Pablo Sainz Villegas (7:30 p.m. July 14). Tickets are $25, for details see

Latvian Song Festival

1st of July: Soloists, chamber ensembles and the Twin Cities-based Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra explore the many colors and timbres of Latvian chamber and orchestral music through refreshing repertoire and unique combinations of instruments. The performance is part of the Latvian Song and Dance Festival (details at 1 p.m.; Ordway Concert Hall, 345 Washington St., St. Paul; $40 to $30; 651-224-4222 or


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