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Minnesota Orchestra

Originally known as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, they were established in 1903 by Emil Oberhoffer and made their inaugural concert in November of that year.  Within 4 years they were beginning to tour the surrounding region until it stretched to Chicago in 1911, New York in 1912 and the rest of the United State through the years, finally gaining international audiences in venues as far reaching as the Far East, Middle East and Australia.

In 1961 they changed their name to the Minnesota Orchestra and in 1971 they moved into Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall from the Northrop Memorial Auditorium.

They were one of the first American orchestras to record in the 1920s and one of the first to be heard on the radio, with several of their LP recordings having been brought to life again after being issued on CD.

Since 1996 they have been nominated for Grammy Awards at least six times and in their centenary year, 2003, the released the 12-CD box set Minnesota Orchestra at One Hundred: A Collection of Recordings and Broadcasts.   In 2014 they finally won their first Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance for Sibelius’ Symphonies No. 1 and 4.

In 2012 the Minnesota Orchestral Association that governs the orchestra said that they needed to reduced their costs by $5 million and went on to cancel concerts and lock out the musicians after they couldn’t achieve a collective bargaining agreement with them.  The union said the cuts were too deep and threatened the orchestra’s future.  This led to the whole of the 2012-13 season being cancelled and Osmo Vanska resigning his position as music director in protest. He was true to his word and after three final concerts with the locked out orchestra left them in October 2013.  In 2014 an agreement was reached and the lockout ended in the February of that year with concerts resuming that same month.  Vanska agreed to return to his position as music director in 2014 and his tenure has been extended to the 2021-2022 season.

They have had ten music directors throughout their history including Eiji Oue, who made seventeen recordings with them, Eugene Ormandy, whose recordings with them included several 78rpm discs, Sir Neville Marriner, Edo de Waart and the current holder of the position, Osmo Vanska.

Showing commitment to many contemporary composers the orchestra has commissioned over 175 works in the last 100 years and premiered many new pieces of music.   Award winners for their concert broadcasts for Minnesota Public Radio, the 98 members of the orchestra are acclaimed for their performances of nearly 200 concerts per year.

Working the in the community the orchestra are heavily involved in the Adopt-A-School program, concerts and rehearsals with young musicians of the area in Side-by-Side, Adventures in Music for Families programs and Young People’s Concerts.

Over the years they have received 13 awards from ASCAP including the Leonard Bernstein Award for Education Programming and the American Programming on a Foreign Tour.

Hugo Emil Alfven recordings
Swedish Rhapsody No. 1 (Midsummer’s Vigil/Midsommervaka)
Reference Recordings RR-80CD
Conductor – Eiji Oue

Dmitri Kabalevsky recordings
Colas Breugnon Overture
RR 92CD (CD:  Bolero!)
Conductor – Eiji Oue

Henri Rabaud recordings
Marouf, savetier du Caire: Dances
(CD: Exotic Dances from the Opera Reference Recordings RR-71CD)
Conductor: Eiji Oue