Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Minnesota StarTribune: Minnesota Orchestra swaps big concerts for smaller chamber shows [Each will feature a Black composer]

Valerie Coleman

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)

William Grant Still (1895-1978)

George Walker (1922-2018)

Minneapolis StarTribune
By Jenna Ross


“While we aren’t able to offer the full-Orchestra concerts in August that we originally envisioned, we are pleased to focus on what the Orchestra can responsibly and creatively do next month in alignment with the State’s ‘Stay Safe MN’ guidelines,” said President and CEO Michelle Miller Burns. “Right now, that means we can take advantage of summer weather to offer outdoor chamber music for small audience groups—with physically separated seats, face masks and screening surveys all in place. This is the first step in the Orchestra’s gradual, phased approach to offering concerts again, and we are proceeding with great care to make it a safe and joyful experience.”
With programs designed by the Minnesota Orchestra musicians, every concert throughout the month of August will feature a piece of music written by a Black composer. The repertoire will be announced from the stage and will include music by composers such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Benjamin Britten, Valerie Coleman, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Paquito D’Rivera, Jean Françaix, Devonté Hynes, Wolfgang Amadè Mozart, Daniel Bernard Roumain, William Grant Still, Igor Stravinsky, Jerod Tate, Heitor Villa-Lobos and George Walker, among many others.

These limited-capacity, physically-distanced performances will each feature groups of up to eight Orchestra musicians. Concerts will take place daily at 7 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, from August 4 through August 30. Each event will be approximately 70 minutes in length and will run without intermission. The total capacity for the concerts, including musicians, staff and audience members, will be up to 250 people, and seating for both musicians and audience members will be physically spaced at a safe distance. In the case of inclement weather, performances will be cancelled.

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