BSO 2015-16 Print Materials

If you haven’t seen a hard copy of the BSO’s 2015-16 Print Materials, please download them from this page! It contains all of the information you need to know about this year’s concerts and how to purchase tickets! (Click on the images to enlarge!)

BSO 2015-16 Mailer Front

BSO 2015-16 Mailer Back


BSO Fall 2015 Postcard Back

BSO Fall 2015 Postcard Front


BSO Announces 2015-16 Concert Season

02bwThe Bloomington Symphony is thrilled to announce its 2015-16 concert season. Music Director Manny Laureano has put together a season of programs that will delight listeners young and old alike. Listeners will travel to many places through music – Spain and Italy, a trumpet player’s journey from beginner to the world of jazz clubs, the land of Lincoln and through the orchestra itself.

Featured soloists are BSO Concertmaster Michael Sutton, the Charles Lazarus Quintet, Narrators James Lileks, Yuri Ivan, Obiele Harper, Quinton Wormald, Organist Jane Horn and the winner of the Mary West Solo competition, to be announced in December. We are especially excited to play our first full orchestra concert at the Schneider Theater at the Bloomington Center for the Arts. Tickets for that concert are reserved, so please book early for the best seats.

For more information, please visit the page for each concert.

October 11, 2015 :: In the Spanish Style

November 22, 2015 :: Journeys

February 21, 2016 :: Play Me a Story

April 17, 2016 :: Music in 3D: Part Three

Tickets are available in advance through the Bloomington Box Office:

Tickets are also available at the door – Cash or check only


“Music in 3D: The Sequel” Concert Preview No. 2

Before each concert, we share Manny’s Musings, thoughts from our Music Director and Conductor, Manny Laureano. Please enjoy this concert preview and check back on Friday for the final entry of “Manny’s Musings”!

Henryk Wieniawski, Composer

Henryk Wieniawski, Composer

Henryk Wieniawski and his Concerto No. 2 in D Minor for Violin and Orchestra occupy a stable place in the repertoire for talented violinists. Born in Lublin, Poland, he was exposed to music along with each of the sons produced by his parents, Regina and Tadeusz. He showed promise quickly and it came as no surprise that he would eventually be admitted to the Conservatoire de Paris at age ten with great enthusiasm by its director at the time, Daniel Auber.

As though being a dazzling young violinist weren’t enough, young Henryk or Henri, as he would become known in France, added to the concert repertoire he learned by composing his own music. Thus, the inevitable comparisons to composer/virtuoso performer Nicolo Paganini started to form when Henryk’s talent became undeniable as he approached his 20s. His output included pieces such as concert etudes, Three Romances, an air with variations, and a concerto for violin in D major, part of which has been lost with only a fragment surviving.
Wieniawski’s life as a musician proved rewarding and prolific as a composer as he continued to write and perform, receiving accolades from respected luminaries of the day such as Franz Liszt and Hector Berlioz who bemoaned Henryk’s leaving Paris to concertize in Russia. He was even lucky in matters of the heart when he was allowed to become engaged to the lovely Isabella Hampton of London, despite the raised eyebrows of her father who was not keen on the idea of his daughter marrying a musician. Love conquered in the end (along with a £200,000 life insurance policy) and they were married.

The Second Concerto had originally come to life in 1862 and dedicated to another fine virtuoso of the day, Pablo Sarasate. With the wisdom of the years come improvements and revisions to many composers and he published his final, improved version in 1870. It is, however, unfortunate to note that Wieniawski’s years were not as many as we would have liked. He developed a heart condition which came to a head while, ironically, performing the Concerto in D minor you will hear at this performance. He collapsed on stage yet marshalled the strength to finish his tour and improve slightly until he finally succumbed a few months later despite the loving care of Isabella.

Sara Melissa Aldana, Violin

Sara Melissa Aldana, Violin

Join Music Director & Conductor Manny Laureano, for the concert, “Music in 3D: The Sequel” featuring Sara Melissa Aldana, winner of the CodaBow prize at the Mary West Solo Competition, as soloist. The concert takes place on Sunday, April 19 at 3 p.m. at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington. To learn more about the concert, click here, or to order tickets online through the Bloomington Box Office or by calling 952-563-8575.


“Three Singing Masters” Concert Preview No. 3

Today, we share the thoughts of Manny Laureano, the Bloomington Symphony’s Music Director and Conductor, with our audience, in advance of our concert “Three Singing Masters” on Sunday, October 5. This is our final edition of Manny’s Musings for this concert. Please join us at the concert, and check back to our website in a few weeks, to learn more about the pieces on the November concert program (Copland, Barber and Ives, for those looking to whet their appetites!)

Symphony No. 1 in D Major
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

Gustav Mahler

Gustav Mahler

If Richard Strauss teaches us how to exit “this mortal coil,” then it can easily be argued that Gustav Mahler shows us the way into a boisterous and unabashed symphonic existence! He was, like Wagner and Strauss, one who loved the possibilities and expressive power of the human voice and wasted no time in writing much of his first works for the voice and orchestra. In fact, parts of his Songs of a Wayfarer serve as thematic material for this first symphony, written immediately after the premiere of that song cycle.

He was taken with the music of Wagner and, in short order, became friendly with luminaries of the day who were Wagner’s associates, such as Hugo Wolf, though that relationship ended abruptly with Wolf accusing Mahler of stealing his ideas. Of interest to the young intellectual born of Jewish parents in Bohemia, were Wagner’s philosophical ideas, as well as his music. As did Strauss, Mahler became an opera conductor very drawn to Wagner’s music.

If the First Symphony sounds like a bit of a mad rush in places, consider that it took the young, seemingly possessed composer only six weeks to write the 50-minute work. One often comes away from a Mahler symphony feeling as though each “story” he tells is somewhat autobiographical. Mahler seems to be obsessed with going from darkness into light and back again pausing every so often to embrace the charm of youth and the times in which he lived. He takes us from what could described as a journey that begins before the dawn of a fresh spring day. He seems to determined to pack his bags and set off for the country dance that awaits us in the second movement, both gruff and sweetly beckoning. The ironic funeral march seems more like the Jewish funeral processions he saw as a young boy growing up in Iglau, a part of the Austrian empire. With mock solemnity, the cortège marches respectfully until they are out of sight, where they pick up the pace until the weary pall bearers set for a moment to enjoy the day as the body and casket wait for them to regain their energy to continue.

The final movement is a stormy description of an infernal nightmare that gives way to a respite of sensual beauty. This push and pull of pain and pleasure finds its way to the triumphant close that seemingly quotes the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s Messiah. It is almost as though Mahler were out to prove his D major celebration of joy can outdo Beethoven’s Choral Symphony. You be the judge!

Please join us for this concert, “Three Singing Masters,” on Sunday, October 5 at 3 p.m. at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington. To purchase tickets in advance, please visit our online box office here. Tickets are always available at the door (cash or check only).


2014-15 Season Brochure Preview

BSOMailerFall2014Inside_Page_1Did you see the announcement about the BSO’s 2014-15 concert season? Now you can find all of the information in one place! Click either of the images below to learn more about the program, or you can download a PDF of the brochure below.

Hard copies of the brochure will hit mailboxes late next week. You will also be able to find them at the Bloomington Center for the Arts and Bloomington libraries.

BSO Fall 2014 Mailer Outside

BSO Fall 2014 Mailer Outside

BSO Fall 2014 Brochure Inside

BSO Fall 2014 Brochure Inside

BSO 2014-15 Season Brochure

(download the PDF version by clicking on the link)


2014-15 Concert Season Announced!

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra

Bloomington Symphony Orchestra Music Director Manny Laureano has assembled four concerts with a variety of well-known classics and a few pieces that may be new to some in the audience. The 2014-15 concert season will feature a young soprano, a seasoned cellist and the BSO solo debut of our new concertmaster. Click on the link to learn more about each concert.

2014-15 Concerts

October 5, 2014 – Three Singing Masters: Wagner, Strauss & Mahler

November 16, 2014 – Anybody Here Speak American?: Copland, Barber & Ives

February 15, 2015 – Melodious Tchaikovsky: Three pieces by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

April 19, 2015 – Music in 3D: The Sequel: Franck, TBA & Mussorgsky/Ravel


Season tickets (one ticket for each concert) are available for purchase through the Bloomington Box Office (only). You can click here to order tickets online or you can call 952-563-8575 or stop by the Box Office in person  at 1800 West Old Shakopee Road in Bloomington.

Can’t make it to every concert? You can still get the discounted price by purchasing in advance, four or more tickets to any of the concerts. Season and four-ticket packages are $48 for adults and $40 for seniors.

Single tickets are available in advance or at the door for $14 for adults and $12 for seniors. Students are always free, thanks to our generous donors.

For more information about any of our concerts, please contact our General Manager, Sara Tan at


“Music in 3D” Concert Preview No. 3

We are sharing the thoughts of Manny Laureano, the Bloomington Symphony’s Artistic Director and Conductor, with our audience, in advance of our concert “Music in 3D” on Sunday, April 13. We posted previous Manny’s Musings on Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. Check our website in the coming days for the final installment about Respighi’s Pines of Rome.

The Swan of Tuonela

Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)

Jean Sibelius, composer

Jean Sibelius, composer

The beauty of listening to The Swan of Tuonela by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius is in discovering not only what was written but what was left out. The Twin Cities public, of late, has been treated to much of the great symphonic writing by Sibelius as a result of the relationship between their own Minnesota Orchestra and its music director, Osmo Vänskä, also a Finn. As one becomes better acquainted with Sibelius, one becomes familiar with the triumphant sound of brass, the nattering of virtuosic woodwind passages, and sumptuous string writing. One also learns to appreciate the moody brooding of low strings and ever-present timpani rolls. Thus, the omission of trumpets, flutes, and clarinets gives us a color that Sibelius has withheld until this moment from our ears. This specific bit of orchestration allows us to focus on the ethereal nature of a mysterious black swan whose voice is heard in the sound of the English horn. The death of this swan at the hands of a man—for the sake of a woman—holds the key in this portion of a legend called Lemminkainen.

If this all sounds rather dramatic in an operatic sense, there is good reason. The Swan of Tuonela is what remains from the overture to an idea for an opera by Sibelius, The Building of the Boat. The opera did not survive despite various attempts by the relatively young Sibelius to improve it. He found that his greatest strength in musical storytelling was, ironically, with notes rather than words. In this he found much more in common with Franz Liszt rather than Richard Wagner, whose music he idolized. Sibelius’ use of rising strings and the darker-sounding instruments in the orchestra such as bass clarinet, horns, and trombones to support the solo english horn are accented by the quiet flourishes in the harp. All add up to a meditative setting that transcends the earthbound and is transporting.

Please join us for this concert, “Music in 3D,” on Sunday, April 13 at 3 p.m. at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington. To purchase tickets in advance, please visit our online box office here. Tickets are always available at the door.


“The Passion of Rachmaninoff” Concert Preview No. 4

This final “Concert Preview” will provide background information on the pieces the BSO will perform at our next concert. Each Concert Preview is written by the BSO’s Artistic Director and Conductor, Manny Laureano

Sergei Rachmaninoff, Symphony #2 in E Minor – Op. 27 (part two of two)


In this third movement Adagio Rachmaninoff finally releases us from minor keys and allows the sun to shine a bit with rolling triplets and yawns of satisfaction from the upper strings. This drawing back of the shades leave our ears clear for an extended clarinet solo of exquisite melodic and harmonic balance. What is essentially Rachmaninoff is his seeming reluctance to have the solo end! Two false cadences prevent the ending of the solo until finally, the clarinet relinquishes the return to the tonic of A major to the first violins. Rachmaninoff goes back to the layering of strings used to such great effect in this symphony to prepare us for a searing climax that would later be imitated but never duplicated by myriad composers of film scores. The balance of the movement reprises earlier themes and brings us to one more slightly gentler climax before the fading heartbeats of the bass section close the movement.

Whether it was the impending birth of our composer’s second daughter, Tatiana, we can’t know for sure but what is certain is that the final movement is the joy we have been waiting for. As he has throughout the symphony, Rachmaninoff goes from the serious to the playful to the sensual, wearing his heart on his sleeve without reluctance. The finale is as exuberant as the others are in their own character: nothing is held back. The orchestra is kept busy negotiating handfuls of notes while the percussion accentuate with grammatical precision. But even Rachmaninoff cannot resist the temptation to have a more reference to the lovely slow movement just one more time. After he has indulged himself, he brings back the brisk pace to lead us to one more room-shaking statement from the second movement scherzo before he gives us a hearty pat on the back as he slams the door closed on this one-movement festival in E major.

Please join us for this concert, “The Passion of Rachmaninoff,” on Sunday, February 16 at 3 p.m. at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington. To purchase tickets in advance, please visit our online box office here. Tickets are always available at the door.


“The Passion of Rachmaninoff” Concert Preview No. 1

This “Concert Preview” will provide background information on the pieces the BSO will perform next. Each Concert Preview is written by the BSO’s Artistic Director and Conductor, Manny Laureano. Look for the next Concert Preview on February 6.

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) Richard Wagner

While it can be argued that the music of Richard Wagner should be “blamed” for the direction 19th century music took toward a lack of tonality, the truth of the matter is that Wagner started off in a rather traditional fashion. In fact, it’s interesting to note that, unlike many of his musical predecessors, his first love was writing the written word rather than music itself. He was so moved by the works of Shakespeare and Goethe, for example, that he was compelled to try his hand at writing at the age of fourteen. It was at that time that he went about the task of attempting to write music for his tragedy, Leubald. He spent the next many years perfecting his musical craft for the sake of accompanying the great stories that stirred his heart, at first, alone, and then with help from teachers such as Christian Weinlig, of the Thomaskirche in Leipzig.

Rienzi was Wagner’s first successful opera. He already had a few junior works to his credit from piano sonatas to a Symphony in C major. He had already written operas (Die Hochzeit and also Die Feen) but it was not until he completed Rienzi that he took his foothold into prominence during a time of nationalistic musical fervor in Germany. Wagner’s use of chromaticism continued a natural transition in music history that started with Hector Berlioz in Paris and continued with him. It was that use of chromaticism that opened the gates for new modalities in subsequent composers.

The Overture to Rienzi

Normally, one would think of a trumpet calling soldiers to war to be involved in a complex set of flourishes. But in this immensely popular overture, Wagner decides that a single note, swelling and fading, should be the signal to battle for the Collonas, a family featured in the opera. But the call to action gives way to a solemn prayer from the fifth act of the opera rather than an act of miltarism. This foray into grand opera in the French tradition of the time is wonderfully tuneful yet it offers a glimpse into the ascending chromaticism that would mark the unique quality of Wagner’s subsequent work (if you think you hear a bit of The Flying Dutchman in various transitory and developmental passages it is for good reason for it would be the opera that followed Rienzi by a year!). All the ingredients for a 19th century grand opera on Italian themes are present: corrupt government officials, forbidden love, dueling families, a burning city, and, of course, vendettas accompanied by mobs thirsting for blood. But none of this seems quite so horrific when people are singing at the top of their lungs!

Please join us for this concert, “The Passion of Rachmaninoff,” on Sunday, February 16 at 3 p.m. at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington. To purchase tickets in advance, please visit our online box office here. Tickets are always available at the door.


The Passion of Rachmaninoff

Concertmaster Rebecca Corruccini

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra invites you to an afternoon of great music on Sunday, February 16 at 3 p.m. The concert begins with Wagner’s Overture to Rienzi, followed by Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, performed by our concertmaster, Rebecca Corruccini. The program concludes with Symphony No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Maestro Manny Laureano thinks that the second movement is so romantic, you might want to bring a date! Wrap up your Valentine’s weekend with a concert of beautiful music. Ticket information can be found here.

Keep an eye on this page for Manny’s Musings, a preview of the concert music.