Concert Health and Safety Policy – October 2022

Vaccinations and masks are encouraged but not required for the audience at the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra’s October 9 concert. Please stay home if you are ill or exposed to COVID-19. 

Purchase tickets to the Great Music! concert at the Masonic Heritage Center Box Office.

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Tickets are on sale!

Tickets for the October, November, and February concerts are now on sale.

We we will announce a special 60th Anniversary VIP ticket package for the February and April 2023 concerts. These ticket packages will be limited.

Click each picture to learn more about the concert and purchase tickets now.

October 9, 2022 :: Great Music!
November 20, 2022 :: Soul and Irony
February 26, 2023 :: From the New World
April 16, 2023 :: Music in 3D #9: Beethoven’s 9th
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Save the Dates for 2022-23!

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra performs at the Masonic Heritage Center, under the baton of Manny Laureano
The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra with Manny Laureano, Music Director onstage at the Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center (Photo by Leslie Plesser)

We are working behind the scenes, preparing the programs for 2022-23. We will be making the full season announcement shortly but until then, we are sharing the dates for our 2022-23 concert season.

Sunday, October 9, 2022
Sunday, November 20, 2022
Sunday, February 26, 2023
Sunday, April 16, 2023

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Music in 3D: #8 :: Concert Preview No. 1

Before each concert, we share “Manny’s Musings,” thoughts from our Music Director and Conductor, Manny Laureano. This is the first entry of the “Musings” for the “Music in 3D: #8” concert that will be performed on Sunday, May 1, 2022.

Paul-Abraham Dukas (1865-1935) was one of France’s pre-eminent Jewish composers but his music did not really reflect the folk aspects of that culture, unlike Gustav Mahler, who was alive at the same time. His music was, instead, exemplary of the new traditions that the impending Impressionist would bring. In fact, he would eventually attend the Conservatoire in Paris and find himself studying and honing his skills alongside a young Claude Debussy and the two were friends until Debussy passed into musical immortality in 1918.

In addition to becoming a composer and orchestrator he became a respected music critic (one does have to make money, after all). His musical output was not as massive as so many other composers of note but he did manage to make the most of what he wrote. There are few music-lovers who could not sing the famous bassoon melody from his best-known work, L’Aprenti Sorcier, with a few bup-de-buppity-bups. 

The Fanfare to La Peri is a bit of an afterthought that comes from suggestions that the abrupt, original opening to his short ballet needed something to prepare the palate. So, after preparing the main course, this chef pairs it with a short but brilliant work for an orchestral brass section. In three parts, he accomplishes what he sets out to do with bursts of chords, triple-tonguing, and a shimmering nod to the Impressionist period of 1912. It gives way to a cloudy texture of close harmony that does exactly what Impressionism in France was famous for. That is, suggestion rather than outright clarity. Not to worry, as the opening statement is reprised with an anthem-like ferocity leaving the listener to want to stand and, with a wave of your chapeau, yell “Vive le France!”

Join Music Director & Conductor Manny Laureano, for the concert, “Music in 3D: #8” featuring soloists Clare Longendyke, piano, and Yu Chia Hsu, violin. The concert takes place on Sunday, May 1, 2022 at 3 p.m., at the Gideon S. Ives Auditorium at the Masonic Heritage Center (11411 Masonic Home Drive, Bloomington)

To learn more about the concert, click here. You can order tickets online through the Masonic Heritage Center Box Office, or by calling 952-948-6506.

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November Program Sneak Peek

We are happy to provide this preview of the Bloomington Symphony’s November 21 concert program. Please read, and then purchase your tickets here and plan to join us for the performance of these two pieces – one brand new to the orchestra and our audience, the other familiar and beloved. Don’t miss your chance to hear these great works performed live, by the 75 volunteer musicians of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra led by Manny Laureano, Music Director and Conductor.

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BSO Announces Changes to Summer/Fall Performances

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to suspend full orchestra rehearsals and performances through October 2020. This includes our biannual appearance at Summer Fete, our annual outdoor concert at Arts in the Park, and the opening concert of the year, traditionally held at the beginning of October. We continue to plan for the rest of our 2020-21 season with the understanding that, as the dates approach, public health recommendations may require further changes to our schedule.

Out of an abundance of caution, we are shifting our focus to smaller ensembles that can allow for safe performance conditions for audiences and musicians. As we learn more about best practices which allow us to safely perform as a full orchestra in front of a live audience, and as the restrictions around social gatherings continue to quickly evolve, we will adjust our plans accordingly.  

We remain dedicated to our mission to enrich the lives of our audiences and musicians with outstanding performances of challenging, educational, and thoughtfully selected orchestral repertoire. While we are sad to lose this portion of our season, we hope to see you in person at live chamber music performances, or virtually, as we are planning some online experiences for our audience.

For now, keep an eye on our website and Facebook page where we will announce our plans. You can also sign up for our email list here or add your name and address to our mailing list to receive hard copy announcements by completing this form.

Viola Flute and Clarinets of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra play
The Musicians of the BSO perform in February 2019 at the Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center (photo credit: Leslie Plesser)
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CANCELLED: Music in 3D #7: The BSO Plays Mahler’s Fifth

The BSO’s Board of Directors is following the recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health, and cancelling the April 5 concert and related rehearsals. Our Annual Meeting, which was scheduled for Sunday, March 15, is also cancelled.

We are devastated to make this decision since Manny Laureano and our musicians have already put in a great deal of time and effort in preparation. However, the health and safety of our audiences and musicians is at the forefront of our minds, as we make decisions in this unprecedented time.

If you ordered tickets to this concert, please keep an eye on your email. The Masonic Heritage Center will send a message and touch base with patrons to discuss ticket refunds on Tuesday, March 17.

Please address any other questions to our board via our email address: info@bloomingtonsymphony.org.

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The Colorful Music of Russia :: Concert Preview No. 2

Before each concert, we share “Manny’s Musings,” thoughts from our Music Director and Conductor, Manny Laureano. This is the final entry of the “Musings” for the “The Colorful Music of Russia” concert that will be performed on Sunday, February 16, 2020.

Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36

Piotr Ilych Tchaikovsky

Pretend for a moment that you are Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F minor and you’ve won a Grammy for “Most Dramatic Symphony Ever”… or something.

Look, just work with me for a moment.

Your award acceptance speech might go something like this:

“I’d like to thank Rudolph Kündinger for the early private musical lessons that my composer took even, though he never really believed Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) would amount to anything. I’d like to thank the Russian Musical Society and the St. Petersburg Conservatory for not only providing him with an opportunity to further his musical studies but saving him from a life as a civil servant. Next, I’d like to thank his fellow Russian composers for recognizing his talent and even allowing their own works to be influenced by his new style of writing music like me. This group includes that august cadre of nationalist composers known as “The Five.” You know who you are.

(At this point the you wink at composers Balakirev, Cui, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, and also Mussorgsky who—once again—has shown up drunk to the event.)

“Next, I’d like to thank my composer’s dear friend and confidant, Nadezhda von Meck, who stood by him through the tough times, especially that rather unfortunate marriage to that sweet girl, Antonina Miliukova. I recall she was a fine singer but really didn’t understand what she was getting into with him. It was a mess and didn’t last long at all, even by celebrity marriage standards. Anyway, thanks Madame von Meck, for inspiring my composer to work and financially supporting him so he could forge on. I’ll never forget that time you pestered him for an explanation of ‘our’ symphony even though he really didn’t have a specific program. Remember what he wrote to you?:

‘Fate, the decisive force which prevents our hopes of happiness from being realized, which watches jealously to see that our bliss and peace are not complete and unclouded, and which, like the sword of Damocles, is suspended over our heads and perpetually poisons our souls.’

“Dude… a bit much, no?

“Finally, I’d like to thank Almighty Beethoven for the influence that helped fashion that fate theme you all hear at the beginning of the first movement and keep bringing back, much the same way Beethoven used his famous four-note motif. I think it’s the most important part of my compositional structure as a symphony. I do have to mention the oboe solo that sets off my second movement and the unprecedented use of pizzicato in the Scherzo were pretty clever (by the way, the piccolo player would like a little more time playing instead of having to wait two-and-a-half movements before she plays a note—just sayin’). Even though my composer will likely go on to write some great music after me, I would wager that there will be no more exciting ending to a symphony than what he has me do in the Finale. Wow… talk about throwing in the kitchen sink…. good times, good times.”

At this point you make some rambling statements about the Tsar of Russia before you get hustled off the stage by the show’s producers.

A black and white photograph of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, composer

Join Music Director & Conductor Manny Laureano, for the concert, “The Colorful Music of Russia” featuring BSO Concertmaster Michael Sutton as soloist. The concert takes place on Sunday, February 16, 2020, at 3 p.m., at the Gideon S. Ives Auditorium at the Masonic Heritage Center (11411 Masonic Home Drive, Bloomington)

To learn more about the concert, click here. You can order tickets online through the Masonic Heritage Center Box Office, or by calling 952-948-6506.

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The Colorful Music of Russia :: Concert Preview No. 1

Before each concert, we share “Manny’s Musings,” thoughts from our Music Director and Conductor, Manny Laureano. This is the first entry of the “Musings” for the “The Colorful Music of Russia” concert that will be performed on Sunday, February 16, 2020.

Two Works by Dmitri Kabalevsky

This concert by the BSO partially features a look into two well-known works by Soviet composer Dmitri Kabalevsky (1904-1987). He, like several other Russian composers, can truly be considered a child of two revolutions, as he began his formal studies in music at the Scriabin School at the age of 15 and later, at the Moscow School.

A black and white photograph of Dmitri Kabalevsky, with his autograph written in blue ink over his chest.
Dmitri Kabalevsky, composer

Upon listening, you can hear that his music is different from that of Shostakovich or Prokofiev even though they were contemporaries. He doesn’t challenge the listener to intensely private moments portrayed in his music or stir the queries of whether there are hidden meanings within it. His music is lyrical, yet never filled with the angst we associate with so many other Soviet composers of the time and hints more at trips to the circus in his youth. There is an enjoyable predictability when compared to other composers that grew up and developed at the same time in the same place as Kabalevsky. It is important to note that Kabalevsky was and still is, recognized for the piano music he composed for children, helping to hone their skills through fingerings and melodic lines that suited young hands with an emphasis on flowing melody lines and harmonies.

The Overture to Colas Breugnon (1938) is a pre-war romp based on the writings of French author Romain Rolland that became Kabalevsky’s first operatic venture. You could say that the boundless optimism of the protagonist suited Kabalevsky’s personality quite well and his music captures Colas’ personality perfectly. It is an early work that required the revisions it received in 1968 but the Overture has remained a concertgoer favorite ever since.

The Violin Concerto in C Major (1948) is a post-war, three-movement work that grabs you by the collar at its opening, releases you only briefly for one poignant slow movement, and then lifts you onto horseback for a wild ride, scimitar and all. Originally written for Igor Bezrodny, a budding Soviet violinist, the work immediately drew praise for the youthful optimism it displays from the start with its Spanish-style rhythms. It is a conversational work that features solo instruments within the orchestra to chatter back and forth with the primary violin solo part. The B? major second movement seems to not be able to contain its penchant for joy (even though it tries to be serious at first!) but remembers its role as a contrasting movement and settles down into peaceful beauty. For the finale, one is advised to buckle up for aforementioned ride, as Kabalevsky alternates from major to minor themes and larger-than-life characters culminating in a cadenza that invite “parental” admonishments from the orchestra. Like a clever child, however, the violin melts the heart and helps us end in youthful triumph, smiles abounding.

Join Music Director & Conductor Manny Laureano, for the concert, “The Colorful Music of Russia” featuring BSO Concertmaster Michael Sutton as soloist. The concert takes place on Sunday, February 16, 2020, at 3 p.m., at the Gideon S. Ives Auditorium at the Masonic Heritage Center (11411 Masonic Home Drive, Bloomington)

To learn more about the concert, click here. You can order tickets online through the Masonic Heritage Center Box Office, or by calling 952-948-6506.

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Dmitri Kabalevsky Stayed at My House by Michael Sutton

Sounds like the title for a children’s book. Maybe it should be.

It’s 1979, and I’m having a wonderful childhood. I go to school, play with my friends, etc. In my mind, it’s nothing out of the ordinary, except that I’ve been a Suzuki violin kid for five years, I practice every day, and I’m starting to get good at it.

Before I go any further, allow me to introduce my parents so this story makes more sense. My loving mother Phyllis is the backbone of the household, taking me to lessons and helping mepractice, while steadfastly supporting my talented dad. His name is Vern, and he is balancing a singing career while also being a professor, and head of the opera department at the University of Minnesota.

I realize now that my childhood was anything but ordinary.

My parents inform me that we are going to have company, and that it isn’t family. They set the usual ground rules, and added a new one; I was not to use the phone while he was here, so that we could focus all of our attention on our guest. That was OK with me, because as a nine-year-old I didn’t really use it that much.

I had no idea who our guest was, just that he was important.

At our South Minneapolis house, near the University, arrives Dmitri Kabalevsky. He is a kindly old man, very tall, softly speaking a language I have never heard before. Thankfully, he has a translator traveling with him! She is magnificent; beautiful and elegant, her English so perfect it sounds fake. She is always there to help, but never in the way. I don’t remember anything she says in particular, except that I am welcome to call her Tatiana, and him Dmitri. It’s a short visit, and he has a busy schedule. But we are able to share some meals together, after which I play my little heart out for him.

Our house and car are his lodging and transportation during his stay, so Dad chauffeurs him to his functions at the University. One magical time, I get to go along. We pile into the front seat of our maroon Chevy Malibu station wagon, Tatiana alone in the back. As I sit in the middle of the bench seat, Dmitri ever so gently cradles my hands, rubbing them like you would a newborn. I feel an overwhelming sense of calm. He turns his head to the side and speaks over my head to his translator. Tatiana explains he is saying I must take care of my hands, as they are my gift.

Fast forward to adulthood.

This part would not be in the children’s book. This part is called “come to find out.” When I was old enough to understand, my parents let me in on a few things about this incredible visit. The University invited Kabalevsky to be their guest as they put on a festival honoring him and his music. He asked to stay in a home rather than a hotel, and we got the nod. This meant a few things were put in place behind the scenes:
That old rotary phone I was told not to use had been tapped by the CIA. I hadn’t even noticed the unmarked van parked next to our house. We were followed everywhere. That’s what happens when a high-ranking KGB agent stays at your house during the Cold War. “Tatiana” as she called herself, was there to make sure Kabalevsky didn’t defect. Our government was making sure she wasn’t here to steal secrets from Minnesota companies who worked with the Department of Defense.

Hearing this for the first time was chilling. But after the initial shock, my memories warmed me back up: I was so grateful I saw the whole event through the innocent lens of a nine-year-old. None of the politics I was oblivious to would ever take away the unspoken emotional bond I shared with my new gentle friend, Dmitri.

A score to the Concerto for Violin, written from Dmitri Kabalevsky to a young Michael Sutton

Come and hear Michael Sutton play Dmitri Kabalevsky’s Violin Concerto on Sunday, February 16, 2020 at 3 p.m. Complete concert information is available here.

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