Livestream the April 21 concert

The BSO’s April 21 concert, “Out of This World!” sold out a record SEVEN weeks prior to the performance! In order to share the experience with all of our fans, we are partnering with Valley Action Channel TV to provide a livestream option. The concert will be streamed live on Sunday, April 21 at 3 p.m. You can enjoy the concert from the comfort of your home, and share the experience with friends and family. After the concert, you can enjoy replaying the concert for two weeks.

A ticket is $15 — less than the price of an adult concert ticket — and includes both the livestream and a video-on-demand link. You can purchase livestream/VOD access through this link.

Thank you for supporting the BSO and the livestream experience.

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“Capriccio espagnol” Musings Now Posted!

We are pleased to post Manny’s Musings, a preview of the program notes for our upcoming concert. Enjoy these notes, and buy your tickets for the concert to hear these pieces played in person. 

Capriccio espagnol

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Finally, this afternoon’s concert will end with a Russian work that has become synonymous with Spanish musical styles. The Capriccio espagnol of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov has been thrilling audiences since its premiere in 1887 in St. Petersburg.

A painting of an older man with a long gray beard and glasses, who is sitting at a desk, looking at a large paper document
A portrait of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov by Valentin Serov (1898)

Though he showed aptitude for math and science as a lad, he fell prey to the muses and succumbed to a lifetime in art. So much so, in fact, that after meeting other Russian composers of the day and excelling in his piano studies, he became a member of what became known as “The Five.” The Five were Russian composers who made it their business to establish a clear identity for Russian music. Thus it was somewhat ironic that Rimsky-Korsakov would become so well known for his Spanish Caprice. Yet, perhaps not so much when we remember that he was the man who wrote a book on orchestration that would become a required text for study for many composers that followed after him.

The Capriccio was first thought of as a solo work for violin and orchestra but he thought better of it and spread the wealth of his composition among the various instruments in the orchestra. It is, for all intents and purposes, a five-movement concerto for orchestra!

It begins with a lively Alborada that celebrates our daily sunrise with full percussion complement and competitive solos by the clarinet and solo violin. The lovely Variazioni that follow are a smooth showcase for the horns and voluptuous strings, ending with a wandering flute that leads us to another Alborada but a half step higher and the sound of what is mostly a wind band. The penultimate movement, Scena e canto Gitano is a suite of opportunities for soloists and complete orchestra sections to, well, show off a bit at their own pace before we end with the Fandango Asturiano and its blindingly energetic whirling dance music. The pace is dizzying and intoxicating but this is Spain… eso es asi!


Favorites: Yours, Mine, and Ours will be presented at the Schneider Theater at the Bloomington Center for the Arts on Sunday, November 19 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $14-$25 for adults and seniors, and free for students with ID and can be purchased online or by visiting the Bloomington Box Office in person Wednesday – Friday: 12:30 – 4:30 p.m., or by emailing boxoffice@bloomingtonmn.gov or  calling 952-563-8545

A photo featuring violin, viola, flute, clarinet, oboe, and bassoonists, a mix of men and women, wearing black outfits or tuxedos, taken from an overhead perspective
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Now posted! Manny’s Musings for “Pavanne” and “Adagio for Strings”

We are pleased to post Manny’s Musings, a preview of the program notes for our upcoming concert. Enjoy these notes, and buy your tickets for the concert to hear these pieces played in person. 

Pavanne from American Symphonette No. 2

Morton Gould

A black and white photo of an older gentleman who is wearing a suite and tie, and looking directly at the camera
Morton Gould, composer

There are those of us in the audience and the orchestra that will show our vintage by being familiar with terminology that time has kicked to the wayside. One of those terms is “semi-classical.” It was music that was written with many of the rhythms, harmonies, and melodic characteristics one would hear in popular music of the day but without accompanying lyrics. It could be argued that Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue belonged to that genre, but he would have disdained any such classification of his orchestral works.

Morton Gould (1913-1996) makes a similar case for his Pavanne which comes from a larger work of three movements called the American Symphonette. Upon hearing the entire three movement work, Gould seems intent on unabashedly saying that American music was multi-faceted and that the popular style had its place in the concert hall rather than being relegated to the dance hall. After all, is not jazz the pride of America? It is literally our music, and its influence has been felt all over the world.

The second movement of this Symphonette as he calls it, is in a word, charming. It swings lightly and is exploitative of the music of the day which was 1938. That is, ironically, the same year as the year the Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber was premiered in New York by Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Two pieces, two completely different moods. Such was the time.

Adagio for Strings

Samuel Barber

The muses that affect a composer to write are as interesting as the notions that compel conductors to program a given piece of music or an entire program, for that matter. That which moved Samuel Barber (1910-1981) to arrange his slow movement from the Quartet in B Minor for string quartet may remain a mystery if we are seeking his personal meaning to the music which has become a cathartic aria for an entire nation. Many of us will have to begrudgingly admit that we are far less familiar with the entire aforementioned quartet than the movement he isolated for a premiere in 1938, called simply Adagio for Strings. It was to be led by no less a luminary than Arturo Toscanini on a program that also included his First Essay at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

A black and white photo of a middle-aged white man wearing a dark suit and tie, sitting on a chair with a patterned background, looks away from the camera.
Samuel Barber, Composer

Barber was quite a young man when he met Maestro Toscanini in Rome. The earnest quality of his compositional style appealed to Toscanini, but there was more. By 1938, we were a world on the brink. Between the fascists in Italy and the Nazis in Germany, Toscanini welcomed the opportunity to herald a young American composer who was coming into his own. It seemed Toscanini was already fighting his own personal war against the likes of Mussolini who, for a time, marred and sullied his native Italy. Music, he decided, was one way to do it, and Barber joined the ranks of several other American composers Toscanini programmed in order to reinforce that the culture on our shores was worth preserving.

Since its premiere, it has become a part of the American soul. It was first used as a work for mourning after the death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt much as Gustav Mahler’s Adagietto from his Symphony No. 5 in the same way. Its quietly still opening gives way to wavering notes that move in the same way waves of sadness can wash over us during times of grief. The music seems to resist wailing until it doesn’t. The epic climax of the work is satisfying and leads us to end as we began, with stillness, but now with resolution.


Favorites: Yours, Mine, and Ours will be presented at the Schneider Theater at the Bloomington Center for the Arts on Sunday, November 19 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $14-$25 for adults and seniors, and free for students with ID and can be purchased online or by visiting the Bloomington Box Office in person Wednesday – Friday: 12:30 – 4:30 p.m., or by emailing boxoffice@bloomingtonmn.gov or  calling 952-563-8545

A group of male violinists wearing tuxedos and female violinists wearing black outfits, play together with singers in the background.
BSO Violins at Orchestra Hall in April 2023 Photo credit: Leslie Plesser
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Now Posted! Manny’s Musings ~ Bach’s Violin Concerto

We are pleased to post Manny’s Musings, a preview of the program notes for our upcoming concert. Enjoy these notes, and buy your tickets for the concert to hear these pieces played in person. 

Violin Concerto in E Major, BWV 1042

Johann Sebastian Bach

Genius reveals itself in myriad ways, but what is key in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is the unbelievable simplicity in the construction of his works. This certainly goes for the other great composers, as well. Beethoven was another with a talent for creating masterpieces out of simple arpeggios and rhythms that seem to have been born of a tantrum.

In Bach’s Concerto in E Major for Violin and Orchestra, he launches upward in typical optimistic fashion, taking the listener with him on the sonic roller coaster ride that is characteristic of so much of his music. In fact, it truly does seem to have the uplift that is found in the second of his Brandenburg concerti. Bach was reputed to have written quite a few concerti for violin, of which only three remain, one of them being a duo. What is not emphasized enough is the sheer virtuosity required to play these concerti. Familiarity may have us think that these are works that are merely “tossed off” by a soloist. Not so.

Johann Sebastian Bach (aged 61) in a portrait by Elias Gottlob Haussmann, copy or second version of his 1746 canvas. The original painting hangs in the upstairs gallery of the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) in Leipzig, Germany.

In the first movement Bach provides us with the opportunity to witness the cleverness that takes us from ascending melodies that seem to not want to come back down to earth, to minor passages that are almost stern in character. Bach sets up a cadenza that pauses before the soloist and orchestra settle into a firm ending.

The slow movement displays what Bach does so well. That is, an elegant melody that is sweet without ever becoming maudlin or self-indulgent. Although the Romantic era in music and its ancestral Baroque era have about 75 years (arguably) between them, Bach seems to provide one of those glimpses which speak of a different day to come. Mozart and Beethoven were partners in the same effort, whether accidental or intentional.

As the third movement begins, do not deny yourself the smile that is inevitable as the forces launch into a 6/8 time worthy of a dance! It is, typical to Bach, a briefer movement than the preceding two and is meant to provide the listener with the same taste in the mouth as would a tantalizing bonbon after a good meal. If you find yourself rocking to-and-fro in your seat as the music plays, not to worry, we understand.

Favorites: Yours, Mine, and Ours will be presented at the Schneider Theater at the Bloomington Center for the Arts on Sunday, November 19 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $14-$25 for adults and seniors, and free for students with ID and can be purchased online or by visiting the Bloomington Box Office in person Wednesday – Friday: 12:30 – 4:30 p.m., or by emailing boxoffice@bloomingtonmn.gov or  calling 952-563-8545

Three violinists in a row, one man with glasses, and two women with curly hair, play
https://bloomingtonsymphony.orgBSO Concertmaster, Michael Sutton with violinists Jennifer Volby and Anna Andrews, play in concert Photo credit: Leslie Plesser
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Read Manny’s Musings ~ Richard Wagner’s “Overture to Rienzi”

We are pleased to post Manny’s Musings, a preview of the program notes for our upcoming concert. Enjoy these notes, and buy your tickets for the concert to hear these pieces played in person. 


Overture to Rienzi
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.

A black and white photo of an older man wearing a white collard shirt, ascot, and suit jacket
Richard Wagner, composer

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.

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 from the fifth act of the opera gives way to a solemn prayer rather than an act of militarism. 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!


Favorites: Yours, Mine, and Ours will be presented at the Schneider Theater at the Bloomington Center for the Arts on Sunday, November 19 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $14-$25 for adults and seniors, and free for students with ID and can be purchased online or by visiting the Bloomington Box Office in person Wednesday – Friday: 12:30 – 4:30 p.m., or by emailing boxoffice@bloomingtonmn.gov or  calling 952-563-8545

BSO and chorus onstage with Manny Laureano at the podium, at Orchestra Hall. Photo by Leslie Plesser
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Now Posted: Recollections from BSO Musical Leaders

We have collected memories from the BSO’s past Music Directors and Concertmasters on this page. Please click through to read their memories. You are welcome share your memories by emailing info@bloomingtonsymphony.org. We invite past BSO musicians, soloists, board members and audience members to share your favorite stories or well-wishes with us.

The BSO in 2011 // Photo by Leslie Plesser/Shuttersmack
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2023-24 Concert Season Announcement

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to announce its 61st concert season. Please check the individual pages to learn more about each concert.

Past, Present, and Future

Favorites: Yours, Mine, and Ours

Celebrating the Americas!

Out of this World!

Music Director Manny Laureano has put together a season featuring American composers on each program along with outstanding soloists, and audience and musician favorites. Purchase your tickets today to guarantee the best seats in the house, and share this news with your networks.

We look forward to sharing this season of music with you!

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VIP tickets for sale

In honor of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra’s 60th Anniversary, we are offering limited VIP ticket packages for our concerts in 2023. Each package comes with two best-of-house seats, a BSO gift, and recognition from the stage. Packages need to be ordered in advance through the links below.

From the New World on February 26 Gift is a BSO-branded foldable picnic blanket, perfect for summer concerts!

Music in 3D #9: Beethoven’s 9th on April 16 Gift is two 15 oz. stemless wine glasses with BSO logo

Pictures coming soon!

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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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