Sommerfest moves to U as Orchestra Hall gets a redo

  • Article by: GRAYDON ROYCE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 20, 2012 - 12:05 AM

Music festival will take place at Ted Mann this year.

The Minnesota Orchestra will bring bratwurst, Beethoven and the Beatles to the Mississippi riverfront this summer as the Sommerfest musical festival moves to Ted Mann Concert Hall on the University of Minnesota campus.

This is the first time since Sommerfest originated in 1980 that the event has not been held downtown at Orchestra Hall and Peavey Plaza. A reconstruction project at Orchestra Hall necessitates the shift. The orchestra will play its 2012-13 season, beginning next fall, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Ted Mann is known for great acoustics and a glass-walled lobby that overlooks the river. With 1,126 seats, it has roughly half the capacity of Orchestra Hall. An outside terrace that is decidedly smaller than Peavey Plaza will be available to ticket holders for pre-concert activities, food and drink.

"The terrace was very important to us, since the outdoor component is such a popular part of Sommerfest," said Gwen Pappas, orchestra spokeswoman.

Highlights of the Sommerfest program include Osmo Vänskä conducting two all-Beethoven concerts, including the Third Symphony, Sommerfest artistic director Andrew Litton conducting Dvorak's "New World Symphony" and Verdi's "Rigoletto" and the return of the popular Beatles tribute band "1964."

Erin Keefe, recently appointed as the orchestra's concertmaster, will be featured in solos, and British pianists Danny Driver and Benjamin Grosvenor are scheduled to appear.

Sommerfest, intended as a celebration of middle-European music, will include Viennese and all-Tchaikovsky programs. The festival runs July13-28. There are eight concerts this year, down from 10 last summer. Tickets go on sale March 16.

Graydon Royce • 612-673-7299

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