St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
Having already launched its season with a world premiere by just-turned-30 Nico Muhly, what can the SPCO do for an encore? Plenty. In the next month alone, it will proffer Magnus Lindberg's 2006 Violin Concerto, with soloist Simone Lamsma (Sept. 16-17), works by Anna Clyne and Earl Kim (Sept. 23 and 25), an all-American program on the adventurous Engine 408 series (Sept. 29, Oct. 1) and meaty miniatures by György Kurtag, played by pianist Jonathan Biss (Sept. 30, Oct. 2, 6, 7 and 8).
What's the plural of Paulus? To kick off its 109th season -- its last in the unrenovated Orchestra Hall-- the orchestra turns not only to Minnesota composer Stephen Paulus but also to his jazz-trumpet-playing, Brooklyn-dwelling son, Greg. "TimePiece," their first joint opus, melds classical, improvisatory and electronic elements; the premiere will feature the younger Paulus, a quartet of eminent local jazzers and, to ice the cake, a few clarinet licks from conductor Osmo Vänskä.
Music in the Park Series
Since its founding in 1979, this series has been a haven for the new. That tradition continues with this season's inaugural concert by the St. Lawrence String Quartet, highlighted by a "preview performance" of a still-untitled work by the remarkable Osvaldo Golijov, whose 1992 "Yiddishbbuk," also written for the quartet, garnered two Grammy nominations. Haydn and Dvorak contribute the bookends.
The latest arrival on the Twin Cities' new-music scene made an auspicious debut in May. The group promises wine and hors d'oeuvres at "Breaking Ground," its inviting season opener/fundraiser; on the program are works by American maverick Frederic Rzewski and steel pan virtuoso Andy Akiho, as well as arrangements of Radiohead songs.
Zeitgesit has long been Minnesota's most consistent purveyor of the new, and its "Fall Musical Harvest" (which neatly coincides with the St. Paul Art Crawl) also addresses multiple appetites, offering "dishes prepared from the bounty of the St. Paul Farmers Market" along with music by banjo-picking Paul Elwood, the ubiquitous Nico Muhly and St. Cloud's Scott Miller -- the premiere of "Forth and Back," with smashing soprano Carrie Henneman Shaw.
Corey Dargel, a thirtysomething Brooklynite, might or might not strike you as a "classical" musician. But listen to his witty, worldly songs of affection and disaffection, and the question seems moot. With violinist Todd Reynolds and the Twin Cities' own Ensemble 61, the Texas-born, Oberlin-trained Dargel will perform songs from his cycles "Every Day Is the Same Day" and "13 Near-Death Experiences."
VocalEssence opens its season with two works for massed chorus and orchestra that it co-commissioned. Greek mythology is the subject of William Bolcom's "Prometheus," portraying the Greek god who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals. Michael Daugherty's "Mount Rushmore" explores American mythology, setting the words of four great U.S. presidents. They are joined by Magnum Chorum, the Singers, St. Olaf College Manitou Singers and Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. --William Randall Beard