New York's Orpheus opens Minnesota Beethoven Festival

Forty years ago the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra began rewriting the book on what was possible if an ensemble decided to stop working with a conductor on the podium, leaving decisions about how the music should sound to those actually playing it. Seventy-odd albums later the Orpheus is still pushing the envelope, and flies in from New York City for the opening concert of this year's Minnesota Beethoven Festival. It's an all-Beethoven lineup, featuring the Fifth Symphony and Piano Concerto No. 3, performed to a level of sophistication and unanimity that still amazes. (7:30 p.m. Sat., Winona Middle School Auditorium, Winona, Minn. $21-$25, 1-507-457-1715 or


Over the past millennium the Christian church has been a conduit for choral music, some of it among classical music's finest. The tradition continues, as a concert at this week's Pan-Orthodox Music Symposium in Minneapolis will demonstrate. The program is devoted to works by living and 20th-century composers, from Finland, Serbia, Russian and Greek America, and the United Kingdom. Cappella Romana, a choral ensemble from Portland, Ore., brings specialist knowledge in this repertoire, as does its director, Ivan Moody, an Orthodox priest and composer. (7:30 p.m. Thu., Basilica of St. Mary, Mpls. $10-$37, 612-246-3857 or

The Stringwood Festival prepares aspiring young string players for their conservatory training, in the idyllic woodland setting of southeast Minnesota. This year's keynote recital by the Artaria String Quartet, the festival's founders, pairs Beethoven's Third String Quartet with Brahms' String Quintet No. 2, and is open to the general public. (7:30 p.m. Wed., Commonweal Theatre, Lanesboro, Minn. Free,

It's not often there's an opportunity to hear two dozen trumpeters playing together. Find out what it sounds like, as the Twin Cities Trumpet Ensemble marks its first anniversary with a mixed selection of music by baroque, classical, romantic and jazz composers, in bespoke arrangements. (7:30 p.m. Thu., Normandale Community College, Bloomington, free,

Duke Ellington wrote everything from snappy jazz standards to full-blown orchestral essays, composing more than 2,000 pieces of music in all. His protean talent is celebrated in a one-off Twin Cities concert by the Duke Ellington Orchestra, now in its 10th decade, with guest vocalist Patti Austin. (8 p.m. Fri., Orchestra Hall, Mpls. $30-$90, 612-371-5656 or

Terry Blain