Hugh Wolff, shown here in his last season as music director for the SPCO, returns in December to conduct two holiday concerts with the locked-out musicians. Star Tribune photo by Jeff Wheeler.
With all concerts for both the Minnesota Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra canceled through the end of the year due to labor disputes with their managements, the musicians continue to organize performances on their own, drawing in distinguished alumni to help out.
The latest: The SPCO, which has been locked out for more than a month, will stage two performances of Handel's "Messiah," a holiday favorite, with the Minnesota Chorale at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis. Hugh Wolff, who was the SPCO's music director from 1988-2000, will conduct. Tickets are $45 to $15 and are available at www.musiciansspco.org, www.centralmpls.org or www.mnchorale.org.
The performances, to be held at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 20 -21, follow a 3 p.m. Dec. 2 benefit concert, an all-Mozart program featuring internationally renowned violinist Pinchas Zukerman as conductor, at Wayzata Community Church. Zukerman was SPCO music director from 1980-87.
The Minnesota Orchestra musicians, who have been locked out for seven weeks, also have two concerts -- already at standing-room only -- scheduled for 8 p.m. Dec.15-16 at Ted Mann Concert Hall, with former music director Edo de Waart conducting and former concertmaster Jorja Fleezanis returning. In October, the musicians sold out a 2,100-seat concert at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
See www.minnesotaorchestramusicians.org for more information.