Skrowaczewski and Bruckner

When Stanislaw Skrowaczewski mounts the conductor's podium this week for the first of two concerts with the Minnesota Orchestra, he will have just celebrated his 93rd birthday. Skrowaczewski's account of Bruckner's Seventh Symphony a year ago was a highlight of the orchestra season. His return to lead the Eighth is an unmissable opportunity to hear one of the greatest interpreters of the Austrian composer's work. The Eighth Symphony is vast in its unfolding vistas, with a particularly beautiful slow movement, ideally suited to the Minnesota Orchestra's rich, powerful sound. (8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. $29-$63. Orchestra Hall, Mpls. 612-371-5656,

The Shakespeare effect

Shakespeare's influence on music is virtually immeasurable, but Vocal Essence will attempt to gauge it in the group's season-opening concert. Settings of Shakespeare texts by seven composers — including John Rutter, Vaughan Williams and Stephen Paulus — are intercut with snippets from plays and sonnets, spoken by Guthrie artistic director Joseph Haj. In a program packed with interest, there are also two premieres. Five female composers chip in a movement apiece for "Quilt Songs," honoring artist Kay McCarthy, and English composer Bob Chilcott's "The Voyage" gets its first U.S. outing. (4 p.m. Sun. $20-$40. Central Lutheran Church, Mpls. 612-371-5656,

Singing about war

Twin Cities male vocal group Cantus launches its 2016-17 schedule with No Greater Love Than This, a program focusing on how wars affect not just those fighting them, but also their friends and families. The concert features music by Lee Hoiby, Melissa Dunphy, William Billings, John Lennon and others, with related readings from historical sources. (7:30 p.m. Thu., MacPhail Center, Mpls.; 7:30 p.m. Sat., Ordway Concert Hall, St. Paul. $10-$40. 612-435-0055, cantus

Latin-American classical

Slowly but surely, more attention is being paid to the classical music of Latin America. For a fascinating take on links between the baroque period and contemporary Latino culture, try the recital by the Tembembe Ensamble Continuo from Mexico, whose guitars and vocals bring an authentic tang to the music-making. (7:30 p.m. Thu. $30. Aria, Mpls. 651-292-3268,

Earthy percussion

"Land of Cloud-Tinted Water" is a new work by Twin Cities-based composer Katherine Bergman. Intended as an exploration of "the beauty and diversity of Minnesota's wilderness," it has an ecological slant, and is premiered in two recitals this week by the Minnesota Percussion Trio. (1:30 p.m. Sat., MacPhail Center, Mpls.; 1:30 p.m. Sun., Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn. $5-$10. katherine