Symphony for the Cities

Monday-Thursday: The Minnesota Orchestra launches its colorful Sommerfest series with a string of free outdoor concerts showcasing the music of Sousa, John Williams, Bizet and Tchaikovsky, whose cannonading "1812 Overture" is a particular enticement. So, too, with Independence Day approaching, is the inclusion of conductor laureate Stanislaw Skrowaczewski's orchestration of "The Star-Spangled Banner." The presence on the podium of the orchestra's newly appointed assistant conductor, Roderick Cox, a rising star of the classical firmament, adds further interest to an already toothsome proposition. (7:30 p.m. Mon., Lake Harriet Bandshell, Mpls.; 8:30 p.m. Wed., Hilde Performance Center, Plymouth; 8 p.m. Thu., Lake Park Bandshell, Winona, Minn. Free.)

Terry Blain