1. The Minnesota Orchestra's Sibelius Festival, Dec. 31, 2021, to Jan. 16, 2022: Looking back on Osmo Vänskä's 19 years as music director, I'll most fondly remember the absorbing depth of his Sibelius interpretations. His final season reached its summit when he conducted all seven Sibelius symphonies and two versions of his Violin Concerto with soloist Elina Vähälä.

2. Vikingur Olafsson, Jan. 9 and 11: The Icelandic pianist presented two deeply rewarding Schubert Club solo recitals, exploring 1780s music by Mozart and others, then facilitating a conversation between J.S. Bach and Philip Glass.

3. Minnesota Opera's "Carmen," May 7-22: Of the many versions of Bizet's opera I've experienced, director Denyce Graves' meticulously crafted production topped them all, overflowing with imagination and insight.

4. Richard Egarr and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Feb. 17-19: This collection of London-born works was the most downright gleeful performance of music from the 1600s and 1700s that I've ever encountered.

5. Thomas Søndergård and the Minnesota Orchestra, Oct. 20-22: The Danish conductor's debut as music director-designate showed off some captivating chemistry. Ravel's "Mother Goose" was profoundly beautiful, Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" a terrifying beast.

6. Minnesota Opera's "Rinaldo," Nov. 19-Dec. 3: Director Mo Zhou transplanted Handel's tale of the crusades to 1980s Wall Street in a production wonderfully staged, sung and memorably costumed, christening the company's intimate North Loop space.

7. Bach Society of Minnesota's Mass in B Minor, May 14: The centerpiece of a monthlong, multi-venue Minnesota Bach Festival was an exquisitely well executed take on J.S. Bach's magnum opus.

8. Conrad Tao and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Sept. 30-Oct. 2: The pianist excelled as both soloist and curator on a marvelously inventive program of Mozart, C.P.E. Bach, the Renaissance and trailblazing American modernists.

9. The Kronos Quartet, March 19-20: For 49 years, this string quartet has been expanding audiences' horizons with new compositions from around the world. They shared several during an exhilarating retrospective weekend at the Fitzgerald Theater.

10. Farewell, Pekka Kuusisto, May 20-June 4: The Finnish violinist concluded his always inspiring six years as an SPCO artistic partner with a transfixing take on Ralph Vaughan Williams' "The Lark Ascending." Within two weeks, he'd completed the lone symphony of his recently deceased brother, Jaakko Kuusisto, in time for its premiere by the Minnesota Orchestra. Both bore the moving tone of a wistful goodbye.