The Minnesota Orchestra continues to add to its international profile with a four-city summer tour that includes three top European festivals.
The orchestra announced details Wednesday of the Aug. 18-27 tour, which will begin in Lahti, Finland, where music director Osmo Vänskä was chief conductor for 20 years before coming to Minnesota. The Edinburgh International Festival, Robeco SummerNights at the famed Concertgebouw hall in Amsterdam and the Tivoli Festival in Copenhagen will follow.
Featured works will include two Beethoven symphonies and American composer Steven Stucky’s “Rhapsodies for Orchestra.” Finnish violin star Pekka Kuusisto, who will also be an artistic partner with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in the coming season, will perform violin concertos of Sibelius and Prokofiev.
Vänskä said the return to Lahti would be “an emotional homecoming” for him 12 years into his Minnesota tenure. The initial Finland leg of the tour will include a rehearsal with the youth orchestra VIVO. The tour’s final stop at Tivoli, Scandinavia’s largest classical festival, will mark the first time the orchestra has performed there.
This will be the orchestra’s sixth international tour led by Vänskä, who has taken it to Europe four times between 2004 and 2010, and Cuba last May. Before that, the orchestra had been on only two tours to Europe, under Eiji Oue in 1998 and 2000.
Beyond showcasing the orchestra, touring is “an opportunity for us to ‘brag to the world,’ so to speak, about the great cultural heritage we have in Minnesota,” said musician Greg Milliren, co-chair of the orchestra’s artistic advisory committee.
Twin Cities audiences can get a taste of the tour at a special send-off concert Aug. 16 at Orchestra Hall, with a program including Kuusisto performing Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1, the Stucky piece and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.
The tour is being funded by donations from an anonymous couple and Louise Leatherdale, who with her late husband, former St. Paul Companies CEO Doug Leatherdale, has been a longtime orchestra supporter.