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Get Beethoven season pass (01/16/2013)
By Chris Rogers

Submitted photo
     The Russian National Orchestra will perform at the Beethoven Festival.

World-class classical musicians will visit Winona this July for the 7th annual Minnesota Beethoven Festival. On July 4, Empire Brass will kick off the festival with a free concert at the Lake Park Bandshell. Their performance will be the first of nine concerts throughout the month of July.

Classical guitarist Sharon Isbin and Dale Warland and the Festival Chorale are returning favorites. "I think audiences will be really pleased [with Isbin and Warland and the Festival Chorale] because they know what to expect and they know it will be wonderful," Marketing Director Caroline Kirk said.

The performances include a mix of large orchestral and chorale groups, smaller chamber groups, quartets, and solo artists. "We try to bring in the top players in their field, whatever their field may be," Kirk said. Kirk said she is especially excited that the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will play this year. "We don't typically get them in Minnesota much, and so it is a rare treat to have them here."

The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is a Grammy Award winner for its Shadow Dances: Stravinsky Miniatures. Based in New York City, the group toured Germany, Austria, and Russia in November 2012, and will perform in the first part of 2013 on the East Coast with tours to Colorado and Michigan later in the year.

Orpheus' program at the Beethoven Festival in Winona will feature Rossini's Overture to La cambia di matrimonio; Haydn's Symphony No. 44 in E minor, "Tragic;" Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48; and Beethoven's Romance No. 2 for Violin in F major, Op. 50.

While nearly all of the performances feature works by Beethoven, the Festival features works from classical composers from Brahms to Tchaikovsky, with masterworks from many periods and composers. The work of the festival's namesake composer is not featured in the performance by Dale Warland and the Festival Chorale, since "Beethoven is not particularly known for choral works," Kirk said.

"I think [the festival] is a great event for the entire community," Kirk said. "And whether people can get tickets or not, [the free Lake Park concert] is something the whole community can come out for. It is a way for us to give back to the community."

MPR's Brian Newhouse will be hosting a pre-concert radio program of interviews with the musicians before the Dale Warland and the Festival Chorale performance.

Subscription packages, which offer passes for eight, seven, or six of the eight ticketed concerts will be available beginning March 12, through the SMU box office. Subscription packages are also available on the festival's website, mnbeethovenfestival.org. Tickets for the individual concerts will go on sale May 1. 


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