One of many things we thought we’d lost forever during the Minnesota Orchestra lockout was the chance for Osmo Vänskä and the musicians to complete their Sibelius Symphonies recordings for Sweden’s BIS label. Recording sessions originally scheduled for September 2013 were canceled, and soon after, Vänskä resigned, and it seemed that was that. But much has changed since then. After live performances in May and June, the orchestra will record Sibelius’ Third, Sixth and Seventh symphonies for BIS in nine sessions at Orchestra Hall, with a release date for the final album TBA. The new recording will join the Grammy-nominated 2012 release of the Second and Fifth and the Grammy-winning 2013 release of the First and Fourth. The session fees will be underwritten by an individual donor.
These will be the Orchestra’s first recording sessions since 2012. “It will be a happy occasion when we again bring together BIS and our orchestra,” Vänskä said in a statement. “It will be very gratifying for us to complete the circle on this project.” For the rest of us, too. You can hear Sibelius 3 live on May 28-30, 6 and 7 on June 4 (as a Symphony in 60 concert) and during the season finale concerts on June 5 and 6.
Club Book has announced its winter/spring 2015 season of readings by best-selling, award-winning authors at libraries around the metro region. All are free and open to the public, and podcasts are available within a few days of each event. This is a diverse and varied season, well worth traveling around for; each will bring you to a different public library.
Feb. 12 at Stillwater Public Library: Peter Heller (“The Dog Stars”) presents his latest, “The Painter.” March 4 at Northtown Library in Blaine: Vietnamese-American author Amy Quan Berry and “She Weeps Each Time You’re Born,” a novel that draws on Barry’s history and personal experiences with her native country. March 11 at Highland Park Community Center in St. Paul: Nadia Hashimi and her acclaimed fiction debut, “The Pearl That Broke Its Shell,” about two Afghan women living as young men. March 17 at Prior Lake Library: Jonathan Odell (“The Healing”) continues exploring racial divisions in the South in his new novel, “Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League.” March 19 at Chanhassen Public Library: Anthony Marra and “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena,” set against the backdrop of occupation and insurgency in Chechnya. March 31 at Roseville Library: Marisa de los Santos, author of three consecutive New York Times bestsellers, presents her latest novel, “Saving Lucas Biggs.” April 13 at R.H. Stafford Library in Woodbury: British journalist and documentarian Jon Ronson presents “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed,” a look at the social phenomenon of public shaming. April 20 at Galaxie Library in Apple Valley: Garth Stein (“The Art of Racing in the Rain”) and his newest, “A Sudden Light,” a blend of ghost tale and coming-of-age story. April 27 at Southdale Library in Edina: journalist Sonia Nazario with “Enrique’s Journey,” based on her Pulitzer Prize-winning series on children emigrating from Latin America. Club Book is a program of the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), supported in part by Legacy funds. All events are at 7 p.m.
A new reading series premieres Sunday, Jan. 25 at Magers & Quinn in Uptown. Mill City Reading Series is a monthly showcase of works-in-progress by MFA in Creative Writing students at the University of Minnesota. Get in on the ground floor of work by fiction writer Tim Zil, poet Wei Chung Hsu, nonfiction writer Malinda Gosvig and poet D. Allen. 6 p.m. Free.
The Fireside Reading Series starts its 21st year at the Hamline Midway Library in St. Paul on Wednesday, Jan. 21. (Yes, it has a real working fireplace.) Presented by the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, this series features some of Minnesota’s best writers plus coffee, cider and cookies. Jan. 21: novelist Marlon James reads from “A Brief History of Seven Killings.” Jan. 28: William Swanson discusses “Stolen from the Garden,” the true-crime story of the 1972 abduction of Virginia Piper. Feb. 4: Wang Ping and Jim Lenfestey explore China through poetry and prose. Wang’s latest poetry collection is “Ten Thousand Waves,” Lenfestey’s “Seeking the Cave: A Pilgrimage to Cold Mountain” chronicles his journey to China. Feb. 11: Writer and comedia Lorna Landvik reads from her new novel, “Best to Laugh.” Feb. 18: Drawing on his background as a criminal defense attorney, Allen Eskens presents his mystery, “The Life We Bury.” Feb. 25: Linda LeGarde Grover shares “The Road Back to Sweetgrass,” which follows three American Indian women from the 1970s to the present. All readings are at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, free and open to the public.
The list of nominees for the 27th Annual Minnesota Book Awards is online, if you want to take a look. There are too many to name here; we are a state of scribblers. The finalists will be named Saturday, Jan. 31. The gala awards event is set for Monday, April 18 at Union Depot.
On another note: Despite last-minute soloist substitutions and program changes, the Minnesota Bach Ensemble had a successful weekend of concerts in Minneapolis and Wayzata. Michael Anthony was at St. Mark’s and gave the thumbs-up to the program, the performances and the orchestra. They’ll be back in May with music by Bach and Schutz, this time joined by the Minnesota Bach Chamber Chorale.
Tomorrow (Wednesday, Jan. 14) at Minneapolis Central Library: Opera Viva! Minnesota Opera resident artists Andrew Lovato (baritone), Cooper Nolan (tenor) and Christian Zaremba (bass-baritone) present a program of Schubert songs, Tchaikovsky romances, Neapolitan songs, standards from the American Songbook and a short set of early Alban Berg, with the opera company’s’s head of music, Robert Ainsley, at the piano. 7 p.m. Tickets are free, but registration is required.
Friday at the Park Square Theatre in St. Paul: Previews begin for “The Color Purple.” The first Twin Cities production of the musical based on Alice Walker’s novel features Aimee K. Bryant as Celie, Regina Marie Williams as Shug and Thomasina Petrus as Sophia (Oprah’s role in the movie version). We’ll also see Jamecia Bennett, Ginger Commodore, T. Mychael Rambo, and Dennis Spears on the proscenium stage. Park Square had a huge hit in 2012 with the big musical “Ragtime.” Expectations are high for “The Color Purple,” which features the largest all-African-American cast in the theater’s history. Opening night is Friday, Jan. 23. FMI and tickets. Through Feb. 13.
Saturday at the Northrup King Building in Minneapolis: Northrup King Nights. Home to more than 190 artists and arts-related businesses, the sprawling complex in Northeast Minneapolis hosts a regular First Thursday evening monthly throughout the year. Since January’s first Thursday fell on New Year’s Day, many studios will be open this Saturday from 6-10 p.m. It’s a delightful way to spend an evening.
Save the date
Saturday, Feb. 7 at the Pantages in Minneapolis: Theater Latté Da’s “Oliver!” opens. This all-new production is a “Broadway Re-Imagined” collaboration between Latté Da and Hennepin Theatre Trust, who teamed up last year for a fabulous “Cabaret.” Bradley Greenwald is Fagin. FMI and tickets ($24-$49). Through March 1.
Use the Twin Cities Iveys Calendar on MinnPost to find performances by any of the Twin Cities’ 78 professional theater companies.