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Renovated Northrop organ to reappear for concerts this year; 'Let It Be' at the Ordway

Ballet Hispánico
Photo by Paula Lobo
On Oct. 4, New York-based Ballet Hispánico will make its Northrop debut.

The big chandelier will never return to the renovated/revitalized/way different Northrop that reopened in spring 2014. But the Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ, which dates from the 1930s, will. The $80-million Northrop redo left space for the historic instrument (and a way to get it back into the building), a $4 million gift by U of M alumnus Roger Anderson completed the funding needed to restore it, the organ was shipped to Connecticut in four tractor trailer trucks, and we’ll hear it again – as originally promised – in mid-2018. The organ, by the numbers: four manuals, 108 ranks, 6,975 pipes, 40 feet high.

Its redo debut will be a pair of concerts on Oct. 12-13 featuring organist Paul Jacobs and the Minnesota Orchestra led by Osmo Vänskä. On the program: Bach’s “Chaconne,” which the orchestra (then the Minneapolis Symphony) performed at Northrop in 1932. And the world premiere of “What Do We Make of Bach? for Orchestra and Obbligato Organ,” written by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison. 

On Nov. 11, Veterans’ Day, the organ will be heard in a concert honoring the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, with the Oratorio Society of Minnesota Chorus and the U of M Men’s and Women’s Choirs. That program will include the U.S. premiere of Patrick Hawes’ “The Great War Symphony.” 

The first solo organ concert will take place on Dec. 4, when concert organist Nathan Laube will play a program TBA. 

These events are part of the 2018-19 Northrop Music Series, announced Saturday along with the 2018-19 Northrop Dance Season. We always look forward to learning about the new dance season, an awe-inspiring feat of programming that brings dance companies here from around the world on days that don’t conflict with football, homecoming, elections, breaks, or graduation. (Northrop director Christine Tschida’s calendar must be a nightmare.) This season seems especially buzzworthy. 

On Oct. 4, New York-based Ballet Hispánico – founded by Tina Ramirez, now run by artistic director Eduardo Vilaro – will make its Northrop debut. On Nov. 3, France’s Company Käfig, led by French-Algerian choreographer Mourad Merzouki, will present “Pixel,” a program of circus-influenced hip-hop in an eye-popping 3-D digital landscape.

Nov. 8 will bring a first-time collaboration between Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and the SPCO, with works by Balanchine and Jiri Kylián danced to live music by Mozart. On Feb. 7, 2019, Los Angeles-based Ate9 – whose choreographer, Danielle Agami, spent years with Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company – will dance to an original score by Wilco percussionist Glenn Kotche, performed live by Kotche, last seen here with Liquid Music in 2014.

On March 2-3, the Joffrey Ballet will present its new production of “Anna Karenina” to an original score performed by a live orchestra. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns on March 12, making its 12th Northrop appearance. The French company Ballet Preljocaj will be back on March 30 with a ballet that enters the world of a painting. On April 2, nearly five years to the day after dancing for Northrop’s grand reopening, American Ballet Theatre will perform a repertory program that includes Twyla Tharp’s “In the Upper Room,” set to music by Philip Glass.

The two final events of 2018-19 are complete surprises. On April 13, choreographer David Roussève’s diverse nine-member company REALITY will present a multimedia dance/theater work based on the life of composer and Duke Ellington collaborator Billy Strayhorn – young, black, openly gay in postwar Harlem. On April 25 and 27, Montreal-based ice-dance group Le Patin Libre will perform at Breck School/Anderson Ice Arena and Charles M. Schulz Highland Arena. Neither holds Northrop’s house of 2,700, so you’ll want to get those tickets soon. 

Series packages and group tickets are on sale now for both music and dance; 612-624-2345. Single tickets go on sale June 4. Co-presented by Northrop and the Walker, Le Patin Libre is not part of either series. Go here for that.

Twin Cities artists win Guggenheims, McKnights

In what is probably the first-ever mother-daughter team of Guggenheim fellows, Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy have each won the prestigious awards for choreography. Ranee and Aparna are the co-artistic directors of Ragamala Dance, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Their latest evening-length dance work, “Body, the Shrine,” will have its world premiere at the Cowles on April 26-28. FMI and tickets

Artist Chris Larson won for fine arts. An associate professor of art at the U of M, Larson had a solo exhibition at the Walker in 2016-17, “Land Speed Record,” that included smoke-blackened objects from the childhood home of Hüsker Dü band member Grant Hart. His Lorraine Motel sign – a replica of the one from the motel in Memphis where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed 50 years ago – stands in a corner of Franconia Sculpture Park. 

Courtesy of the artist
Artist Chris Larson won for fine arts.

If you saw Zimbabwe-born choreographer Nora Chipaumire at Uppercut Boxing Gym in March, you’ll be pleased to learn she’s now a Guggenheim Fellow, too. 

The 173 scholars, artists and scientists who won this year’s Guggenheims, announced Thursday, were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants. The purpose of the award is to give fellows a block of time to work with as much creative freedom as possible. There are no strings or special conditions. Since 1925, the foundation has granted more than $360 million in fellowships to over 18,000 individuals.

On Friday, the Loft announced the recipients of this year’s McKnight Artist Fellowships for Writers. Three Minnesota poets, one spoken word artist and one children’s author will each receive $25,000.

Hieu Minh Nguyen of Minneapolis, Chris Santiago of Bloomington and Lara Mimosa Montes of Brooklyn Center all won McKnights in poetry. Nguyen had a book release party just last night at Public Functionary. Donte Collins of St. Paul won in the spoken word category and Yvonne Pearson of Minneapolis in children’s literature. 

For those who like to plan way ahead, a celebratory reading with judges Anis Mojgani and Solmaz Sharif and winner Donte Collins will take place Oct. 6 at the Loft.

The picks

Tonight (Tuesday, April 10) at the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Roseville: The Sacred Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach. Do you really, really love Bach’s church cantatas? Are you curious why so many other people do? For six Tuesdays starting tonight (through May 15), you can listen to and learn about a selection of Bach’s “musical sermons,” written for the Lutheran congregations he served as musician. Professor Paul Westermeyer and Chaplain John Settterlund will talk about Bach’s life and colleagues, church life in Leipzig, types of Baroque cantatas, and more. Think of it as Cantatas School. 6:30-8:30 p.m. $20 for the series. Register with Rachel Wright by email or call 651-484-1292.

“Let It Be” tells the history of the Beatles in 40 of their greatest hits.
Photo by Julia Russell
“Let It Be” tells the history of the Beatles in 40 of their greatest hits.

Tonight at the Ordway: “Let It Be.” The Beatles are back – or as close as we’ll get. Seen by more than 2 million people around the world, this show starts in Liverpool’s Cavern Club and moves through Beatlemania to the studio recordings, telling the tale in 40 of the Fab Four’s greatest hits. The New York Times called this “by far the best Beatles show yet,” and there have been plenty. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($37-89).

Thursday at the Ordway Concert Hall: SPCO Happy Hour Concert: Maureen Nelson Plays “The Lark Ascending.” Enjoy a happy hour with food trucks and free beer from Tin Whiskers, then bring your drinks into the concert hall for a one-hour performance of music by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Charles Gounod and Dvorák. Happy hour from 4-6 p.m., concert at 6, out the door at 7. Easy-breezy, casual and affordable. FMI and general admission tickets ($15; free for children and students).

Thursday at the U’s Coffman Memorial Union: The 9th Annual Design in 7: 7 Stories, 7 Minutes. Tales from the trenches – each just 7 minutes long – by hotshots from the fields of architecture, apparel, graphic and interior design, housing, landscape architecture and retail. This year’s speakers include Tim Carl of HGA (designer of the new Northrop btw), model Nyakim Gatwech (who was famously bullied for being “too black”) and Greg VanBellinger of Target. Seating starts at 6:30 p.m., program at 7, followed by an appetizers-and-cash-bar reception with the presenters. In Coffman’s theater. FMI and registration ($15/10/5).

Friday at the A-Mill: Motionpoems: “Dear Mr. President.” A dozen poetry films on social and political issues made more urgent by the 2016 presidential election. Subjects include racism, LGBTQIA+ rights, immigration, women’s rights, gun control, educational and social welfare, judicial system reform, climate change, and news/media/social platforms. Poets include Natalie Diaz, Robin Coste Lewis and Danez Smith. Screenings at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. FMI and RSVP. Admission is free; a suggested donation of $10-20 reserves your seat.

Åsne Seierstad
Åsne Seierstad

Monday at the American Swedish Institute: Åsne Seierstad discusses her book “Two Sisters.” How do Somali youth living in Norway – or, for that matter, Minneapolis – become radicalized enough to leave their families and join the Islamic State in Syria? In an astonishing work of journalism, Seierstad tells the story of two teenage Somali-Norwegian sisters, their parents’ desperate attempt to bring them home, and the realization that might never happen. She’ll be in conversation with PBS News Hour’s Fred de Sam Lazaro. Cosponsored by Norway House and Rain Taxi. 7 p.m. FMI and tickets ($5; also at the door).

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Comments (1)

Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ

I can't wait to hear it