The SPCO is on summer break. The Minnesota Orchestra will take a break after Sommerfest ends in August. Don’t panic! There’s ample classical musical to be had (and heard) all summer long.
The Bach Roots Festival, formerly known as Oratory Bach Ensemble, ended last night at Imminent Brewing in Northfield with a Bach & Brews program that included Bach’s Coffee Cantata and baroque drinking songs. The festival also traveled to Minnetonka, Minneapolis, St. Paul and New Ulm. Look for its return next year.
The inaugural Saint Paul Chamber Music Institute (SPCMI) is taking place right now at the Summit Center for Arts and Innovation. Presented by the Saint Paul Conservatory of Music (SPCM) in its new home, the two-week program for student ensembles from across the United States includes three public concerts. The first took place last weekend, but two more remain. On June 28 at Macalester’s Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, the faculty – Minnesota Orchestra Associate Concertmaster Susie Park, violist Renee Skerik, cellist and SPCMI director Tom Rosenberg and guest pianist Timothy Lovelace – will perform. The closing concert on July 6 at Summit Center for Arts and Innovation will feature the award-winning Jasper String Quartet. FMI and tickets ($10).
In Winona, the Minnesota Beethoven Festival, now in its 13th year, boasts a jaw-dropping lineup that will start with violinist Joshua Bell on June 30 and end with the Minnesota Orchestra on July 21, with Roderick Cox as conductor. In between will be Olivier Latry, one of Notre Dame Cathedral’s three chief organists (and the last artist to record on the cathedral’s famous organ before the April 15 fire); pianist Adam Golka; the Manhattan Chamber Players; clarinetist Julian Bliss; pianist Yekwon Sunwoo, gold medalist of the 15th Van Cliburn International Competition; the Venice Baroque Orchestra; and the Parker Quartet. The dates are June 30-July 21. FMI and tickets ($25; still available for most concerts).
Except for its post-Sommerfest holiday, the Minnesota Orchestra will keep a busy summer schedule, performing at Lakefront Park in Hudson on July 1 and Hilde Performance Center in Plymouth on July 2. Akiko Fujimoto will conduct both free Symphony for the Cities events. A colorful Sommerfest, “Música Juntos” (Music Together), will begin July 6-7 with Disney Pixar’s “Coco in Concert” led by Hicks. FMI and tickets. After a final Symphony for the Cities concert at Lake Harriet on Sept. 13, the orchestra will return a week later to launch its 2019-20 season, but that means fall, so let’s not go there now.
Each summer, St. Olaf College hosts an intensive program for serious young cellists called the International Cello Institute (ICI). The faculty includes top players from across the United States. Three years ago, someone decided to share the wealth in a handful of summer concerts in the cities. The CELLOici recital series was born, and it will return for another go at Hennepin Ave. United Methodist Church. This year’s performers will be Julie Albers, principal cellist of the SPCO; Colin Carr, internationally renowned cello soloist; and Brant Taylor, cellist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The dates: July 15, 21 and 26. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for seniors, free for students. FMI and tickets.
Lakes Area Music Festival will take place in Brainerd Aug. 2-25. This will be LAMF’s 11th year, and wow, how it’s grown since Scott Lykins returned home to Brainerd after graduating from the Eastman School of Music. With four visiting friends, he gave six free concerts, and with each concert, their audience increased. This summer, more than 160 musicians from top orchestras and opera companies around the world will perform seven concerts, a complete opera (this year it’s Offenbach’s “The Beautiful Helen of Troy”) and a symphony finale – all free. Its Prelude Series of concerts tours the state ahead of time and will land in Minneapolis on Thursday, July 18, at the Woman’s Club.
The Source Song Festival will return to Westminster Hall in August for its sixth season, with a focus on Walt Whitman. (This is the bicentennial of his birth.) Co-founded by Mark Bilyeu and Clara Osowski, Source is a combination of master classes, concerts and other events. The calendar online isn’t totally fleshed out yet, because one event not on it is a day devoted to Whitman that will include opportunities for local poets to meet composers, share ideas and material, and form professional relationships. That’s one way new song cycles start. Source is scheduled for Aug. 5-9. FMI and tickets (prices vary, with premium pricing available).
First Minneapolis Comedy Festival
It works in Nashville, so why not here? Nashville-based concert and comedy promoters Outback Presents has kicked off the inaugural Minneapolis Comedy Festival, hoping to replicate the success it is having in its hometown. The annual Nashville Comedy Festival, originally called the Wild West Comedy Festival, was founded in 2013.
Any lineup that includes Bob Newhart is worth noticing, and Newhart isn’t the only star. The inaugural festival, which runs through June 30, also includes late-night host Seth Meyers, Jeremy Piven (“Entourage”), viral sensation John Crist, Instagrammer Claudia Oshry (@girlwithnojob), a triple bill of George Lopez, Cedric the Entertainer and D.L. Hughley, podcasters 85 South, and John Leguizamo’s “Latin History for Morons,” inspired by the near total absence of Latinos from his son’s American History books.