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MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Orchestra today announced plans for Live at Orchestra Hall, a wide-ranging series of popular music, jazz, world music, Broadway classics, movie scores, comedy and other genres - bringing several separate concert series previously offered by the Orchestra under one umbrella.

The renamed series is led by Sarah Hicks, who takes the new title of Principal Conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall. Hicks will conduct several of the 15 performances, which include shows that feature the full Minnesota Orchestra as well as performances by solo artists and guest ensembles.

In addition, the Orchestra today unveiled the lineup for Sommerfest 2014, the beloved urban summer music festival that returns to Orchestra Hall for the first time since 2011, led once again by the multi-talented Sommerfest Artistic Director Andrew Litton.

Live at Orchestra Hall

Live at Orchestra Hall includes shows with vocal chameleon Bobby McFerrin and, in his Minnesota Orchestra debut, singer-actor Matthew Morrison of the television comedy-drama Glee; the returns of two Grammy-winning titans of the trumpet, Chris Botti and Pops Conductor Laureate Doc Severinsen, the latter leading new "Solid Gold" concerts with the Orchestra; a Nat King Cole tribute starring guitarist John Pizzarelli and Grammy-winning pianist Ramsey Lewis; the Orchestra debut of The Midtown Men, featuring four alumni of the Broadway smash hit Jersey Boys; Red Baraat, the inventive brass-drums-vocal ensemble that fuses musical languages from Brooklyn to New Orleans, Bollywood and beyond; family-friendly fare spotlighting the music of classic Bugs Bunny cartoons and Pixar's Oscar-winning animated films; and a spoken-word comedy showcase featuring the legendary Bill Cosby. In addition, Hicks conducts a concert on the Orchestra's classical series that features Leonard Bernstein's masterful West Side Story music, performed live as the complete film is shown on a large screen.

"We're thrilled to celebrate the reopening of Orchestra Hall with a re-tooled series that takes its name from this beautifully renovated venue—home to great music of many styles throughout its 40-year history," says Hicks. "I look forward to reuniting with the Orchestra and our audiences to explore a wide spectrum of favorites old and new, from Bernstein to Broadway to Buzz Lightyear!"

Sommerfest 2014

Andrew Litton and the Minnesota Orchestra reunite July 5 to 26 for their 11th Sommerfest together, a highlight of which is a focus on virtuoso piano soloists, with Michael McHale and Natasha Paremski featured at the keyboard in concertos of Rachmaninoff, Chopin and Mozart. Litton himself takes a turn at the piano in Gershwin's ever-popular Rhapsody in Blue. A signature tradition returns as a "Night in Vienna" concert fills the Hall with dazzling waltzes, delightful polkas, marches and more, including On the Beautiful Blue Danube by Johann Strauss, Jr. Two all-American programs are surefire favorites, with one featuring great works by Gershwin and Bernstein and the other a Salute to America concert, celebrating our nation's independence. Associate Conductor Courtney Lewis takes the podium to lead a concert that includes Tchaikovsky's lush Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture, Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances and a Mozart piano concerto with McHale as soloist. Lewis also conducts the Orchestra in a Bravo Broadway salute to great stage hits, past and present. Capping the festival is a semi-staged performance of Johann Strauss' always-charming opera Die Fledermaus with Litton leading a stellar cast of singer-actors, continuing the beloved tradition of presenting a complete opera as the grand finale to Sommerfest. Several July programs are also part of the Orchestra's classical subscription series.

"Orchestra Hall will brim with great music at this year's Sommerfest, with our wonderful Minnesota Orchestra featured on each and every concert," says Litton. "The excitement both onstage and off is fueled by the presence of great artists performing a range of music. Fans of the piano, Strauss and American music are in for real treats. Add a plethora of symphonic favorites by Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and more—and another great summer is on the way for audiences!"

Subscription packages for Live at Orchestra Hall and Sommerfest are available starting on the evening of January 27 for renewing subscribers and February 3 for new subscribers, while single tickets go on sale online beginning on February 9 at 8 a.m., and by phone beginning on February 10 at 10 a.m. Packages and tickets are available via the Orchestra's website at minnesotaorchestra.org/subscribe, the Minnesota Orchestra Administration Office, the Orchestra Hall Box Office, and by phone at (612) 371-5656; for hours and more information, refer to the end of this announcement.

The 2014 Live at Orchestra Hall and Sommerfest seasons, announced two weeks after a contract settlement was reached between the Orchestra's musicians and board of directors, are part of a full concert season that also includes the flagship Classical subscription series as well as educational and family concerts. [Details about these additional series are available in separate press announcements.]

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