Classical Music for Our Generation

This article has been sponsored by the Minnesota Orchestra.

I am just like everyone else. I wear my earbuds on my way to class, on the bus, and as I walk around campus. When I look around, many of my peers are doing the exact same thing. As millennials, we have been exposed to the amazing world of personalized music. Although our generation is filled with music fanatics, there is one category on Spotify that could be overlooked: classical music.

Minneapolis is known internationally for being a music hub, and for good reason. It is the hometown of greats like the beloved, late Prince, of new sensations like rapper Lizzo, and of one extremely impressive professional orchestra.

The Minnesota Orchestra is a Grammy Award-winning ensemble that has recorded over 40 CDs, hosts internationally-renowned soloists regularly, and is known around the world for being a truly excellent orchestra. Many students do not realize that the opportunity to see a world-class orchestra is just minutes away by light rail.

Photo: Greg Hegelson, courtesy of the Minnesota Orchestra

Photo: Greg Hegelson, courtesy of the Minnesota Orchestra

Although you could just listen to the Minnesota Orchestra on Spotify, the experience of seeing them live is definitely superior.

“I love the whole experience of going to Orchestra Hall and seeing the musicians play live. They are all so talented and it is a really special experience,” says Claire Chenoweth, a freshman at St. Olaf College. “I absolutely love the space. It’s really clear that the orchestra values their musicians because they have provided such a great space for them,” she says. First Ave, Varsity Theater, Skyway, The Cedar, and Triple Rock are all great venues in Minneapolis. Orchestra Hall, the home of the Minnesota Orchestra, should be on that list,  too.

Orchestra Hall is located on Peavey Plaza, between Nicollet Mall and Marquette Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. You know you are getting close if you see the building with its facade painted to make it look like music notes on a page. (Oh, how Minneapolis.) Orchestra Hall is modest from the outside, but inside its doors is a different story. The main concert hall seats over 2,000 people and has a giant stage, one big enough for the 82 musicians. Geometric shapes, which act as sound enhancers but are just as effective as an art installation, protrude from the ceiling and catch colored rays light.

The Minnesota Orchestra wants to make this great venue accessible to everyone, and they understand that as college students, we are not rolling in dollar bills. That is why they offer discounts to students for Campus Night concerts. Any student can get a ticket for $12! Adult tickets value at $30, and so this is a real steal.

The upcoming Campus Night is Friday, March 3, at 8 p.m. The orchestra will be playing composer Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, one of the very last pieces he wrote before he died. This particular work is very interesting because Bartók first wrote it in 1943, but then revised the ending when he was on his deathbed in 1945. There are two endings to the piece, and the one which the Minnesota Orchestra will perform will be the longer, more dramatic ending he wrote in 1945 as death was nearing.

Classical music has a lot of negative stereotypes; for example, that it is meant only for the ears of older white folks. Or rich people. Another is that it is so boring that it makes people instantaneously fall asleep. And, finally, many people think that all classical music sounds the same.

Chenoweth agrees that there are stereotypes: “People think, ‘Oh classical music is stuffy … Only smart people can understand it’ and that’s not true at all! It’s not as scary as people think,” she says.

Contrary to what people think, the genre of classical music is incredibly broad. As in the case of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and many other classical works, these pieces have a capacity to tell a story. Grand orchestral works can be profound on a deeper level than an average pop song, which lasts only about 3 to 5 minutes in length. This is one of the reasons why classical music is so captivating.

If you are a student and want to experience some great live music, consider heading to Orchestra Hall for Campus Night on Friday, March 3. The orchestra will have pre- and post-concert activities just for students, the opportunity to play Bartók Bingo and Glitch’s virtual reality game, free cookies from T-Rex Cookie Company, and more.

Sponsored by the Minnesota Orchestra

Sponsored by the Minnesota Orchestra