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MacPhail Announces Their 2018-19 Spotlight Series

New facts about the old masters drives 2018-2019 season lineup

MacPhail Center for Music announces the sixth season of their premier concert series, the MacPhail Spotlight Series. The five-concert lineup draws unexpected connections between classical music masters, bringing four performances to MacPhail’s Antonello Hall, and three performances to the Paramount Theater in Austin, the Basilica of Saint Mary and the Lakeville Area Arts Center.

“This Spotlight Series season centers around colorful, vivid programs, returning to Antonello Hall and lovely touring locations in the surrounding area,” says Mischa Santora, Artistic Director, MacPhail Spotlight Series. “We’re drawing connections between seemingly juxtaposing questions—What do J. S. Bach and Thelonious Monk have in common? Why did a philandering 19th century virtuoso take the minor orders in the Catholic church? We’ll examine new facts about old masters, answering these questions and more.”

                The 2018-2019 Spotlight Series lineup features:

  • Masters of the Keyboard, November 10, 2018: The keyboard and its various historic iterations have played a pivotal role in Western music. The piano’s versatility has not only inspired many of the greatest composers, it fundamentally shaped their musical training and thinking. This performance features composers who mastered the instrument as performers, composers and even improvisers. Steve Staruch from Classical MPR will co-host this program.
  • Roaring Twenties, February 10 (Antonello Hall) and February 11 (the Paramount Theater in Austin), 2019: Hear iconic songs like “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Sweet Sue,” and “Ain’t We Got Fun” alongside instrumental selections, as this program takes you back to America’s most transformative and mythical era. Dancer Vie Boheme will add her choreography to select tunes on the program as well as lead the post-concert dance party in MacPhail’s U.S. Bank lobby.
  • Liszt’s Spiritual Journey, February 28, 2019: Nineteenth century superstar pianist Franz Liszt was fascinated with Catholicism throughout his life. He became increasingly drawn to a spiritual life, and eventually took minor holy orders in the Catholic church. Join virtuoso pianist Richard Tostenson as he performs some of Liszt’s most impressive secular and spiritual works in the stunning atmosphere of the Basilica of Saint Mary.
  • Fanny and Felix, March 9, 2019: Catch a glimpse of the Mendelssohn household in the early 1800s: the two oldest children, Fanny and Felix, were equally brilliant, talented, and educated by the greatest music teachers of the day. And yet, Felix was supported to become a leading musician of his age, while Fanny was strongly discouraged from pursuing a musical career. This program is dedicated to Fanny’s life and the astounding quality and range of her compositions. Actress Jennifer Baldwin Peden will read from letters and contemporary accounts highlighting Fanny’s life and her close relation to her brother.
  • Pranksters and Protagonists, April 13 (Antonello Hall) and June 2 (Lakeville Area Arts Center), 2019: Join us for some of the most vivid storytelling in classical music: the lively scenery of the age-old commedia dell’arte (Suite Italienne), select adventures of a medieval German prankster (Till Eulenspiegel), and the fateful encounter between a soldier and the devil (The Soldier’s Tale). Evocative melodies and rhythms drive the narrative throughout this colorful program. We are pleased to welcome renowned actor Raye Birk, narrating The Soldier’s Tale.

Tickets for concerts held at Antonello Hall are $25 for adults, $15 for seniors (ages 55 and older) and youth (ages 6 through 18). Basilica of Saint Mary concert tickets $12 adults, $5 MacPhail students; both may be purchased by calling 612-767-5250 or by stopping by Student Services at MacPhail locations in Minneapolis, Chanhassen, Apple Valley or White Bear Lake.

Tickets for the Paramount Theater go on sale December 28, $20 adults, $5 seniors and youth, free to MacPhail students at Tickets to the Lakeville Area Arts Center are $18 adults, $15 seniors and youth (Age 60+ or 18 and under) and can be purchased at or by calling 952-985-4640.

The MacPhail Spotlight Series explores diverse musical themes performed by MacPhail Center for Music faculty and special guests – showcasing some of the finest musicians in the Twin Cities.

MacPhail Center for Music is a non-profit organization committed to transforming lives and enriching the community through exceptional music learning experiences. Each year, MacPhail opens its doors to more than 16,000 students offering programming for all ages, backgrounds and abilities, at locations in Minneapolis, White Bear Lake, Chanhassen, Apple Valley and Austin, as well as 127 community partnerships across the Twin Cities and online at MacPhail Online. MacPhail has a 110-year history of excellence, promoting life-long learning and building long-term relationships between students and teachers.

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