Maxim Vengerov at the Schubert

Violinist Maxim Vengerov can play so magnificently it makes your hair stand on end, but Wednesday’s Schubert Club concert at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts was no example of that. Accompanied by pianist Lilya Zilbertstein, Vengerov performed Mo ...

Muskies Among Us

URBAN LEGENDS are, I suppose, merely citified versions of charming, folksy tall tales. The thing folksy folk seem to possess that urbanites apparently do not, however, is common sense. No one ever really believed that Paul Bunyan konked 14-pound mosquitoe ...

Have Pie, Will Travel

I COLLECT excellent pie-eating experiences the way some people collect Fiestaware. Deep in the dark winter months when no local fresh fruit is in season, I stare into the fire and dream, not of loves long lost, but of that slab of cherry perfection I cons ...

Minnesota Orchestra Tour 2006: Helsinki

The Finns have built themselves a modern city and a very modern hall, with white pipes on the organ and black leather seats with legroom any airline would be proud to offer. Osmo is famous stuff here, and the rehearsal is attended by television cameras an ...

Minnesota Orchestra Tour 2006: Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a zoo. The book/writing/music/fringe festival has clogged the streets, shops, and cafes of the Very Scottish town (everything everywhere looks like Hogwarts) with lorries, cars, and people, people, people. This makes it almost impossible for ...

Don’t Wait for the Muse

Every now and then, I’m invited to speak to a group of writers. I prepare my notes and deliver my little speech about inspiration and style and the proper use of the semi-colon, and then someone asks the big question, the one I suspect is the real thing I ...

Minnesota Orchestra Tour #7: Tonhalle Düsseldorf

The Tonhalle Düsseldorf is intriguingly if puzzlingly designed. From an outer ring of dressing rooms and backstage spaces, various narrow catwalks lead across yawning spaces to the stage. Adds a little fear of heights to the stage fright. The stage and a ...

Minnesota Orchestra Tour #6: Cologne and Dusseldorf

The Minnesota Orchestra is staying in Cologne and doing a “run out” to Dusseldorf for an evening concert, about an hour each way by bus. In World War II, Cologne was bombed by the Allies in more than 250 air raids. Standing in front of the Kölner Dom, as ...

Minnesota Orchestra #5: Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne

Rehearsal Pretend you’re Richard Dreyfuss standing underneath the hovering Close Encounters spaceship and you have a sense of what it is like to sit inside the Kölner Philharmonie in Cologne. The interior space is round, with the open stage set low in th ...

Minnesota Orchestra Tour #4: Berlin

European concert halls often include gorgeous, huge lobbies with lots of areas for socializing, noshing, and drinking. European audiences respond by rushing out to the lobby at interval, because half the concert experience is the concert and the other hal ...