GAYLORD, MN, AUGUST 1, 2022 — Today, La Grande Bande (LGB) announces its 2022–2023 season – the 4th concert season for the organization. Led by LGB musicians and its music & artistic director, the 2022–2023 season features 15 performances at venues throughout south-central Minnesota, Rochester, and the Twin Cities metro area.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am about our upcoming season,” said La Grande Bande Music & Artistic Director. “It’s going to be our biggest and most varied season yet. I’m most excited to share our new ‘Holiday Series’ with everyone. Handel’s Messiah with antique instruments will be a showstopper.”
Four “Regular Season” concerts from September to May
La Grande Bande has a wonderful and varied set of regular season concerts in store. The regular season features four concerts with a variety of music from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras. This season will include one of the most recent pieces La Grande Bande has performed to date: a string quartet written in 1891 by English composer Sir Charles Villiers Stanford.
Sonatas from Bohemia & Poland (September 2022). With music that is evocative and rarely explored, this program highlights music written by some of Eastern Europe’s most prominent composers. With works by Czech and Polish composers, this program showcases some of the virtuosic sonatas, artfully crafted fugues, and chamber works written in the era’s most popular and fantastic style, the stylus phantasticus. While several composers on this program gained fame while working for the Hapsburg court in Vienna, like Benda and Biber, none of them lost their Polish or Czech roots.
As a nod to our Music & Artistic Director’s Polish ancestry, we’re delighted to explore and share some of what Polish, Czech, and Viennese ears were hearing in the aristocratic courts of Baroque Europe. This program features violinists Tsutomu “Will” Copeland & Theresa Elliott, viola da gambist Maryne Mossey, and LGB’s Music & Artistic Director Michael Thomas Asmus on harpsichord.
Romantic Quartets (November 2022). Nothing is more synonymous with chamber music than the string quartet. Once used as a compositional training tool for young composers in the classical era, the string quartet became an avenue in which composers of all ages could experiment with new techniques or show off their musical achievements. From Mozart to Elgar, composers across generations and countries found themselves a home in the genre famous for its pair of violins, viola, and violoncello serenading both players and listeners.
In this concert, La Grande Bande’s quartet of string players will perform selections by Austrian composer Josef Haydn, Italian-born and Spanish-employed Gaetano Brunetti, and English composer Sir Charles Vilers Stanford. This program features violinists Natalie Kress and Mary Sorlie, violist Cheryl Zylla, and cellist Maryne Mossey.
Splendors of Baroque Italy (February 2023). Nothing screams “Baroque” to me more than the early forms of Baroque Italian song. This entire program is an exploration of exactly that: early Italian baroque vocal music written by its first composers. Our program has an even more special significance because it features three composers from the same family. Working in the Medici Court for a good share of their lives, the Caccini family is one of music history’s most important and most forgotten contributors. While Giulio Caccini is remembered well, his daughters, Francesca and Settimia are not. Join us as we explore music written by the Caccini Family. This program features mezzo-soprano Alyssa Anderson, viola da gambist Maryne Mossey, and harpsichordist Michael Thomas Asmus.
Supper & Songs (May 2023). La Grande Bande’s “Dine Out” concert experience continues with a selection of light-hearted and comedic works sure to lift your spirits. The most famous of these is, of course, Bach’s Coffee Cantata and Monteverdi’s Zefiro torna. Both pieces poke fun at cultural phenomena of their day: for Bach, it was the new-fashioned drink coffee (which he himself loved!); for Monteverdi, it was the over-the-top, melodramatic madrigals.
Join us for a special evening of food, songs, and conversation as we close the 2022-2023 season in La Grande Bande’s much-beloved tradition. This program features soprano Cat Sandstedt, tenor Garrett Eucker, baritone Andrew Kane, and various players from La Grande Bande.
Two “Holiday Series” concerts in December and April
New for this season is La Grande Bande’s Holiday Series. La Grande Bande is eager to present two programs that will ring in the holiday season during Christmastide and Eastertide.
A French Baroque Christmas (December 2022). Experience the beauty of the season with a selection of works written for Christmas by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. The concert centers on Charpentier’s Pastorale sur la Naissance (“Pastoral on the birth of Christ”), one of the most captivating and imaginative examples of sacred French-language Baroque drama. From shepherds and recorders to famous French noëls you can join us in singing, you’ll surely be transfixed by everything this concert has to offer.
Handel’s Messiah (April 2023). Handel’s Messiah has been a beloved holiday tradition for generations. Often performed before Christmas, Handel’s first performance took place during Easter 1741 in Dublin. Join La Grande Bande as we present classical music’s most beloved work during Eastertide 2023.The complete Messiah will be performed using period instruments. Soloists will come from La Grande Bande’s choir, La chœur de La Grande Bande, and the choir will be joined by area college students for each performance.
In-person educational programming continues
Out of all of its programming, LGB is very excited to return to its educational work—one of the pillars of the organization’s mission. The 22/23 Season will include two outreach concerts, four masterclass sessions, and four open rehearsal sessions. These three educational programs provide LGB and its communities with a unique opportunity to interact on a more personal level.
Outreach concerts. The purpose of the outreach concert is to bring high-quality arts programming to those in assisted living centers and elementary school tudents. The format of the concert will largely depend on the information received from the student’s teachers or the assisted living center’s staff. The performance will feature music from any concerts which will work with the Ensemble’s performance schedule.
In addition to performing some of the concert’s musical selections, we can also include a discussion about the music on the program. We could discuss the composers and Baroque music in general, the instruments and their differences to modern instruments, or the history surrounding the performed compositions, or all three.
Masterclasses. These events provide students with the unique opportunity to receive either one-on-one coachings, large group coachings, or a lecture based-upon the needs of each school and requests from the teachers. Two masterclass sessions will take place during preparations for our New Spain concert. One masterclass will take place during our Early Symphonies concert. One masterclass will take place during our Court Entertainments concert.
Open Rehearsal Sessions. Open rehearsal sessions are a educational program that LGB is proud to provide free of charge to the general public. These sessions provide an opportunity for community members to hear the concert’s music for those who cannot afford a ticket. Providing access to high-quality art, and helping others learn about and appreciate music, is an important part of La Grande Bande’s educational mission. Additionally, open rehearsals create an atmosphere of dialogue between ensemble members and members of the community. Interacting and meeting audience members, whether after a concert or during an open rehearsal is incredibly important to us. If they’re so moved, those in attendance are encouraged to talk with us before and after rehearsal, and during rehearsal breaks.
Pre-concert talks. LGB’s pre-concert talks highlight intriguing and important aspects about the pieces and/or composers featured on that evening’s concert program. Using a combination of visual aids, recordings and/or live performance, our Music & Artistic Director provides unique insights about various pieces throughout the season. Pre-Concert Talks begin about an hour before the performance and will last about 30 minutes. These talks do not replace La Grande Bande’s much lauded program notes. A ticket to the evening performance is required for admission to all pre-concert talks.
Season Ticket Packages for the 22/23 Season are available through September 4. Individual Tickets go on sale beginning September 5. Prices vary depending on location. Reserving tickets in advance is strongly encouraged. To order tickets, visit www.lagrandebande.org/tickets or call 507-237-6539. Seating for each concert is general admission. A ticket is required for admission to the pre-concert talks. LGB’s Open Rehearsal sessions remain free of charge and open to all. Please note that ticket purchase does not include the price of your meal for either LGB’s The Virtuosos or Court Entertainments concerts.
Ticketing policy: Please note that tickets to our concerts are nontransferable. Tickets are also nonrefundable except in instances when La Grande Bande cancels a performance. LGB will notify each ticket holder of the performance cancellation by email or by phone. You may either elect to receive a full refund or to donate your unused ticket to LGB. In the event of a cancellation, please allow us at least 14 days to complete this process. Tickets purchased for our “Dine Out” events do not include the price of your meal, should you choose to have one. Season ticket packages are eligible for use in each region only and are not transferable to another region. Advance ticket sale price ($10/20) ends at 6:30pm on day of event. At door ticket sale price ($15/25) begins at 6:30pm on day of event. This policy takes effect on 1 June 2021.
Concert dates, venues, and times subject to change. La Grande Bande will provide as much notice for changes as possible. Differences in ticket pricing between the two ticket packages are based upon estimated expenses in each region compared to the other region. In general, expenses tend to be less in Greater Minnesota than in the Twin Cities Metro. Such differences La Grande Bande would experience include lodging expenses, venue rental, and transportation costs.
GAYLORD, MN, MAY 1, 2022 — La Grande Bande’s third complete season concludes this month with activities on Friday, May 20. The fourth and final season performance, entitled Court Entertainments, will take place in Mankato at the restaurant Swiss & Madison (920 Madison Ave).
The May 20 concert continues La Grande Bande’s so-called “Dine Out” concert experience where the audience can enjoy great food while the group performs. “It’s been one of our most popular events over the past three years. We’re so thrilled to be brining it back for the first time since the pandemic,” La Grande Bande’s Music & Artistic Director, Michael Asmus, said. “The concerts in this format are really relaxed and informal—we don’t even wear the usual concert attire. Everyone can talk while we’re not performing, and we usually go around and talk with folks between pieces. It’s just a great evening together with everyone.”
Something that is really intriguing about this concert is the shift of cultural importance from one French king to the next. For composers and musicians in the Baroque era (1600-1750), patronage from aristocrats and royalty was one of the best options for success.
“In a way, the concert represents a major transitional period in French culture. By around 1710, Louis XIV was in his final years as king. Everyone would have been posturing to latch on to the successor’s wagon—in some cases of monarchical transitions, it was like betting on the winning horse. So, composers, musicians, artists, and all others needing patronage in France at that time would have been moving towards his successor Louis XV. The new king was only 5 when he took the throne, so these people were really hoping to woo his handlers and advisors,” Asmus noted.
On the docket for the performance are violin sonatas, vocal selections, and even a solo harpsichord piece, all written by French composers between 1707 and 1740, including Jean-Philippe Rameau, Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Jean-Francois Dandrieu, and Louis-Nicolas Clerambault. Like all other performances by La Grande Bande, English translations of the French texts, as well as what pieces are being performed, will be projected for this concert.
“We absolutely love using the projections because it really gives everyone the chance to understand what the singers are singing about,” noted Madeline Cacciatore, a board member for La Grande Bande. “The projections really help everyone know what’s being performed, too. It’s just something we really like doing, and something we plan to continue for the foreseeable future.”
La Grande Bande’s activities begin on May 20 at 6:30 with a pre-concert talk given by Michael Asmus. The concert begins at 7:30. Tickets are required to attend the pre-concert talk and the concert performance
Tickets for the May 20 activities are $5 in advance and $7 at the door. To order tickets, visit www.lagrandebande.org/tickets or call 507-237-6539. Reserving tickets in advance is strongly encouraged as seating capacity for this concert is strictly set.