Where are we with our program planning?

By Barry Kempton

I’m often asked how far in advance we book artists for Schubert Club concerts.  Sometimes you hear of singers and conductors with opera commitments three, four or even five years in advance, and people wonder what knock-on effects there are for the rest of the classical music world, ourselves included.

I have been waiting (relatively patiently) for several months to learn of one major singer’s 15-16 opera plans in the United States which in turn affects his or her (I’m not willing to say yet) potential recital tour options.  Just last week, I learned that it looks like things will work out and that a recital in our 2015-16 International Artist Series will fit the itinerary.  So I thought it might be interesting to give a brief summary of the booking cycles of all our concert series.


The 2014-15 series was of course announced earlier in the spring.  I now have commitments from two artists for the 2015-16 series.  I am probably a month or two behind where I’d like to be, but with the second artist in place, we should be in good shape to have all five artists confirmed at some point in the autumn, although we won’t be announcing the lineup until early spring 2015.  I have one artist held for 2016-17.  Nothing planned beyond that.

MUSIC IN THE PARK SERIES in Saint Anthony Park

Like the International Artist Series above, our 2014-15 Music in the Park Series was announced several months ago.  Julie Himmelstrup (founder of the series and continuing Artistic Director) has always been happy to wait until the late fall before making too many commitments for the following season.  Chamber music ensembles book on a later cycle than solo artists.  We do however have two of our six 2015-16 ensembles identified – so we’re ahead of schedule.  No plans or commitments yet beyond 15-16.


Our first Mix season (at Minneapolis’ Aria) isn’t yet over – we still have string quartet ETHEL to come on Tuesday of next week (co-presented with the SPCO’s Liquid Music and American Composers Forum).  Nevertheless we just announced the 2014-15 Mix season:  four performances next season split between Minneapolis’ Aria and St Paul’s new Bedlam Lowertown. I won’t begin planning the 2015-16 Mix season until the autumn though I already have a short list of performers I hope to present.


Those familiar with this ensemble know that the musician members of Accordo (primarily members of the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra) devise their own programs. They also need to work out dates which fit with the two Twin Cities orchestras’ schedules.  We’re nearly there with a 2014-15 series. We should be able to announce within the next couple of weeks.


Similarly for the Hill House Chamber Players, the musician members plan their own programs and figure out dates to fit with their many other professional commitments.  We met last week and will be ready to announce their 2014-15 series very soon.

That leaves the COURTROOM CONCERT SERIES (Thursdays at noon in Landmark Center), LIVE AT THE MUSEUM events, COCKTAILS WITH CULTURE and our FAMILY CONCERTS in St Anthony Park. We’ll be planning these programs over the summer and will be ready to announce in August.

In any given year, The Schubert Club presents about 60 performances.  Hopefully there’s something for just about anyone with an interest and curiosity for classical music.

To close, I want to mention a recital I attended last Wednesday:  the Spring Recital of Project CHEER students at St Paul’s Martin Luther King Center.  Congratulations to all the students who performed piano and guitar pieces.  And on behalf of The Schubert Club, a big thank you to Project CHEER director Joanna Kirby and fellow instrument instructors Anika Kildegaard and Joe Christensen for your inspirational teaching.