The Mission of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
Our mission is to sustain a world-class chamber orchestra at the highest standards of artistic excellence that enriches the Twin Cities community by sharing dynamic, distinctive and engaging performances. We are actively committed to accessibility and intentional inclusivity in all aspects of our work and continually strive to provide all people in our community with opportunities to connect with the music we perform.
About The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
Renowned for its artistic excellence, remarkable versatility of musical styles and adventurous programming, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra is widely regarded as one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world. Entering its 64th season in September, the SPCO is primarily an unconducted ensemble that performs a broad range of repertoire from Baroque to new music and works in close collaboration with a dynamic roster of Artistic Partners. The current roster of Artistic Partners consists of British Baroque specialists Jonathan Cohen and Richard Egarr, American composer and musical commentator Rob Kapilow, South African cellist Abel Selaocoe and German violist Tabea Zimmermann.
The virtuoso musicians of the SPCO present more than 100 concerts and educational programs in the Twin Cities each year. The orchestra’s free online Concert Library offers both live and on-demand videos of concerts that can be viewed anytime, anywhere, completely free of charge. Through its partnership with YourClassical Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media, the SPCO is regularly heard on public radio programs that reach nearly 850,000 listeners each week on over 250 stations. Additionally, the SPCO has released 68 recordings, including its recent critically acclaimed album of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Piano Concertos with former Artistic Partner Jeremy Denk and the 2018 Grammy Award-winning recording of Franz Schubert’s Death and the Maiden with violinist and former Artistic Partner Patricia Kopatchinskaja.
In addition to its programs in the Twin Cities, the orchestra also tours nationally and internationally, including recent engagements in Europe and New York City, and prestigious residencies at the 2021 and 2022 Bravo! Vail Music Festival with violinists Joshua Bell and Stefan Jackiw.
The SPCO is deeply committed to expanding the orchestral repertoire, commissioning more than 160 new works throughout its 63-year history and receiving 17 ASCAP awards for adventurous programming. In a divergence from the industry standard of commissioning individual works from composers, the SPCO’s new Sandbox Composer Residency program invites composers to experiment freely across a variety of new works created in collaboration with the musicians of the SPCO. This alternative residency model will allow composers to workshop new pieces, experiment and revise, take risks, develop relationships with SPCO musicians and engage with SPCO audiences.
The SPCO is nationally recognized for its commitment to broad community accessibility and inclusion, along with its innovative audience engagement efforts. Regular subscription series are performed in a variety of different venues across the Twin Cities metropolitan area each season, a unique commitment to geographic accessibility for a major orchestra. The SPCO offers the most affordable ticket prices of any professional orchestra in the United States, with over 50 percent of tickets available for $15 or less, and has expanded accessibility even further by offering free tickets for children and students starting in the 2016.17 season as a part of the New Generation Initiative. The orchestra also offers an innovative ticket membership model in which members pay $9 per month to attend unlimited concerts, with a $5 per month concert membership option for members of club2030, the orchestra’s free program for audience members in their 20s and 30s. The SPCO’s award-winning CONNECT education program reaches over 3,000 students and teachers annually in 10 Minneapolis and Saint Paul public schools, and its Free Family Music program provides engaging musical experiences designed for children and their families in various locations throughout the Twin Cities.
The SPCO is a proud member of the Arts Partnership, a 501(c)(3) organization composed of the four organizations that perform regularly at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts – Minnesota Opera, the Ordway, the SPCO and Schubert Club. The Partnership’s mission is to strengthen its organizations in service to the community through growing collaboration and stewardship of its shared assets. The Partnership works together to maintain the Ordway venue, to expand access for other community arts organizations to perform in the Concert Hall and to engage in collaborative artistic programming.