Holiday arts and fun guide: Classical music in every taste and tradition

Make classical music part of your holiday tradition this year by celebrating the season with the many choral groups and music ensembles in the Twin Cities. From reimagined Christmas carols to Hanukkah favorites, there’s something for every taste and tradition. Whether you’re looking for something that goes all-in on the holiday theme, or classical programs with more of a subtle holiday flavor, see below for music that fits your fancy. 

SPCO trumpeter Lynn Erickson (The SPCO)

Corelli’s Christmas Concerto 

Arcangelo Corelli wrote his Concerto Grosso, Opus 6, No. 8, otherwise known as “Christmas Concerto” as a commission for Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, and likely had the work performed for his patron on Christmas Eve back in 1690. Its peaceful last movement, called “Pastorale ad libitum,” evokes the image of shepherds guarding their flocks. The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra shares this beautiful work along with other Baroque chamber works by Giuseppe Torelli, Georg Philipp Telemann, and Antonio Vivaldi, plus a Baroque-esque work by 20th-century composer Alfred Schnittke, and Philip Glass’s ethereal “Echorus.” 7 p.m. Nov. 30 at Temple Israel Uptown, $11-28, Dec. 1 at Capri Theater, $15, Dec. 2 at Ordway Concert Hall, $12-55, 651-291-1144,

Thomas Søndergård (Tony Nelson)

A New Year’s Celebration with Søndergård, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky

Newly minted music director Thomas Søndergård rings in the New Year with the Minnesota Orchestra and pianist Sir Stephen Hough with a new suite he created based on Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker.” The evening also includes Sergei Prokofiev’s “Winter Bonfire” and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Paganini Rhapsody.” After the Dec. 31 concert, toast the orchestra with complimentary Champagne as you listen to jazz ensemble Belle Amour. 8:30 p.m. Dec. 31, 2 p.m. Jan. 1, Orchestra Hall, $51-131, 612-371-5600,

The Singers in 2022. (Bryon Wilson)

What Sweeter Music: Christmas with The Singers

The Singers put their Christmas concert programming to a vote, asking fans to suggest their favorite carols, with the top eight carols beginning and concluding the concert.  In between, the vocal ensemble will perform a new piece by artistic director Matthew Culloton and holiday songs by Steve Heitzeg, B.E. Boykin, Stephen Paulus, and Rosephanye Powell. They’ll also share the world premiere of Isaac Lovdahl’s “The Lamb,” the winning piece from The Singers’ 20th-anniversary composition contest. Harpist Min Kim joins the evening as a special guest. 3 p.m. Dec. 3 at Westwood Lutheran Church, St. Louis Park, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Minneapolis, 2 p.m. Dec. 10 at Nativity of Our Lord, St. Paul, $35, 651-917-1948,

Charles Lazarus (Travis Anderson Photo)

Merry & Bright with Charles Lazarus

Minnesota Orchestra trumpeter Charles Lazarus returns to Orchestra Hall with his band of top Twin Cities jazz musicians, including former Prince keyboardist Tommy Barbarella. Guest vocalists Tonia Hughes Kendrick and Bruce A. Henry bring their gripping voices to the celebration, and Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs also perform. 2 p.m. Dec. 10, Orchestra Hall, $45-105, 612-371-5600,

Philip-Brunelle (Tony Nelson)

Bach’s Christmas Oratorio

VocalEssence and The Bach Society are back together creating the magic that is Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio.” Dream team Philip Brunelle, of VocalEssence, and Matthias Maute, of the Bach Society, bring together voices and orchestra to present three cantatas from Bach’s masterpiece, as well as “Jesu, Joy of Our Desiring,” from Cantata 147. 7:30 pm. Dec. 15 at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 4 p.m. Dec. 16 at Westwood Lutheran Church, St. Louis Park, $35-45, 612-371-5656,

Conductor Chi-Chi Lynn Bestman leads the Minnesota JCC Symphony Orchestra in concert. (Minnesota JCC)

Minnesota JCC Symphony Concert

Cantor Ben Tisser celebrates the Hanukkah season with the Ladino tune, “Ocho Kandelikas” (Eight Little Candles) with the Minnesota JCC Symphony as part of its winter concert, and will also perform “Dodi Li,” based on the Song of Songs. The symphony also performs works by Mendelssohn, Schubert, and Duke Ellington. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6, Minnesota JCC Capp Center, St. Paul, free, 651.698.0751,

BorderCrosSing’s “El Mesias” in 2017. (Annika Parks)

El Mesías

Border CrosSing and the Minnesota Chorale team up for its production of “El Mesías,” a mash-up of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” and “Navidad nuestra” by Argentine composer Ariel Ramírez. Ahmed Anzaldúa conducts. 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Church of Ascension in Minneapolis, 3 p.m. Dec. 16, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in St. Paul, $30,

Related Articles

Music and Concerts |

Holiday Arts Guide: Celebrate with everyone from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra to the Blenders

Music and Concerts |

Holiday arts guide: ‘Black Nativity,’ Dickens and the Grinch lead the holiday stage offerings

Music and Concerts |

Holiday Arts Guide: Give great gifts this year from local artists’ markets

Music and Concerts |

Holiday Arts Guide: Find some festivity and cheer for the whole family at these events

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post Donald Trump will look to upstage Clemson grad Nikki Haley at football rivalry game
Next post Ravens vs. Chargers scouting report for Week 12: Who has the edge?