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A surprising season opener

Grieg's popular Piano Concerto is the obvious crowd-puller in the Minnesota Orchestra's season opener, but the rest of the program is far from predictable. It opens with Einojuhani Rautavaara's absorbing "A Requiem in Our Time," a piece for the unusual combination of 13 brass instruments and percussion. American composer Elliott Carter's texturally shimmering "Three Illusions for Orchestra" also gets a welcome outing, and the concert ends with Elgar's wonderfully entertaining "Enigma Variations," a masterpiece of orchestral color and expression. Osmo Vänskä conducts, with Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen — substituting for the ailing Andre Watts — featured in the Grieg. (11 a.m. Thu., 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat. Orchestra Hall, Mpls. $12-$125, 612-371-5656 or

60 candles

Tony Ross joined the Minnesota Orchestra more than 30 years ago, and for most of that time he has been the orchestra's principal cello. Ross celebrates his 60th birthday this month, and the Chamber Orchestra Society of Minnesota marks the occasion with a special concert. Ross opens the recital with Beethoven's two Op. 102 Sonatas for Cello and Piano, accompanied by Timothy Lovelace. After intermission he's joined by four other players for Schubert's great String Quintet, including Ross' wife, Beth Rapier (also a Minnesota Orchestra player), on second cello. Look for a story in Thursday's Variety section. (4 p.m. Sun., Sundin Music Hall, Hamline University, St. Paul. $20-$25, 651-450-0527 or

A trio outing

When the outstanding Tokyo Quartet disbanded six years ago, two of its members joined with pianist Jon Kimura Parker to form the Montrose Trio. The group brings two classics of the trio repertoire to the Schubert Club this week, Dvořák's "Dumky" Trio and Schubert's Piano Trio No. 2. (4 p.m. Sun., St. Anthony Park United Church of Christ, St. Paul. $23-$33, 651-292-3268 or

SPCO tripping

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra begins a road trip round the metro area this week, visiting six different venues over an 11-day period. SPCO violinist Eunice Kim plays Saint-Saëns' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, and conductorless performances of music by Haydn, Mozart and Fauré are also on the menu. (7.30 p.m. Thu., Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater; 8 p.m. Fri., Wayzata Community Church, Wayzata; 8 p.m. Sat., St. Paul's United Church of Christ, St. Paul. $11-$26, 651-291-1144 or

Brass ring

Any gig by the 1st John Philip Sousa Memorial Band of Edina is a way of finding something to smile about. Join the band in the first concert of its 2019-20 season, as it celebrates the music of "America's March King" and his kindred spirits. (7 p.m. Sat., Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center, Bloomington. $11-$17, 952-948-6500 or