It's been more than 20 years since Russian-born pianist Olga Kern won America's premier piano competition, the Van Cliburn. Yet this week's concerts mark her long overdue Minnesota Orchestra debut. She'll take on the grand drama of Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto, the centerpiece of a program that includes a 2017 work by English composer Hannah Kendall, "The Spark Catchers," and Robert Schumann's richly evocative "Rhenish" Symphony. Also making his local debut is German conductor Christoph Konig. (11 a.m. Thurs., 8 p.m. Fri.; Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls.; $35-$104; 612-371-5656 or minnesotaorchestra.org.)
When Northrop auditorium's roof partially collapsed on Jan. 11, the venue had to postpone its presentation of Chicago's Joffrey Ballet. And that wasn't the first postponement. It was on Northrop's 2020-21 roster, but COVID-19 put a damper on those plans. This weekend's show will feature the Northrop Centennial Commission "Of Mice and Men." British choreographer Cathy Marston has adapted John Steinbeck's novel and the work is set to a score by Oscar-nominated composer Thomas Newman. Joffrey also will perform "Serenade," the first ballet George Balanchine created in America, in 1934, and "The Times Are Racing" by Tony Award-winning choreographer Justin Peck. (7 p.m. Sat. & Sun., Northrop, 84 Church St. SE., Mpls., $30-$79, 612-624-2345, northrop.umn.edu)
This young, earnest and anthemic Irish rock quartet made a big splash at Texas' South by Southwest conference last week and has an even bigger year ahead, with opening slots for Arctic Monkeys and Harry Styles and festival gigs at Reading and Outside Lands. Comparisons to fellow U.K. rock brooders U2 and Snow Patrol apply, but the group's just-released second album, "Cuts & Bruises," shows its own uniquely polished and more dance-driven energy developing. L.A. trio Sun Room opens. (7 p.m. Sat., First Avenue, 701 1st Av. N., Mpls., all ages, $26, axs.com)
The jazzy Dallas jam band led by bassist Michael League got carried away in a good way on last year's epic, Grammy-winning "Empire Central." Recorded live at a Dallas event space in front of an audience, the expansive 16-track, 94-minute, double album touches on 1970s styled jazz fusion, some Parliament-Funkadelic-influenced funk, classic horn-punctuated jazz-soul and some roof-raising arena-rock guitar solos on "RL's," the longest track. In short, "Empire Central" is jazzy noodling at its most accessible. Founded in 2004 at University of North Texas, the Fam, as the collective dubs itself, has about 19 members these days but more than 40 musicians have been involved over the course of 14 albums, which have led to five Grammys. (8 p.m. Wed., Palace Theatre, 17 W. 7th Pl., St. Paul, $35-$50, axs.com)
Twin Cities-based Contempo Physical Dance finds inspiration from the music and dance passed down over centuries by washerwomen in Brazil in this premiere. The original musical score by Divan Gattamorta utilizes audio from the documentary "Filhas de Lavadeiras" ("Washerwoman's Daughters") directed by Edileuza Penha de Souza. Choreographed by artistic director Marciano Silva dos Santos, the work explores the cultural language of the washerwomen from the slavery era through today. (7:30 p.m. Fri. & Sat., Frey Theater, St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Av., St. Paul, $5-$15, 651-690-6700, oshag.stkate.edu)
Black & Funny Improv Festival
Local and visiting troupes, including Blackout and Critical Race Theory for Kindergarteners, are part of the fest, which features workshops during the day and performances each night through Sunday. (7 & 8:30 p.m. Fri., 6, 7, 8:30 & 10 p.m. Sat., 4 & 7 p.m. Sun., Huge Theater, 3037 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., $15, hugetheater.com.)
'You're Wrong About'
The hugely popular podcast "You're Wrong About" is on tour, with a sold-out stop Saturday at the Cedar Cultural Center. It features the co-creator and writer Sarah Marshall, who has been leading a grand debunking of the stories our pop culture tells about famous women, from Tonya Harding to Anita Hill. Joining her is comedian Jamie Loftus of the podcast "The Bechdel Cast" and producer and musician Carolyn Kendrick. Expect a witty, chatty evening. (8 p.m. Sat., Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Av. S., Minneapolis, $35.)
'Stages of Equity'
Twin Cities choreographers will highlight the diverse voices of the community at the performing arts fest at North Hennepin Community College. Darrius Strong of StrongMovement has been working with 13 dancers for a piece that draws on styles that range from hip-hop to contemporary. Also on the program is Kealoha Ferreira, the first artistic associate of Ananya Dance Theatre. She brings that background to her own piece as she steps into the role of choreographer. Both shows will conclude with an artist interview. (2 p.m. Fri. Ferreira; 7:30 p.m. Fri, StrongMovement, Fine Arts Center, NHCC, 7411 85th Av. N., Brooklyn Park, free, 763-488-0391, nhcc.edu)
Boiled in Lead
Yes, it's a week after St. Patrick's Day, but Minnesota's most enduring Celtic punk band is celebrating its 40th anniversary, an occasion worth noting whether on the greenest of days or not. In 1983, founder/bassist Drew Miller cranked up the volume on traditional Irish folk music and a Twin Cities institution was born. Guitarist/singer Todd Menton has been on board since almost the beginning. Sadly, violinist David Stenshoel died in 2021, but BiL has a guest violinist, a new drummer and the same old spirit. Also appearing are the Twins of Franklin and the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band. (8 p.m. Fri., Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Av. S., Mpls. $20-$30, theparkwaytheater.com)
Yo La Tengo
An indie-rock institution nearing its 40th anniversary, the New Jersey trio burns bright again on its latest album, "This Stupid World." The record was mostly made live without an outside producer and shows off the band's core blend of minimalist, fuzzed-out experimentation and classic Kinks and Velvets song-hook mastery. As it often does, the group is splitting its current tour dates into two different sets/moods with no opener, some fun covers and lots of old favorites thrown in. Be thankful to still have YLT around. (8 p.m. Sat., First Avenue, $30-$35, axs.com)
The Grammy-winning Panamanian pianist joins drummer Brian Blade and bassist John Patitucci in a tribute to saxophone giant Wayne Shorter, who died on March 2. The three top-shelf jazz musicians were not only members of Shorter's quartet but they saluted him on their own 2015 album, "Children of the Light." It's an adventurous, knotty and rewarding album featuring 11 Shorter-like shape-shifting compositions. (6:30 & 8:30 p.m. Wed., the Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., $30-$50, dakotacooks.com)
Minneapolis International Festival
The richness of cultural diversity is put on parade with a day of exhibits and demonstrations. Performers include Kuyayki Peru, Dance Askina Turkish Dance Ensemble, Blue Lotus Dancers, Vietnamese Traditional Music of Minnesota and others. Global food vendors will provide Thai food, pierogies, sambusas and quesadillas. Artists and vendors will feature Moroccan art, Colombian filigree jewelry, origami as well as cultural displays. (1-5 p.m. Sat., Free. Central Park Gym, 3400 4th Av. S., Mpls. minneapolisparks.org.)
'Immersive Disney Animation'
OK Disney fanatics, your day has come. At this latest immersive project, you don't just get to hang out with Elsa, Tinker Bell and Simba, you'll also be surrounded by them from wall to wall and floor to almost ceiling. Using clips, montages and musical numbers from about 45 movies, the Lighthouse Immersive exhibit spans Walt Disney Animation Studios' 100-year history from "Bambi" to "Sleeping Beauty" to "Encanto." It is also interactive, so you can push around animations of pixie dust and leaves on the floor. Talk about magic at your feet. (Through June 18, Lighthouse ArtSpace Minneapolis, 1515 Central Av. NE., Mpls., starts at $29.99, lighthouseimmersive.com)