St. Olaf Orchestra to Play Carnegie Hall

Musicians on a stage.
St. Olaf Orchestra will perform at Carnegie Hall in 2019 with Conductor Steven Amundson and violinist Sarah Chang. The above was taken during the St. Olaf Band’s performance there in 2016. (Natan Dvir / Polaris Images)

It’s a dream for any musician: lights centered on a legendary stage, an audience filling the velvet seats in front of them, and the thrill of creating music in a pristine acoustic environment. The St. Olaf Orchestra will get to live that dream at Carnegie Hall on February 2, 2019.

Performing with the orchestra will be Sarah Chang, a world-renowned violinist and veteran of Carnegie Hall. For St. Olaf Orchestra Conductor Steven Amundson, the Robert Scholz Professor of Music at St. Olaf, this is an unforgettable opportunity.

Woman with head titled holding violin.
World-renowned violinist Sarah Chang will perform with the St. Olaf Orchestra on February 2, 2019.

“I’ve long dreamt of featuring a big name performer with the St. Olaf Orchestra. When the chance to perform at Carnegie became a reality, I thought this is the perfect time,” says Amundson. “Sarah Chang has a wonderful reputation, not only as an incredible violinist, but also as a human being. I’m excited for our students to have this opportunity to learn from an artist of her caliber. ”

Recognized as one of the foremost violinists of our time, Chang has performed with the most esteemed orchestras, conductors, and accompanists in an international career spanning more than two decades. Since her debut with the New York Philharmonic at the age of eight, Chang has continued to impress audiences with her technical virtuosity and refined emotional depth.

For this collaboration, Amundson has selected  the Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor, Opus 47.

“Sibelius’ Violin Concerto has long been my favorite violin concerto. It’s much more than a violin solo with accompaniment. The orchestra parts are substantial in this colorful, dramatic, and passionate score. The opening of the first movement is magical and features a huge, virtuosic cadenza for the soloist. The slow movement is one of the composer’s most beautiful melodies — truly sublime! The finale dances with fiery rhythms. It’s an amazing showcase for the soloist supported by the power of the full symphony orchestra. This is one of the most famous violin concertos in the repertory, and is definitely a crowd-pleaser.” – Steven Amundson


Erica Rempert ’20, a St. Olaf Orchestra bassist, is excited to play Carnegie Hall and get her first glimpse of the East Coast. “Playing in Carnegie Hall is something that I have only dreamt about. To be able to say that I am going to play in one of the most famous music halls in the world is hard to believe,” says Rempert. “I’m from the Twin Cities and have never seen the East Coast before. The opportunity to see a new part of the country with my orchestra friends is very exciting.”

Chang will also appear with the St. Olaf Orchestra at the ensemble’s performance at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. The tour will feature additional stops throughout Virginia, including Fairfax County, Alexandria, and Charlottesville.

The Carnegie Hall performance will be followed by a reception for alumni and parents. Concert tickets and reception reservations will be available in the fall.