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Minnesota Orchestra sets South Korea and Vietnam tour for 2020

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A view of the renovated Orchestra Hall from the stage
Jeffrey Thompson | MPR News file

The Minnesota Orchestra will tour South Korea and Vietnam in June 2020. The orchestra announced Thursday it will join the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the resumption of normal diplomatic relations between the United States and Vietnam. The musicians will perform concerts in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon.

"It is a tour that will continue our organization's legacy of musical diplomacy," said orchestra president Michelle Miller Burns.

Flutist Wendy Williams, who serves on the musicians committee, said the idea for the tour came up over the summer, and the organization seized the opportunity.

"And I think there's just been everyone jumping onboard to say, ‘This is just a fantastic opportunity to connect our two communities and our two cultures. Let’s make it happen,’" she said.

The Ho Chi Minh City concert is believed to be the first visit by a major orchestra to that city.

As with the orchestra's tours to Cuba and South Africa, the visit to Vietnam will feature outreach to young musicians through activities such as master classes and side-by-side rehearsals.

The Orchestra also plans activities with the Korean, Vietnamese, and Hmong communities in Minnesota linked to the 2020 tour.

The three concerts in Vietnam will follow a visit to Seoul, South Korea, where the Minnesotans will meet and perform with members of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.

Minnesota Orchestra music director Osmo Vanska will become the Seoul ensemble's conductor next year. He will hold positions at both orchestras until he steps down in Minnesota in 2022.