Jorja Fleezanis bids farewell to Minnesota Orchestra


I’ve just returned from Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis where the Minnesota Orchestra performed Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis.” Tonight was the first of three concerts which mark Jorja Fleezanis’ last performances as concertmaster. It was a bittersweet night, in which conductor Osmo Vanska started off by saying he couldn’t imagine the orchestra without Fleezanis. He said the only thing consoling him was knowing how many students would now benefit from her teaching (she’s taking a post as professor at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music).

As I sat up in the nosebleed section, watching Fleezanis’ violin flash in the stage lights, a thought suddenly occurred to me. Who gets to keep the violin? The instrument, which was made in 1700, was given to the orchestra for Fleezanis to play. When it comes to 300 year old instruments, I’m guessing it might not be a matter of flipping a coin. (FYI I’ve put out some calls and I’ll let you know what I find out.)

So how was the concert, you ask? You can listen for yourself when MPR’s classical network broadcasts it live Friday night. And if you’d like to hear Fleezanis talk about her 20 year tenure at the Minnesota Orchestra, she was on Midmorning earlier this week.

Image courtesy of the Minnesota Orchestra

  • Sarah Nagle

    I can’t imagine that a donor would give such a valuable instrument, or that an organization would accept such a gift, without some stipulation as to what would happen once that musician left the organization. So I guess the question is, what is the stipulation?

  • Marianne Combs

    You would think so, Sarah. I’ve made a couple of calls to various staff at the orchestra, and so far I’ve heard that there was talk of Fleezanis purchasing the violin from the orchestra, but there’s been no word yet if she’s actually going to do it. I hope to have an answer in the next couple of days. But it does seem logical that the orchestra and Fleezanis would consult with the original donors to see what they’d prefer.