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Juneteenth: Celebration of Freedom

Fri Jun 23, 2023

Orchestra Hall

The Minnesota Orchestra presents a program in honor of Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the emancipation of the last African Americans still enslaved in Texas in 1865. With conductor André Raphel at the podium, the concert includes Adolphus Hailstork’s jubilant Three Spirituals and William Grant Still's Afro-American Symphony, one of the most celebrated American symphonies ever written. Singer Jevetta Steele, performance poet Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Justice Alan C. Page all lend their voices to this evening of celebration and remembrance. 

Whether it’s your first time or you consider Orchestra Hall your second home, we encourage you to plan ahead and leave ample time for your arrival as there are many activities happening in Minneapolis this weekend. For your convenience, we encourage parking in the 11th & Marquette Municipal Ramp. Ushers and security staff will be available at all entrances to greet and assist you. More parking and transportation information.

The Friday night performance will be broadcast live on TPT-2 and YourClassical Minnesota Public Radio as well as streamed live on the Minnesota Orchestra website.

Not sure what to expect? Read on about the experience.

A Few Things to Know

  • Making his Minnesota Orchestra debut, conductor André Raphel served as music director of West Virginia’s Wheeling Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2018. He now serves as the ensemble’s conductor laureate.
  • William Grant Still’s Afro-American Symphony epitomizes the expansive creativity of the Harlem Renaissance, combining orchestral stylings with elements of the blues. The lack of work he experienced due to the Great Depression led him to compose his most well-known work: “In 1930 I rented a room in a quiet building not far from my home in New York and began to work, he said. 
  • Alongside a full orchestra, Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait includes a narrator who delivers excerpts from Abraham Lincoln’s letters and speeches. This performance will be narrated by Justice Alan C. Page, the former Minnesota Viking and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the first African American judge to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court.
  • Juneteenth commemorates when enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, were the last to be freed in the former Confederacy on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln. Though it’s often referred to as “America’s Second Independence Day,” Juneteenth wasn’t recognized as a federal holiday until June 2021. It became an official state holiday in Minnesota in February 2023.

Explore the concert extras

Date & Time



    Three Spirituals


    Medleys of selections from Jevetta Steele, arranged by Tommy Barbarella


    Lincoln Portrait


    Drums—A Symphonic Poem


    Spoken Word


    Symphony No. 1, Afro-American


Minnesota Orchestra

André Raphel


Justice Alan C. Page


Malcolm-Jamal Warner

actor and poet

Jevetta Steele


Plan your visit

  • Pre-concert activities
  • Valet Parking
  • Pre-order Beverages
  • Directions & Parking
  • Helpful Tips

Known, MPLS Choir Performance

When: Friday, June 23 | 7:15 pm -7:45pm
Where: Target Atrium

Known, MPLS is a non-profit, auditioned community youth choir striving to develop the next generation of singers and composers in the Twin Cities. We use performance-based music education to galvanize youth as agents of change by promoting self-esteem, leadership, cultural awareness, discipline, and a commitment to excellence.

Know Before You Go

An engaging performance awaits, and the fun doesn’t stop there. Make this visit your own with food and activity options. Browse these helpful tips, and when your concert date arrives, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy.

Directions & Parking

All the information you need to know for getting to and from Orchestra Hall. Parking is just steps away from Orchestra Hall in the city-owned and skyway-connected 11th and Marquette Ramp.

Pre-order beverages

Skip the lines at the bar! Pre-order your intermission beverage via the MN Orch App when you arrive at Orchestra Hall.

National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)

When: Fri June 23 | 6:30-7:45pm
Where: Roberta Mann Grand Foyer

Learn from Lee Henry Jordan, MidWest Director for the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF), the organization that was instrumental to the passage of Juneteenth as a nationally-recognized federal holiday. The NJOF advances the right of Freedom and long-lasting community change through initiatives in education, health, music, art, and technology creating opportunities for a better life for all. 

Listen Ahead

Accessibility Services

  • Armless & Bariatric Chairs
  • Assistive Listening Devices
  • Large-Print Programs
  • Noise-Cancelling Headphones
  • Service Animals
  • Wheelchair & Accessible Seating

Additional services are available upon request.

Sponsored By

Co-sponsored by Eric and Celita Levinson