On Sunday, we had an event at Emy Frentz to thank our donors. I got to talk to everybody and I played a little bit. It felt very, very warm.
Later, we had a 10-year-old playing Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata." It just reminded you of the power of music.
TFP: Of course, with the recent news that Osmo Vanska has resigned as conductor of the locked out Minnesota Orchestra (for which Freed was a violist), your return to Minnesota must come with mixed feelings. Has it been difficult to reconcile that disappointment with your optimism for the MSO's upcoming season?
KF: Coming back, of course my heart is heavy.
This was home. We sold our home in Edina and now we're renting in Seattle. That's part of life. But my heart will always be here. This is a very special place and I hope Mankato knows that.
TFP: The selection for the guest soloist — the young and immensely talented Russian-American violinist Yevgeny Kutik — is Jean Sibelius' "Violin Concerto in D Minor." The piece is notoriously difficult and expressive. How does it suit Kutik's style?
KF: We're really looking forward to playing with (Kutik). He has a way of singing through his instrument that really captures the soul of Sibelius' piece.
There are plenty of people who play the violin and who play all the right notes — but they don't get the feeling between the notes. For me, he brings something really personal to the music.
TFP: This year's season includes a number of interesting selections. In addition to the traditional Candy Cane concert in December, you've got "Jim Henson and the Music of the Muppets" in February, "Deconstructing Rachmaninoff" with an accompanying lecture in March and music by Latin American composers in May. What does this season say about MSO's mission for its music?