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BEST CLASSICAL PERFORMANCE OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS

Minnesota Orchestra performing Beethoven's Fifth Symphony

A thrilling, sometimes disorienting, effect of going to hear Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra perform Beethoven these days is how swiftly they inspire a kind of radical re-listening. We settle down for a favorite symphony, not quite aware of the way past exposures have dulled or sugared our expectations. And then within bars, we find ourselves wondering if we'd ever really known it at all. The outlines are there, but the voices within, the urgencies and serenities that we cherish in Beethoven—these can sound spookily new. Which is surely part of Vänskä's aim: Who is Beethoven if not unpredictable, passionate, transcendent? And yet at this stage of the composer's legacy, penetrating the core freshness of the symphonies is an epic feat, one open only to the few ensembles accomplished and self-humbling enough to risk it. It's along these most familiar passages where the ride is most bracing. Last season, at the beginning of the seventh symphony's Allegretto (the oft-sampled "Johnny one-note" movement), Vänskä and ensemble brought the house down, quietly, with insistent rhythmic nerve. In an unforgettable February 9 performance of the timeworn fifth (buh-buh-buh-bum), the orchestra lit up unlikely new realms, subverting audience anticipation time and again. But the surprises, like the endlessly supple tempos, never pointed to themselves in the fashion of a gimmick. As ever with Vänskä, concertmaster Jorja Fleezanis, and friends, it was the music that ruled—the sound of that familiar stranger, Beethoven, bursting into the hall.

BEST ACOUSTIC PERFORMER Piper's Crow

BEST ACTOR Ansa Akyea

BEST ACTRESS Tracey Maloney

BEST ALBUM OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS Chooglin'

BEST ALL-AGES VENUE The Garage

BEST AM RADIO PERSONALITY Tom Mischke

BEST ART CINEMA Oak Street Cinema

BEST ART GALLERY Creative Electric Studios

BEST BAND NAME Huge Rat Attacks

BEST BAND TO BREAK UP IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS The Soviettes

BEST BLUES BAND The Butanes

BEST BLUES BAR Famous Dave's

BEST BOOK BY A LOCAL AUTHOR 900 Miles from Nowere

BEST BUDGET MOVIE THEATER Roseville 4

BEST CHOREOGRAPHER Ananya Chatterjea

BEST CLUB DJ E-Tones

BEST CONCERT OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS (LOCAL) The Plastic Constellations and Tapes 'n Tapes at First Avenue

BEST CONCERT OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS (TOURING) Rakim

BEST CONCERT VENUE Varsity Theater

BEST DANCE CLUB Foundation

BEST DANCE PERFORMANCE OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS Anytown: Stories of America

BEST DANCER Karen Sherman

BEST DIRECTOR Wendy Knox

BEST FESTIVAL Grand Old Day

BEST FILM Sweet Land

BEST FM RADIO PERSONALITY Bill DeVille

BEST HIP-HOP ARTIST Brother Ali

BEST HIP-HOP RADIO PROGRAM Redefinition Radio

BEST INDEPENDENT THEATER Emigrant Theater

BEST JAZZ ARTIST Frank Morgan

BEST JAZZ CLUB Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant

BEST KARAOKE James Ballentine VFW Post 246

BEST LITERARY JOURNAL Conduit

BEST LIVE ARTIST Dance Band

BEST LOCAL MUSIC COMPILATION Duluth Does Dylan Revisited

BEST LOCAL RECORD LABEL Afternoon Records

BEST MOVIE THEATER Riverview Theater

BEST MUSEUM Minneapolis Institute of Arts

BEST MUSEUM EXHIBIT Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love

BEST MUSIC STORE (CHAIN) Guitar Center

BEST MUSIC STORE (INDEPENDENT) Twin Town Guitars

BEST NEW BAND Mouthful of Bees

BEST OLD BAND Dan Wilson

BEST OPEN MIC BALLS Cabaret

BEST OPERA The Grapes of Wrath

BEST PLACE TO BUY VINYL Hymie's Vintage Records

BEST PLACE TO RENT FOREIGN FILMS Cinema Revolution

BEST PLACE TO WATCH A MOVIE OUTDOORS Stevens Square Park

BEST PUBLIC ACCESS CABLE TV PROGRAM Black Focus

BEST PUBLIC ARTS PROJECT Art Shanty Projects

BEST R&B ARTIST J. Isaac

BEST RADIO PROGRAM AFTER MIDNIGHT Radio Riot

BEST RADIO STATION KFAI (90.3/106.7 FM)

BEST READING OF THE PAST 12 MONTHS Mark Mallman and Chuck Klosterman Kill Themselves to Live

BEST ROCK BAND Little Man

BEST ROCK CLUB First Avenue

BEST SINGLE ARTIST SHOW Jaron Childs: Ruptures

BEST SONGWRITER Jeremy Messersmith

BEST SPORTS TALK RADIO HOST Paul Allen

BEST STAGE PRODUCTION Last of the Boys

BEST THEATER FOR COMEDY Brave New Workshop

BEST THEATER FOR DRAMA Children's Theatre Company

BEST TV STATION TPT:Channels 2 and 17

BEST VOCALIST (FEMALE) Prudence Johnson

BEST VOCALIST (MALE) Mike Gunther