Music Director Robert Spano and Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles last month announced the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s 2019-20 season, which will celebrate the orchestra’s 75th year and Spano’s and Runnicles’ 19th season as artistic partners at the Midtown venue.
The Grammy Award-winning orchestra’s season will feature an array of programming from the 24-week Delta Classical Series, Coca-Cola Holiday Concerts, Family Concert Series, Movies in Concert Series and Atlanta Symphony Hall Live presented by Delta Airlines.
Spano will launch opening weekend of the 75th anniversary season with a triple feature of acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell. Bell joins the orchestra for two works: Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 2 and Pablo de Sarasate’s sparkling Zigeunerweisen. Also on the program, the musicians of the orchestra bring first-class artistry to a Concerto for Orchestra by Jennifer Higdon and Wagner’s Prelude to Act I of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
“We want to highlight the vitality and virtuosity of the Orchestra in this historic season, which includes honoring the legacy of Robert Shaw and continuing to advance the choral repertoire of the incomparable Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus,” Spano said in a news release.
The orchestra and chorus will bring their singular power to Gustav Mahler’s monument to spiritual transformation, his Symphony No. 8, “Symphony of a Thousand,” Nov. 14 and 16. The orchestra and chorus will be joined by a world-class cast of vocal soloists, including Evelina Dobračeva and former orchestra Artist-in-Residence Morris Robinson, plus other guests including the Morehouse and Spelman colleges’ Glee Clubs and the Gwinnett Young Singers.
As a celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven, the orchestra and chorus will travel to New York’s Carnegie Hall to perform Missa solemnis. Stellar voices from the opera world will join Spano, the prchestra and the chorus for this special performance, including soprano Susanna Phillips, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, tenor Benjamin Bliss and bass Matthew Rose. These concerts will be performed in Atlanta Symphony Hall March 26 and 27, prior to the Carnegie Hall performance April 4.
“Missa solemnis is one of the most profound works in the choral literature,” said Spano. “I can’t think of a more appropriate celebration of this major milestone in the life of the orchestra than a return to Carnegie Hall with our beloved chorus.”
The 2019-20 season finale performances will feature a major artistic milestone for the orchestra with the Atlanta premiere of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde,” which will be presented over three nights and will include one act per night. June 11, Act I will be paired with Bach’s Cantata “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagenl” June 13 will feature Act II and Arnold Schoenberg’s “Verklärte Nacht;” June 14 will feature Act III and selections from Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas.” Spano will lead this three-night festival showcasing many familiar faces including Georgia native Jamie Barton, Tamara Wilson, Andrea Mastroni and the orchestra chamber chorus (June 11 only), as well Anna Schubert, Simon O’Neill, Ric Furman and Ryan McKinny making their orchestra debuts.
“‘Tristan und Isolde’ is seminal to 20th-century music and pivotal to everything thereafter. Wagner was very aware of what came before him and prescient about what he would inspire with this revolutionary opera,” said Spano. “With that in mind, we will highlight programmatic and visual contextualization for these performances to gain a new, deeper understanding of this monumental work.“
Another artistic highlight of the season will be the return of former Music Director Yoel Levi to Symphony Hall March 11. This special, one-night program will feature legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman playing Bruch’s “First Violin Concerto” and will be capped by Mahler’s exuberant monument to springtime, Symphony No. 1.
During the 2019-20 season, the orchestra will continue to celebrate its commitment to contemporary music and living American composers by performing works by Krists Auznieks, Jessie Montgomery, Joby Talbot, as well as Atlanta School of Composers favorites Jennifer Higdon and Richard Prior.
The orchestra will travel outside Symphony Hall for performances across Georgia during the 2019-20 season in Athens, Kennesaw, Savannah, Covington, Madison and Waleska.
“In addition to the major artistic achievements of our 75th season, we look forward to connecting with the metro-Atlanta community on a deeper level than ever before. This season is both a celebration of our rich history, and a time to look to the future and our next 75 years,” Jennifer Barlament, the orchestra’s executive director, said in a news release. “In the coming months, we will announce a collection of exciting celebratory moments and community partnerships that will unfold throughout the season.”
The orchestra’s audience continues to grow with Classical subscriptions tripling since 2016, 40 sold-out concerts in the 2017-18 season and the Family Concert attendance doubling in the 2018-19 season. The orchestra will also complete its fifth consecutive season with a fiscal balance in June, and thanks to the successful completion of the $25 million Musicians’ Endowment Campaign, the ASO continues to welcome new musicians to restore the complement to 88 from 77.
Subscriptions for the 2019-20 season are on sale and start as low as $92 for a four-concert package. Subscribers receive seating priority over individual ticket buyers, ticket exchange privileges, subscriber-only events and other benefits, including savings up to 10 percent off individual ticket prices. Single tickets go on sale in August.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.atlantasymphony.org or call 404-733-4800.