August 1, 2019
2019/20 Season Preview

High-resolution photos and hard copies of this information are available upon request from For a PDF version, click here.


L to R: Minnesota Orchestra’s recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (“Titan”); Semyon Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic’s seven-disc Tchaikovsky Project box set, featuring Kirill Gerstein.

Mahler symphony recording cycle continues with Symphony No. 1 (“Titan”)
Having previously recorded the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Sibelius, Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra are currently surveying the complete Mahler symphonies, including this season with the release of Symphony No. 1 (“Titan”) as the fourth recording in the cycle. This album was preceded by Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”) in February 2019, No. 6 in April 2018, and No. 5 in June 2017, the latter having received a 2018 Grammy nomination for Best Orchestral Performance.

MIRÓ QUARTET // AUG. 16 @ 7:30pm, AUG. 17 @ 5:30pm // EASTSOUND, WA
World premiere of Kevin Puts’s Home at Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival

The Miró Quartet kicks off its 25th anniversary season with the world premiere of Kevin Puts’s Home at the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival in Eastsound, WA. Home was inspired by the refugee crisis in Europe anduses a resonant, scordatura tuning to create what the composer describes as “a sonic representation of ‘home,’” which is abandoned “in search of new and unfamiliar harmonic terrain.” The Miró Quartet has championed Mr. Puts’s music for over a decade, and the new work is his third for the ensemble. Performances are also given in Detroit (Sep. 14) and Tulsa (Apr. 5).


Tchaikovsky Project box set—complete symphonies, piano concertos, and more
Inspired by his lifelong passion for the music of Tchaikovsky, Semyon Bychkov partnered with the Czech Philharmonic several seasons ago to launch The Tchaikovsky Project, an in-depth multi-season exploration of the composer’s music through concerts and their first-ever recordings together. He has since been appointed Music Director and Chief Conductor of the orchestra, and together they continue the project with a seven-disc box set of Tchaikovsky’s complete symphonies, complete piano concertos with soloist Kirill Gerstein, Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy, Serenade for Strings, and Francesca da Rimini—all recorded in Prague at the Rudolfinum’s Dvořák Hall. This set is Decca’s first Tchaikovsky cycle in nearly 40 years and the first in HD 96K/24-bit sound.


Jonathan Biss taping his online lecture series, Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas.

Complete Beethoven piano sonata cycles at Berkeley’s Hertz Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, and new McKnight Center at Oklahoma State University

For the past ten years, pianist Jonathan Biss has been fully immersed in the music of Beethoven—exploring the composer’s works and musical thought through a wide variety of projects. He has been especially focused on the composer’s 32 piano sonatas, which he performs in full this season over seven programs each at Berkeley’s Hertz Hall (Cal Performances), London’s Wigmore Hall, and the new McKnight Center for the Performing Arts at Oklahoma State University. He also surveys these sonatas through a nine-volume recording cycle and online lecture series via Coursera, both of which culminate this season. Additional Beethoven projects and highlights include e-books (Beethoven’s ShadowCoda), a Beethoven-inspired concerto commissioning project, and numerous solo, chamber, and orchestral performances. // Berkeley: Sep. 21, 22, Oct. 12, 13, Dec. 15, Mar. 7, 8; London: Sep. 29, Dec. 19, Jan. 26, Feb. 28, Apr. 20, May 9, June 25; Stillwater: Oct. 25, 27, Nov. 15, Feb. 20, 21, Mar. 27, 28.

Final lectures in Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas educational series

In 2013, one year after commencing his Beethoven sonata recording cycle, pianist Jonathan Biss partnered with the Curtis Institute of Music to launch Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, a massive online open course (MOOC) offered through Coursera that has attracted more than 150,000 students from more than 185 countries. The course, whose final lectures appear this season, provides an in-depth look at all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, featuring both analysis and historical background. Its video lessons take the perspective of the performer—exploring and demystifying the work of the pianist, while embracing the mystery of Beethoven’s music itself. This season’s lectures focus on Sonatas No. 13 (“Quasi una fantasia”), 16, and 29 (“Hammerklavier”) in September, and Sonatas No. 9, 10, 18 (“The Hunt”), 19, 20, 22, and 32 in January.

Excerpt from Jonathan Biss's 
Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas.

San Francisco Symphony celebrates
Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas.

MTT commences 25th and final season as San Francisco Symphony Music Director

For more than two decades, Michael Tilson Thomas’s leadership of the San Francisco Symphony has combined a drive for innovation with an unwavering commitment to artistic excellence, and this fall at Davies Symphony Hall he embarks on his 25th and final season as Music Director. Throughout 2019 and ‘20, he conducts programs that reflect the many facets of his artistry and musical vision, including his commitments to contemporary music, the American musical tradition, the classic orchestral repertoire, and his own work as a composer. He also leads SFS on tour for the last time as Music Director, including to Carnegie Hall and across Europe. In June, he returns to San Francisco for the final performances of his tenure, in which he conducts Mahler's Symphony No. 8.

Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles in season-long, nature-inspired concert series

Utah Symphony blends music and visuals in a season-long concert series that explores the natural beauty of Utah, with Messiaen’s Des canyons aux étoiles serving as the common thread. Written to mark the American bicentennial, Messiaen’s work was inspired by the birds and rugged features of southern Utah, and in this concert series the work’s twelve movements are performed over eight programs, on which they are complemented by additional, nature-inspired works by composers from Handel to Kaija Saariaho. In the spring, the orchestra records Des canyons aux étoiles under Music Director Thierry Fischer for future release on Hyperion Records.

Limitless, featuring duo commissions from diverse composers
Violinist Jennifer Koh’s new album, Limitless, features recently commissioned duo works performed by her and the composers themselves, namely Lisa Bielawa, Vijay Iyer, Missy Mazzoli, Qasim Naqvi, Tyshawn Sorey, Lu Wang, Nina Young, and Du Yun. Premiered in concert over two evenings in 2018 at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust, Limitless celebrates the collaborative relationship between composer and performer, while also exploring the historical role of the composer as performer. This spirit of collaboration contrasts with the conventional notion that composition and performance are discrete and detached parts of the musical process.

James Conlon with Maria Callas.

LA Opera’s season opener, La bohème

Music Director James Conlon opens the LA Opera season with the work that effectively launched his career, Puccini’s La bohème. In 1972, at age 21, he replaced Thomas Schippers for a Juilliard production of this opera, having been specially recommended by Maria Callas after she heard him in rehearsal. At LA Opera this fall, the work is staged in a production by Barrie Kosky that sets the action in the Paris of Puccini’s own late 19th century. The production premiered at the Komische Oper Berlin last season and is LA Opera’s first new staging of La bohème since 1993. The cast includes tenor Saimir Pirgu in the role of Rodolfo and soprano Marina Costa-Jackson making her company debut as Mimì. // Sep. 14, 22, 25, 28, Oct. 2, 6 (Dorothy Chandler Pavilion).


New World Symphony WALLCAST® Concert at
New World Center / SoundScape Park in Miami Beach, FL.

Prokofiev’s works inspired by his film scores Lieutenant Kijé and Alexander Nevsky

The first of three Utah Symphony recordings to be released this season, this all-Prokofiev album conducted by Music Director Thierry Fischer focuses on works inspired by the composer’s film scores, namely the symphonic suite from Lieutenant Kijé and the Alexander Nevsky cantata. Lieutenant Kijé is a 1934 Soviet satire of Czarist Russia that is best remembered for Prokofiev’s score, while Alexander Nevsky, a 1938 historical drama directed by Sergei Eisenstein, is now considered a classic of Russian cinema. Both are rare examples of films whose music has found a stable place in the concert repertoire.

Ives’s Symphonies No. 3 and 4 with San Francisco Symphony

Michael Tilson Thomas conducts Ives’s Symphonies No. 3 and 4 on the first of three recordings with the San Francisco Symphony this season that reflect his career-long advocacy for the music of American Maverick composers. Regarding Ives, MTT remarks that “the heart and soul of what he had to say [addresses] the true nature of the American spirit.” MTT’s engagement with Ives’s music has gone beyond the concert hall and recordings to also include his SFS Keeping Score educational series on television, the internet, and in the classroom. The new Ives recording is followed later in the season by albums devoted to the music of Copland (in March) and MTT’s own work as a composer (in June).

Wu Man and friends explore cross-cultural
musical currents in ancient China and Japan

Pipa virtuoso Wu Man leads a multi-cultural ensemble as they explore music drawn from manuscripts of China’s Tang Dynasty (618–907), highlighting in performance the influence of this era’s traditions on the music of ancient Japan, from Noh theatre to gagaku court music. Wu Man is joined by wind and percussion players Yazhi Guo (suona and Chinese percussion), Kaoru Watanabe (taiko and Japanese flute), and Tim Munro (Western flute). The program is performed at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith PAC and the University of Chicago’s Logan Center.

100th WALLCAST® Concert and first in 4K Ultra-High-Definition

To open its 32nd season as a national leader in training the next generation of classical musicians, the New World Symphony presents its 100th WALLCAST® Concert and the first to be simulcast in 4K Ultra-High-Definition, following a four-year, end-to-end upgrade of NWS’s video infrastructure. The WALLCAST® Concert Series offers free outdoor simulcasts of live concerts performed inside the New World Center. Live video from the concert hall is projected onto the wall of the building and viewed from adjacent SoundScape Park, which is equipped with over 160 Meyer Sound speakers for an immersive sound experience. By reaching a diverse audience from throughout the community, this concert series plays a central role in NWS’s broad effort to reach new listeners. The 100th WALLCAST® Concert is conducted by NWS Co-Founder and Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas and comprises Sibelius’s Finlandia, Scriabin’s Piano Concerto with Daniil Trifonov, and selections from Berlioz’s Romeo and

Puccini’s Turandot, starring Christine Goerke

The 14th season of The Met: Live in HD opens with Puccini’s Turandot, featuring soprano Christine Goerke in the title role. Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads this performance of the late Franco Zeffirelli’s production, and the cast also stars tenor Roberto Aronica as Calàf, soprano Eleonora Buratto as Liù, and bass-baritone James Morris as Timur.

Recital of early- and middle-period Beethoven piano sonatas at Symphony Center

Pianist Kirill Gerstein gives the opening recital of Symphony Center’s complete Beethoven piano sonata cycle—performed by seven different pianists over nine programs this season. Mr. Gerstein performs a selection of Beethoven’s early- and middle-period sonatas: No. 2 in A major, Op. 2, No. 2; No. 16 in G major, Op. 31, No. 1; No. 22 in F major, Op. 54; No. 19 in G minor, Op. 49, No. 1; and No. 4 in E-flat major, Op. 7 (“Grand Sonata”). Following this recital, the remaining sonatas are performed throughout the season by Rudolf Buchbinder, Evgeny Kissin, Igor Levit, Maurizio Pollini, Sir András Schiff, and Mitsuko Uchida. In the spring, Mr. Gerstein continues to celebrate the music of Beethoven with two complete piano concerto cycles in Grand Rapids and San Antonio.  #Beethoven250

Young People's Chorus of New York City.

Second annual Big Sing community sing-along

At the Young People’s Chorus of New York City’s annual Big Sing event led by YPC Founder and Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez, YPC choristers invite audience members to sing along in appreciation for the community’s many years of support. With lyrics to each song projected during the event, the program is designed to be familiar and accessible so that audience members of all ages and backgrounds may participate. // Gerald W. Lynch Theater.

World premiere of Christopher Cerrone’s concerto Dissolving Margins with ECCO

Recognized for his insightful interpretations of a broad repertoire—from classics to the music of today—pianist Shai Wosner appears with ECCO (East Coast Chamber Orchestra) in an eclectic pairing of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 14 in E-flat major and the world premiere of Christopher Cerrone’s Dissolving Margins, written for Mr. Wosner. This new concerto for piano and strings—performed first in Memphis, Philadelphia, and New York, and later reprised by Mr. Wosner with the Albany and Phoenix Symphonies—was inspired by the writings of Elena Ferrante and takes its title from her Neopolitan novels, wherein one of the central characters experiences a recurring sense of existential malaise that she describes as a feeling of “dissolving margins.” // Memphis: Oct. 23 (Harris Concert Hall); Phaildelphia: Oct. 25 @ 7:30pm (Kimmel Center); New York: Oct. 27 @ 3pm (92nd Street Y).

L to R: Pianist Shai Wosner; composer Christopher Cerrone; violinist Jennifer Koh; composer Vijay Iyer.

New York premiere of Vijay Iyer’s Trouble with The Knights at Miller Theatre

Having commissioned and premiered Vijay Iyer’s concerto Trouble in 2017, violinist Jennifer Koh now brings the work to New York for the first time, performing it with The Knights at Miller Theatre as part of its Vijay Iyer Composer Portrait. Trouble was written for Ms. Koh’s multi-season commissioning project The New American Concerto, which asks composers of diverse backgrounds to rethink the form of the violin concerto for the 21st century and use it to engage with socio-cultural issues facing Americans today. In Trouble, Mr. Iyer explores the issues of discrimination and the immigrant experience, including through an elegy for Vincent Chin, who was killed in a 1982 hate crime. New American Concerto commissions also include works by Christopher Cerrone, Lisa Bielawa (world premiere, Jan. 15), and Courtney Bryan (world premiere, Mar. 7 & 9).

L to R: Kneisel Quartet (1885–1917), Flonzaley Quartet (1903–29), and Kolisch Quartet (1921–44), whose concert programs are revived as part the Miró Quartet Archive Project.

1910 concert program re-created at Carnegie’s Weill Hall and Library of Congress

While reflecting on their 25-year journey together as an ensemble, the Miró Quartet was inspired to look back even further in celebration of the pieces, people, and performances that have shaped the string quartet tradition in America. The Miró Quartet Archive Projectrecreates three concert programs by iconic, early 20th-century American string quartets—each program chosen to capture the special character of the ensemble that played it and the particular flavor of its time. At Carnegie’s Weill Hall and the Library of Congress, the Miró Quartet revives a 1910 program by the Kneisel Quartet, the first American professional touring quartet, which was then celebrating its own 25th anniversary season. The program comprises works by Mozart, Glière, Franck, Servais, and Schubert. // New York: Oct. 25 @ 7:30pm; Washington, DC: Dec. 18 @ 8pm.

Massenet’s Manon, starring Lisette Oropesa in title role debut

Soprano Lisette Oropesa—winner of the 2019 Richard Tucker Award and the Met’s 2019 Beverly Sills Artist Award—makes her role debut as the title heroine in Massenet’s Manon, opposite tenor Michael Fabiano as the Chevalier des Grieux. Maurizio Benini conducts in this production by Laurent Pelly, which shifts the action ahead from the early 18th century to the late 19th century.

Soprano Lisette Oropesa, winner of the 2019 Richard Tucker Award and the Met's 2019 Beverly Sills Artist Award.

Young People's Chorus of New York City's 
WIT: Women Inspiring Tomorrow.

Annual conference of WIT: Women Inspiring Tomorrow

Created by Elizabeth Núñez, Associate Artistic Director of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, WIT: Women Inspiring Tomorrow is a program that provides special opportunities for high school-aged choristers and YPC alumni to meet and learn from successful women in a variety of fields. “WITiquette” sessions throughout the year help choristers learn networking techniques, The program culminates in the annual WIT Conference, where choristers network and hear a panel discussion of career-related topics. The 2019 conference takes place at SECOND (849 Sixth Avenue). // Photo: Soprano Ailyn Perez and YPC chorister.

Wu Man joins Silkroad Ensemble in world premiere of Golijov’s Falling Out of Time
Scored for 13 artists of the Silkroad Ensemble, including pipa virtuoso Wu Man, composer Osvaldo Golijov’s newly commissioned song cycle Falling Out of Timeis a musical interpretation of the book by David Grossman, which narrates a journey “out of time” as parents grieve the death of their child. Falling Out of Time is the centerpiece of the Silkroad Ensemble’s fall tour, which begins with the work’s world premiere at College of the Holy Cross, where the piece took shape in workshops beginning in fall 2017. The complete song cycle is performed four times on this season’s tour, and excerpts appear on the other three tour programs (italicized in the following). // Worcester, MA: Oct. 31 @ 7:30pm (College of the Holy Cross); State College, PA: Nov. 5 @ 7:30pm (Penn State); Birmingham, AL: Nov. 7 @ 7pm (University of Alabama at Birmingham); Germantown, TN: Nov. 9 @ 8pm (Germantown Performing Arts Center); Greenville, SC: Nov. 12 @ 7:30pm(Peace Center); Fairfax County, VA: Nov. 1516 @ 8pm (Wolf Trap); Blacksburg, VA: Nov. 17 @ 7pm (Virginia Tech).


Miró Quartet.

Box set of complete Beethoven string quartets

Now celebrating its 25th anniversary season, the Miró Quartet also celebrates Beethoven’s 250th anniversary with the culmination of a 14-year recording cycle of the composer’s complete string quartets, to be released as a box set on Pentatone. This recording project began in 2005 with the Op. 18 quartets, and since then, four additional volumes have been released, most recently in 2018. The box set includes these five discs along with recordings of the three works yet to appear: String Quartets No. 12 in E-flat major, Op. 127; No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132; and No. 16 in F major, Op. 135. In addition to exploring these works on recording, the ensemble performs a complete, year-long cycle in concert this season as part of an artist residency at Chamber Music Northwest.

Ninth and final volume in complete Beethoven piano sonata recording cycle

Not long after pianist Jonathan Biss embarks on his three complete Beethoven sonata cycles in concert this season, Orchid Classics releases the final volume in his nine-year, nine-disc recording cycle of all 32 works. Volume 9 comprises Piano Sonatas No. 7 in D major, Op. 10/3; No. 18 in E-flat major, Op. 31/3 (“The Hunt”); and the composer’s last sonata, No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111. The label is scheduled to release all nine recordings together as a box set in early 2020, and in January, Mr. Biss also presents the final lectures in his online Coursera series Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, which covers each one of the sonatas in depth.

Jonathan Biss in recording sessions for Volume 9 of his Beethoven piano sonata recording cycle.

Beethoven piano sonata mini-cycle at The Phillips Collection

In addition to surveying the complete Beethoven piano sonatas in concert, on recording, and via online lectures, pianist Jonathan Biss performs shorter, mini-cycles of these works, including a three-part concert series at The Phillips Collection that traces the evolution of the composer’s style via sonata programs curated to reflect his early, middle, and late periods. Mr. Biss begins with a selection of early sonatas in November, namely the “Grand Sonata,” “Pathétique,” and Nos. 9–11, then continues in December with middle sonatas “Waldstein,” “Appassionata,” and Nos. 12 & 22. He concludes the mini-cycle in March with Beethoven’s final three piano sonatas.

MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA // NOV. 14 @ 11am, NOV. 15, 16 @ 8pm // MINNEAPOLIS
U.S. premiere of Brett Dean’s Cello Concerto, featuring Alban Gerhardt

The Minnesota Orchestra under Music Director Osmo Vänskä is joined by cellist Alban Gerhardt for the U.S. premiere of Brett Dean’s Cello Concerto, co-commissioned by the orchestra. The composer, also a violist, wrote this concerto for Mr. Gerhardt after many years of performing chamber music together. The work, he says, “is more concerned with collaboration than conflict, with ideas from the soloist being amplified by the orchestra … I knew from the onset that this would be the purest of my concertos, focusing on the personality at the front of the orchestra.” The program also includes Sibelius’s The Swan of Tuonela and Vaughan Williams’s Dona Nobis Pacem, in which the orchestra reunites with South African singers with which it collaborated on last year’s landmark South Africa tour. // Orchestra Hall.

L to R: Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Osmo Vänskä;
composer Brett Dean; cellist Alban Gerhardt.

2019–20 Artist-in-Association Andrew Norman

Composer Andrew Norman returns to Salt Lake City for three, one-week visits as part of his second season as Utah Symphony Artist-in-Association. During Mr. Norman’s residency, Music Director Thierry Fischer conducts the orchestra in several performances of the composer’s works, including Sacred Geometry (Nov. 14, 15) and Spiral (Jan. 30 – Feb. 1). Guest conductor Fabien Gabel subsequently leads performances of Unstuck (Mar. 6, 7). While in Utah, Mr. Norman also serves as an ambassador for contemporary music through activities with local music students and community groups. Planned outreach activities range from talks and workshops to community performances of his music. He engages with residents of all ages, from elementary school students to high school composers to adults who are interested in the arts. // Nov. 15 @ 7:30pm, Jan. 31 @ 7:30pm, Feb. 1 @ 5:30pm, Mar. 6, 7 @ 7:30pm (Abravanel Hall); Nov. 14 @ 7:30pm (Provo, UT); Jan. 30 @ 7:30pm (Ogden, UT).

LA Opera’s The Magic Flute

LA Opera Music Director James Conlon conducts Mozart’s The Magic Flute in a revival of Barrie Kosky’s silent film-era, animation-infused production, which the company first presented in 2013. Cast includes soprano Zuzana Markova (Pamina), tenors Bogdan Volkov and Joshua Wheeker (Tamino), baritone Theo Hoffman (Papageno), soprano So Young Park (Queen of the Night), bass-baritone Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (Sarastro), tenor Frederick Ballentine (Monostatos), and soprano Sarah Vautour (Papagena). // Nov. 16, 21, 23, Dec. 1, 12, 15 (Dorothy Chandler Pavilion).

Met premiere and new production of Philip Glass’s Akhnaten

Philip Glass’s Akhnaten receives its Met premiere in a new staging by director Phelim McDermott, whose productions for the Met have also included Glass’s Satyagraha. One of the staging’s distinctive visual features is provided by the acrobats and jugglers of the Gandini Juggling Company. Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo stars as the title pharaoh, with mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges making her Met debut as his wife, Nefertiti. Karen Kamensek also conducts in her Met debut.


L to R: Utah Symphony conducted by Music Director Thierry Fischer;
2019 Kennedy Center Honoree Michael Tilson Thomas.

Final volume of Saint-Saëns symphony cycle, the first by an American orchestra

Led by Music Director Thierry Fischer, an insightful and passionate interpreter of the French repertoire, the Utah Symphony concludes its three-volume, live recording cycle dedicated to the music of Saint-Saëns, including the complete symphonies in their first recording by an American orchestra. Volume 3 comprises Symphony No. 1, the early Symphony in A major—written when the child prodigy composer was only 15 years old—and The Carnival of the Animals. The previous volumes, which were released earlier in 2019, include Symphony No. 2, Symphony No. 3 (“Organ”) with Paul Jacobs, the “Urbs Roma” Symphony, Danse macabre, “Danse Bacchanale” from Samson et Dalila, and Trois tableaux symphoniques d’après La

Holiday Celebration at David Geffen Hall

Under the direction of Founder and Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez and Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Núñez, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City performs at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall in a program that highlights the different ways New York City families commemorate the holidays, with repertoire ranging from holiday classics to traditional songs from around the world. Over 400 YPC choristers, ages 8 to 18, sing on the program.

Miró Quartet.

Complete Beethoven string quartet cycle continues at Chamber Music Northwest
Launched in July 2019 with the Op. 18 quartets, the Miró Quartet’s complete Beethoven string quartet cycle at Chamber Music Northwest continues with the middle quartets this December and February, followed by the late quartets next July. The ensemble, which also celebrates Beethoven’s 250th anniversary with a box set of the complete string quartets on Pentatone, performs this cycle as part of its 2019–20 artist residency at CMNW. The Miró Quartet performs Op. 59/1–3 (“Razumovsky”) on December 8 and Op. 74 (“Harp”), Op. 95 (“Serioso”), and Op. 127 on February 6.

MTT receives 2019 Kennedy Center Honors at 42nd annual gala

Michael Tilson Thomas is one of five Honorees selected to receive the 2019 Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements, including for “shap[ing] American music and musical institutions for the 21st century.” The work of MTT and his fellow Honorees—R&B collective Earth, Wind & Fire, actress Sally Field, singer Linda Ronstadt, and children’s television program Sesame Street—is celebrated through performances and tributes at the 42nd annual Kennedy Center Honors Gala, which airs as a two-hour, prime-time special on CBS.


L to R: Pianist Shai Wosner; Franz Schubert.

Brahms’s final piano works: Fantasias, Intermezzi, and Pieces, Op. 116–119

As an interpreter of Brahms, pianist Stephen Hough is most recognized for his two recordings of the composer’s monumental piano concertos, but now, he explores the later, more introspective Brahms on a solo album of the composer’s final works for solo piano: Seven Fantasias, Op. 116; Three Intermezzi, Op. 117; Six Pieces, Op. 118; and Four Pieces, Op. 119. Mr. Hough explains: “Brahms had started out as one of the most open and honest of composers … But after Schumann's death he became closed-in emotionally, refining his feelings into more intellectual pursuits. By the end of his life you get a window into all the regret. We hear the work of an old person looking back at what might have been. I find it incredibly touching” (The Wall Street Journal). This album is followed in the spring by Mr. Hough’s recording of the complete Beethoven piano concertos.

Four late piano sonatas by Schubert — D. 845, 894, 958, & 960

Celebrated as one of today’s leading Schubertians, pianist Shai Wosner recently recorded the Piano Sonatas in A minor (D. 845), G major (D. 894), C minor (D. 958), and B-flat major (D. 960) for his newest album, which completes his recorded series of the composer’s final six piano sonatas. Mr. Wosner characterizes these last six sonatas as “thick novels, rich with insight about the human condition,” and two of them—the Sonatas in A major (D. 959) and D major (D. 850, “Gasteiner”)—appear on his previous recordings. He has also performed complete cycles of the six late sonatas as part of his recital series Schubert: The Great Sonatas at the 92nd Street Y and The Phillips Collection.

17th annual Composer Institute for emerging composers

Co-presented by the Minnesota Orchestra and American Composers Forum for the 17th year, the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute immerses emerging symphonic composers from across the nation in the world of a major American symphony orchestra. Participating composers—who have previously included Ted Hearne, Missy Mazzoli, and Andrew Norman, among other leading voices of today—each develop an orchestral work through seminars, workshops, and rehearsals with Music Director Osmo Vänskä, the orchestra, and section principals. Professional development seminars are also part of the curriculum, which is overseen by composer Kevin Puts in his sixth year as Institute Director. The Institute ends with a concert showcase of the composers’ works conducted by Mr. Vänskä at Orchestra Hall as part of the Orchestra’s regular subscription series (Jan. 10 @ 8pm).

L to R: Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Osmo Vänskä works with a young composer at the orchestra’s Composer Institute; composer-conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.

World premiere performances of MTT’s Rilke Songs

Michael Tilson Thomas has been an active composer throughout his career, and this season at the San Francisco Symphony, he conducts the world premiere of his own Rilke Songs, a six-part song cycle based on the lyric poems of German modernist Rainer Maria Rilke. He subsequently conducts the Cleveland Orchestra in performances of the work. Both programs feature mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, with the bass-baritone part sung by Ryan McKinny in San Francisco and Dashon Burton in Cleveland. The San Francisco performances are recorded live for release on SFS’s all-MTT album in June 2020. // San Francisco: Jan. 9, 10, 11 @ 8pm, Jan. 12 @ 2pm (Davies Symphony Hall); Cleveland: Feb. 20 @ 7:30pm, Feb. 21, 22 @ 8pm, Feb. 23 @ 3pm (Severance Hall).

New production of Berg’s Wozzeck, starring Peter Mattei

South African artist William Kentridge, who previously directed the Met’s Lulu in 2015, now returns with a new production of Berg’s Wozzeck. On stage in this production is a ramshackle warren of stairs, ramps, and debris, while the director’s own animated charcoal drawings, along with other projections, evoke a nightmarish world of crashed planes, searchlights, ghostly gas masks, and battlefields. Baritone Peter Mattei makes his role debut as Wozzeck opposite soprano Elza van den Heever as Marie. The cast also includes tenor Christopher Ventris as the Drum-Major, tenor Gerhard Siegel as the Captain, and bass-baritone Christian Van Horn as the Doctor. Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts.

World premiere of Lisa Bielawa’s Sanctuary with Orlando Philharmonic

Violinist Jennifer Koh continues her multi-season commissioning project The New American Concertowith the world premiere of Lisa Bielawa’s Sanctuary, performed with the Orlando Philharmonic under Music Director Eric Jacobsen. Ms. Bielawa is among the diverse group of composers invited by Ms. Koh to explore contemporary American socio-cultural issues through the form of the violin concerto, and this new work is inspired by the many uses of the word “sanctuary” in U.S. history, including in the context of the current immigration debate. New American Concerto commissions also include works by Christopher Cerrone, Vijay Iyer (N.Y. premiere, Oct. 24), and Courtney Bryan (world premiere, Mar. 7 & 9). // Orlando: Main Hall at The Plaza Live.

Tomer Zvulun’s recent production of Kevin Puts and
Mark Campbell’s Silent Night, to be staged at Utah Opera.

Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Silent Night
The Utah premiere of Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night is presented by Utah Opera as part of its American Opera Initiative, through which the company champions and commissions American contributions to the art form. Based on Christian Carion’s 2005 screenplay Joyeux Noël, the opera tells the story of the 1914 Christmas truce between the German, French, and Scottish soldiers during World War I. Baritone Craig Irvin stars as German Lieutenant Horstmayer, a role he has performed at the Atlanta and Austin Operas, while baritone Daniel Belcher is cast as Ponchel, the French lieutenant’s aide-de-camp, having recently created the role of Inspector Kildare in Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s 2017 opera Elizabeth Cree at Opera Philadelphia. Tomer Zvulun directs, and Robert Tweten conducts. // Jan. 18, 20, 22, 24, 26 (Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre).

Limitless performance with composer-performers Vijay Iyer and Tyshawn Sorey
Four months after her Limitlesscommissions appear on disc, violinist Jennifer Koh takes this commissioning project to San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre, joined on stage by two of the project’s composer-performers, Tyshawn Sorey and Vijay Iyer. The program features Ms. Koh and Mr. Sorey performing the latter’s Violin and Glockenspiel, in Memoriam Muhal Richard Abrams; Ms. Koh and Mr. Iyer performing the latter’s The Diamond for violin and piano; and all three artists improvising together as a group. Limitless launched at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust in 2018 and celebrates the collaborative relationship between composer and performer through duo works performed by Ms. Koh and the composers themselves.

L to R: Composer-percussionist Tyshawn Sorey;
violinist Jennifer Koh; composer-pianist Vijay Iyer.

Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with Osmo Vänskä and Curtis Symphony

When he is not performing, recording, or lecturing on Beethoven’s piano sonatas this season, Jonathan Biss is focused on the composer’s piano concertos, particularly No. 5 (“Emperor”), which he performs on a seven-city East Coast tour with Osmo Vänskä and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra this winter. Launching in Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center’s Merriam Theater and including stops at Carnegie Hall and Duke University, this tour is an extension of Mr. Biss’s relationship with the Curtis Institute of Music, where he is on faculty, and with which he releases his online lecture series Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas via Coursera. In addition to the “Emperor” Concerto, the tour program features Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2 and a new work by Gabriella Smith. // Jan. 31, Feb. 8 @ 8pm.


L to R: Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer conducts the orchestra; pianist Kirill Gerstein.

All-Berlioz album featuring Symphonie fantastique and three rarely heard works

A champion of the French repertoire, Swiss conductor and Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer appears with the orchestra on an all-Berlioz album just three months after the release of the final recording in the orchestra’s Saint-Saëns cycle. This Berlioz album includes the composer’s best-known work, Symphonie fantastique, with which Mr. Fischer made his Utah Symphony debut in October 2007. The album also features three of Berlioz’s lesser-known works: Sara la baigneuse, featuring the Utah Symphony Chorus and University of Utah Choirs; La mort d’Ophélie, the second movement of Tristia, also featuring the Symphony Chorus and University Choirs; and Rêverie et caprice, featuring violinist Philippe Quint.

New production of Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, starring Eric Owens and Angel Blue

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bessreturns to the Met for the first time in nearly 30 years, staged in a new production by James Robinson featuring choreography by Camille A. Brown. David Robertson conducts a cast starring bass-baritone Eric Owens and soprano Angel Blue in the title roles, as well as bass-baritone Donovan Singletary as fisherman Jake, soprano Golda Schultz as his wife Clara, soprano Latonia Moore as the bereaved widow Serena, tenor Frederick Ballentine making his Met debut as drug dealer Sportin’ Life, bass-baritone Alfred Walker as the brutal stevedore Crown, and mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves as Maria.

Director James Robinson, bass-baritone
Eric Owens, and soprano Angel Blue on
the Gershwins' Porgy and Bess.

Rough Ideas: Reflections on Music and More
Pianist, composer, writer, and all-around polymath Stephen Hough follows up his 2018 debut novel, The Final Retreat, with a book of essays titled Rough Ideas: Reflections on Music and More. He writes about music and the life of a musician, from exploring the broader aspects of what it is to walk out on to a stage or to make a recording, to specialist tips from deep inside the practice room: how to trill, how to pedal, how to practice. He also writes about people he has known, places he has travelled, books he has read, paintings he has seen; and touches on more controversial subjects, such as assisted suicide and abortion. As in his novel, religion is also an important theme, and he explores questions about the existence of God, problems with some biblical texts, and the challenges involved in being a gay Catholic.

JONATHAN BISS // FEB. 18MAR. 192430 @ 7:30pm // PHILADELPHIA
Four nights of Beethoven sonatas as part of Philadelphia CMS’s complete cycle

Jonathan Biss is one of four pianists invited by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary with performances of the composer’s piano sonatas. Each pianist contributes to a complete sonata cycle at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater, with Mr. Biss performing more than half of the 32 sonatas over four evenings. For him, these concerts continue more than a decade of immersion in the music of Beethoven, particularly the piano sonatas, which he continues to explore in concert, on recording, and via online lectures. The PCMS series also features Rudolf Buchbinder, Ingrid Fliter, and Richard Goode performing the remaining sonatas, as well as Mitsuko Uchida performing Beethoven bagatelles and variations.

Solo recital of works by composers from Haydn to Adès at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall

Following his Carnegie Hall collaborations with composer Thomas Adès last season, pianist Kirill Gerstein returns to Zankel Hall to perform a solo recital featuring not only the music of Adès, but also works by Haydn, Schubert, Liszt, Brahms, Busoni, Bartók, and Kurtág—the unifying theme being a shared connection to the rustic or folk. He performs Adès’s Blanca Variations—based on the Ladino folk tune Lavaba la blanca niña—from The Exterminating Angel, as well as several works of Hungarian origin or flavor: Liszt’s Ungarischer Geschwindsmarsch and Csárdás obstiné, Brahms’s Variations on a Hungarian Song, Op. 21/2, Bartók’s Piano Sonata, and Kurtág’s Selections from Játékok. He also performs Liszt’s Mephisto-Polka, Schubert’s “Wanderer Fantasy,” Haydn’s folk-themed Fantasia in C major, and Busoni’s “Turandots Frauengemach” from Elegien. In addition to bringing this program to Zankel Hall, Mr. Gerstein performs it at the Berliner Philharmonie and Wigmore Hall.

Met premiere and new production of Handel’s Agrippina

Handel’s Agrippina receives its first Met performances, with mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in the title role and Harry Bicket conducting. Sir David McVicar’s production reframes the action of this black comedy about the abuse of power to the present. The cast features mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey as Agrippina’s son and future emperor Nerone, soprano Brenda Rae as Poppea, countertenor Iestyn Davies as the officer Ottone, and bass Matthew Rose as the emperor Claudius.

MARCH 2020

L to R: Violinist Jennifer Koh; composer Courtney Bryan; San Francisco Symphony
Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas; composer John Adams.

Copland’s Symphony No. 3 with San Francisco Symphony
On recording and in concert this season, Michael Tilson Thomas leads the San Francisco Symphony in an exploration of the American sound, a recurring theme throughout his tenure as Music Director. “In many ways,” he says, “this sound was the creation of one man, Aaron Copland,” and on this digital recording, MTT conducts a work that fully embodies this American spirit, Copland’s third and final symphony. This recording is one of three by MTT and SFS this season that celebrate American music—the other two focusing on the works of Ives (in October) and MTT himself (in June).

JENNIFER KOH // MAR. 7 @ 8pm (NAPERVILLE, IL) // MAR. 9 @ 7:30pm (CHICAGO)
World premiere of Courtney Bryan’s Syzygy with Chicago Sinfonietta

Violinist Jennifer Koh premieres her fourth New American Concertoproject commission—and second this season—Courtney Bryan’s Syzygy, which she performs with the Chicago Sinfonietta under Music Director Mei-Ann Chen. In keeping with Ms. Koh’s vision for this multi-season commissioning project, Ms. Bryan reevaluates the place of the violin concerto in the 21st century while also using the form to address an American socio-cultural theme, in this case the artistic voices of women of color. Herself an African-American, Ms. Bryan was inspired in this composition by the works of African-American painter Alma Thomas, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, and Asian-American designer, architect, and artist Maya Ying Lin. The work of these three artists informs the musical material, while Ms. Koh’s violin acts as the leading and connecting voice. New American Concerto commissions also include works by Christopher Cerrone, Vijay Iyer (N.Y. premiere, Oct. 24), and Lisa Bielawa (world premiere, Jan. 15). // Naperville: Wentz Concert Hall; Chicago: Symphony Center.

Rachmaninoff project launches with Paganini Rhapsody and Piano Concertos No. 1 and 2
As part of the Minnesota Orchestra’s exploration of the Russian repertoire throughout the 2019–20 season, pianist and champion of this music Kirill Gerstein joins the orchestra in the spring to launch a new Rachmaninoff project that will encompass performances of all of the composer’s major works for piano and orchestra. Mr. Gerstein and the orchestra begin in March with Piano Concerto No. 2 conducted by Juanjo Mena (on a program that also includes Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7), followed in May by Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini conducted by Osmo Vänskä (on a program that also includes Rachmaninoff’s Three Russian Songs and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms). The project continues in the 2020–21 season. // Mar. 13, 14 @ 8pm, Mar. 15 @ 2pm; May 14 @ 11am, May 15, 16 @ 8pm (Orchestra Hall).

New production of Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer, starring Bryn Terfel
Bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel returns to the Met for the first time since 2012 in the title role of Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer. Valery Gergiev conducts a new production by François Girard, who directed the Met’s Parsifal in 2013. With sets by John Macfarlane, Mr. Girard’s new production turns the Met stage into a richly layered tableau reminiscent of a vast oil painting. Soprano Anja Kampe makes her Met debut as the devoted Senta, with bass Franz-Josef Selig as her father, Daland, and tenor Sergey Skorokhodov as her former lover, Erik.

Final Carnegie Hall performances as San Francisco Symphony Music Director, conducting New York premieres of his work Lope and John Adams’s I Still Dance
After numerous concerts at Carnegie Hall over his 25 years as San Francisco Symphony Music Director, Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the orchestra in its last two Carnegie Hall performances during his tenure. These two programs together serve as a microcosm of MTT’s artistry—from his work as a composer (N.Y. premiere of Lope), to his interpretations of the symphonic repertoire (Mahler’s Symphony No. 6) and modern classics (Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring), to his championing of new music, particularly by American Maverick composers (N.Y. premiere of John Adams’s I Still Dance, a Carnegie Hall / SFS co-commission that receives its world premiere in San Francisco, Mar. 6). He also reunites on the Carnegie stage with cellist Gautier Capuçon in Saint-Saëns’s Cello Concerto No. 1. // Mar. 17: MTT, Saint-Saëns, Stravinsky; Mar. 18: Adams, Mahler.

L to R: Pianist Jonathan Biss; painting of Ludwig van Beethoven by Julius Schmid.

JONATHAN BISS // MAR. 26 @ 7:30pm // NEW YORK
Recital of Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas at 92nd Street Y

Following the release of Jonathan Biss’s complete Beethoven piano sonatas on Orchid Classics, the pianist returns to New York for a recital of the composer’s three final sonatas—No. 30 in E major, Op. 109; No. 31 in A-flat major, Op. 110; and No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111—at the 92nd Street Y. Not only has Mr. Biss explored these works as part of his decade-long immersion into the music of Beethoven, but he has also performed and written about them for his Late Style project, which examines the phenomenon of stylistic change as composers approach the ends of their lives. In his e-book on this topic, Coda, he describes Beethoven’s last sonata as “his farewell to the genre in which he was most prolific, the genre which he revolutionized and nearly ruined for future composers, having exhaustively and awesomely mined the form’s every crevice, its every expressive possibility.”

World premiere of Nathan Lincoln DeCusatis’s The Maze

Utah Symphony continues its advocacy for the music of today when it gives the world premiere of Nathan Lincoln DeCusatis’s The Maze, a multimedia-infused violin concerto commissioned by concertmaster Madeline Adkins. Conducted by guest artist Kazuki Yamada, The Maze was inspired by the remote landscape of Utah’s Canyonlands and is the first work by this New York-based jazz and classical composer to be performed by the Utah Symphony. Recently, the composer also participated in a program sponsored by the National Parks Service to commission music inspired by Alaska’s Denali National Park. The Maze is one of numerous nature-inspired works to be performed by the Utah Symphony this season, most of which are programmed as part of its Messiaen series. // Abravanel Hall.

Beethoven piano concerto cycles with Grand Rapids and San Antonio Symphonies

Pianist Kirill Gerstein celebrates the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth with two complete performance cycles of his five piano concertos over two nights each with the Grand Rapids and San Antonio Symphonies. Mr. Gerstein describes Beethoven as “a towering presence who went beyond classical music to impact all of Western culture,” and he also performs five of the composer’s piano sonatas this season as part of a complete cycle by seven leading pianists at Chicago’s Symphony Center. // Grand Rapids: Mar. 27, 28 @ 8pm (DeVos Hall); San Antonio: Apr. 10, 11 @ 8pm (Tobin Center).

APRIL 2020

L to R: 2018 Gilmore Artist Igor Levit performing at the Gilmore Keyboard Festival; New World Symphony Fellows rehearse with middle- and high-school students for Side-by-Side WALLCAST® Concert.

SHAI WOSNER // APR. 5 @ 3pmAPR. 11 @ 7:30pm // NEW YORK
Chamber music with New York Philharmonic musicians and Dover Quartet

Each season, pianist Shai Wosner balances his solo engagements with his passion for chamber music, and within one week this spring, he performs a chamber program at the 92nd Street Y with New York Philharmonic musicians (Apr. 5) and a Peoples’ Symphony Concert at Washington Irving High School with the Dover Quartet (Apr. 11). His collaborations with musicians of the NY Phil have become an annual tradition, and at 92Y, he joins the NY Phil’s season-long Mahler celebration by performing in the composer’s sole surviving piece of chamber music: an early Piano Quartet, of which only one movement was completed. This fragmentary work is paired with Schumann’s Piano Quartet, also featuring Mr. Wosner, and Brahms’s String Sextet No. 1. With the Dover Quartet six days later, he performs Brahms’s Piano Quintet, as well as solo repertoire.

Puccini’s Tosca, starring Anna Netrebko

Soprano Anna Netrebko returns in the title role of Puccini’s Toscaafter making her role debut in 2018. Tenor Brian Jagde sings the part of the painter Cavaradossi, and baritone Michael Volle completes the opera’s love triangle as Scarpia. Bertrand de Billy conducts in this production by Sir David McVicar.

STEPHEN HOUGH // APR. 16 @ 7pm, APR. 18 @ 8pm // WASHINGTON, DC
Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with National Symphony at The Kennedy Center

Two weeks before the release of his complete Beethoven piano concertos on Hyperion Records, pianist Stephen Hough appears at The Kennedy Center performing Piano Concerto No. 3 with the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Louis Langrée. Mr. Hough describes this piano concerto as perhaps Beethoven’s “most moving,” due to its “journey from the darkness of the minor [key] to the wonderful [major key] coda of the last movement.” The Beethoven concertos have been a key focus of Mr. Hough’s repertoire in recent seasons, including in performances with the New York Philharmonic and St. Louis Symphony, as well as in complete cycles around the world.

15th biennial Gilmore Keyboard Festival

The Gilmore Keyboard Festival is internationally recognized as America’s most prestigious piano music festival. Its nearly 100 events showcase some of the most notable and accomplished pianists and keyboard musicians in the world along with artists just emerging on the international stage. The natural beauty of nearby Lake Michigan and rolling countryside filled with orchards, wineries, art galleries, and farmers markets add to the eclectic mix of piano and keyboard music, which range from classical to jazz in presentations from solo recital to musical theater. One week prior to the official start of the 2020 festival, soprano Renée Fleming and pianist Evgeny Kissin make their Gilmore debuts with a “Festival Prelude” concert, and among the festival offerings is pianist Maria João Pires’s Partitura Residency, presented for the first time in the U.S. Complete schedule of events to be announced in November.

Side-by-Side WALLCAST® Concert and Town Hall Master Class
New World Symphony’s annual Side-by-Side Concert and Town Hall Master Class are central to NWS’s efforts to engage young people with classical music, both as performers and listeners. Approximately 50 students (grades 7–12) share the New World Center stage with NWS Fellows, developing musical relationships with them through rehearsals for and performance in a WALLCAST® Concert led by NWS Co-Founder and Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas. Within days of this concert, MTT also leads NWS’s Town Hall Master Class, an open-forum master class that uses long-distance learning technology to bring together NWS Fellows and middle- and high-school student performers around the country.

MAY 2020

L to R: Composer Tobias Picker; pianist Stephen Hough.

Complete Beethoven piano concertos with Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra 

In recent seasons, pianist Stephen Hough’s concerto repertoire has centered on the five piano concertos of Beethoven, which now appear on his two-volume recording with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Chief Conductor Hannu Lintu. Though Mr. Hough has recorded many concertos by a wide range of composers, this is his first time recording those of Beethoven. In concert, he has performed select Beethoven concertos recently with the New York Philharmonic and St. Louis Symphony, as well as complete cycles around the world, and two weeks prior to the recording release, he performs Piano Concerto No. 3 at The Kennedy Center with the National Symphony Orchestra under Louis Langrée. He also writes about Beethoven’s concertos in his new book, Rough Ideas: Reflections on Music and

TOBIAS PICKER + TULSA OPERA // MAY 1 @ 7:30pm, MAY 3 @ 2:30pm // TULSA
New production of Picker and McClatchy’s Emmeline

Composer and Tulsa Opera Artistic Director Tobias Picker takes up the conductor’s baton for the first time when he leads director Tara Faircloth’s new production of his 1996 opera Emmeline, featuring soprano Madison Leonard in the title role. Adapted by librettist J.D. McClatchy from the novel by Judith Rossner, this two-act opera tells the story of an American teenager forced to give up her illegitimate child for adoption, only to fall from grace when family secrets are revealed twenty years later. In the novel, and in the opera’s premiere production at Santa Fe Opera, the action was set in the mid-19th century, but at Tulsa Opera, the tale is reimagined in the context of the 1930s and ‘50s. // Tulsa Performing Arts Center.

Pianist and Partitura Residency creator Maria João Pires
with project collaborator Julien Brocal.

Maria João Pires’s Partitura Residency; part of Gilmore Keyboard Festival

For the first time, pianist Maria João Pires brings her Partitura Residency initiative to the U.S., where it is presented by The Gilmore over nine days at the 15th biennial Gilmore Keyboard Festival. Ms. Pires conceived of these residencies in response to the hyper-competitiveness of today’s classical music world, which is challenged through daily group sessions, public recitals, and concerts in the community that promote cooperation and social engagement among pianists and with the public. Participants at the upcoming Partitura Residency include Ms. Pires, project partner Miloš Popović, an interdisciplinary collaborator, and six pianists chosen by application. Past residencies have been held around the world, from Belgium to Japan.

LA Opera’s Pelléas et Mélisande

After an absence of more than 20 years, Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande returns to LA Opera, conducted by Music Director James Conlon in a production by Sir David McVicar. In the title roles, soprano Kate Lindsey returns opposite baritone Yunpeng Wang. The cast also includes bass Christopher Purves as Golaud, mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby as Geneviève, and bass-baritone Willard White as King Arkel. // May 2, 10, 14, 17, 20, 23 (Dorothy Chandler Pavilion).

Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, starring Diana Damrau

The 2019–20 season of The Met: Live in HD closes with soprano Diana Damrau starring in the title role of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda. Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton is cast in the role of Queen Elizabeth I, and tenor Stephen Costello appears as the Earl of Leicester. Maurizio Benini conducts in this production by Sir David McVicar.

JUNE 2020

Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the San Francisco Symphony.
He becomes the orchestra's first Music Director Laureate on June 28.

Compositions by MTT, conducted by MTT with the San Francisco Symphony

Michael Tilson Thomas has been a composer for even longer than he has been a conductor, and on the final recording of his San Francisco Symphony directorship, he conducts three of his works, spanning more than 30 years. The newest composition on this all-MTT album is one that premieres this season—Rilke Songs, sung by mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and bass-baritone Ryan McKinny. The work is a six-part song cycle based on the lyric poems of German modernist Rainer Maria Rilke. Additional works on the recording are From the Diary of Anne Frank, a UNICEF commission narrated by mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, and Street Song for symphonic brass. The album comprises live recordings by MTT and SFS at Davies Symphony Hall from 2018 to 2020.

LA Opera’s new Marriage of Figaro, with costumes by Christian Lacroix

Music Director James Conlon closes the LA Opera season with Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in a new co-production with the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées created by filmmaker James Gray, with scenery by Santo Loquasto and costumes by fashion designer Christian Lacroix. The cast is led by bass-baritone Craig Colclough as Figaro and soprano Ying Fang in her company debut as Susanna, with baritone Christopher Maltman and soprano Guanqun Yu as Count and Countess Almaviva, and mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb as Cherubino. // Jun. 6, 14, 17, 20, 25, 28 (Dorothy Chandler Pavilion).

L to R: LA Opera Music Director James Conlon;
neurologist Oliver Sacks and composer Tobias Picker.

World premiere of Picker and Stollman’s Awakenings at Opera Theatre of St. Louis

Composer Tobias Picker’s sixth and newest opera, Awakenings, tells the true story of how his late friend, the neurologist Oliver Sacks, provided treatment to survivors of the great sleeping-sickness pandemic, encephalitis lethargica, which swept across the globe in the early 20th century. As told in the book by Dr. Sacks, which has been adapted into a libretto by writer and fellow physician Aryeh Lev Stollman, Dr. Sacks was researching the drug L-DOPA in the late 1960s and began using it to “awaken” these sleeping-sickness patients—men and women who had never stopped thinking or feeling—temporarily bringing them back to an active and engaged life. The world-premiere cast includes baritone Jarrett Logan Porter as Dr. Sacks, tenor David Portillo as Nurse Rodriguez, and soprano Joyce El-Khoury, tenor Paul Groves, and mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel as patients. Roberto Kalb conducts, and James Robinson directs. // Jun. 7, 11, 13, 20, 26 (Loretto-Hilton Center).

Semi-staged Der fliegende Holländer at San Francisco Symphony

As Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas has been at the forefront of re-imagining the concert experience through cutting-edge technology and elements of the theater—from sets and costumes to lighting and choreography—and his new semi-staged production of Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer marks the last of these performances during his SFS tenure. Since his and the orchestra’s semi-staged performances of this opera in 2003, such productions have become almost annual events at Davies Symphony Hall and have spanned the repertoire from operas and musicals to theatrical interpretations of concert works. The cast for the upcoming production includes Greer Grimsley as the Holländer and Stuart Skelton as Erik. // Davies Symphony Hall.

MTT celebrates 25 years with San Francisco Symphony in his final performances as Music Director, conducting Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 (“Symphony of a Thousand”)

A major chapter in the history of the San Francisco Symphony draws to an end as Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the last concerts of his 25-year tenure as Music Director. His tenure has been a period of significant growth and heightened international recognition for the orchestra, as well as deeper engagement with the city of San Francisco. In these performances, he conducts Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 (“Symphony of a Thousand”), for which he and the SFS won three Grammy Awards, and in which MTT recognizes an “incredible depth of humanity … humor … wit … parody [and] astonishing inventiveness.” Upon concluding the June 28 performance, he becomes the San Francisco Symphony’s first Music Director Laureate. // Jun. 25–27 @ 8pm, Jun. 28 @ 2pm (Davies Symphony Hall).

All programs, artists, dates, and times subject to change.

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