THE ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA’S 2018/19 season features more Bernstein and Beethoven, one world premiere, five ASO premieres and a roster of guest conductors old and new that includes Roberto Abbado, Edward Gardner and Peter Oundjian. It also celebrates French, Russian and Spanish music.
The season, the orchestra’s 74th, begins Sept. 20 with Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky and ends June 8, 2019, with Beethoven’s Fidelio. It includes the 24-week classical series, holiday concerts, family concerts, movies in concert and Atlanta Symphony Hall LIVE. Music director Robert Spano and principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles will lead the ASO for an 18th season.
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The symphony will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I with several pieces, including Shostakovitch’s Leningrad Symphony; Bernstein’s Halil; Elgar’s Cello Concerto; and Britten’s War Requiem, which includes poetry from Wilfred Own, a writer of the era.
All concerts are at Symphony Hall in the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown, unless otherwise noted. The season, in chronological order, lines up like this:
RACHMANINOV + TCHAIKOVSKY. Sept. 20-23. Robert Spano conducts Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, with Kirill Gerstein, a Jewish-American and Russian pianist, as guest soloist.
LANG LANG. Sept. 26. The Chinese pianist joins guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen and the ASO for a program featuring Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Symphony No. 40 and Piano Concerto No. 24.
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. Sept. 28. The ASO’s Stephen Mulligan conducts Jongen’s Symphonie Concertante and Guilmat’s Symphony No. 1 with guest organist Jens Korndörfer.
VIVE LA FRANCE. Oct. 11 + 13. The ASO is joined by guest conductor Jun Märkl and violinist Giora Schmidt for Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini Overture, Vieuxtemps’ Violin Concerto No. 5 and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé (complete ballet).
BRITTEN WAR REQUIEM. Oct. 25 + 27. Runnicles, the ASO and the ASO Chorus are joined by soprano Evelina Dobračeva, tenor Thomas Cooley, baritone Russell Braun and the Gwinnett Young Singers.
BRAHMS + BEETHOVEN. Nov. 8 + 10. Guest conductor Robert Abbado and violinist Veronika Eberle join the ASO for Rossini’s String Sonata No. 1, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 and Brahms’ Violin Concerto.
DISNEY IN CONCERT. Nov. 25. Conductor TBA. 1:30 + 3:30 p.m.
RACHMANINOV REVISITED. Nov. 29 + Dec. 1. Edward Gardner and pianist Simon Trpčeski join the ASO for Rachmaninov’s Isle of the Dead, Piano Concerto No. 4 and Symphonic Dances.
CHRISTMAS WITH THE ASO. Dec. 8-9 (four concerts). Norman Mackenzie leads the ASO, the ASO Chorus, the Morehouse College Glee Club and the Gwinnett Young Singers in this holiday tradition.
ASO HOLIDAY CONCERT (North Avenue Presbyterian Church). Dec. 13. Stephen Mulligan conducts the orchestra.
MESSIAH. Dec. 13. Mackenzie conducts the ASO and ASO Chamber Chorus.
A FESTIVE FAMILY HOLIDAY. Dec. 16. Mulligan conducts the ASO. 1:30 + 3:30 p.m.
A VERY MERRY HOLIDAY. Dec. 20-21. Mulligan again conducts the ASO.
LEONARD BERNSTEIN: AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL. Jan. 10 + 12. Guest conductor Christopher Allen leads the ASO in Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story; Prelude, Fugue and Riffs; and Songs and Dances. ASO clarinetist Laura Ardan is featured, along with mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and baritone Joseph Lattanzi.
SHOSTAKOVICH: SHOCK AND AWE. Jan. 17 + 19. Cellist Johannes Moser joins Spano and the ASO for Leonard Bernstein’s Three Meditations from Mass and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7, Leningrad.
JONATHAN BISS PLAYS BEETHOVEN. Jan. 23. This program features Piano Sonata No. 6 in F Major, Opus 10, No. 2; Piano Sonata No. 20 in G Major, Opus 49, No. 2; Piano Sonata No. 18 in E-flat Major, Opus 31, No. 3, The Hunt; and Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major, Opus 106, Hammerklavier.
BERLIOZ’S FANTASTIC SYMPHONY. Jan. 24 + 26. Spano conducts Alex Turley’s City of Ghosts (an ASO premiere), Jennifer Higdon’s Viola Concerto (also an ASO premiere) and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. The ASO is joined by Roberto Diaz on viola.
RACH 3. Feb. 14 + 16. Powerhouse pianist Nikolai Luganski joins the ASO and maestro Mulligan for Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Also planned: Sibelius’ Symphony No. 1.
ASO CHORUS PERFORMS VERDI. Feb. 21 + 23. Spano conducts a program featuring Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, Jupiter, and Verdi’s Four Sacred Pieces.
CLASSICAL FAIRY TALES. March 2. The music is Ravel’s Mother Goose (the complete ballet) and Paulus/Robert Elhai’s Jump. Choreographer Lauri Stallings and the moving artists of glo join Spano and the ASO.
JONATHAN BISS PLAYS BEETHOVEN. March 6. This program features Piano Sonata No. 25 in G Major, Opus 79; Piano Sonata No. 11 in B-flat Major, Opus 22; Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Opus 27, No. 2, Moonlight; Piano Sonata No. 24 in F-sharp Major, Opus 78; and Piano Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Opus 109.
VIVA ESPANA! March 7 + 9. Hear Ravel’s Alborada del gracioso, Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole and Falla’s The Three-Cornered Hat (the complete ballet). ASO concertmaster David Coucheron is the violin soloist. No conductor has been announced.
MAGICAL MUSICAL ADVENTURE. March 17. Mulligan conducts the ASO. 1:30 + 3:30 p.m.
STRAUSS AND BRAHMS. March 21 + 23. Popular guest conductor Peter Oundjian is on the podium for Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 (with guest artist Benjamin Grosvenor) and Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra.
BEETHOVEN: TRIPLE DELIGHT. March 28-29. Spano conducts Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Triple Concerto, and Schumann’s Symphony No. 1, Spring, with guests Daniel Hope on violin, David Finckel on cello (making his ASO debut) and Wu Han on piano.
CONCERTO NIGHT. April 4 + 6. Spano conducts Michael Gandolfi’s Imaginary Numbers, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra with guest artist Jeremy Denk on piano and ASO soloists Elizabeth Koch Tiscione on oboe, Laura Ardan on clarinet, Andrew Brady on bassoon and Brice Andrus on French horn.
BEETHOVEN + BERNSTEIN: PART 1. April 11 + 13-14. Guest conductor Thomas Søndergård leads the ASO and ASO Chorus in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, with soprano Jessica Rivera, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Lauricella, tenor Thomas Cooley, countertenor Daniel Moody (in his ASO debut) and bass Andrea Mastroni (also in his ASO debut) as guest artists.
JONATHAN BISS PLAYS BEETHOVEN. April 17. Piano Sonata No. 19 in G minor, Opus 49, No. 1; Piano Sonata No. 16 in G Major, Opus 31, No. 1; Piano Sonata No. 7 in D Major, Opus 10, No. 3; Piano Sonata No. 27 in E minor, Opus 90; and Piano Sonata No. 28 in A Major, Opus 101.
ELGAR CELLO CONCERTO AT 100. April 25 + 27. Guest conductor Carlos Kalmar and cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason join the ASO for the Elgar. Also planned: Sullivan’s Overture di Ballo and Schumann’s Symphony No. 2.
MADE IN PARIS! May 2 + 4. Guest conductor Lionel Bringuier and pianist Lise de la Salle join the ASO for Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 4 (an ASO premiere), Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G and Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite (1919).
DA DA DA DUUUHHHH! May 9 + 11. Spano and the ASO perform Richard Prior’s … of shadow and light …, James Oliverio’s Double Timpani Concerto and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, with the ASO’s Mark Yancich and brother Paul Yancich on timpani.
JONATHAN BISS PLAYS BEETHOVEN. May 22. Piano Sonata No. 15 in D Major, Opus 28, Pastoral; Piano Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Opus 14, No. 2; Piano Sonata No. 3 in C Major, Opus 2, No. 3; and Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Opus 111.
FABULOUS FRANCE. May 23 + 25. Michaud’s Le boeuf sur le toit, Canteloube’s Songs of the Auvergne, Debussy’s Préludes (an ASO debut) and La Mer. Runnicles conducts, with Kim-Lillian Strebel as the soprano soloist.
BEETHOVEN + BERNSTEIN: PART 2. May 30 + June 1-2. Runnicles conducts Beethoven’s Lenore Overture No. 3 and Symphony No. 6, Pastoral, and Bernstein’s Halil (an ASO debut). The ASO’s Christina Smith solos on the flute.
BEETHOVEN’S FIDELIO. June 6 + 8. Beethoven’s only opera follows Leonore, who disguises herself as a prison guard named Fidelio, to rescue her husband, Florestan, from death in a political prison. Performed by the ASO, the ASO Chorus and seven soloists — baritone Nmon Ford singing Pizarro, soprano Christine Goerke singing Leonore, tenor Joseph Kaiser singing Florestan, tenor Miles Mykkanen as Jacquino, bass Morris Robinson as Don Fernando, soprano Laura Tatulescu as Marzelline and bass Arthur Woodley as Rocco.