The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra promised sparks flying on their opening night, Sept. 25, and they didn’t disappoint. ASO President and CEO Allison Vulgamore addressed a small pre-show gathering at Gallery 100, enthusing that having Bach, Beethoven and Brahms on the same program was “like having spoonfuls of honey.”

Conductor Robert Spano kicked off the concert with a rousing rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner,” encouraging the crowd to sing along. Unlike ballpark crowds, these people can sing. I swear the woman next to me was operatically trained. Regardless, it was a moving way to kick off a season of world-class concerts.

Arrangements for the Bach piece brought the orchestra’s talents into sharp relief, pianist Emanuel Ax was masterful during the Beethoven selection, and the Brahms selection was a thrilling closer. This week, the B-Loved classical series continues with three other selections from the masters and Peter Serkin on the piano.