The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s 2015-16 season is jam-packed with classics, world premieres, distinguished guest artists and choral masterworks to mark the 100th birthday of legendary ASO maestro Robert Shaw.

Runnicles (left), Spano
Runnicles (left), Spano

The 25-week subscription season, the orchestra’s 71st, also marks the 15th year of artistic leadership by music director Robert Spano and principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles. Some highlights:

Spano will lead the orchestra and chorus in Brahms’ Requiem in Atlanta and at Carnegie Hall.


Norman Mackenzie, ASO director of choruses, will lead the Robert Shaw Choral Celebration.

The orchestra will perform world premieres by Mark Grey, ASO bassist Michael Kurth and two by Jonathan Leshnoff.

The season will include seven Atlanta premieres.


Assistant conductor Joseph Young, who leads the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, will make his subscription season debut.

The orchestra will expand residencies with the University of Georgia, Kennesaw State University and Reinhardt University.

The roster of guest artists includes pianists André Watts, Vadym Kholodenko (Ukraine), Javier Perianes (Spain), Peter Serkin (U.S.), Yevgeny Sudbin (Russia), Alexandre Tharaud (France) and Simon Trpceski (Macedonia). Plus violinists Itzhak Perlman, Karen Gomyo (Canada), Augustin Hadelich (Germany) and Robert McDuffie (U.S.)


The POPS! program led by conductor Michael Krajewski will grow from seven to 10 weekends.

“Casual Friday” (formerly “First Friday”) classical concerts will continue with hourlong 6:30 p.m. concerts. Look for them Oct. 2 and Jan. 8, Feb. 5 and May 6, 2016.

The lineup, in chronological order (even more details HERE):

Season ticket packages are on sale now HERE or at 404.733.4800. Tickets to individual concerts go on sale in August. Six-concert Classical Series packages begin at $114; for 12 concerts at $216; for 18 concerts at $324; and for 24 concerts at $432. POPS! packages begin at $141 for the six-concert series. Compose Your Own Series deals begin at $19 per ticket for four or more concerts. Family Concert Series packages begin at $15, holiday concerts at $20.

  • SEPT. 17. Spano leads the ASO in Mahler’s Second Symphony, Resurrection.
  • SEPT. 18. Seth MacFarlane performs Big Band hits, classic songs and vocals with the orchestra. Tickets go on sale May 15.
  • SEPT. 24-25. Spano conducts the Atlanta premiere of Israeli composer Avner Dorman’s Spices, Perfumes, Toxins!, showcasing ASO percussionists Thomas Sherwood and Charles Settle.
  • OCT. 8, 10-11. Principal flute Christina Smith and principal harp Elisabeth Remy Johnson perform Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp. Runnicles conducts.
  • OCT. 16-17. POPS! concert – Classical Mystery Tour – A Tribute to the Beatles.
  • OCT. 30-31. POPS! concert – Danny Elfman’s Music From the Films of Tim Burton. Spooky music and film clips from Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare Before Christmas and more.
  • OCT. 31. Family concert – Halloween Hijinks! Assistant conductor Joseph Young leads a program that includes music from Harry Potter, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Night on Bald Mountain and a few surprises. Costumes welcome, prizes awarded.
  • NOV. 5-7. Spano conducts the world premiere of American composer Jonathan Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 2, inspired by the book Innerspace by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, which explores the wonders of Jewish mysticism.
  • NOV. 12-14. Spano conducts Verdi’s Requiem.
  • NOV. 27-28. POPS! concert – Star Wars and More, the Music of John Williams.
  • DEC. 3. Michael Feinstein’s Sinatra Centennial Celebration with the ASO. Sale date not yet available.
  • DEC. 4-6. Holiday concert – Cirque de la Symphonie’s Holiday Spectacular.
  • DEC. 9. Holiday concert – The Vienna Boys Choir does holiday favorites, traditional carols and sing-alongs.
Christmas With the ASO
Christmas With the ASO
  • DEC. 12-13. Holiday concert – Christmas With the ASO. The five-decade-old tradition continues with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Morehouse College Glee Club and the Gwinnett Young Singers.
  • DEC. 17 + 19. Holiday concert – A Very Merry Holiday POPS! Krajewski leads the ASO, with vocals by Capathia Jenkins, Morris Robinson and the All-City High School Chorus.
  • JAN. 2-3, 2016. Home Alone (film with live orchestra). Conductor Constantine Kitsopolous leads the ASO as it performs John Williams’ score accompanying the full-length movie live at Symphony Hall.
  • JAN. 7-9. Principal cello Christopher Rex performs the Korngold Cello Concerto, led by French conductor Ludovic Morlot.
  • JAN. 14 + 16. Spano conducts Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 14, with bass Morris Robinson, ASO artist-in-residence as featured vocalist.
  • JAN. 15, 2016. Spano and Young conduct a concert in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Artist-in-residence Morris Robinson provides the vocals.
  • JAN. 21-23. Runnicles conducts Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.
  • FEB. 4-6. Spano conducts the world premiere of a new work by ASO bassist Michael Kurth; concertmaster David Coucheron plays Brahms’ Violin Concerto.
  • FEB. 12-14. POPS! concert – Valentine’s Romance With John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey. Love songs and duets by the jazz guitarist and Broadway regular/vocalist Jessica Molaskey, his wife.
Molaskey, Pizzarelli
  • FEB. 14. Family concert – My Family Valentine. Classical favorites based on the greatest love stories of all time, including Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet and Sleeping Beauty.
  • FEB. 25-27. Spano conducts the world premiere of American composer Mark Grey’s The Frankenstein Symphony, a full-length opera based upon the Mary Shelley novel.
  • MARCH 10-12. Mackenzie conducts A Robert Shaw Choral Celebration, including such works as Mozart’s Mass in C and Verdi’s Stabat Mater.
  • MARCH 16. Family concert Musical Storytime with the ASO. Featuring some of the most exciting musical stories of all time, including Huckleberry Finn from Mississippi Suite, Empress of the Pagodas from the Mother Goose Suite and the retelling of a West African tale made famous by the children’s book Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock.  
  • March 18-19. POPS! concert – Tapestry: The Carole King Songbook Featuring Liz Callaway. Callaway is a regular on Broadway, in clubs and on the concert stage.
  • APRIL 14-16. Spano conducts Brahms’ A German Requiem and Leshnoff’s Zohar, a world premiere written in Shaw’s honor. (A German Requiem will be performed at Carnegie Hall on April 30, Shaw’s birthday.)
  • MAY 13-15. POPS! concert – Broadway’s Golden Age. An evening of classics performed by the ASO and Chorus, created for the ASO in conjunction with Broadway Pops International.
  • MAY 19 + 21. Assistant conductor and ASYO music director Joseph Young conducts Haydn’s Symphony No. 46 and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet Suite. Christina and Michelle Naughton perform Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos.
  • MAY 27-29. POPS! concert – Michael Cavanaugh Performs the Music of Elton John and More. Cavanaugh, who has made a name with his symphonic rock shows, is joined by guest conductor Stuart Chafetz.
  • JUNE 9, 11-12. Spano conducts the season-closing concert, which features Brahms Symphony No. 2 and pianist André Watts.