Coming Events: Orchestras Launch Their New Season


DATE BOOK — As the 2016-17 symphony orchestra season gets under way in the U.S., music directors are celebrating prized relationships, introducing new works, and resurrecting forgotten gems. Here are some late-September offerings that caught our eye.

Chicago: Muti, DiDonato dig into Italian treasure chest

Sept. 29, 30, Oct. 1, Symphony Center: Full details
Joyce DiDonato (Pari Dukovic)
Joyce DiDonato (Pari Dukovic)

Music director Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra are joined by mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in Giuseppe Martucci’s La canzone dei ricordi (The Song of Memories), settings of seven poems by Rocco Pagliara. Written in the late 1880s, this cycle of ardent songs, cast in a richly Wagnerian orchestration, is perhaps the benchmark work of a lyrically gifted Italian composer who never answered the siren call of opera. In the modern era, Muti is Martucci’s champion, as was Toscanini earlier, and the work is being performed by the CSO for the first time. The program includes Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony and another nostalgic Italian favorite never before played by the CSO — Contemplazione by Alfredo Catalani. He is today best remembered for his opera La Wally, which was featured in the 1981 French thriller film Diva, directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix. The concert will be recorded for radio broadcast/streaming and considered for a future release on the in-house label CSO Resound.

Cleveland: Organ shines in youthful Copland work

Sept. 29, 30, Severance Hall: Full details
Organist Paul Jacobs (Fran Kaufman)
Paul Jacobs (Fran Kaufman)

Music Director Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra are joined by organist Paul Jacobs in Aaron Copland’s early Symphony for Organ and Orchestra, the composer’s first fully realized orchestral work, written when he was 24. Jacobs, chair of Juilliard’s organ department and the first organist to win a Grammy, has recorded the symphony with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra on a disc that also features music by Charles Ives. Cleveland’s opening night concert pairs Copland and Ives as well, with the latter composer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Symphony No. 3 (The Camp Meeting) continuing the American theme. The concert ends with Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2.

Boston: Nelsons starts with a gift for local opera fans

Sept. 29, Oct. 1, Symphony Hall: Full details
Renee Fleming (Jonathan Tichler)
Renée Fleming (Jonathan Tichler)

Soprano Renée Fleming has said that her signature role of the Marschallin in Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier at the Met and Covent Garden in the new Robert Carsen production will be her last mainstream opera appearances, although she will retain a busy schedule of performing in concert and serving in various artistic consultancies, her latest with Yo-Yo Ma as the Kennedy Center’s artistic advisers at large, advocating and fostering the center’s ideals through programming and public engagement. Boston Symphony music director Andris Nelsons will conduct her Covent Garden run along with two season-opening concert performances in Boston, where Fleming will be joined by soprano Erin Morley as Sophie, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, and bass Franz Hawlata as Baron Ochs. (Fleming will also sing in season-opening galas at the San Francisco Symphony Sept. 7, the Oregon Symphony Sept. 10, the Pacific Symphony Sept. 13, the Toronto Symphony Sept. 21, and St.Paul’s Schubert Club with pianist Hartmut Höll Oct. 5.)

Detroit: Slatkin premieres Big Data, by ‘cyber-singing’ composer

Sept. 29, 30, Orchestra Hall: Full details

Music director Leonard Slatkin and the DSO will perform the world premiere of Big Data by Catalan composer Ferran Cruixent, whose sound, according to Slatkin, is “unlike anything you have ever heard” (watch and listen below). Cruixent is known for what he calls “cyber singing,” which combines instruments with technology. In November 2013 the DSO performed the U.S. premiere of Cruixent’s Cyborg, which incorporated the orchestra members’ own cell phones into the composition using a mobile app. Opposite the Big Data world premiere, violinist Hilary Hahn performs the Beethoven Concerto.

Minneapolis: Stephen Paulus remembered in Mass for a Sacred Place

Sept. 29, 30, Oct. 1,  Orchestra Hall: Full details
Stephen Paulus (Sharolyn Hagen)
Stephen Paulus (Sharolyn Hagen)

Music director Osmo Vänskä conducts the Minnesota Orchestra and Minnesota Chorale in Mass for a Sacred Place, a 2003 work by Stephen Paulus, the Twin Cities composer who died in 2014. The mass was commissioned by the Cathedral Choral Society of Washington, D.C. The composer attributed the title to two places: Washington National Cathedral, where it was first performed, and the “sacred place” that resides within each individual. Listen to excerpts here. These concerts also include Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1, showcasing orchestra horn players Michael Gast and Brian Jensen, and Ginastera’s Harp Concerto, featuring principal harp Kathy Kienzle.

Philadelphia: Nézet-Séguin concentrates on unfinished business

Sept. 29; Oct. 1, 2, Kimmel Center: Full details
Yannick Nézet-Séguin (Marco Borggreve)
Yannick Nézet-Séguin (Marco Borggreve)

Music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra spotlight incomplete works and compelling fragments: Mozart’s Mass in C minor, Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, and American composer Christopher TheofanidisRainbow Body (2000), which is built around portions of a Hildegard von Bingen chant and inspired by a Tibetan Buddhist concept. Soprano Lucy Crowe and mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey tackle Mozart’s demanding parts, joined by tenor Nicholas Phan, bass-baritone Phillipe Sly, and the Westminster Symphonic Choir, which will be performing several times with both the New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra this season — full schedule here.