Celebrity Series rolls out a starry lineup for 2015-16 season

April 22, 2015 at 12:23 pm

By Aaron Keebaugh

Lang Lang will perform October 25 at Symphony Hall in the Celebrity Series of Boston’s 2015-16 season.

True to its name, the Celebrity Series of Boston will showcase a star-studded line-up of classical music performances in the 2015-2016 season.

“For most of our patrons it is a recognizable Celebrity Series season, which has not only high-quality performances but a mix of veteran performers and a nice mix of several debuts,” said Gary Dunning, president and executive director of the Celebrity Series.  “I think people, if they take a look at [the programs], there’s a lot to discover.”

Spotlighting the organization’s 77th season will be piano superstar Lang Lang, who will perform a recital of works by Bach, Tchaikovsky, and Chopin October 25 at Symphony Hall.

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and his longtime accompanist Kathryn Stott will return to the Celebrity Series in a performance on November 17. Violinist Itzhak Perlman will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of In the Fiddler’s House in a performance with special guests Hankus Netsky, clarinetist Andy Statman, and the Klezmer Conservatory Band on March 6. In addition, Gil Shaham will perform Bach’s Six Solos for violin to the accompaniment of original films by David Michalek on November 1 at Sanders Theatre.

Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham will appear in a solo recital with works by Fauré, Mahler, Ravel, Poulenc, and Granados April 29 at Jordan Hall. Other vocalists include Dawn Upshaw in folk songs as well as works by Schubert, Messiaen, Bartók, Kodály, Ives, and Bolcom (October 17). Two singers will also make their Celebrity Series debut. Irish mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught will appear in recital December 2 at Pickman Hall, and tenor Paul Appleby, a regular artist at the Metropolitan Opera, will perform March 9 at the same location.

Orchestras slotted to appear next season will include the Bach Collegium Japan, conducted by Masaaki Suzuki, in works by Vivaldi, Handel, and Bach, featuring soprano Joanne Lunn (November 8). Conductor Daniele Gatti will lead the Orchestre National de France in Debussy’s Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, featuring pianist Alexandre Tharaud (January 24). And violinist Joshua Bell will appear in dual roles as conductor and soloist with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in music by Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and Ligeti (March 20).

“I think the general philosophy [of programming] starts with the artist,” Dunning said. “It’s about quality, that’s the core value.”

“For me it’s also about what I call ‘vulnerability,’” Dunning added. “I like the artists who are capable of sort of opening up themselves and being vulnerable to an audience, and the audience is a participant in the live concert experience. And I think that’s when you get a more powerful connection.”

Two pianists giving recitals next season certainly possess that quality. Emanuel Ax will perform Beethoven’s Pathétique and Appassionata sonatas alongside keyboard works by Dussek and C. P. E. Bach (May 1), and András Schiff will explore the final piano sonatas of Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, and Schubert (February 26).

Other pianists will include Denis Kozhukhin, who will make his Celebrity Series debut in a recital of Haydn, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Franck, and Prokofiev (January 20). And MacArthur Fellow Jeremy Denk returns to the Celebrity Series in a solo recital April 2 at Jordan Hall.

For chamber music, the 2015-2016 season will feature the Pavel Haas Quartet in a Celebrity Series debut with music by Martinů, Dvořák, and Beethoven (October 22); the Takács Quartet in music by Haydn, Dvořák, and the Boston premiere of a new work by Timo Andres (December 4); the Brooklyn Rider Quartet and Gabriel Kahane in music for strings and voice (February 5); and the Jerusalem String Quartet, with pianist Inon Barnatan, in music by Beethoven, Bartók, and Brahms (April 17).

Other instrumentalists will include violinist Christian Tetzlaff, cellist Tanja Tetzlaff, and pianist Lars Vogt in a recital exploring piano trios by Schumann and Brahms along with Dvořák’s “Dumky” trio (February 27). Cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han will team up with clarinetist David Shifrin in music by Beethoven, Bruch, and Brahms (January 15). Violinist Jennifer Koh and pianist Shai Wosner  will make their Celebrity Series debuts with a new piece by Vijay Iyer and sonatas by Beethoven, including the Kreutzer (November 18).

Guitarist Miloš Karadaglič returns to the Celebrity Series with a recital February 21 at Jordan Hall, and mandolinist Avi Avital, along with accordionist Ksenija Sidorova and percussionist Itamar Doari, will explore the boundaries between folk and classical music through the works of Kreisler, Bach, Villa-lobos, Bartók, and traditional Turkish and Israeli music (March 11).

Rob Kapilow’s What Makes it Great? will spotlight Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 with musical support by the New England Conservatory Philharmonia (March 6).

As in past seasons, venues are split between Symphony Hall, Jordan Hall and Pickman Hall.

Highlighting Celebrity Series’ jazz offerings next season will be Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (November 22). Also making appearances will be Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés (November 12), the Mack Avenue Superband (February 4), and a trio consisting of pianist David Pérez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade (November 20).

For dance lovers, the ten-member, all-male BalletBoyz will perform January 29 and 30, 2016 at the Shubert Theater, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre will return for their annual visit March 17-20, 2016 at the Citi Wang Theater.

Subscriptions and tickets for the Celebrity Series’ 2015-2016 season go on sale today. celebrityseries.org.

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