Seven premieres on tap in Boston Symphony’s 2019-20 season

March 28, 2019 at 3:00 pm

By Aaron Keebaugh

Andris Nelsons will lead fifteen weeks of programs in the Boston Symphony Orchestra's 2019-20 season. Photo: Marco Borggreve

Andris Nelsons will lead fifteen weeks of programs in the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s 2019-20 season. Photo: Marco Borggreve

The Boston Symphony Orchestra will present seven world and American premieres in the 2019-2020 season in addition to joint performances with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, an ensemble with which it has shared a close relationship since Andris Nelsons became conductor of both ensembles.

Nelsons and the BSO will embark on their first tour of Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Shanghai February 6-16, 2020. The conductor will also lead the orchestra in three programs at Carnegie Hall (November 18, 2019 and April 14 and 15, 2020).

Next season will mark the fifth anniversary of Nelsons’ tenure as music director of the BSO, and he will lead the orchestra in fifteen programs dedicated to both new and familiar repertoire.

The world premieres to be led by Nelsons include Eric Nathan’s Concerto for Orchestra (September 19-21), Betsy Jolas’s Letters from Bachville (November 7-12), and Arturs Maskats’s My river runs to thee (Homage to Emily Dickinson) (November 21-26). 

Nelsons will also conduct the American premiere of HK Gruber’s Short Stories from the Vienna Woods (April 2-4) and the Boston premieres of James Lee III’s Sukkot Through Orion’s Nebula (October 3-5) and Galina Grigorjeva’s On Leaving for unaccompanied choir (November 21-26). BSO assistant conductor Yu-An Chang will make his subscription debut leading the world premiere of a new work by Chinchun Chi-sun Lee (January 16-21), and Susanna Mälkki will conduct the American premiere of a new score by Dieter Ammann (October 24-26).

The annual Leipzig Week in Boston will bring the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra to the city in late October for a two-week residency. Nelsons will lead a program dedicated to Brahms’s Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra, featuring Leonidas Kavakos and Gautier Capuçon as soloists, and Schubert’s Great Symphony in C (October 27). Capuçon will also appear as soloist in Schumann’s Cello Concerto as part of a Nelsons-led program dedicated to Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony and music by Mahler and Wagner (October 29).

The BSO and LGO will team up for a series of Nelsons concerts that will feature Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy, Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, and works by Haydn and Strauss (October 31-Novemebr 2).

Nelsons will continue his ongoing and award-winning BSO survey of Shostakovich’s symphonies by leading the composer’s little-heard Symphony No. 2, “To October,” (November 21-23, 26) and Symphony No. 12 (November 7-12).

The orchestra’s tradition of presenting concert opera in Symphony Hall will continue April 9 and 11, 2020 when Nelsons leads Act III of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. The all-star cast will include soprano Emily Magee (Isolde), tenor Jonas Kaufmann (Tristan), mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung (Brangäne), bass-baritone Kostas Smoriginas (Kurwenal), bass Günther Groissböck (Marke), and tenor Andrew Rees (Melot).

Nelsons’ other BSO programs will feature Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra (April 17-18), Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 (January 23-25), Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 (November 14-16), Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3 (April 2-4), Strauss’s Symphonia Domestica (September 26-October 1), Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2 (April 18), and a selection from Smetana’s Má Vlast (October 3-5).

In addition to the Ammann premiere, Susanna Mälkki will lead a program of Fauré, Debussy, and Messiaen (October 24-26). Other podium guests include André Raphel, who will conduct Uri Caine’s The Passion of Octavius Catto alongside music by Samuel Coleridge–Taylor and William Grant Still (March 19-21). András Schiff will make his first BSO appearance as conductor and pianist in music of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and Bartók (October 17-19). 

BSO artistic partner Thomas Adès will conduct his own Lieux Retrouvés for cello and orchestra, featuring Steven Isserlis as soloist, as well as music by Stravinsky (March 26-28). Christoph von Dohnányi will close the season with a program dedicated to music of Haydn, Ligeti, and Tchaikovsky (April 30-May 2, 2020).

James Burton will lead the Tanglewood Festival Chorus in Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil in a post-concert performance on April 17, 2020 in celebration of the ensemble’s fiftieth anniversary.

Some of the more offbeat works to be heard next season include Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 5 (October 10-12); Samuel Barber’s Medea’s Mediation and Dance of Vengeance (January 23-25); William Walton’s Cello Concerto, with soloist Johannes Moser, and Duruflé’s Requiem (February 27-29, March 3, 2020); Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Metacosmos (March 5-7); Ligeti’s Double Concerto for Flute and Oboe, which will feature the BSO’s own Elizabeth Rowe and John Ferrillo (April 30-May 2); and Periklis Koukos’s In Memoriam Y.A. Papioannu (April 23-28).

Next season will see prominent pianists returning to Symphony Hall in a wide range of repertoire. Leif Ove Andsnes will offer Grieg’s Piano Concerto (November 14-16). Yefim Bronfman will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 (January 28) and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 (January 30-31). Jean-Yves Thibaudet will tackle Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F (April 2-4). Mitsuko Uchida will take on Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G (November 7-12), and Yuja Wang will be featured in Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1, which will also spotlight BSO principal trumpeter Thomas Rolfs (October 3-5).

Violinists to perform next season include Augustin Hadelich in Beethoven’s Violin Concerto (September 26-October 1), and Daniel Lozakovich in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto (November 21-26). Midori will perform Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 (April 23-28), and BSO principal cellist Blaise Déjardin will make his first appearance as concerto soloist with the BSO in Saint-Saëns’s Cello Concerto No. 1 (April 17-18).

The Boston Symphony Chamber Players will offer four concerts featuring music by Stravinsky, Thomson, Carter, and Gubaidulina (October 20), works by Schulhoff, Kurtág, Martinů, Reinecke, and Brahms (January 19), a program of Mendelssohn, Ethel Smyth, Eric Nathan, and Kevin Puts (March 22), and works by Bach, Gandolfi, Dahl, and Britten (April 26). All concerts will take place in Jordan Hall.

Subscriptions for the 2029-2020 season go on sale 10 a.m. March 29. bso.org; 888-266-1200

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