A retrospective 2024-25 BSO season will also offer premieres, Mahler and Korngold rarities

April 4, 2024 at 12:00 pm

By Jonathan Blumhofer

Andris Nelsons will open the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s 2024-25 season with a gala concert on September 19. Photo: Robert Torres

The Boston Symphony Orchestra celebrates Andris Nelsons’ first decade as music director while also highlighting new and recent initiatives in its 2024-25 season, which was announced Thursday. Though at times retrospective, the upcoming year does include a series of premieres as well as Nelsons conducting a pair of landmark scores by Gustav Mahler and Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

Nelsons kicks off the festivities with a gala concert on September 19. The event includes a new work by Carlos Simon, who begins a three-year appointment as the first occupant of the BSO’s Deborah and Philip Edmundson Composer Chair, plus pianists Lang Lang and Gina Alice Redlinger playing Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals, violinist Keila Wakao performing Ravel’s Tzigane, and mezzo-soprano Susan Graham singing selections from Cantaloube’s Songs of the Auvergne.

Nelsons’ other fall appearances include an all-American concert with a premiere by Tania León alongside music by Copland, Barber, and Simon (September 26-28) and, for the first time at Symphony Hall in twenty years, Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 8  (October 4-6). In November, he leads the BSO in Kevin Puts’ The Brightness of Light, featuring soprano Renée Fleming and baritone Rod Gilfry (November 21-23), and splits a Nordic program with Tanglewood conducting fellows (November 29 & 30).

Most of Nelsons’ 2025 dates revisit the conductor’s bread-and-butter: there’s a survey of the complete Beethoven symphonies (four programs from January 9-25) as well as a reprise of several Shostakovich symphonies (Nos. 6, 8, 11, and 15) plus Yo-Yo Ma playing the Cello Concerto No. 1 and Baiba Skride performing the Violin Concerto No. 1 (April 10-May 3).

Between those offerings comes Nelsons’ annual opera-in-concert, this time Korngold’s masterpiece, Die tote Stadt (January 30 & February 1). Soprano Christine Goerke and tenor Brandon Jovanovich headline the cast.

The season’s parade of returning guest conductors leads off with Sir Antonio Pappano, who conducts a program of works by Hannah Kendall and Richard Strauss and is joined by Jean-Yves Thibaudet for Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (October 24-26). After Pappano, Philippe Jordan directs Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 with Jan Lisiecki and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 (November 14-16). Later on, Herbert Blomstedt is back at Symphony Hall for symphonies by Schubert and Brahms (February 13-15).

Additionally, Alan Gilbert presides over selections by Haydn and Stravinsky (February 20-22) while Giancarlo Guerrero conducts works by Gabriela Ortiz and Tchaikovsky (February 27-March 1). Dima Slobodeniouk leads two programs: the first pairing Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa with Mozart’s Requiem (March 27-29) and the second consisting of music by Adolphus Hailstork, Stravinsky, and Elgar (April 3-5).

Next season’s podium debuts belong to BSO assistant conductor Samy Rachid (October 10-12), Xian Zhang (October 17-19), Nathalie Stutzmann (February 6-8), Eun Sun Kim (March 6-8), and Teddy Abrams (March 13-16).

Other soloists appearing with the orchestra include organist Olivier Latry (October 10-12), and pianists Jonathan Biss (October 17-19), Inon Barnatan (March 6-8), and Mitsuko Uchida (April 17-19). Violinists Isabelle Faust (February 20-22) and Frank Peter Zimmermann (April 3-5) are slated to perform, as is cellist Alban Gerhardt (February 27-March 1).

Additionally, the BSO dips its toes into jazz on two occasions. Thomas Wilkins conducts a program commemorating the 50th anniversary of Duke Ellington’s death (November 7 & 9) and Edwin Outwater makes his debut leading the ensemble in a tribute to John Coltrane’s legacy that’s curated and arranged by composer-in-residence Simon (March 21 & 22).

The Boston Symphony Chamber Players offer five concerts next year, the first of which is an all-American affair curated by Simon at a location to be announced (September 29). Their remaining programs are presented at Jordan Hall. Guests appearing with the group include pianists Thibaudet (October 27) and Randall Hodgkinson (November 17), mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges (February 16), and conductor Anna Handler (April 6).

Subscription sales and renewals are on sale now. Single tickets go on sale July 25. bso.org

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