Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra announces 2015-2016 season 

click to enlarge urbanski_and_symphony.jpeg

Today, Feb. 11, the ISO announced its 2015-2016 season of classical, pops and family series concerts.  As usual, the classical programs draw from symphonic repertory standards as well as contemporary fare and a newly commissioned work by the orchestra.

Now in his fifth season with the ISO, music director Krzysztof Urbański has programmed a mix of masterworks by Beethoven, Brahms, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky and will be collaborating with several renowned soloists, including violinist Joshua Bell and pianists Emanuel Ax, Dejan Lazić and Garrick Ohlsson. As a result of this season's successful Midwinter Russian Festival, Urbański has planned another three-week musical celebration for next season.   From Jan. 22-Feb. 5, 2016, the ISO's Out of this World: Cosmos Music Festival presents a repeat of Holst's The Planets (from 3 seasons ago), a musical tribute to the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey and masterpieces by Mozart, Beethoven and Stravinsky which were included in a time capsule on the spacecraft Voyager, launched in 1977.

"Although I've enjoyed every season with this great orchestra, I must say, this next season is particularly special for me as a conductor," said Urbański. "I love presenting large-scale works by composers I admire, such as Brahms, Beethoven and Shostakovich, and the 'Cosmos Festival' blends two subjects I love most - music and science. We have much to look forward to in this next season."

Menahem Pressler, one of the world's most revered pianists and distinguished faculty member of the IU Jacobs School of Music makes his first ISO appearance. In addition, the orchestra welcomes 32-year-old violinist, singer and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, Caroline Shaw, who will perform her Violin Concerto - a new joint commission from the ISO, the North Carolina Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Princeton Symphony.

Classical Series - Highlights

On Sept. 18-19, Urbański kicks off the 2015-2016 season with pianist Emanuel Ax performing Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto.

The following weekend on Sept. 26, Urbański leads the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in its annual Opening Night Gala concert (a misnomer this season) in an evening featuring renowned Hoosier violinist Joshua Bell and a special appearance by ISO artists-in-residence, Time for Three.

Over the season Urbański conducts Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1 and 2 with Dejan Lazić; Beethoven's Symphony No. 1; Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10; Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4; and Szymanowski's Symphonie concertante with pianist Garrick Ohlsson.

The Out of this World: Cosmos Music Festival opens with Urbański conducting music from the Voyager time capsule - Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring; continues with Holst's The Planets with guest conductor Jun Märkl; and closes with Urbański leading the ISO in complete performances of the classical works excerpted in 2001: A Space Odyssey, anchored by Strauss's Also sprach Zarathustra.

Distinguished guest conductors who return to the ISO this season are Andrey Boreyko, Hans Graf, Giancarlo Guerrero, Matthew Halls and Gilbert Varga. Conductors making their ISO debut include Roberto Abbado, Santtu-Matias Rouvali and Alexander Shelley.

Artist debuts include Jinjoo Cho, the 2014 Gold Medalist of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis; soprano Malin Christensson; clarinetist Kari Kriikku performing the U.S. premiere of Kimmo Hakola's Clarinet Concerto; organist Paul Jacobs; and the legendary Menahem Pressler for Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27.

Other significant works presented this season include Beethoven's Missa solemnis with the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir -- only the second time in its 85-year history that the orchestra has performed this great work; Mahler's Symphony No. 4; Strauss' Don Quixote, Nielsen's Symphony No. 4 ("Inextinguishable") and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.

click to enlarge Jack Everly
  • Jack Everly

Pops Series

Now in his 16th season as the Principal Pops conductor for the ISO, Jack Everly has assembled an eclectic mix of programs in the orchestra's Pops Series. Highlights include:

The legendary entertainer, Kenny Rogers, with the ISO.

The return of Pink Martini, the 12-piece ensemble that blends cabaret, samba, pop and jazz.

This season's nod to the Great White Way includes the greatest hits from Les Misérables,Dreamgirls, My Fair Lady, Annie and much more, sung by the leading ladies of Broadway, led by American singer, actress and YouTube sensation, Christina Bianco.

For Valentine's weekend, a tribute to the centennial birthday celebration of Frank Sinatra, with his signature hits sung by Tony DeSare and Frankie Moreno.

A tribute to the great choral masterpieces in a variety of genres - pops, standards, Broadway and gospel - sung by Indy's finest choirs: the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, Indianapolis Children's Choir, the Indianapolis Men's Chorus, and more.

Symphonic presentations dedicated to the hits of Motown presented by guest artists, Spectrum and Radiance; a symphonic tribute to four decades of rock and pop in Classic FM: Radio Hits of the Decades; and a Tribute to Alfred Hitchcock: Films + Orchestra.

symFUNy Sundays Series

Children can wiggle and giggle in their seats during the Orchestra's symFUNy Sundays which are matinee performances that feature engaging music and interactive entertainment at family-friendly prices. During symFUNy Sundays, families are encouraged to take part in pre-concert activities in the lobby and are invited to meet the artists after the performance. The programs are approximately one hour in length, with no intermission and are designed especially with the young listener in mind.

This season's programs will include:

Symphonic Spooktacularon Oct. 25;

a performance of IPL Yuletide Celebrationon Dec. 6;

Musical Mechanics, on Jan. 17 and

Magic Circle Mime Company's presentation of Prokofiev's musical tale, Peter and the Wolf, on April 24.

click to enlarge Time for Three players
  • Time for Three players

ISO's Artists-in-Residence: Time for Three

In 2009, Time for Three became the ISO's first artists-in-residence and embarked on bringing its unique, genre-bending style to Indianapolis and the greater community. The group's members -- violinists Zach De Pue, Nick Kendall and double bassist Ranaan Meyer -- have transformed the ISO's Happy Hour at the Symphony series into an innovative orchestral experience for the after-work crowd. Next seasons Happy Hour concerts are October 24, January 23, May 15 and July 17.

In addition to Happy Hour, Time for Three's musical contributions will expand into a weekend-long event to be held next spring. Details will be announced in the coming months.

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