The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has just announced its 87th season of classical and pops concerts at the ISO's home venue, the Hilbert Circle Theatre. The 2016-2017 season runs from September 15 to June 10 and features its usual wide variety of repertoire, programs, performance debuts and a special tribute to the theater's 100th anniversary.
In his sixth season with the ISO, music director Krzysztof Urbański has programmed such large-scale masterworks as Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, Brahms' German Requiem, Mahler's First Symphony ("Titan") and Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra. Among the many guest soloists, the orchestra collaborates with several especially admired ones, including violinist Hilary Hahn and pianist André Watts. In addition, Urbański's frequent collaboration with pianist Dejan Lazić continues this season with the performance debut of Lazić's symphonic poem, Mozart and Salieri, an ISO commission inspired by one of the more celebrated, if somewhat fictional rivalries (i.e. Peter Shaffer's Amadeus) in classical music.
"I am very proud of this season of classical programs, as they represent my affection for monumental works by some of my favorite composers," said Urbański. "Many of these pieces I haven't presented in Indianapolis since arriving in 2011, so I'm excited to lead the talented musicians of the Orchestra in these powerful programs."
In January of 2014, Urbański programmed his first midwinter music festival with the ISO, "Fantasy, Fate and War," which highlighted the major musical contributions of Russian composers Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Shostakovich. Last season, Urbański's love of music and science inspired a three-weekend tribute to the music of the cosmos. This season, Urbański brings patrons back down to Earth with a Music of the Earth festival, a two-week musical extravaganza devoted to the Earth's beauty and majesty inspired repertoire masterworks such as R. Strauss' An Alpine Symphony and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde ("Song of the Earth"), among others.
"My idea for a 'Music of the Earth' festival was a natural extension of the 'Cosmos' theme from last season, which was a great thrill for me as a conductor," Urbański added. "Now, I'm drawing inspiration from those composers who were captivated by our beautiful planet in order to present another landmark moment in music-making with the ISO."
Opening Night Gala
Two significant anniversaries occur in 2016 - the Hilbert Circle Theatre's centennial and the state of Indiana's bicentennial anniversaries. To celebrate these milestones, the ISO's premiere event, Opening Night Gala, will celebrate the theater's early beginnings as a movie house and many of Indiana's great composers. Conducted by Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly, Opening Night Gala takes place on Saturday, Sept. 24
Classical Series - Highlights
On Sept. 30-Oct. 1, Urbański opens the classical series with pianist André Watts performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4. The following weekend, he presents an all-Prokofiev program featuring violinist Hilary Hahn performing the composer's first violin concerto.
Urbański and the ISO perform the debut performance of Dejan Lazić's Mozart and Salieri, specially commissioned by the ISO.
Urbański also conducts Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra; Brahms' German Requiem with the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir (ISC); and Mahler's Symphony No. 1 ("Titan").
Urbański's Music of the Earth Festival in January will include R. Strauss' epic An Alpine Symphony and Mahler's monumental Das Lied von der Erde ("The Song of the Earth").
The ISO closes the season with a special choral presentation of Orff's Carmina Burana and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms.
Conductors making their subscription debuts with the ISO this season include Edo de Waart, Joshua Weilerstein and Matthias Pintscher.
Additional guest conductors include Bernard Labadie, Roberto Abbado, and Jun Märkl, plus renowned soloists the Labéque Sisters and Gil Shaham.
Returning to the podium are two former ISO music directors. Raymond Leppard will present a program of Mozart and Elgar, and John Nelson will lead the ISO in works by Ravel and Rachmaninoff.
ISO Concertmaster Zach De Pue and Principal Oboe Jennifer Christen will return as soloists this season with De Pue performing Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 and Christen joining Gil Shaham for Bach's Concerto for Violin and Oboe.
Other significant works presented this season include Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 ("Eroica"); Stravinsky's The Firebird; Debussy's La Mer; Bruckner's Symphony No. 7; and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5.
Pops Series - Highlights
Now in his 17th season as the Principal Pops Conductor for the ISO, Jack Everly has programmed a blend of premieres, tributes and guest artists to round out the ever popular Pops Series. Highlights include:
The world premiere of The ISO and the Doo Wop Project, a program that blends the "doo-wop" style with a full symphonic experience. The Doo Wop Project features five former members of Broadway's Jersey Boys and Motown: The Musical and perform everything from Frankie Valli and Smokey Robinson to Michael Jackson.
The return of Cirque de La Symphonie -this time, set to the sounds of Broadway's greatest showpieces.
The presentation of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark Film + Orchestra, just in time for the film's 35th anniversary.
A return appearance by the Grammy Award-winning contemporary jazz trumpeter, Chris Botti.
And, a weekend dedicated to the greatest music in science fiction films, including a tribute to the 50th anniversary of Star Trek in Sci-Fi Spectacular!
For a complete listing of the ISO's classical season, visit the ISO's calendar.