ISO announces Venzago replacement conductors 

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra announced today nine guest conductors replacing the dismissed ISO music director Mario Venzago. These cover both the regular 20-program classical series and the newly introduced three-concert Symphonic Hits sub-series, included in the 20. These nine are in addition to ISO conductor Laureate Raymond Leppard, already scheduled to replace Venzago for the opening Gala weekend this Sept. 25-26. An all-American program, this will feature, among other works, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, along with guest pianist Gabriela Montero and guest narrator F. Murray Abraham.

The second program, Oct. 8-10, features Juanjo Mena on the podium for Mendelssohn's 200th birthday celebration, performing the composer's Violin Concerto and Fifth (Reformation) Symphony. Mena returns again for the 19th program featuring Mahler's Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection) on May 21-22.

Ludovic Morlot will replace Venzago for the sixth program, Nov. 13-14, featuring Hoosier violinist matinee idol Joshua Bell in Ravel's Tzigane and Bruch's Scottish Fantasy.

The ninth program, Jan. 29-30, will have a complete repertoire change with Pietari Inkinen making his debut with the ISO. The program, using baritone Hugh Russell and the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, will feature Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer and Fauré's Requiem.

For the 10th program, Feb. 4-6, Gilbert Varga returns to the podium with guest violinist Christian Tetzlaff, playing Schumann's "Rhenish" Symphony and Brahms' Violin Concerto in D - as originally scheduled.

The sensational Carlo Rizzi will return for the 18th program, May 14-15, with the repertoire unchanged, including the performance debut of ISO principal trombonist James Beckel's In the Mind's Eye: Images for Horns and Orchestra.

The following programs are now called Symphonic Hits, emphasizing both the so-called "warhorse" repertoire and pieces by popular contemporary composers. The first one of these is the third classical program, Oct. 16-17, with Matthias Bamert returning after nearly a decade, to conduct a revised program featuring Shostakovich's Festive Overture and Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. Pianist Garrick Ohlsson remains to play Chopin's Concerto No. 2 in F minor - as scheduled.

Program No. 5, Nov. 5-7, will now feature returning conductor Michael Stern. Along with ISO concertmaster Zach de Pue's trio, Time for Three, he will introduce Jennifer Higdon's brand new Concerto 4-3, written for the group. Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3 and Mozart's 41st Symphony (Jupiter) completed the program.

And last but not least, program no. 17, May 7-8, sees the return of the exciting German conductor, Jun Märkl, leading the originally scheduled program of Saint-Saëns Africa Fantasy for piano and orchestra, with keyboardist Marc-André Hamelin, who also will play the Liszt Second Piano Concerto in A. Märkl concludes with Brahms's Second Symphony in D.

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