Highlights of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's 2007-08 season, the first under music director Marin Alsop, include a complete Beethoven Symphony cycle. Each symphony will be paired with a contemporary work by the likes of Tan Dun and John Adams, who will have a two-week residency with the orchestra.
Listeners can enjoy the lineup for the bargain price of $25 per subscription ticket next season, which also marks the 25th anniversary of Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, the orchestra's home in downtown Baltimore.
Alsop opens the season on September 27 with Mahler's Symphony No. 5 and John Adams's Fearful Symmetries.
A major theme of the season's programming is the performance of all nine Beethoven symphonies — paired with works by 11 contemporary composers including Adams, Tan Dun, Thomas Adès, Joan Tower, James MacMillan and HK Gruber. The season-ending program, on June 22, presents Beethoven's Ninth Symphony along with Tower's Concerto for Orchestra. Except for Tower, all of the composers listed will conduct their own work during the season, as will Baltimore native Christopher Rouse.
Regarding the Beethoven cycle, Alsop stated, “In framing the season, my goal was to give people the music they know and love in a new context. To our ears today, Beethoven represents some of the most familiar territory in the classical canon; however, among his contemporaries, his music sparked an unprecedented sense of revolution, and eventually, a long trail of imitators. The composers we have invited to join the BSO next season, are, in my mind, ‘today’s Beethovens.’"
Another highlight of the season will be the U.S. premiere of Steven Mackey’s Time Release, a concerto for marimba and orchestra written for and performed by percussionist Colin Currie. Alsop and the orchestra take this work, plus repertoire by Strauss, Debussy, and Stravinsky, to Carnegie Hall on February 9, marking the Baltimore Symphony’s first visit in three years to New York.
Other noteworthy concerts under Alsop's baton include Alsop conducting Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Samuel Barber’s Piano Concerto with Garrick Ohlsson as soloist, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg in Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 on a program with Dvorák’s Eighth Symphony, and André Watts in Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2.
Visiting conductors include Günther Herbig, Houston Symphony music director Hans Graf, music director emeritus Yuri Temirkanov, Miguel Harth-Bedoya and Carolyn Kuan.
Last season, after an eight-year hiatus, the Baltimore Symphony revived its recording activities with a recording of John Corigliano’s Violin Concerto, "The Red Violin," for the Sony Classical label, conducted by Alsop and featuring violinist Joshua Bell.
This coming season the orchestra embarks on a new partnership with the Naxos label to record a three-disc series including Dvorák’s Symphony Nos. 5 through 9 and the Symphonic Variations. The recordings will be cut from live performances at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Naxos will release them for distribution as both CDs and online downloads.