The Madison Symphony Orchestra has announced a phenomenal season of eight concerts for 2016-17, opening with Gustav Holst’s epic suite, The Planets on Sept. 23-25, accompanied by a lavish HD video presentation. “This season, we have a lot of groundbreaking firsts,” says music director John DeMain. “Every one of our subscription concerts has one or two musical compositions that the Madison Symphony Orchestra has never performed before.”
In October, MSO will bring back popular Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud, playing his own composition as well as Max Bruch’s Concerto No. 1, all framed by Edward Elgar’s surging concert overture, Alassio, or In the South, and Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony — the Pastorale — which DeMain says audiences may recognize from Disney’s Fantasia.
The sister duo Christina and Michelle Naughton will be featured in the concert in November, playing Mozart’s Two-Piano Concerto. The orchestra will add Debussy’s suite Le Printemps and Shostakovich’s mighty Symphony No. 5.
On Dec. 2-4, soprano soloist Sylvia McNair will brighten the annual Christmas program.
And kicking off next year’s offerings, the featured work in February’s concert will be Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, the Pathétique, with Stephen Hough playing the unfairly neglected Piano Concerto No. 5 (the “Egyptian”) of Camille Saint-Saëns, with Samuel Barber’s powerful Second Essay for Orchestra as opener.
At the March concert, Carl St. Clair will return as the one guest conductor of the season, with the popular Norwegian trumpet virtuosa Tine Thing Helseth playing Hummel’s concerto, flanked by Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and the Alpine Symphony, one of Richard Strauss’ most sumptuous works.
In April, MSO tackles Schumann’s brilliant Manfred Overture and the Polish modernist Witold Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra, and soloist Philippe Bianconi will play Rachmaninoff’s challenging Piano Concerto No. 3.
The season finale on May 5-7 will be devoted to Brahms’ eloquent Requiem, with soloists Devon Guthrie,
soprano, and baritone Timothy Jones. Nathan Laube will be the soloist in the British master Charles Villiers Stanford’s Concert Piece for Organ and Orchestra.
And as a bonus event (with ticketing separate from subscriptions) on Jan. 15, the orchestra will offer a special “Beyond the Score” presentation. The orchestra will perform Rimsky-Korsakoff’s Scheherazade in full. The concert will be preceded by a documentary about the music, featuring local American Players Theatre veterans James and Brenda DeVita.
DeMain, whose excellent leadership continues to grow the reputation of Madison’s symphony, says the upcoming season has something for everyone: “As you can see, I’m really pumped by our new season, the variety, the beauty and the talent that will simply dazzle each and every listener.”