On Friday, I received a much anticipated email from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra announcing their classics season for 2023 – 2024. At the time of this writing, the complete schedule isn’t yet available on line. I will add that when it is available. But in the meantime, from the email, here are some of the stand out concerts in the coming season.
SEASON OPENER: BEETHOVEN’S FIFTH SYMPHONY
Friday, September 22 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, September 23 at 7:00 pm
Sunday, September 24 at 2:30 pm
Music Director Ken-David Masur opens the season with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, “the most sublime noise that has ever penetrated into the ear of man” (E.M. Forster). This unforgettable program, co-curated by the MSO’s 2023.24 Artistic Partner, bass-baritone Dashon Burton, includes Daniel Kidane’s mid-pandemic reflection on the quiet of passing time, Be Still; Eleanor Alberga’s song cycle The Soul’s Expression, which sets poems by George Eliot, Emily Brontë, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning to music for strings and baritone; as well as a selection of beloved vocal gems by Schubert.
RUTH REINHARDT RETURNS WITH BRAHMS SYMPHONY NO. 4
Friday, November 17 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, November 18 at 7:30 pm
Ruth Reinhardt returns to conduct Brahms’s bittersweet Fourth Symphony; the composer seems to look back on this life with solemnity before facing the future with joy. Shostakovich brings his own contemplative mood to his Second Cello Concerto, performed here by Andrei Ioniţă, “one of the most exciting cellists to have emerged for a decade” (The Times).
BERNSTEIN & GERSHWIN WITH AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
Friday, March 8 at 11:15 am
Saturday, March 9 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, March 10 at 2:30 pm
“My purpose here is to portray the impressions of an American visitor in Paris as he strolls about the city, listens to the various street noises, and absorbs the French atmosphere,” said Gershwin of his rowdy An American in Paris. Jader Bignamini, Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, conducts this perennial audience favorite along with Bernstein’s boisterousepisodes from On the Town – which conjure the excitement of love and adventure found in New York City. Pianist George Li joins the MSO for Ravel’s playful, jazz-tinged Piano Concerto in G to complement this vibrant program.
CARMINA BURANA & FATE NOW CONQUERS WITH NEW ARTISTIC PARTNER DASHON BURTON
Friday, June 7 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, June 8 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, June 9 at 2:30 pm
Composer Carl Orff based Carmina Burana on two dozen poems – but far from odes of love, these verses deal in lust, gambling, drinking, and the fickle hand of fate (“O Fortuna!”). Artistic Partner Dashon Burton and the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus lend their voices to this bawdy cantata. Pairing well with Orff’s epic is Carlos Simon’s Fate Now Conquers, which refers to a notebook entry written by Beethoven and explores “the unpredictable ways of fate.” Between these, the MSO showcases its own Principal Trombone Megumi Kanda in Tan Dun’s Three Muses in Video Game, a daring and spiritual concerto which challenges the trombonist to evoke three ancient Chinese musical instruments.