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91st Season: A celebration in sonic color

March 9, 2019 (Ann Arbor, MI) — Music Director and Conductor Arie Lipsky and the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra announce the orchestra’s 91st season, a “celebration in sonic color.” Seven mainstage concerts bring together timeless orchestral favorites and the freshest compositions by the next generation of classical composers in a colorful explosion of past and present. The season features a renewed focus on works by women, Latinx composers, composers of color, and living composers, including Joan Tower, Wang Jie, Duke Ellington, Arturo Márquez, and Roberto Sierra. A star-studded and award-winning line-up of guest artists includes Emanuel Ax, James Carter, Zlatomir Fung, and Measha Brueggergosman. The Music of Star Wars and the Best of Broadway add family fun to the concert lineup. “It’s an exciting season packed with momentous music including time-honored classics and contemporary gems,” says A²SO Executive Director Mary Steffek Blaske. The season also includes an exciting new monthly subscription program for students, with perks ranging from free upgrades to group seating with friends.

Opening night begins with an invitation to dance the night away in Hill Auditorium on September 13 with Grammy Award-winning pianist Emanuel Ax, who will play Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2, a work filled with nods to Hungarian dances. Kodály’s Dances of Galánta continues the program with the rhythms of Hungary, and the great American ballet Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland rounds out the evening. The October 12 concert celebrates works “Made in America” and opens with the orchestral masterpiece of the same name by Grammy Award-winning, Gold Baton recipient Joan Tower. Concertgoers will hear Stravinsky’s Divertimento from The Fairy’s Kiss in its revised 1950 version for the New York City Ballet, and the Cello Concerto that Dvořák penned during his time in New York City, performed by Violin Channel Young Artist Zlatomir Fung. A thrilling new work from 2017 by Chinese-born American composer Wang Jie opens the November 2 program at the Michigan Theater: her Symphonic Overture on “America, the Beautiful” takes listeners on a musical flight to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado. Concert Pianist Anton Nel returns to Ann Arbor to mesmerize the audience with the pinnacle of pianistic writing in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and Tchaikovsky’s lush and romantic Fifth Symphony will sweep listeners to new melodic heights.

With the final installment of the Star Wars saga set to hit theaters in December, the A²SO will throw one final Star Wars music bash. The music of John Williams from eight Star Wars films comes to the Michigan Theater on November 9. For the holidays, the orchestra will pull out all the stops and bring Duke Ellington’s jazz adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker to Hill Auditorium on December 13, along with other holiday favorites sung by local choral ensembles, including Measure for Measure.

On January 18, the A²SO throws its annual Mozart Birthday Bash with the International Tchaikovsky Competition-winning violinist Itamar Zorman who plays the “Turkish” Violin Concerto. Arie conducts Mozart’s charming Symphony No. 29 along with favorite Mozart opera choruses sung by Ann Arbor’s Vocal Arts Ensemble to conclude the celebration held at the Michigan Theater. World-renowned Bass-Baritone and University of Michigan School of Music Professor Stephen West will narrate the event.

The A²SO salutes the Best of Broadway in two programs on March 14 and 15 featuring beloved Broadway hits ranging from the golden age to modern musicals. The program will be the A²SO’s first collaboration with the University of Michigan’s Department of Theatre and Drama.

A celebration of Latinx contributions to classical music and the stories of Latinx communities will come to the Michigan Theater on March 21. Mexican composer Diana Syrse’s Colección de Realidades (Collected Realities) is presented alongside the sensational Danzón No. 2 by Arturo Márquez. James Carter plays Puerto Rican-born composer Roberto Sierra’s Concerto for Saxophones and Orchestra for the first time on the Michigan Theater stage, and Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story concludes the program. This epic 91st season finale at Hill Auditorium on April 25 opens with Giuseppe Verdi’s Overture to La forza del destino. The celebrated Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman sings Cabaret Songs by Ann Arbor’s own Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom along with selections from Berlioz’s Summer Nights. The orchestra gives its first performance in 20 years of Mahler’s “Titan” Symphony to close the season.

This season, the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra will launch a new student subscriber program at $5 per month. All students enrolled at a degree-granting educational institution or a K-12 program during the 2019-2020 academic year are eligible for the discounted program. Student subscribers will be able to claim section F seats at all performances and can choose to sit with friends if group seats are available. All student subscribers will receive upgrades to A, B, and C sections upon request on the night of each performance pending availability. Students may also elect to subscribe to the traditional program in sections A-E at 50%-off full price. For more information about the new student subscriber program, visit a2so.com/student or call the box office at 734.994.4801.

The A²SO’s chamber music series will continue next season at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor. The series will begin in October with a recital by award-winning cellist and Violin Channel Young Artist Zlatomir Fung. On November 4, Naumburg prize-winning virtuoso pianist Anton Nel will perform a selection of solo piano works. International Tchaikovsky Competition-winning violinist Itamar Zorman will be featured at the January 20 chamber performance, and the A²SO’s principal musicians will present highlights from their repertoire on April 26 to conclude the chamber music series. Guests at this series will be invited to have coffee and dessert before each performance and will be seated cabaret-style at tables. All performances begin at 1:30 PM with refreshments served at 1:00 PM. $10 general admission tickets go on sale July 15.

A range of season subscriptions is currently available by calling 734.994.4801. First-time subscribers receive an additional subscription for free with the purchase of one full-price package. Subscriptions do not include tickets to Star Wars or The Best of Broadway, but subscribers will be given pre-sale access to these events. Tickets to individual concerts will go on sale to the public on July 15.