Your A2SO’s 91st season is a celebration in sonic color. Seven mainstage concerts bring together orchestral warhorses and the freshest compositions by the next generation of classical composers in a colorful explosion of past and present.

Season Brochure

The Season

We begin with an invitation to dance the night away in Hill Auditorium on September 13 with Emanuel Ax and the Hungarian rhythms of Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Kodály’s Dances of Galántaalong with the great American ballet Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland. On October 12, we celebrate works Made in America, with the orchestral masterpiece of the same name by Joan Tower. We’ll hear Stravinsky’s ballet 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 Young Concert Artist Zlatomir Fung. A thrilling new work by New York composer Wang Jie opens the November 2 program at the Michigan Theater: the Symphonic Overture on “America, the Beautiful” takes us to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado. Anton Nel will mesmerize us with the pinnacle of pianistic writing in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2, and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony takes us to new melodic heights.

With the last installment of Star Wars set to hit theaters in December, we’re throwing one final Star Wars music bash. The music of John Williams from 8 Star Wars films will come to the Michigan Theater in November. For Holiday Pops, we’ll pull out all the stops and bring you Duke Ellington’s jazz adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.

On January 18 we throw our annual Mozart Birthday Bash with the International Tchaikovsky Competition-winning violinist Itamar Zorman who plays the “Turkish” Violin ConcertoMozart’s charming Symphony No. 29 concludes the celebration along with favorite Mozart Opera Choruses. We celebrate Latinx contributions to classical music in the Michigan Theater on March 21. Mexican composer Diana Syrse’s Colección de Realidades (Collection of Realities) is presented alongside the sensational Danzón No. 2 by Arturo MárquezJames Carter plays Roberto Sierra’s Concerto for Saxophones and Orchestra for the first time on the Michigan Theater stage, and the program concludes with a celebration of Puerto Rico in Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. We end our epic 91st season with a finale at Hill Auditorium on April 25, opening with Giuseppe Verdi’s Overture to La Forza del Destino. The glamorous opera sensation Measha Brueggergosman sings Cabaret Songs by Ann Arbor’s William Bolcom along with selections from Berlioz’s Summer NightsMahler’s “Titan” Symphony concludes the program.

Past Meets Present


Joan Tower's Made in America was commissioned by the League of American Orchestras and the Ford Motor Company Fund in 2001 for a consortium of 65 orchestras from all 50 states. It celebrates the history of our nation, from birth to modernity.



Tracing the unique silhouette of Pikes Peak to the letter, Wang Jie incorporates a fugue subject in the Symphonic Overture on "America, the Beautiful" that musicalizes the signature contour of the entire mountain region. And once the fugue starts, it can’t be stopped. This work celebrates the song we know and love with text by 19th-century writer Katherine Lee Bates.



Stravinsky's Fairy's Kiss was written to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Tchaikovsky's death. It's made up of melodies from Tchaikovsky's early piano works and some of his songs for voice and piano.



Early in his career, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom played piano for vaudeville shows in Seattle. Bolcom's Cabaret Songs are a "highbrow" nod to his "lowbrow" days at the keyboard before his composition career took off.



With a West Side Story remake in the works by Steven Spielberg, we couldn't pass up to program the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. Bernstein adapted the music from the hit Broadway show and created this smash-hit orchestral version.


Further Listening

Explore the season on our season Spotify playlist! Because we are committed to bringing you music from up-and-coming composers, some of the works we’ll feature this season are not yet available on Spotify. You’ll have to come hear these pieces live in the concert hall!

By The Numbers

Year of First A2SO Performance

Musicians in Your A2SO

Living Composers This Season


September 13, 2019 | Ax Plays Brahms

October 12, 2019 | Made In America

November 2, 2019 | Liszt & Tchaikovsky

November 9, 2019 The Music Of Star Wars

December 13, 2019 | Holiday Pops

January 18, 2020 | Mozart Birthday Bash

March 14 & 15, 2020 | Best Of Broadway

March 21, 2020 | West Side Story

April 25, 2020 Measha & Mahler