your a2so’s 92nd season is a historic moment for Ann Arbor. 7 music director candidates will have a chance to lead the orchestra this season. during this process, you will have a voice for which conductor you enjoyed the most. This is your city, so attend each concert to experience your favorite sound!

Season Brochure

The Season

We begin this historic season with a two night special Beethoven Festival event in Hill Auditorium on September 10 and 11. On the first night of the festival, the sublime sounds of Beethoven are brought to life by international pianist Stewart Goodyear. This all-Beethoven program will feature the Coriolan Overture, Piano Concerto No. 4, and colossal Symphony No. 5. On September 11, we trace the Beethoven piano influence on 19th-century composers Liszt and Farrenc. Experience the haunting sound of Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 1 arranged for orchestra. Farrenc’s Symphony No. 3 unravels in musical structures that draw upon Beethoven, yet remain uniquely her own. Through the celebratory dance rhythms of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, this special back-to-back Beethoven Festival event is propelled with energy all the way to the end! For our October 17 program, we hear the results of an 18th-century composition competition with Mozart’s Overture to the Impresario. The Impresario was Mozart’s submission for a competition of musical wit hosted by Hapsburg Emperor Joseph II. The overture to the Impresario was once Mozart’s first musical jab at opponent Antonio Salieri. The remainder of the evening looks at the uniquely human experience of writer’s block with Copland’s Clarinet Concerto and Brahms’ Symphony No. 1. In total, the two pieces took twenty-one years to write! A2SO principal clarinetist Chad Burrow will take the stage for this concerto. 

In many of humanity’s greatest stories, and even in our own personal lives, fate is a recurring theme. In our November 14 program we’ll explore this further. Beginning with Carlos Simon’s Fate Now Conquers, we’ll hear a modern dialogue with Beethoven’s symphonies. Following this, we’ll turn to Beethoven himself, a man obsessed with the motif of “fate knocking at the door” as A2SO concertmaster Aaron Berofsky performs Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. The evening concludes with Rimsky-Korsakoff’s symphonic suite, Scheherazade, a musical representation of a bride and her 1,001 life-saving stories. Join us in Hill Auditorium on December 11 for your A2SO’s family-friendly Holiday Pops tradition.

Amidst the darkness of the winter, Michigan Theater will come alive on January 23 with the magic go Mozart and Viennese music. We begin the evening with international piano icons Arthur Greene and Christopher Harding in a performance of Mozart’s Concerto No. 10 for 2 Pianos. Following this fiery double concerto, we will hear the influence of Mozart in Schubert’s Symphony No. 5, Ravel’s La Valse, and Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier Suite. The music of Hollywood brings our favorite films to life. For some of us, it is what first got us interested in orchestral music. On March 13 & 14, we celebrate the magic of film music in our Night at the Movies program.

We all know that the past influences the present. Our season finale on April 24 revisits this intertwined commentary on music history as we open with Unsuk Chin’s Frontispiece, a self-described “timelapse of the history of music.” We will then hear Sergei Babayan light up the keys in Rachmaninoff’s melodious second piano concerto. The 20/21 season comes to an epic conclusion with Act III of Wagner’s Tannhäuser, performed in collaboration with the UMS Choral Union.

Past Meets Present


Carlos Simon's Fate now conquers was inspired by one of Beethoven's journal entries from 1815. The topic of fate has been on humanity's mind for centuries. fate now conquers was commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2020 as a celebration of Beethoven's 250th birthday.



Philosophically, CHRISTOPHER THEOFANIDIS' 13-minute RAINBOW BODY is inspired by the tibetan buddhist belief that the enlightened body is absorbed back into the universe upon death. Melodically, the piece is structured around "Ave Maria, o auctrix vite", a 12-century chant by Hildegard of bingen. RAINBOW BODY WAS COMMISSIONED BY THE HOUSTON SYMPHONY IN 2000.



Unsuk chin's Frontispiece is self described as a "time lapse of music history." The piece brings famous symphonies from different periods into conversation with each other. You will hear musical fragments of Brahms, Bruckner, tchaikovsky, strauss, stravinsky, scriabin, webern, and ives all joining together to create new musical outcomes.


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