BSO announces new season with unique event; sweeping press release

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(Second violinists James Umber and Ivan Stefanovic rehearse for upcoming season)

On Wednesday morning, the BSO announced the line-up for its 2014-2015 season in a way that was as unique as it was fitting for the forward thinking organization.  For this first time ever, members of the press were invited to spend an hour on stage with the talented musicians as Paul Meecham, President & CEO of the BSO, and  Maestra Marin Alsop shared – in both word and music – some of the highlights of the exciting upcoming season.  The press was also invited to sit in on what turned out to be a thoroughly delightful rehearsal.  It was a rare opportunity to experience Baltimore’s world class orchestra in such a relaxed and intimate setting.  Many thanks to Maestra Alsop and the BSO for hosting this press event.

As a public service, the Baltimore Post-Examiner is printing the press release in its entirety.  More information may be found by visiting the BSO online.


BSO Programs Explore Themes of Spirituality and Transcendence

Programs Include Works by Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, Scriabin and Bernstein, as Well as Living Composers Jennifer Higdon and Christopher Rouse

BSO Adds Sunday Matinee Series at The Music Center at Strathmore

Popular Off the Cuff Series Expands to Five Concerts

Other Highlights:

Bernstein’s Operetta Candide in Semi-Staged Production Featuring Patti LuPone (June 11-14, 2015)

BSO Gala Concert Celebrates Baltimore in Program Conducted by Marin Alsop and Featuring Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah (September 20, 2014)

BSO at Strathmore’s 10th Anniversary Concert, Featuring Pianist Garrick Ohlsson (February 5, 2015)

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Legend Mandy Patinkin’s Dress Casual (January 22-25, 2015)

U.S. Premiere of Percussion Concerto by James MacMillan, a BSO Co-Commission Written for Colin Currie (April 9 & 12, 2015)

Newly Overhauled BSO Website Includes “BSO Story Feed”

Guest Artists Include Pianists Garrick Ohlsson, Louis Lortie and Simon Trpc(eski,
Violinists James Ehnes and Hilary Hahn, Cellist Sol Gabetta
and the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Winner, Mezzo-Soprano Jamie Barton

Guest Conductors Günther Herbig, Hannu Lintu,
Nicholas McGegan, Peter Oundjian, Markus Stenz and Mario Venzago

BSO Debuts Include Pianists Boris Giltburg and Oliver Schnyder,
Conductor Masaaki Suzuki and the Washington National Cathedral Choir

(Baltimore, Md.) March 5, 2014 — Music Director Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) announce the Orchestra’s 2014-2015 season, its eighth under the direction of Maestra Alsop.

Learn more about the season through video highlights from Marin Alsop and BSO Musicians interspersed throughout this release.

Programs with Themes of Spirituality and Transcendence
Throughout the 2014-2015 season, the BSO explores themes of spirituality and transcendence in eight programs at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and The Music Center at Strathmore. Issues of faith, beliefs and values have inspired some of the most awe-inspiring, uplifting music over the ages — from Mozart’s late 18th century “Great” Mass and the early 19th century humanism of Beethoven, to Mahler’s great symphonic outpourings and Bernstein’s own music wrestling with “the 20th century’s crisis of faith,” to new perspectives from contemporary composers, Jennifer Higdon and Christopher Rouse.

“Our season,” says BSO Music Director Marin Alsop, “captures the transformational power of music and aspires to offer a transcendental connection for people beyond their own worlds. Spirituality is an extremely personal journey and that is the profound beauty of music: its message is always an individual, personal one.”

Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4
On September 18, 2014 at The Music Center at Strathmore and September 19 & 21 at the Meyerhoff, Marin Alsop opens the subscription season with a program featuring Mahler’s Symphony No. 4. Soprano Tamara Wilson will perform the solo in the work’s fourth and last movement. Also on this program is Baltimore native and acclaimed violinist, Hilary Hahn, who will join the BSO to perform Beethoven’s Violin Concerto.

Incorporating a German lullaby, “Das himmlische Leben,” the final movement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 presents a child’s vision of Heaven. Composed shortly after the death of his young daughter, this work is considered to be one of Mahler’s most metaphysical, and attempts to articulate the existence of God and the afterlife through the eyes of a child. One of the most lightly scored, the musical texture tends to be light and serene, with some playful moments, which attempt to articulate the hope that a father can find solace after tragedy.

Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral
On September 26 & 28, 2014 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and September 27, 2014 at The Music Center at Strathmore, the BSO will feature the BSO premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral, along with Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 1, Korngold’s Violin Concerto and John Williams’ Theme from Schindler’s List, featuring Canadian violinist James Ehnes.

Composed after the loss of her younger brother, Andrew Blue, Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral became a musical representation of “the place our souls carry us, the lessons we learn, and the growth we experience” after losing a loved one. “Blue,” says Higdon, “[is] like the sky… where all possibilities soar. Cathedrals…a place of thought, growth, spiritual expression…serving as a symbolic doorway into and out of this world. Writing this piece, I found myself imagining a journey through a glass cathedral in the sky.”

Christopher Rouse’s Rapture and Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy
Marin Alsop conducts the BSO in two themed works: Christopher Rouse’s Rapture and Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy, October 23, 2014 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and October 26, 2014 at The Music Center at Strathmore. Also on the program is Richard Strauss’ autobiographical tone poem, Ein Heldenleben.

Composer Christopher Rouse describes his piece, Rapture, as a way “to convey a sense of spiritual bliss, religious or otherwise. The entire work inhabits a world devoid of darkness — hence the almost complete lack of sustained dissonance.” The BSO has collaborated with the Baltimore-based composer more than 50 times since 1985.

Alexander Scriabin was a Russian mystic symbolist drawn to religion and philosophy. Scriabin professed that the emotion of ecstasy was, “the most highly evolved of all the human emotions.” His symphonic poem, The Poem of Ecstasy, sought to use art as a gateway, a point of departure to other planes of existence beyond the material world. The Poem of Ecstasy is based on an actual poem, but Scriabin suppressed it from performances, preferring the experience of the music to be absolute, unmediated by words.

Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and Symphony No. 1 (“Jeremiah”), and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7

Illustrating a nexus between the Christian and Judaic liturgical traditions, Bernstein’s First Symphony (“Jeremiah”) and the Chichester Psalms will be performed November 21 & 23, 2014 at the Meyerhoff. Also on the program is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, written during a time of profound spiritual introspection by the composer and the final piece Bernstein conducted before passing away in 1990. Joining Marin Alsop and the BSO, will be the soloists and members of the Washington National Cathedral Choir, the BSO’s first-ever collaboration with the Washington, D.C.-based choir. Jennifer Johnson Cano performs the mezzo-soprano solos in the Bernstein symphony.

Chichester Psalms was Bernstein’s first composition after his 1963 Third Symphony (“Kaddish”). While both works have a chorus singing texts in Hebrew, the Kaddish Symphony has been described as a work often at the edge of despair, while Chichester Psalms is joyous and at times serene. Musically, Chichester Psalms is true to Bernstein’s personal style – jazzy and contemporary, yet accessible. Bernstein characterized this work as “popular in feeling,” with “an old-fashioned sweetness, along with its more violent moments.”

With Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1, “Jeremiah,” Bernstein not only established himself as a major American symphonist, but he began a musical and dramatic exploration of a theme of faith that would continue to inspire many of his major works. “The work I have been writing all my life,” he said in 1977, “is about the struggle that is born of the crisis of our century – a crisis of faith.” While his Symphony No. 1 offers only consolation and not a solution to this crisis, Bernstein’s creative journey led him to a profound conclusion — that “a renewal of faith in modern times requires a return to innocence… and a fundamental belief in our common humanity.” These performances of the Symphony No. 1 will be recorded for release on the Naxos label.

In what turned out to be his final performance, Leonard Bernstein conducted Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. He was noted by John Rockwell in The New York Times to have conducted the Seventh Symphony, “with a special mastery. Those who had seen and heard Bernstein perform innumerable times over the years will never forget the sovereign authority of that interpretation, grave and noble, yet passionate.” He also noted that, “One also remembers [Bernstein’s] look of gasping, pained exhaustion as he walked effortfully toward the wings after accepting the ovations of the audience. He was very ill, as his agonized expression telegraphed.”

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9
On January 2 & 4, 2015 at the Meyerhoff, and January 3 at Strathmore, BSO favorite Nicholas McGegan will lead the Orchestra in Beethoven’s final symphony with the well-known “Ode to Joy,” along with Beethoven’s rarely performed Opferlied, his King Stephen Overture, and Haydn’s The Storm.

Beethoven was a fervent believer in the values of the Enlightenment, and found ways to express those beliefs in many of his compositions, especially later in life. One of the reasons for the nearly universal appeal of his Ninth Symphony is that it exemplifies the human value: “all men shall become brothers.” The words sung in the final movement, were taken from the “Ode to Joy,” a poem written by Friedrich Schiller, that proclaims, “Be embraced, ye millions! … Brothers, above the starry canopy there must dwell a loving Father.”

Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 3
The 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World winner, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, the Baltimore Choral Arts Society Women’s Chorus and Peabody’s Children’s Chorus join Marin Alsop and the BSO in Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, January 29 & 30, 2015 at the Meyerhoff and January 31 at The Music Center at Strathmore.

Often called Mahler’s “Nature Symphony,” Mahler’s Third Symphony comes closest to realizing his belief that a symphony, “should be like a world. It must embrace everything.” He stated that the entire symphony describes “all stages of evolution in a step-wise ascent, beginning with inanimate nature and ascending to the love of God”, embarking on a journey that starts with an expansive hymn to the pagan woodland god Pan, leading to worlds with flowers, creatures and then man, and culminating in the final two movements in the depiction of angels and love.

(LEARN MORE about what it’s like to play Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 from BSO Principal Trumpet Andrew Balio.)

Mozart’s “Great” Mass
Founder of the renowned Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki makes his BSO debut leading an all-Mozart program, including the fifth Violin Concerto with Augustin Hadelich. The University of Maryland Concert Choir and soloists join forces in the first BSO performances since 1995 of Mozart’s “Great” Mass in C minor, March 13 & 14, 2015 at the Meyerhoff and March 12 at Strathmore.

Written in gratitude to his young wife Constanze after the birth of their first child, the C minor Mass, or “Great” Mass, occupies a very personal place in Mozart’s canon. Suffused with melodies and intricate harmonic structures, there is an operatic quality to the music, with its dramatic settings and aria-like soprano solos. Although left unfinished because of upheaval in the composer’s life, it is widely considered to be of the most revered examples of a Mass, a pinnacle form in the world of sacred orchestral music.

Leonard Bernstein’s Candide
On June 11 at The Music Center at Strathmore and June 12-14, 2015 at the Meyerhoff, Marin Alsop will lead the BSO in a semi-staged version of her mentor Leonard Bernstein’s acclaimed operetta Candide with Tony Award-winning Patti LuPone, Broadway stars and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society.

“The music of Leonard Bernstein,” says Marin Alsop, “embodies our season theme; every piece he wrote was an exploration of faith and spirituality and he, like Beethoven, believed in the ultimate power of humankind to transform our world. Candide is the perfect vehicle for Bernstein to share this philosophy with us. A story filled with improbability, humor, tragedy, and joy, it is a fable about optimism and authenticity. In the end, joining hands with each other to focus on the simple and genuine tasks of living a good life brings the most joy. ”

(LEARN MORE about Leonard Bernstein and Candide from BSO Music Director Marin Alsop.)

Off the Cuff Series Expands to Five Concerts
Marin Alsop’s dry wit and encyclopedic knowledge of classical repertoire have been the winning combination behind the popular Off the Cuff series. Now in its seventh season at the Meyerhoff and fifth at Strathmore, the series is averaging more than 80% capacity at the Meyerhoff and 90% at The Music Center at Strathmore. With its unique, shorter concert format, generally featuring one masterwork — the Off the Cuff series is attracting a devoted following of classical music aficionados and newcomers alike. These audiences share a desire to delve deeper into the themes and meanings of major works and the lives of the composers who wrote them. Due to popular demand at both of the BSO’s venues, the BSO will add a fifth Off the Cuff Program to its schedule in the 2014-2015 season.

In his autobiographical, Ein Heldenleben (“A Hero’s Life”), Strauss expresses his devotion to his wife Pauline. Ein Heldenleben is a tone poem that is known for its innovative use of the modern orchestra, and is considered one of the great symphonic works. Audiences can learn more about this favorite orchestra showpiece on October 24, 2014 at The Music Center at Strathmore and October 25, 2014 at the Meyerhoff.

More than 75 years ago, Shostakovich set out to write his now legendary Fifth Symphony. The result was a score full of contradictions and hidden messages. Marin Alsop explores the story behind this piece in this BSO Symphonic Play™ directed by BSO Playwright-in Residence Didi Balle. These performances are November 14, 2014 at The Music Center at Strathmore and November 15, 2014 at the Meyerhoff. The Philadelphia Orchestra originally commissioned Balle to write and direct this Symphonic Play™ for actors and orchestra, dramatizing Shostakovich’s harrowing life during Stalin’s murderous reign in 1930s Russia.

One hundred years ago, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring sparked a riot in the streets of Paris, but would go on to leave an indelible mark on jazz, minimalism and other contemporary music and art. Marin Alsop guides the audience through the complexities and elements of this Russian masterpiece on January 9, 2015 at The Music Center at Strathmore and January 10, 2015 at the Meyerhoff.

Considered a true Bach and Baroque specialist, Nicholas McGegan, returns for a guest appearance to explore seminal works by Johann Sebastian, Johann Christian and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and their respective legacies that put them at the forefront of Baroque music. These performances are February 13, 2015 at The Music Center at Strathmore and February 14, 2015 at the Meyerhoff.

“If Beethoven’s Fifth is Fate knocking at the door,” wrote a commentator, “Tchaikovsky’s Fifth is Fate trying to get out.” Marin Alsop, and a cast of characters directed by BSO Playwright-in-Residence, Didi Balle, guide audiences through Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony in a special Symphonic Play™ performance on April 10, 2015 at The Music Center at Strathmore and April 11, 2015 at the Meyerhoff.

BSO Gala Concert: Celebrating Baltimore, Saturday, September 20, 2014
On Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 8:30 p.m., the BSO will host its annual gala concert at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The theme is “Celebrating Baltimore,” featuring music and artists with Baltimore connections.

2014 marks the 200th Anniversary of the “Star Spangled Banner,” composed in Baltimore during the height of the bombardment of Fort William McHenry. Ferde Grofé composed his Ode to the Star Spangled Banner in honor of this momentous turning point in the War of 1812. The full orchestral score, which currently exists only in the manuscript he prepared for the piece’s debut at the opening of Radio City Music Hall in December 1932, is being restored by the Library of Congress, and will be performed for the first time in more than 80 years by the BSO at this event.

Marin Alsop will lead the orchestra in Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait joined by Center Stage’s Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah as narrator, and Old American Songs performed by the Morgan State University Choir.

Copland was asked to write a musical portrait of an “eminent American” and decided to use material from speeches and letters of Abraham Lincoln, and interlaced these quotes with folk songs of the period, including “Camptown Races” and “Springfield Mountain.”

Also on the program will be Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and special appearances by the BSO OrchKids and members of the BSYO.

BSO Celebrates 10th Anniversary at its Second Home, The Music Center at Strathmore

On the 10th anniversary of the BSO at Strathmore, February 5, 2015, Marin Alsop and the BSO present a special concert featuring piano great Garrick Ohlsson performing Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto and two orchestral showpieces by Respighi, The Pines of Rome and Church Windows. Additional activities celebrating the anniversary will be announced at a later date.

In the late 1990s, the BSO Board of Directors determined that a second home complementing Baltimore would secure the long-term stability of the BSO as one of the nation’s top full-time orchestras. Situated in an economically growing part of the state in North Bethesda, Montgomery County, the venue is renowned for its elegant architecture and world-class acoustics. Audience capacity has consistently averaged or exceeded 80% in all of its first nine seasons, and, as a result of demand, the BSO is increasing by six concerts to 37 the number of presentations in the 2014-15 season, including a new five-concert Sunday 3 p.m. matinee series. In addition, the new Music Box series of six 30-minute Saturday morning programs, each repeated at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., expands the range of offerings for family audiences. The BSO remains the only orchestra in the country to enjoy two year-round homes.

BSO Adds Sunday Matinee Series at The Music Center at Strathmore
As a result of high demand and record attendance at The Music Center at Strathmore, the BSO will expand its offerings in the 2014-2015 season to include a brand-new five-concert Sunday matinee series. For the first time in its nine-year history, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will present concerts in North Bethesda, Md. at 3 p.m. The expanded offerings will represent the full-concert repertory of the accompanying Off the Cuff series, performed Fridays at 8:15 p.m. By increasing its concert offerings to 37 presentations in the next season, the BSO at Strathmore has underlined its commitment to bringing the best in classical music to Montgomery County and the Washington, DC area.

BSO Offers Wide Range of Holiday Programming

Edward Polochick leads the Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale in their annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, December 5, 2014 at the Meyerhoff and December 6, 2014 at Strathmore. Leading the orchestra onstage from his harpsichord, Maestro Polochick has brought his nuanced interpretation of Handel’s oratorio to Baltimore audiences for more than 30 years.

Jack Everly, tap-dancing Santas, the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, the Orchestra and guest vocalists perform carols, classical favorites and sing-alongs in six holiday pops programs. December 11 at Strathmore and December 12-14, 2014 at the Meyerhoff.

The BSO’s full-length productions of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, featuring dancers from the Baltimore School for the Arts, have quickly proved to be both a critical success and audience favorite at The Lyric Modell for the Performing Arts Center. The BSO again presents this holiday tradition for the whole family in four performances, December 21-23, 2014 (tickets available May 1, 2014 via Ticketmaster).

Jack Everly and the BSO SuperPops Season
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly’s 12th season with the BSO includes an evening of Broadway showstoppers, a Beatles retrospective, a tribute to John Williams, Singin’ in the Rain with orchestral accompaniment, and headliners like Patti Austin, performing music by Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington, and Tony Award-winner Mandy Patinkin, in an evening of popular songs.

Acclaimed singers Ben Crawford, Christina Bianco and Broadway’s “Phantom,” Ted Keegan, join Jack Everly and the BSO in Broadway Standing Ovations, performing selections from The Phantom of the Opera, Once, Les Miserablés, Wicked and other Broadway blockbusters. Performances will be held on October 9 at The Music Center at Strathmore, and October 10-12 at the Meyerhoff.

Thanksgiving Weekend, November 28-30, Classical Mystery Tour, returns to the Meyerhoff. This Beatles retrospective features songs by the Fab Four complete with original arrangements, such as “Penny Lane” with live trumpet section and “Yesterday” with an acoustic guitar and string quartet. This program is also performed November 13 at The Music Center at Strathmore.
Known for his award-winning roles on Broadway, Evita and Sunday in the Park with George, and for his characters from film and television such as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride and Saul Berenson in Homeland, Mandy Patinkin joins the BSO in “Mandy Patinkin – Dress Casual,” January 22 at The Music Center at Strathmore and January 23-25, 2015 at the Meyerhoff.  This evening features popular songs by Irving Berlin, Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, Harry Chapin Carpenter, and many more.

Grammy and Oscar-winning vocalist Patti Austin joins Jack Everly and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a performance dedicated to Duke Ellington and “The First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald. Austin will perform legendary jazz classics such as “Cottontail,” “I Got It Bad,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing” and more, February 19 at The Music Center at Strathmore and February 20-22, 2015 at the Meyerhoff.

The American Film Institute’s No. 1 greatest movie musical, Singin’ in the Rain, comes to Strathmore with live accompaniment by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on March 26 and at the Meyerhoff, March 27-29, 2015. Singin’ in the Rain, starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds, features songs including “Make ’em Laugh,” “Fit As A Fiddle” and more.

Maestro Jack Everly and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra perform music from composer John Williams’ well-known movie scores, including Star Wars, E.T. and Harry Potter, May 28 at the Music Center at Strathmore and May 29-31, 2015 at the Meyerhoff. Arguably the most famous cinematic composer of all time, Williams has been nominated for 47 Academy Awards® and has won five Oscars®.

Subscription Highlights

On October 18 & 19, 2014 at the Meyerhoff, conductor Arild Remmereit introduces Elfrida Andree’s Concert Overture in D Major to Baltimore audiences. Andrée, a female composer, was a Swedish contemporary of Tchaikovsky, whose Symphony No. 3 (“Polish”) completes the program. Principal Flute, Emily Skala, will be joining the BSO in Mozart’s Flute Concerto in G Major.

Shostakovich’s First Piano Concerto is performed by the talented young pianist Conrad Tao, who is joined by BSO Principal Trumpet Andrew Balio.  Finnish maestro Hannu Lintu returns to lead this program that concludes with Brahms’ Second Symphony, on October 30 at The Music Center at Strathmore and October 31 and November 1, 2014 at the Meyerhoff.
Marin Alsop conducts the BSO on November 13, 2014 at the Meyerhoff and November 16, 2014 at The Music Center at Strathmore in Tchaikovsky’s Marche slave, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with pianist Boris Giltburg, winner of the 2013 Queen Elisabeth Competition, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5.

On January 8, 2015 at the Meyerhoff and January 11, 2015 at The Music Center at Strathmore, Marin Alsop leads the BSO in a program headlined by Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Also on the program is the BSO premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s Rose of the Winds, as well as Barber’s Medea’s Meditation and Dance of Vengeance.

(LEARN MORE about what it’s like to play Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring from BSO Principal Timpani James Wyman.)

Anton Bruckner’s last complete symphonic statement, Symphony No. 8, is one of the composer’s most well-regarded works. Peabody alum Alon Goldstein makes his BSO debut in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21, conducted by Günther Herbig on January 16 & 18, 2014 at the Meyerhoff and January 17 at the Music Center at Strathmore.

On February 6 & 7, 2015 at the Meyerhoff piano great Garrick Ohlsson performs Rachmaninoff’s timeless Second Piano Concerto, which is coupled with Respighi’s symphonic poems Pines of Rome and Church Windows that paint a scenic picture of Rome’s vast and vivid landscape. Marin Alsop conducts.

Guest conductor Nicholas McGegan leads a program that honors the Baroque period’s First Family: Johann Sebastian, Johann Christian and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. BSO Concertmaster Jonathan Carney, Associate Concertmaster Madeline Adkins, BSO Assistant Concertmaster Igor Yuzefovich, Principal Cello Dariusz Skoraczewski, Principal Flute Emily Skala, and Principal Oboe Katherine Needleman perform with the BSO on February 12 at The Music Center at Strathmore and February 15, 2015 at the Meyerhoff.

The BSO will perform Maurice Ravel’s Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello in an orchestration by BSO favorite guest conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier February 27 at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and February 28 at The Music Center at Strathmore, along with Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. Hailed by many as an authority on Mozart, pianist Louis Lortie also performs Mozart’s poignant Piano Concerto No. 23.

On March 6 & 8, 2015 at the Meyerhoff and March 7 at The Music Center at Strathmore, the BSO performs a Shakespeare-inspired program featuring Tchaikovsky’s Tempest Fantasy-Overture and the Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture conducted by Cristian Macelaru. Simon Trpc(eski also plays Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.1.

Marin Alsop leads the BSO in a program of Viennese-inspired favorites, including Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales and La Valse, Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier Suite, and Haydn’s Cello Concerto, performed by Argentinean cellist Sol Gabetta, March 20 & 21 at the Meyerhoff and March 22 at The Music Center at Strathmore. Ms. Gabetta is making her return after her highly acclaimed debut with the BSO in December 2012.

(LEARN MORE about what it’s like to play Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier Suite from BSO cellist Paula Skolnick-Childress.)

Percussionist Colin Currie returns to perform the U.S. premiere of a work specially written for him by James MacMillan. Shostakovich’s Festive Overture and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony round out this program on April 9, 2015 at the Meyerhoff and on April 12 at The Music Center at Strathmore.

On April 17 & 19, 2015 at the Meyerhoff and April 18 at The Music Center at Strathmore, the BSO will perform Ravel’s arrangement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Haydn’s Miracle Symphony. BSO Principal Oboe Katherine Needleman performs Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Oboe Concerto with Peter Oundjian conducting.

Marin Alsop leads pianist Lukáš Vondrác(ek, in Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto. Also on the program are Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Overture and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 7, May 7 at The Music Center at Strathmore and May 8 & 9, 2015 at the Meyerhoff.

On May 15-17, 2015, Mario Venzago conducts Claude Debussy’s La Mer, Richard Strauss’ thrilling and passionate Don Juan with BSO Concertmaster Jonathan Carney, Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony No. 8, and Haydn’s Harpsichord Concerto in D.

(LEARN MORE about what it’s like to play Strauss’ Don Juan by BSO violist Rebekah Newman.)

This program features Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz Overture, Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs and Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 led by conductor Markus Stenz and featuring rising star Heidi Melton performing as the soprano soloist, May 21 & 22, 2015 at the Meyerhoff and May 23, 2015 at the Music Center at Strathmore.

On June 5 & 7, 2015 at the Meyerhoff and June 6 at The Music Center at Strathmore, German conductor Christoph König returns to lead the BSO in what many consider to be the most famous symphony of all time – Beethoven’s Fifth. Also on the program are Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 7 and Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1.

Family Series and Educational Programming
As the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra nears its centenary in 2016, its commitment to engaging, inspiring, educating and serving its community through symphonic music is stronger than ever. During the past few seasons, the BSO has dramatically expanded its education and community engagement offerings. Programs include OrchKids, winner of a 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, OrchLab, Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestras (BSYO), Midweek Education Concert Series, the new Music Box Series (for children ages six months to three years), Saturday Family Concerts, Legg Mason Open Rehearsals, Side-by-Side Concerts, BSO on the Go, Musical Mentors, preconcert lectures at Strathmore, and last season’s launch of a collaboration between the BSO and University of Maryland Baltimore County on the Graduate Certificate in Music Entrepreneurship. For adult musicians, the BSO Academy programs including Rusty Musicians, the BSO Academy week, Music Educators Academy, Chamber Music weekends and Instrument Clinics, attract hundreds of musicians annually to play side-by-side with the BSO. For more information on these programs, please visit

Family Concert Series
During the 2014-2015 season, the BSO will present four Family Concerts in Baltimore, each on select Saturdays at 11 a.m. Featuring the BSO and guest artists, these programs are recommended for children ages five and up and their families and use classical music and visuals to create fun and entertaining musical experiences. Prior to each Family concert, the Meyerhoff lobby fills with a range of exciting, interactive and educational musical adventures, including OrchKids workshops, BSYO Chamber Music performances, arts and crafts, an instrument petting zoo and more.

Ken Lam, BSYO’s artistic director and BSO education conductor, leads the BSO in Duke Ellington’s reimagining of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker on December 6, 2014. This jazz-infused piece will welcome the season with the “Peanut Brittle Brigade,” “Dance of the Floreadors” and more.
On February 21, 2015, the BSO will celebrate Black History Month with a program honoring African-American Innovators like Duke Ellington and Harriet Tubman. Featuring music by Villa-Lobos and Ellington, along with African-American spirituals, this program celebrates the impact of their innovation on our collective history.

On March 21, 2015, Marin Alsop leads the Orchestra in Gregory Smith’s Mr. Smith’s Composition, a program that takes the audience on a journey into the mind of Mr. Smith as he composes. This program also includes selections from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

Experience the orchestral adaptation of actor John Lithgow’s children’s book, Remarkable Farkle McBride, where the fickle, yet lovable Farkle brings the sounds and rhythms of the orchestra to life. Ken Lam conducts the BSO in this program on May 2, 2015.

Music Box Series
The BSO continues its highly popular Music Box Series for infants and toddlers age six months to three years. This season, there will be six concerts at each venue to accommodate more enthusiastic, young audiences and their families. Hosted by acclaimed actress, dancer and storyteller Maria Broom, the Music Box Series gives young children the chance to explore music through highly engaging and interactive performances. Each 30-minute concert promotes musical, motor and language development through bouncing, clapping, listening, singing and other hands-on activities. The concerts will feature the musical talents of a small ensemble of BSO musicians performing classical pieces and children’s songs. Each performance also features pre-concert activities hosted 30 minutes prior to the show by the BSO and partner organization Ready at Five, a non-profit that works to ensure that all Maryland children are ready to learn at age five. The pre-concert activities will encourage musicality, creativity, coordination and literacy.

Programs will take place in the spacious lobby of the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and at The Music Center at Strathmore: “All Aboard” on September 27, 2014 at The Music Center at Strathmore and October 11, 2014 at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, explores the excitement of traveling to new places and discovering new things. Bring a favorite teddy bear to “All About Bears” on November 15, 2014 at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and November 22, 2014 at The Music Center at Strathmore, to learn about these adorable, favorite fuzzy animals. Celebrate the Holidays with “Jingle Bells” on December 6 at Strathmore and December 20 at the Meyerhoff. Go “On Safari” with elephants, giraffes, lions and zebras on April 11, 2015 at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and April 18, 2015 at Strathmore. The cacophony of the rainforest will come to life with “In the Treetops” on May 9, 2015 at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and May 16 at Strathmore.  And journey “Around the Globe” through music, song and dance on June 6, 2015 at Strathmore and June 13, 2015 at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Concerts are offered at 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and cost $15 at Strathmore, $10 at the Meyerhoff (there is a 15% discount with the purchase of all six concerts).

Newly Overhauled BSO Website Features Modern Design and Story Feed
The BSO is proud to launch a new version of its website,, in conjunction with the announcement of the 2014-2015 season. Working with Atlanta-based web developer BlueTube, Inc., the BSO has designed a new website with a sleek, modern look and faster, more streamlined purchase and donation paths and checkout. Its responsive design also allows easy access from all mobile devices and tablets. now offers regularly updated, dynamic content spotlighting upcoming concerts and the full range of the Orchestra’s education and outreach programs. The new website also prominently features a BSO Story Feed that will provide a constant source of news about the BSO, guest artists, BSO musicians, the performing arts, and draw from trends in pop culture and other fields.

BSO Passport Returns
The BSO also attracts new patrons with a third season of the popular BSO Passport program. This discounted ticket program for young professionals continues the BSO’s commitment to accessibility and audience development. Patrons age 21-40 can pay a one-time flat fee of $75 to purchase a BSO Passport, good for admission to unlimited (pending availability) concerts for the entire 2014-2015 season at both the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, Md. and The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md. Editor’s Note: Further details will be available in Fall 2014. BSO Passports not available for purchase until September.

BSO Student Select Program Returns
For the second year, the BSO will continue its popular BSO Student Select program for college students. This discounted ticket program offers nearly unlimited access to BSO concerts for the entire 2014-2015 season to area students (pending availability) for just $25. In addition, the BSO Student Select program includes free admission to BSO College Nights, special late-night parties held after select concerts throughout the season. BSO College Nights feature free food, prizes, drink specials and the opportunity for students to mingle with BSO musicians. Editor’s Note: BSO College Night parties are held at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall only. Admission to College Night without BSO Student Select is $10 per concert with valid student ID. BSO Student Select tickets go on sale in September 2014.

Naxos Music Library Offered Free to Subscribers
Continuing the Orchestra’s ongoing relationship with the classical record label Naxos, the BSO is pleased to offer the return of the exclusive online access to the Naxos Music Library for all BSO subscribers. By subscribing to the BSO, patrons gain exclusive online access to the world’s largest collection of streaming classical music. Naxos Music Library is a streaming audio music resource that features more than one million tracks, powerful tools to stimulate music education and research, the daily addition of new releases and remote access. This subscriber benefit has an estimated value of $300 per person and is completely free to all patrons with a BSO subscription and a valid email address. More information is available at

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, 1212 Cathedral St, Baltimore, MD 21201 United States