Guest artists don’t come much more distinguished than this!
The London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, will make its Benaroya Hall debut in April 2015, performing works by Britten, Shostakovich and Gershwin (Piano Concerto in F, with superstar Yuja Wang as soloist). Wang will also appear in recital in the Seattle Symphony Distinguished Artists series, as will pianist Simon Trpceski and violinist Pinchas Zukerman.
And that’s just one small taste of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra’s 2014-15 season, announced Wednesday.
Ludovic Morlot, now in his fourth year as the orchestra’s music director, kicks things off at the Opening Night Concert & Gala, Sept. 13, with a “Paris-inspired” lineup of works by Saint-Saëns, Massenet and others, with violinist Gil Shaham as guest soloist.
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The Masterworks Season also gets its start in September, with a three-week Dvorák emphasis, including his three final symphonies. Other Masterworks highlights include Morlot’s tackling of Charles Ives’ mighty Symphony No. 4 in January 2015 (paired with pianist Denis Kozhukhin returning for Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3, after making his SSO debut at the Rachmaninov Festival last year).
Other notable guest soloists include cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinists Hilary Hahn, Leila Josefowicz, Augustin Hadelich (a Seattle Chamber Music Society favorite) and Itzhak Perlman (who’ll double as guest conductor in a program of works by Bach, Beethoven and Brahms). Guest ensembles include the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (with a Beethoven-Brahms program) and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
Morlot is also slated to conduct Berlioz’s “Roméo and Juliette,” Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 and the Mozart Requiem. Pianists Marc-André Hamelin (performing Grieg’s Piano Concerto) and Yefim Bronfman (Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4) return, with Morlot at the podium in both concerts.
Another highlight: a Sibelius festival led by new principal guest conductor Thomas Daugaard that features all seven of the Finnish composer’s symphonies.
As always, Morlot is championing new music. SSO 2014-15 commissions include a new composition/site-specific installation by Seattle sound-sculptor Trimpin and three new works inspired by the music of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, composed for the now-annual Sonic Evolution program.
There are a couple of changes to standing SSO programs. The Friday-evening series, “Symphony Untuxed,” is expanding to include three Sunday matinees, aptly dubbed “Sunday Untuxed.” As a result, the Sunday “Beyond the Score” series is down to one stand-alone program (about Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5, as part of the Sibelius Festival).
A change is also coming to the Seattle Pops series. Each of the five scheduled Pops programs will get three performances instead of five, in an attempt to “maximize the opportunity for a variety of additional types of presentations in the Hall.”
The longstanding “Mainly Mozart” becomes “Mozart: The Great Concertos” and with one exception (Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1) is all-Mozart. Other series — including “Baroque & Wine,” “[untitled],” Chamber Series and a variety of children’s programs — continue as they were.
Michael Upchurch: email@example.com