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Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons Open Their 2022 23 Symphony Hall Season on September 22

Symphony Hall exterior view of Mass Ave entrance at night with cars driving by

Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons Open Their 2022 23 Symphony Hall Season on September 22

Program to include music by John Williams, J.S. Bach, Jessie Montgomery, and Holst, with American pianist Awadagin Pratt in his BSO debut;

The Boston Symphony Orchestra is pleased to welcome seven new member in the 2022–23 season

Effective September 22, Thursday-evening BSO performances start at 7:30 P.M.

Andris Nelsons, marking his ninth season as BSO Music Director, leads the Boston Symphony Orchestrain the opening concert of the 2022–23 season on September 22 at Symphony Hall. Pianist Awadagin Prattappears for the first time with the BSO, performing a work written for him by American composer Jessie Montgomery (Rounds, for piano and string orchestra) and J.S. Bach's Concerto in A, BWV 1055.

Bookending these works are John Williams' A Toast! first performed in 2014 and written to celebrate the 134th anniversary of the BSO and the appointment of Andris Nelsons as its 15th music director—and Gustav Holst's orchestral showpiece The Planets, which depicts various characteristics associated with the planets, ranging from Venus' sweet lyricism to Mars' propulsive energy. The Lorelei Ensemble (Beth Willer, conductor) performs the wordless chorus part in the last movement, "Neptune." This program will be repeated on Friday, September 23, at 1:30 p.m.

In 1992, Awadagin Pratt, born in Pittsburgh, became the first African American to win the Naumburg International Piano Competition. That achievement launched an active career as a performer (including appearances with numerous American orchestras and for the Clinton White House and Obama White House), a recording artist, and professor of piano at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra is pleased to welcome seven new members: violinists Jenny Ahn, Sophie Wang, and Takumi Taguchi; clarinetists Christopher Elchico and Andrew Sandwick; cellist Will Chow; and Assistant Librarian Russel Allyn. Click here to view a press release about these musicians.

Symphony Hall's new COVID-19 protocols do not require visitors to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result. Masking will be optional, but encouraged, per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Click here to view a press release with details about protocols for the 2022–23 BSO season.

Additional Information

Updated new health and safety protocols for concertgoers

PDF brochure of the 2022–23 season, September 22-May 6

Photos, videos, and bios for the 2022–23 BSO season

Season Overview

In addition to these first subscription concerts, Andris Nelsons will lead the Symphony Hall gala, with Lang Lang (performing Saint-Saëns' Piano Concerto No. 2) as special guest. As the fall season continues, Mr. Nelsons will lead works by Beethoven (the Emperor concerto, the first installment in the BSO's multi-year collaboration with Mitsuko Uchida encompassing the five piano concertos), Bernstein (Chichester Psalms with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and Serenade [after Plato's Symposium] featuring violinist Janine Jansen), Julia Adolphe (Makeshift Castle), Haydn (Symphony No. 100, Military), Mahler (Symphony No. 6), Mozart (Symphony No. 40), Elizabeth Ogonek (Starling Variations), Caroline Shaw (Punctum), Shostakovich (both piano concertos performed by Yuja Wang in a single program, his Symphony No. 3, The First of May, and Symphony No. 5), and Richard Strauss (An Alpine Symphony).

Returning to the podium in the new year, Mr. Nelsons will lead works by Beethoven (Symphony No. 7), Bloch (Schelomo featuring cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason), Brahms (Symphony No. 4), Steven Mackey (world premiere of his Concerto for Orchestra, a BSO commission), Shostakovich (Violin Concerto No, 2 with soloist Baiba Skride), and Carlos Simon (world premiere of a BSO-commissioned work). The season's opera in concert will feature the Overture and Venusberg Music from Wagner's Tannhäuser, and Act III of the opera (cast to include Klaus Florian Vogt, Amber Wagner, and Christian Gerhaher).

During the spring, Mr. Nelsons will lead works by Thomas Adès (American premiere of his Air for violin and orchestra, a BSO co-commission written for soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter), Thierry Escaich (American premiere of a new work for cello and orchestra, written for his countryman, soloist Gautier Capuçon), Rachmaninoff (Symphony No. 2), Ravel (Alborada del gracioso and his Piano Concerto in G featuring soloist Seong-Jin Cho), Sibelius (Luonnotar, featuring soprano Golda Schultz, and Symphony No. 5), and Stravinsky (Petrushka, 1911 version).

To close the 2022–23 season in May, the BSO and Andris Nelsons will complete their multi-season survey of the Shostakovich symphonies with No. 13, Babi Yar, featuring bass Ildar Abdrazakov. Falling under the season theme of musical perspectives on the tragedies of war and conflict, this work is based on poems by Yevgeny Yevteshenko. Also on the program is Benjamin Britten's Violin Concerto, the composer's musical response to the tragedy of the Spanish Civil War, with Augustin Hadelich as soloist.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra's Voices of Loss, Reckoning, and Hope Festival, March 3-18, will focus on music, primarily by American composers, that provokes dialogues on social change and will be complemented by guest speakers, panel discussions, Q&A conversations, and chamber music concerts; details will be announced in the coming months.

Opening the festival is Uri Caine's The Passion of Octavius Catto, led by American conductor André Raphel, and featuring the Uri Caine Trio (Uri Caine, piano; Mike Boone, bass; Clarence Penn, drums), vocalist Barbara Walker, and the Catto Chorus, made up of singers from local churches and community centers, on a program with works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (Petite Suite de Concert) and William Grant Still (Afro-American Symphony).

For the festival's second concert, Thomas Wilkins, BSO Artistic Advisor for Education and Community Engagement, leads clarinetist Anthony McGill (the New York Philharmonic's first African American principal player) in Anthony Davis' concerto You Have the Right to Remain Silent, a musical response inspired by an intense encounter with law enforcement. Also on the program are Margaret Bonds' 1963 spiritual-based Montgomery Variations (a tribute to Montgomery, Alabama, and to Martin Luther King, Jr.) and William Dawson's Negro Folk Symphony, which weaves spiritual-inspired material into the entire work.

The centerpiece of the festival's final program is Julia Wolfe's BSO co-commissioned Her Story, for vocal ensemble and orchestra, led by frequent guest Giancarlo Guerrero and featuring the Lorelei Ensemble (Beth Willer, Artistic Director), with stage direction by Anne Kauffman; scenic, lighting, and production design by Jeff Sugg; and costume design by Marion Talan. Wolfe pays tribute to the centuries of American women's ongoing struggle for equal rights, representation, and access to democracy. Originally scheduled to be performed throughout the country during the 2019-20 season, Her Story was delayed due to the pandemic. Opening the program is Henryk Górecki's Symphony No. 3, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, which, in part, contemplates the pain of a mother mourning the loss of a son at war and features soprano Aleksandra Kurzak. The performances of this work fall under the season theme of musical perspectives on the tragedies of war and conflict.

BSO-titled conductors Thomas Wilkins, Earl Lee, and Anna Rakitina each lead a subscription program. BSO Assistant Conductor Anna Rakitina is joined by pianist Inon Barnatan for Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, on a program with Elena Langer's orchestral suite from her 2016 opera Figaro Gets a Divorce and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. For his full-program Symphony Hall debut, BSO Assistant Conductor Earl Lee leads Unsuk Chin's subito con forza, Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, featuring Eric Lu, and Schumann's Second Symphony. Thomas Wilkins' program (works by Davis, Bonds, and Dawson) is described in the festival section above.

Returning guests conductors include former BSO Artistic Partner Thomas Adès, whose program combines music by Igor Stravinsky—Perséphone for speaker, tenor, and chorus—with Adès' own Inferno Suite and Paradiso, ballet music inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy. Adès' musical collaborators are tenor Edgaras Montvidas, narrator Danielle DeNiese, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Alan Gilbert leads the world premiere of Justin Dello Joio's BSO co-commissioned Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Oceans Apart, with soloist Garrick Ohlsson, along with Nadia Boulanger's D'un Matin de printemps, Wilhelm Stenhammar's Serenade, and Dvorák's Carnival Overture. Giancarlo Guerrero's program (works by Wolfe and Górecki) is described under the Voices of Loss, Reckoning, and Hope section above.

Guest conductors making debuts include Colombian conductor and Houston Symphony Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada leading music by Tchaikovsky, Bartók, Enescu, and Mozart (his Piano Concerto No. 18 in B-flat with pianist Emanuel Ax). Israeli conductor Omer Meir Wellber's program features Midori in Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto and music dedicated to Beethoven—the funeral march from his Symphony No. 3, Eroica, and the Leonore Overture No. 3 alongside the U.S. premiere of Ella Milch-Sheriff's The Eternal Stranger, which likens Beethoven's personal despair over his deafness to the resentment and isolation experienced by refugees and other "strangers." This performance falls under the season theme of musical perspectives on the tragedies of war and conflict.

In her Symphony Hall debut, Karina Canellakis, leads Dvorák's Wood Dove, Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 2 with BSO-debuting violinist Nicola Benedetti, and Lutoslawski's Concerto for Orchestra. Israeli conductor Lahav Shani makes his Symphony Hall debut with Prokofiev's Symphony No. 1, Classical, Khachaturian's Piano Concerto featuring Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances. As part of the festival Voices of Loss, Reckoning, and Hope, André Raphel makes his subscription series debut with a program of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, William Grant Still, and Uri Caine featuring the BSO debuts of the Uri Caine Trio and vocalist Barbara Walker, along with the Catto Chorus. This program opens the Voices of Loss, Reckoning, and Hope festival described above.

Among the four programs exploring themes of wartime and tragedy and creating a common thread to provoke thought and reflection is a single performance of Osvaldo Golijov's Falling Out of Time. This 2019 "tone poem in voices" is based on an experimental novel by David Grossman—who lost his son in the second Lebanon war—about parents' grief at the loss of a child. The work is composed for a multicultural, multistylistic instrumental ensemble, including electric guitar, pipa, traditional strings, percussion, and synthesizer. Presented in association with Celebrity Series of Boston, the semi-staged performance features vocalists Biella da Costa and Nora Fischer.

Program Listing
Thursday, September 22, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, September 23, 1:30 p.m.
Andris Nelsons, conductor
Awadagin Pratt, piano
Lorelei Ensemble
Beth Willer, conductor
John WILLIAMS A Toast!
J.S. BACH Piano Concerto in A, BWV 1055
Jessie MONTGOMERY Rounds, for piano and string orchestra
HOLST The Planets

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