The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s 133d season will include performances of Britten’s “War Requiem,” Strauss’s opera “Salome,” and Osvaldo Golijov’s “St. Mark Passion.” The BSO will also travel to China and Japan, the orchestra’s first international tour since 2007. These and other details of the BSO’s 2013-14 season were announced today.
With the orchestra’s music directorship still unfilled, Lorin Maazel will lead the BSO on its tour, May 1-11, 2014, with performances in Beijing, Shanghai, and Tokyo. It will be the ensemble’s first return trip to China since its high-profile visit in 1979 under Seiji Ozawa.
Christoph von Dohnanyi will open the Symphony Hall season with an all-Brahms program on Sept. 21, followed shortly thereafter by performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2. He will return in March for an intensive survey of all five Beethoven piano concertos presented over 10 days, with Yefim Bronfman as soloist.
Among the other returning guest conductors will be Bernard Haitink, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Daniele Gatti, and Charles Dutoit, who leads the “War Requiem” (Nov. 7-9) with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the American Boychoir, and vocal soloists Tatiana Pavlovskaya, John Mark Ainsley, and Matthias Goerne. The concert performance of “Salome” (March 6) will be led by Andris Nelsons, and will feature German soprano Gun-Brit Barkmin in the title role.
Composer Thomas Adès will also return to the BSO podium with his own work “Polaris,” to be performed on a program with music by Ives, Franck, and Mendelssohn. The British conductor Daniel Harding will make his BSO debut leading the American premiere of “Speranza” by Mark-Anthony Turnage alongside Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde.”
Conductor Robert Spano, who in 2001 led the BSO and assembled musical forces in the American premiere of Golijov’s “St. Mark Passion,” will return to lead that work once more, joined by the soprano Jessica Rivera, the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela, and the ensemble Orquesta La Pasión. The piece itself, which has become one of Golijov’s signature works, offers a pan-Latin American retelling of the Passion story, incorporating a range of folk musical traditions, dance, and capoeira martial arts.
Also among the contemporary works scheduled are premieres of new piano concertos by Bernard Rands and Justin Dello Joio, to be performed by pianists Jonathan Biss and Garrick Ohlsson respectively, and a new bassoon concerto by Marc Neikrug, to be performed by BSO principal bassoonist Richard Svoboda. The season will also honor the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players with new works by Gunther Schuller, Yehudi Wyner, Kati Agócs, and Hannah Lash.
Pianist Murray Perahia will return to the BSO for the first time in over a decade, as soloist in Schumann’s Piano Concerto. Other soloists slated for next season include pianists Richard Goode, Menahem Pressler, Paul Lewis, Peter Serkin, Yuja Wang; cellists Yo-Yo Ma, Alisa Weilerstein, and Gautier Capuçon; and violinists Leonidas Kavakos, Anne-Sophie Mutter, and Augustin Hadelich.
In a new initiative called “Insights,” two BSO performance projects — the “War Requiem” and the Beethoven piano concerto survey — will be explored through complementary public programs in collaboration with Harvard University, the John F. Kennedy Library, the Museum of Fine Arts, and New England Conservatory.
The orchestra also announced plans for two presentations of Mozart’s “Magic Flute,” in an English-language children’s version created by Federico Cortese and Bill Barclay. The work will be performed by the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra as well as BSO musicians, as part of a recently established BSO-BYSO partnership.
And led by David Newman, the BSO will perform Leonard Bernstein’s score to “West Side Story” alongside a screening of the classic film.
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Jeremy Eichler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.