The Longwood Symphony Orchestra’s 19/20 season has arrived – welcome! Over this season’s four concert cycles, the program mix includes music spanning 250 years, from Mozart to John Harbison. During our musical journey we will visit composers from Germany, Austria, Russia, The Orkney Islands, and, of course, the US.
Every symphonic concert series I curate includes music I am passionate about, music that is inventive and imaginative, composers who are underrepresented, American composers, and outstanding soloists. These are the passions that drive my repertoire decisions for our LSO audiences.
We begin our opening concert in October by taking a short musical tour of Scotland. Mendelssohn takes us to Fingal’s cave on the island of Staffa in the Hebrides. Peter Maxwell Davies takes us to a riotous Scottish wedding on the Orkney Islands, complete with Bagpiper.
Compositions by Brahms are featured on each of the first two concerts. I will never forget my first performance in Symphony Hall as a young cellist in the Boston Symphony of the Brahms C minor Symphony. Two moments from this great symphony stood out during that first performance. The first was the entrance of the majestic C major horn call that magically appears during the Adagio. The second was when the great BSO string section began the final Allegro with one of the most beautiful melodies Brahms ever composed. I wait for these moments every time I conduct this piece. I get chills every time they appear. You can experience these signature moments for yourself on October 5th.
The Brahms Double Concerto is the anchor piece on the December 14th concert. The Double features cellist Blaise Dejardin, the fabulous new Principal of the Boston Symphony, partnering with Naumberg Competition winner, violinist Ayano Ninomaya. Beloved Boston composer John Harbison, who is celebrating his 80th birthday this year, opens the program with a Foxtrot from his opera The Great Gatsby. Joan Tower’s Duets, one of two compositions we will be performing of Joan’s, follows the Harbison in a nice pairing with the Brahms Double.
American music is the theme on the March 7th concert. Four giants of American music are represented: Joan Tower, John Corigliano, George Gershwin, and Duke Ellington. Multiple-award winning American pianist Sara Davis Buechner is our stunning soloist. Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in Ms. Buechner’s hands is something not to miss. I can’t wait to work with her! A lovely Ellington medley rounds out the program in March.
The Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, K 297 b opens our final program in May. The four soloists in the Concertante are LSO’s very own musicians: Britta Swedenborg, flute; Michael Barnett, oboe; Benjamin Steinhorn, bassoon; and Orlando Pandolfi, horn. These soloists are just a small sample of the many talented members we are fortunate to have playing in the LSO. Moz-Art à la Haydn by Alfred Schnittke, a fascinating synthesis of Classical styles and Modernism, follows the Mozart. We are joining the world wide celebration of the birth of Beethoven 250 years ago by ending our season on May 9th with perhaps Beethoven’s favorite Symphony, his cheerful Eighth Symphony in F Major.
There is a wonderful mixture of styles throughout the year; some old friends and some new friends. I love the mix and I think you will too!
I’m excited! It’s going to be a very good year!
Longwood Symphony Orchestra Music Director