Asheville Symphony announces 2018-19 season, including Amadeus festival.


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Asheville Symphony has announced its 2018-2019 season, which includes a seven-concert Masterworks Series, a New Year’s Eve performance that blends beloved classical works with circus arts, a two-player piano recital with Shai Wosner and Orion Weiss and the return of the popular Asheville Amadeus festival.

This will be the symphony's first season under its new music director, Darko Butorac, selected this summer after a 2½ year search.

Related: Asheville Symphony selects Darko Butorac as conductor, music director

"This season is all about the new," said Asheville Symphony executive director David Whitehill. "Our new music director is poised and ready to take the orchestra to new heights, with concerts showcasing talented soloists making their Asheville Symphony debuts." (Scroll to the bottom of this story for links to ticket information.)

The first of those debuts will be at the season's opening concert. Butorac will conduct the symphony in three works, including the Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1, featuring pianist George Li on his first visit to Asheville. Li is a Tchaikovsky Competition medalist.

The Asheville Symphony Orchestra season begins again in September. (Photo: Michael Morel/Courtesy of Asheville Symphony Orchestra)

Also on the program are the "Prelude" and "Liebestod" from Wagner's "Tristan and Isolde," as well as Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5.

"The season opens in the spirit of the new, with an exploration of three visionary and revolutionary composers," the symphony said in its season announcement, with the selections demonstrating "the depths of emotion the orchestra can achieve."

The season, Whitehill said, will "feature works that will be new to our audience's ears — works by American greats Ellington and Gershwin and pieces by European masters like Mozart and Berlioz that have never before been performed by the Asheville Symphony."

Darko Butorac, seen here conducting, has been selected as the new music director of the Asheville Symphony Orchestra. (Photo: Courtesy of the Asheville Symphony Orchestra)

Leading five of the seven Masterworks concerts will be the Serbian-born Butorac, who was one of six candidates for the music director position and last led the ensemble in concert on Nov. 18. Butorac (pronounced BOO-toh-rutz) moved from Belgrade to the United States when he was 10 years old. He started out as a cellist but by age 17 found his passion in conducting, saying that it "transformed" his life.

Butorac will also conduct the symphony's annual New Year's Eve concert.

"Our New Year's Eve performance with Cirque Musica brings the new visual element of circus arts to the stage accompanied by the orchestra performing works from the classical canon," Whitehill said. "And the Asheville Amadeus festival continues to add new elements and collaborations across the city. We invite the community to join us as we step into the new in many ways."

Highlights of the Masterworks season include an All-American program featuring the music of Bates, Ellington and Gershwin, Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" — a work that includes nearly 100 musicians on stage — and a performance of two Rachmaninoff concertos by pianist Garrick Ohlsson.

All Masterworks concerts, and the New Year's Eve show, take place in Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in downtown Asheville.

The Asheville Symphony will perform New Year's Eve with Cirque Musica. (Photo: Randy Peterson/Courtesy of Asheville Symphony)

On New Year's Eve, the orchestra takes the stage with Cirque Musica for a performance of the acrobatic troupe's show "Crescendo," which premiered at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl. (Learn more and view a preview at the group's website, cirquemusica.com.) The family-friendly performance blends the grace and skill of cirque performers with favorite melodies from classical, pops and more, performed live by the Asheville Symphony.

The season also includes a piano recital with internationally renowned pianists Orion Weiss and Shai Wosner on March 8 at Central United Methodist Church in downtown Asheville. The duo will perform works for four hands and for two pianos, including Schubert's "Grand Duo" and Brahms' Sonata in F Minor for Two Pianos.

Following are the concerts announced for the 2018-19 season, with comments provided by the symphony. All are conducted by Butorac, except as noted, and all concerts are at 8 p.m., except as noted:

• Sept. 15: Masterworks 1: Liszt. George Li, piano. Works by Wagner, Liszt and Shostakovich (see details, above).

• Oct. 13: Masterworks 2: Mozart. Adele Anthony, violin. Works by Beethoven, Mozart and Schumann. "Beethoven’s Egmont Overture presents a musical equivalent of the hero's journey, moving from chaos and darkness to blazing heroic victory. The same powerful narrative inspires Schumann’s blazing Fourth Symphony. The two are contrasted by violinist Adele Anthony’s performance of Mozart’s 'Turkish' concerto, a work that combines radiant warmth with sprightly humor, and violin athleticism with sublime poetry."

• Nov. 17: Masterworks 3: Gershwin. Aaron Diehl, piano. "This concert is a celebration of American composers featuring Bates, Ellington and Gershwin. ... Diehl, a classically trained pianist and composer and a staple of the New York jazz scene, joins the orchestra for Gershwin’s Variations on 'I Got Rhythm' and Ellington’s 'New World A-Comin.''"

• Nov. 23: Asheville Symphony Chorus, 7:30 p.m., Arden Presbyterian Church. Michael Lancaster, director. An all-Leonard Bernstein program.

The Asheville Symphony will perform New Year's Eve with Cirque Musica. (Photo: Courtesy of Asheville Symphony)

• Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Celebration: Crescendo. Cirque Musica "blends the grace and skill of internationally touring cirque performers with stunning symphonic music, [featuring] jugglers, acrobats and contortionists in a full sensory experience."

• Jan. 19: Masterworks 4: Saint-Saens. Ward Stare, guest conductor; Daniel Kaler, cello; Laura Strickling, soprano; Asheville Symphony Chorus. The concert "celebrates the work of four very distinct French composers. Offenbach’s 'Overture to Gaîté Parisienne,' inspired by the amorous high spirits of the City of Lights, sets the scene. Cellist Daniel Kaler, winner of the Payne Prize, dazzles with Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto. Then, the Asheville Symphony Chorus takes the stage to present Poulenc’s delightful Gloria, and the program closes with Berlioz's grandiose La Marseillaise."

• Feb. 23: Masterworks 5: Beethoven. Mei-Ann Chen, guest conductor. Alexi Kenney, violin. Works by Kodály (Dances of Galánta), Dvořák (Violin Concerto) and Beethoven: (Symphony No. 6, “Pastoral”).

• March 8: Piano Recital, 8 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church. Orion Weiss and Shai Wosner, piano. Works for four hands or two pianos by Lang, Schubert and Brahms.

Conductor Darko Butorac is music director of the Asheville Symphony. (Photo: Courtesy of Asheville Symphony)

• March 24: Masterworks 6: Rachmaninoff, Asheville Amadeus Festival Finale at 4 p.m. Garrick Ohlsson, piano. Works by Mozart (Symphony No. 25) and Rachmaninoff, the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Ohlsson). The full Asheville Amadeus Festival runs March 15-29.

• April 27: Asheville Symphony Chorus, 7:30 p.m., Arden Presbyterian Church. Michael Lancaster, director. "The second and third parts of Handel's Messiah include dramatic airs, expressive recitatives, and remarkable choruses — including the unmistakable Hallelujah chorus."

• May 11: Masterworks 7: Stravinsky. Simone Porter, violin. "The final concert of the season features three works full of vigor and rhythmic energy. The evening begins with Márquez’s Danzón No. 2, a colorful work inspired by the sultry rhythms of Mexico’s Gulf Coast. Next ... Porter brings impassioned energy for Saint-Saens’ virtuosic Violin Concerto No. 3. The evening reaches its pinnacle with a performance of ... Stravinsky’s 'The Rite of Spring.' Nearly one hundred musicians unite to take the audience on an unforgettable and electrifying musical journey in this rare performance."

The Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Philharmonia ensemble rehearses at Enka high school Matt Burkhartt/mburkhartt@citizen-times.com

ABOUT THE SYMPHONY

The Asheville Symphony Orchestra performs concerts in the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in the U.S. Cellular Center. Related organizations include the Asheville Symphony Guild, Asheville Symphony Chorus, Asheville Symphonettes and education initiatives such as the Asheville Buncombe Youth Orchestra, Music in the Schools, MusicWorks!, Spotlight on Young Musicians, Symphony Talk and pre-concert lectures.­ Learn more at ashevillesymphony.org.

IF YOU GO

Series subscriptions, ticket packages and single tickets are on sale now. Single tickets for Masterworks concerts are $24-$69, with reduced youth pricing available. Buy online at ashevillesymphony.org, by phone at 828-254-7046, in person at the symphony office (27 College Place, Suite 100) or at the U.S. Cellular Center box office.

The Asheville Symphony Orchestra season begins again in September. (Photo: Michael Morel/Courtesy of Asheville Symphony Orchestra)



« Back to all news