2024-25 Masterworks
Season Sneak Peek

 

Experience the tradition, the stories and the emotional power of classical music as it was meant to be heard. Our nine-concert 2025 Masterworks season has been set and includes breathtaking selections from the world’s most inspired composers, performed with a passion that will stir your soul and bring joy to your heart.

Prokofiev 5 & Peter
September 27- 29, 2024

Sarasate, Navarra, op. 33
Prokofiev, Peter & The Wolf, op. 67
Prokofiev, Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major, op. 100

Carolyn Kuan, conductor
Leonid Sigal, violin
Jaroslaw Lis, violin

Our season will start in a perhaps unexpected way. We have never featured Prokofiev’s Peter and The Wolf and the Prokofiev No. 5 in the same concert. These two pieces, plus the Classical Symphony are probably the three most beloved and well-known pieces by Prokofiev, yet one rarely will find Peter and the Wolf on a major concert, but why not?! It’s a piece people love. We hope it brings back warm memories. We anticipate our narrator for the piece will be Rev. Dr. Shelley Best, Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Hartford Arts Council and Pastor of The Redeemer’s A.M.E. Zion Church, and we’re very excited to be working with her.

One of the best things about the HSO is highlighting our musicians, and this year will be Jarek Lis’ 30th year with us. We can’t think of a better way to start the season than to pair Jarek with Concertmaster Lenny Sigal for Sarasate’s Navarra, one of the most famous romantic duos for two violins. We can’t wait!

Beethoven’s Violin Concerto
October 18-20, 2024

Simon, Fate Now Conquers
Beethoven, Concerto for Violin in D major, op. 61
Bizet, Symphony No.1 in C major

Leonid Sigal, conductor & violin

We continue our celebration of HSO musicians in our second concert of the season, this time celebrating Concertmaster Lenny Sigal’s twentieth year with the HSO. As some may know, Lenny has been wanting for some time to conduct, and he’s a wonderful conductor! So, Lenny will perform and conduct the famous Beethoven violin concerto and conduct the remainder of the program.

Fate Now Conquers was composed by Carlos Simon, a contemporary Black composer who is a “native of Atlanta, Georgia, and whose music ranges from concert music for large and small ensembles to film scores with influences of jazz, gospel, and neo-romanticism. Simon is the Composer-in-Residence for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the inaugural Boston Symphony Orchestra Composer Chair, and was nominated for a 2023 GRAMMY award for his album Requiem for the Enslaved.” 1

Lenny will close the program with Bizet’s beloved Symphony in C, which will be the HSO’s first performance of this work since 1998.

1 https://www.carlossimonmusic.com/biography

Brahms’ First
November 15-17, 2024

Elgar, Concerto for Cello in E minor, op. 85
Brahms, Symphony No.1 in C minor, op. 68

Carolyn Kuan, conductor
Inbal Segev, cello

The Brahms Symphony No 1, which we perform in our third concert of the 24/25 season, is fascinating in the sense that it is one of the few “first” symphonies that is truly fantastic. One might think of Mahler, Brahms, Prokofiev, perhaps Mozart if it’s performed with 40 or 41, but one doesn’t hear many first symphonies truly celebrated as is Brahms’.

Some might remember our soloist for the Elgar Concerto for Cello, Inbal Segev, from her visit with us a few seasons back. Inbal is a much-respected teacher of how to play the Elgar, and we anticipate great things from her opportunity to engage with students during her visit with us, along with her masterful performance on stage.

All Tchaikovsky
December 13-15, 2024

Tchaikovsky, Concerto for Piano No.1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23, TH 55, B-flat minor
Tchaikovsky, Symphony No.3 in D major (“Polish”) Op. 29, TH 26

Jonathan Rush, conductor
Clayton Stephenson, piano
Joyce C. Willis Artist in Residence

We are very excited to have an all-Tchaikovsky concert in December. The concerto—and its very famous melody—is something that many will recognize. We are so excited to share that Clayton Stevenson is going to be our new Joyce C Willis Artist in Residence. He’s a wonderful artist and will be performing the piano solo for the concerto.  This will be the first time in Maestro Kuan’s tenure that the “Polish” symphony is will be played.

We thank the Roberts Foundation for their generous support of the Joyce C. Willis Artist in Residence Program.

Sirena Plays Sibelius
February 14-16, 2025

Dawson, Negro Folk Symphony
Strauss, Don Juan, TrV 156, op. 20
Sibelius, Concerto for Violin in D minor, op. 47

Carolyn Kuan, conductor
Sirena Huang, violin

In February of 2025, HSO favorite Sirena Huang will be joining us to perform the famous Sibelius violin concerto, an achingly beautiful work. We feel like we’ve seen her grow up, and as some may know, she’s about to be married. We’re thrilled to have her back for our Valentine’s weekend concerts. It makes sense to play something romantic, of course, so Don Juan comes to mind.  There’s no need to take a trip to experience something exotic; come to the Hartford Symphony and let the music take you away.

Negro Folk Symphony, by William Dawson, is a piece our audience will very much enjoy in its HSO premiere. In 1934, Dawson, a 35-year-old African American, was said to have composed ‘“the most distinctive and promising American symphonic proclamation which has so far been achieved.”’ And the New York Times proclaimed, ‘”This music has dramatic feeling, a racial sensuousness and directness of melodic speech.”’ 1

https://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2020/06/26/883011513/someone-finally-remembered-william-dawsons-negro-folk-symphony

Mozart’s Requiem
March 14-16, 2025

Mozart Symphony, TBD
Mozart, Requiem, K. 626

Jack Pott, conductor
Hartford Chorale

In March the HSO will perform once again with the Hartford Chorale, this time with the Chorale’s Music Director Jack Pott conducting. Many will know the Requiem, of course; it’s just thrilling. While Maestro Kuan won’t be conducting, it’s one she enjoys conducting.  From the fast and furious Day of Judgement (Dies Irae) to the stunningly beautiful moments of Remembrance (Recordare), prepare to be transported to Elysium while enjoying this concert.

Eroica & Four Seasons
MW7: April 4-6, 2025

Selections from Vivaldi, Le Quattro Stagioni, Op. 8
Selections from Piazzolla, Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas
Beethoven, Symphony No.3 in E-flat major, op. 55 (“Eroica”)

Carolyn Kuan, conductor
Julien Labro – Bandoneon/Accordion

Our May Masterworks concert will be a very, very special program. Eight years ago, the Metropolitan Opera, for the very first time in its history, featured a black composer—Terrence Blanchard. His Fire Shut Up in My Bones was a huge and overdue success, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with his team to bring this to Hartford. We’re especially excited because this is really a community-driven project, thanks to members of our board and to supporters who want this work to be shared in our area. Mr. Blanchard will be with us in person for this one-night-only performance. We are very much looking forward to working with him.

Fire Shut Up in My Bones
Thursday April 24, 2025

Selections from the Opera

Carolyn Kuan, conductor
Featuring two vocalists and members of the Terence Blanchard Ensemble

Our May Masterworks concert will be a very, very special program. In 2021, the Metropolitan Opera, for the very first time in its history, featured a black composer—Terrence Blanchard. His Fire Shut Up in My Bones was a huge and overdue success, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with his team to bring this to Hartford. We’re especially proud because this is really a community-driven project, thanks to members of our board and to supporters who want this work to be shared in our area. Mr. Blanchard will be with us in person for this one-night-only performance. We are very much looking forward to working with him.

Rachmaninoff & Rhapsody in Blue
June 6-8, 2025

Adams, Doctor Atomic Symphony
Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue
Rachmaninoff, Symphonic Dances, op. 45

Carolyn Kuan, conductor
Clayton Stephenson, piano
Joyce C. Willis Artist in Residence

Clayton Stephenson returns for our final concert of the 24/25 season to perform Gershwin’s timeless Rhapsody in Blue. Teeming with Americana and pianistic virtuosity, we can think of no better way to conclude Clayton’s residency with the HSO.

The John Adams’ Doctor Atomic Symphony (2007) may not be familiar to some, but the story is that of the movie Oppenheimer. That is, the story of U.S. physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb,” and the moral struggle and moral injury of decisions made regarding its use. The opera boasts one of the most beautiful arias by a contemporary composer. For the symphony, that aria becomes a trumpet solo that’s absolutely gorgeous and heartbreaking. The end of Doctor Atomic is another one of those moments in music that gives us hope.

The above summarizes our 24/25 season. We hope you’re as excited about it as we are. Be sure to spread the word, we couldn’t do what we do without all of you.