Hartford Symphony Orchestra announces 2020-2021 Masterworks Series  

Hartford Symphony Orchestra announces 2020-2021 Masterworks Series

 Celebrating Carolyn Kuan’s 10th season!

HARTFORD, CT (March 9, 2020) – Hartford Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Steve Collins and HSO Music Director Carolyn Kuan are thrilled to announce the HSO’s 2020-2021 Masterworks Series, which will be presented at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, CT. Concerts will take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm in the Belding Theater.

“I am thrilled to be celebrating my 10th season with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra – and my 10th season with our wonderful HSO community! YOU have been such an important part of my journey with the HSO, and I programmed this deeply personal season, with some of my most beloved and meaningful music and artists, just for you.” – Carolyn Kuan, Music Director

Ticket Information: Current Masterworks subscribers will receive their renewal information in March. New subscriptions will be available in June. Single tickets will go on sale in August. For information on subscriptions, please call 860-244-2999 or visit www.hartfordsymphony.org.

All artists, dates, and locations are subject to change.


October 2-4, 2020
Bernstein & Copland– Season Opener!
The HSO’s fourth annual naturalization ceremony will take place on October 3 at 6:30 pm

Copland Lincoln Portrait 
Bernstein On the Waterfront Symphonic Suite
Bernstein West Side Story Symphonic Dances
Karpman All American

Carolyn Kuan conductor

“Becoming a U.S. citizen at the HSO’s 2017 opening weekend will forever be one of the most emotional moments of my life.  Join us as we again welcome new citizens and celebrate America with Copland’s awe-inspiring Lincoln Portrait, featuring the powerful words of President Lincoln.  Our all American celebration includes music from Bernstein’s passionate West Side Story, and his only original movie score, On the Waterfront, one of the greatest film scores of all time.  Emmy and Grammy-winning composer Laura Karpman’s All American completes our stirring celebration of America – our country.” – Carolyn Kuan, Music Director


November 6-8, 2020
Mendelssohn’s Italian

Mendelssohn Selections from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Puts Flute Concerto 
Mendelssohn Symphony No. 4, Op. 90, “Italian”

Carolyn Kuan conductor
Adam Walker flute

“As a child, I believed I was a troublemaking fairy before coming to this world, and I have always loved that music can be a ‘Fountain of Youth’- instantly transporting us to a world of light, innocence and fun.  Mendelssohn’s magical A Midsummer Night’s Dream is full of excitement and beauty.  He wrote his Symphony No. 4 when he visited Italy for the first time as a 20-year-old, and joy and wonder burst radiantly from the very first note. I think of American composer Kevin Puts as our modern-day Mendelssohn, and I fell in love with his beautiful, lyrical melodies when I conducted the world premiere of his Flute Concerto with flute virtuoso Adam Walker. Appointed principal flute of the London Symphony Orchestra at the age of 21, Adam is simply one of the best in the world.”– Carolyn Kuan, Music Director


December 4-6, 2020
Tchaikovsky & Grieg

Tchaikovsky The Tempest Fantasy-Overture
Tchaikovsky Act I Finale from The Nutcracker
Grieg Piano Concerto, Op. 16

Carolyn Kuan conductor
Alessio Bax piano

“I almost came to the U.S. at age 8 to pursue a career as a ballerina.  It was therefore especially meaningful that the first time I ever conducted The Nutcracker was at Lincoln Center for the New York City Ballet. One of Tchaikovsky’s most breathtaking musical moments symphonic audience rarely get to hear is in Act 1; the moment when the clock strikes twelve, and the toys come alive is pure magic.  Tchaikovsky’s imagination and storytelling also amaze in the fantasy-overture The Tempest. Based on William Shakespeare’s play, it is even more dramatic, noble and beautiful than his famous Romeo and Juliet.  You might not realize it, but chances are you already know and love Grieg’s romantic Piano Concerto – it features one of the most famous openings in classical music.” –Carolyn Kuan, Music Director

Concert Sponsor: Cly-Del Manufacturing


January 15-17, 2021
From the New World

Still Darker America
Price Concerto in One Movement for Piano
Dvo?ák Symphony No. 9, Op. 95 “From the New World”

Jeri Lynne Johnson conductor
Michelle Cann piano

“As an Asian female, my journey as a conductor has been challenging, and yet, it was even more difficult for my black female colleagues.  I have known Jeri Lynne Johnson since she became a fellow Taki Concordia winner in 2005. We celebrate the new year with Piano Concerto in One Movement by Florence Price, the first African-American woman to have her music performed by a major orchestra in 1933. Darker America was a response to Rhapsody in Blue by African-American composer William Grant Still.  He treats the blues to a thorough symphonic development in order to chart a triumphant course ‘representative of the American Negro.’  Dvorak’s love of spirituals can be heard in his music, especially in the Largo movement of his Symphony No. 9, which inspired ‘Goin Home,’” – Carolyn Kuan, Music Director


February 12-14, 2021

Bizet Selections from Carmen
He/Chen The Butterfly Lovers
Stravinsky The Firebird

Carolyn Kuan conductor
Sirena Huang violin

“There is a picture of me in college dressed as the risqué gypsy Carmen. I loved singing and performing the role, with her sultry melodies, surrounded by the passion and bravado of bullfighters.  A Russian prince falls in love with and saves the princess with the help of The Firebird, and I’m excited to share the complete version of Stravinsky’s glorious and magnificent ballet with our audience.  Growing up, the most famous love story was The Butterfly Lovers, our Chinese Romeo and Juliet. We are thrilled to welcome back violinist Sirena Huang to the HSO to share this 1000-year-old legend, which journeys from the joyful pentatonic youthful melodies to the final scene of two lovers turning into butterflies to be together forever.” – Carolyn Kuan, Music Director

Concert Sponsor: The Alexander Campbell McNally and Tina Mahar McNally Memorial Concert


March 12-14, 2021
Beethoven 7 & Time for Three

Beethoven Symphony No. 7, Op. 92
Puts Triple Concerto
Time for Three Encores announced from stage
Carolyn Kuan conductor
Time for Three string trio

“The members of string trio Time for Three are like The Beatles of the classical world – contagious energy, incredible charisma, and brilliant music-making, while defying convention and boundaries.  Not surprisingly, they inspired me to conduct in leather pants for the very first time when they were last with the HSO! Kevin Puts’ new Triple Concerto is written specially for Tf3 and sparked by their joy, love of music, humanity, and connection with the audience. Praised as ‘the apotheosis of dance’ and ‘Greatest. Music. Ever.’, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 may actually be my favorite Beethoven symphony.” – Carolyn Kuan, Music Director

Concert Sponsor: Saunders Fund for Innovative Programming


April 9-11, 2021
Strauss & Glass

Humperdink Hansel and Gretel Suite
Glass Violin Concerto No. 1
Strauss Der Rosenkavalier Suite

Gerard Schwarz conductor
Leonid Sigal violin

“To mentor is to touch a life forever. I think of guest conductor Gerard Schwarz as a musical father, and he touched my life as a musician and a person when I worked as his Assistant Conductor at the Seattle Symphony.  An impressive international conductor with over 350 recordings to his name, I was mesmerized when I saw him conduct Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier.  It is as if Strauss is in his blood, and I remember thinking I didn’t know music could be this exquisitePhilip Glass’ Violin Concerto No.1, featuring HSO’s Leonid Sigal, was composed for Glass’ late father.  It brought Glass tremendous international fame, just as Hansel and Gretel and Der Rosenkavalier brought Humperdinck and Strauss their greatest popular success.”- Carolyn Kuan, Music Director

Concert Sponsor: The Koski Memorial Concert


May 7-9, 2021

Shankar Concerto for Sitar and Orchestra, No. 1
Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade, Op. 35

Carolyn Kuan conductor
Sitar to be announced

“As an immigrant, I always look for opportunities to share the great diversity of the world’s music with our audience.  Beatles guitarist George Harrison collaborated closely with Ravi Shankar, and called him ‘the godfather of world music.’ Shankar’s enchanting Concerto for Sitar and Orchestra is a perfect example of how music has the power to transport the listener to a different time and place. I have always admired strong women, like Scheherazade in Rimsky-Korsakov’s masterpiece.  Her bravery and 1001 tales changed her life and the lives of all those around her. This music is dramatic, evocative, thrilling and wistful – qualities that speak to me in a very personal way.”   – Carolyn Kuan, Music Director


June 4-6, 2021
Missa Solemnis

Beethoven Missa Solemnis, Op. 123

Adam Boyles conductor
Hartford Chorale Richard Coffey, music director
Vocal Soloists to be announced

“I often think about how to make a difference and contribute to the lives of those around me. What could be better than celebrating this 10th season with the HSO by looking to the future and helping to bring a dream to reality!  I asked HSO’s beloved Assistant Conductor Adam Boyles, what his dream pieces are to conduct, and one of his dreams was to conduct Beethoven’s Missa solemnis.  It is always special to hear a work that is dearest to an artist.  Our entire season includes music that is profoundly meaningful and special for us to share. In Adam’s words, “the Missa solemnis is Beethoven’s most public declaration of his spiritual faith.”” – Carolyn Kuan, Music Director


The 2020-2021 Masterworks Series is sponsored by The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation and Cly-Del.

HSO programs are funded part by the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and with support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

About the Hartford Symphony Orchestra

The mission of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra is to enrich lives and community through great music. Now in its 76th season, the HSO is Connecticut’s premier musical organization, the second largest orchestra in New England, and widely recognized as one of America’s leading regional orchestras. The Hartford Symphony Orchestra named Carolyn Kuan as its tenth music director in January 2011; she is the first woman and youngest person to hold this title. The HSO captivates and inspires audiences of all ages by presenting more than 100 concerts annually, including the Masterworks Series, POPS! Series, Sunday Serenades, HSO: Intermix Series, Discovery Concerts, Symphony in Schools, Musical Dialogues, the Talcott Mountain Music Festival, and more.  The HSO aims to deliver uniquely powerful and emotional experiences that lift and transform the spirit, and to give back and help create vibrant communities in the Greater Hartford area.

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Hartford, CT 06106

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The Bushnell: 166 Capitol Ave. Hartford, CT 06106