Hartford Symphony Orchestra announces 2016-2017 Masterworks Series

Hartford Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Steve Collins and HSO Music Director Carolyn Kuan are pleased to announce HSO’s 2016-2017 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 at The Bushnell.

“We invite you to experience the colors of music on a scale both intimate and grand, introspective and celebratory, with the familiar and the extraordinary – all brought to life by the gifted musicians of the HSO,” said Collins. “Next season, you’ll hear masterworks from Rimsky-Korsakov, Brahms, Mozart, Beethoven and more. Plus, we will feature several dynamic contemporary composers and captivating guest artists. We are thrilled to present this season of programming – please join us for the outstanding concert experience of the HSO’s Masterworks!”

Ticket Information: Current Masterworks subscribers will receive their renewal information in April. New subscriptions will be available in June. Single tickets will go on sale in August. For information on subscriptions, please call 860-987-5900.  More information about subscribing is available at www.hartfordsymphony.org.

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


Season Opener

October 7-9, 2016
Rimsky-Korsakov Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34
Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra
Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade, Op. 35
Carolyn Kuan conductor
Guitar soloist to be announced

The HSO kicks off its 2016-2017 season with a program of music with global flair! Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol is one of the most famous orchestra showpieces, a vividly brilliant composition based on Spanish folk melodies. Inspired by the collection of Middle Eastern and Indian tales “The Thousand and One Nights,” Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade brings to vibrant life the story of the young wife of a Sultan who tells tales to her husband to forestall his plan to kill her. Rodrigo’s extraordinarily beautiful Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra is unquestionably his best known work, and established his reputation as one of the most significant Spanish composers of the 20th century.

Bewitching Brahms
November 11-13, 2016
Brahms Hungarian Dances No. 5 in G minor & No. 7 in A Major
Brahms Concerto for Violin in D Major, Op. 77
Brahms Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98
Carolyn Kuan conductor
Violin soloist to be announced
 “It is not hard to compose, but what is fabulously hard is to leave the superfluous notes under the table.” – Johannes Brahms
The HSO celebrates one of the most captivating masters of musical form with a full program of Johannes Brahms’ music. His Hungarian Dances No. 5 in G minor and No. 7 in A Major are lively, evocative and among his most popular works. The Concerto for Violin in D Major is a favorite of virtuoso violinists – the technical demands are formidable, with lyrical melodies and rich orchestration. And Brahms’ final symphony is a monumental, complex and powerful piece with nods to Beethoven. Sponsored by Cly-Del Manufacturing Co.

Merry Mozart
December 9-11, 2016
Carolyn Kuan conductor
Mozart Overture to Don Giovanni, K. 527
Mackey Four Iconoclastic Episodes
Mozart Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551, “Jupiter”
And one more piece to be announced
Carolyn Kuan conductor
Sirena Huang violin
Steven Mackey electric guitar

Usher in the winter months with works by Mozart, Mackey and the return of guest violinist Sirena Huang! Mozart’s Don Giovanni is recognized as one of the greatest operas of all time, and its overture, with comedic and melodramatic elements, was completed just hours before the opera’s premiere in October, 1787 – not atypical for that time period. Back by popular demand, violinist Sirena Huang first graced the HSO stage as a young child. Her return with composer Steven Mackey on electric guitar for his Four Iconoclastic Episodes will be…electrifying! The program concludes with Mozart’s exhilarating and transcendent “Jupiter” symphony. Mozart’s final symphony was given its nickname in tribute to the ancient Roman god of sky and thunder, also known as the King of the Gods. Plus, don’t miss a holiday musical surprise!

Beethoven and Ravel
January 20-22, 2017
Beethoven Grosse Fuge in B-flat Major, Op. 133
Ravel Piano Concerto in G Major
Schubert Symphony No. 9 in C Major, D. 944, “The Great C Major”
Conductor to be announced
Piano soloist to be announced

Celebrate the new year with the HSO! Come hear why a German critic described Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge as “incomprehensible, like Chinese” and “a confusion of Babel.” Today, the work is considered one of the composer’s greatest achievements! Ravel’s exuberant and soulful Piano Concerto in G Major was influenced by jazz, which he called “a very rich and vital source of inspiration.” Like Brahms’ final symphony, Franz Schubert’s thrilling magnum opus, Symphony No. 9, “The Great C Major,” pays tribute to Beethoven’s Ninth and is an extraordinarily complicated piece for its time period.

Symphonic Love Potions
February 10-12, 2017
Strauss Don Juan, Op. 20
Dorman Spices, Perfumes, Toxins!
Jazz Selections featuring HSO soloists
Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy
Carolyn Kuan conductor
Svet Stoyanov percussion
Dimitrii Nilov percussion

It’s a symphonic love extravaganza! Celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend with Carolyn Kuan and the HSO as it performs music inspired by romance. R. Strauss’ passionate Don Juan tells the tale of the great lothario Don Juan and his quest for ideal love. Dorman’s double percussion concerto Spices, Perfumes, Toxins! mixes elements of Western, Arabic and Indian music, and refers to three substances that are both appealing and dangerous. From the most romantic love story of all time, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture – Fantasy introduces the dramatic and achingly beautiful tale of doomed young lovers. Plus, some of the world’s most romantic jazz ballads are given new life with lush orchestrations for the HSO and special soloists. Feel the love!

A Faust Symphony
March 10-12, 2017
A Faust Symphony
Carolyn Kuan conductor

Faust makes a deal with the devil, Mephistopheles, to trade his soul for the devil’s services on Earth. But when Faust seduces the attractive Gretchen with Mephistopheles’ help, his world falls apart and Gretchen’s life is shattered. Hungarian composer Franz Liszt brought these characters to life in his three part character study A Faust Symphony, written almost 70 years after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s iconic drama. This new adaptation will bring spoken word, drama and action to the HSO stage, infusing Liszt’s character sketches with elements of the theatrical storyline. Come see, hear and imagine the yearning, scheming, agony and ecstasy of man’s desire to improve his lot – ultimately to his own downfall. Sponsored by the Saunders Fund for Innovative Programming.

The Planets: Different Worlds
April 7-9, 2017
Marshall Kingdom Come
Bates Liquid Interface
Holst The Planets
Carolyn Kuan conductor

Vaughan Williams once described Holst’s The Planets as “the perfect equilibrium” of the mystic and the melodic sides of the composer’s nature. Inspired by the astrological character of each planet, this enduringly popular work also bears the richness and emotional warmth of humanity. Ingram Marshall’s Kingdom Come was written in the mid-1990s in memory of his brother-in-law, who was killed while working as a journalist in Bosnia. Taped components of the composition were collected years earlier, during services at a Croatian Catholic Church and a Serbian Orthodox Church. Bates’ Liquid Interface was inspired by his time living on Berlin’s enormous Lake Wannsee, and watching the metamorphosis of the water through the seasons. The result is a unique blend of acoustic orchestra with electronic sounds not to be missed.

Russian Intensity
May 12-14, 2017
Glazunov Concerto for Violin in A minor, Op. 82
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36, TH 27
And one more piece to be announced
Conductor to be announced
Leonid Sigal violin
The spotlight is on HSO’s own concertmaster, Leonid Sigal, in this concert featuring the works of Russian composers. Alexander Borodin died before he finished his Prince Igor opera; it was Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov who completed the work for him after he passed, with Glazunov composing much of the Overture. Glazunov’s Concerto for Violin in A minor was written at the height of the composer’s fame, while he was spending time at his summer home in Oserki. The pastoral setting inspired the lyrical mood of the concerto, which is superbly imagined and vivacious. Tchaikovsky’s great Symphony No. 4 was dedicated to his patroness, Nadezhda von Meck; he claimed she would find in it “an echo of your most intimate thoughts and emotions.” With the theme of Fate running throughout, Symphony No. 4 is emotionally and musically complex. The Koski Memorial Concert.

Choral Fantasy and Mystical Songs
June 9-11, 2017
Brahms Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80
Haydn Te Deum for the Empress Maria Therese
Beethoven Fantasia in C minor for Piano, Chorus, and Orchestra, Op. 80, “Choral Fantasy”
Ravel Ma mère l’Oye (Mother Goose Suite)
Vaughan Williams Five Mystical Songs
Adam Kerry Boyles
Hartford Chorale Richard Coffey, music director
Piano and vocal soloists to be announced
HSO Assistant Conductor Adam Kerry Boyles leads his first complete Masterworks concert! Brahms’ sparkling Academic Festival Overture was composed as a musical “thank you” to the University of Breslau for awarding him an honorary doctorate. A curmudgeonly joker, Brahms created a “boisterous potpourri of student drinking songs.” This program also explores the unique relationship of teacher and student – Haydn and Beethoven as well as Ravel and Vaughan Williams. Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy” combines grandeur and lyricism, with a foreshadowing of his “Ode to Joy” from the Ninth Symphony. Inspired by the Anglican Church, Williams’ meditative Five Mystical Songs sets four poems by poet and priest George Herbert to music, concluding in a triumphant hymn of praise.

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The Bushnell: 166 Capitol Ave. Hartford, CT 06106