Hartford Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Steve Collins and HSO Music Director Carolyn Kuan are thrilled to announce the HSO’s 2019-2020 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.

From the rhythm of Gershwin to the beauty of Vivaldi, from the romance of Prokofiev to the magnificence of Beethoven, the music of the greats will exhilarate and inspire this season. Featuring the artistry of extraordinary HSO musicians and guest artists, all under the direction of HSO Music Director Carolyn Kuan, the 2019-20 season is a true ode to joy!

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 860-987-5900 or visit www.hartfordsymphony.org.

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


October 11-13, 2019
Rhapsody in Blue– Season Opener! 

Bernstein Candide Overture
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue
Gershwin “I Got Rhythm” Variations
Copland Symphony No. 3

Carolyn Kuan
Kevin Cole piano

Bernstein’s Candide Overture is a rollicking introduction to the comic operetta that was inspired by Voltaire’s novella by the same name.  Gershwin mixes a cocktail of jazz, ragtime, and classical for his timeless Rhapsody in Blue, and he was inspired to pen his witty “I Got Rhythm” Variations after playing his hit show tune at countless parties. Bernstein noted of Copland’s heroic Symphony No. 3, “the symphony has become an American monument, like the Washington Monument or the Lincoln Memorial.”

November 15-17, 2019
Brahms and Haydn

Brahms Variations on a Theme of Haydn, Op. 56a
Theofanidis Drum Circles
Haydn Symphony No. 103 in E-flat Major, “Drum Roll”

Carolyn Kuan conductor
The Percussion Collective
Robert van Sice, artistic director, Svet Stoyanov, Doug Perry, Victor Caccese, Ayano Kataoka, percussion

It is surprising to note that Brahms’ masterful Variations on a Theme of Haydn is not inspired by a Haydn composition at all; rather, the theme – “St. Anthony’s Chorale” – is thought to have been written by Haydn’s student, and misattributed. Haydn’s grand Symphony No. 103, nicknamed “The Drum Roll,” was one of the composer’s 12 renowned London Symphonies, written during a particularly joyful and prolific time of his life. Theofanidis’ Drum Circles is a brand-new concerto for percussion and orchestra, co-commissioned by the HSO and featuring The Percussion Collective.

 December 6-8, 2019
Chopin and Franck

 Dukas The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Chopin Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21
Franck Symphony in D minor

Laura Jackson conductor
Daniela Liebman piano

Made most famous by an ambitious mouse, Dukas’ dazzling The Sorcerer’s Apprentice became one of the most popular orchestral works in history when it appeared in the 1940 Disney film, Fantasia. Chopin’s virtuosic Piano Concerto No. 2 was written when the composer was young and in love, and is reflective of his native Poland. Franck’s warm and luminous Symphony in D minor fuses both French and German music traditions – a radical compositional choice in 1888 France.
Concert Sponsor: Cly-Del Manufacturing

January 17-19, 2020
The Four Seasons

Assad Suite for Lower Strings
Vivaldi The Four Seasons, Op. 8, No. 1-4
Ginastera Variaciones concertantes, Op. 23

Carolyn Kuan conductor
Randall Goosby violin

We ring in the new year – and the new decade! – with Vivaldi’s evocative The Four Seasons. This beloved piece, which will feature dynamic young violinist Randall Goosby, brings to life babbling brooks, summer storms, hunting parties, and cozy winter fires. Brazilian-American composer Clarice Assad gives us a contemporary twist on a Baroque composer with Suite for Lower Strings, based on themes by J.S. Bach. Ginastera’s Variaciones concertantes is a brilliantly orchestrated taste of Argentina.
The Koski Memorial Concert

February 14-16, 2020
Romeo and Juliet

 Kendall The Spark Catchers
Tomasi Trumpet Concerto
Kreisler Love Song
Prokofiev Selections from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64

Adam Boyles conductor
Scott McIntosh trumpet

The HSO brings to life one of the greatest love stories of all time! Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has inspired works of art in all mediums, and the music from Prokofiev’s ballet captures all of the bliss, humor, drama, and tragedy of the play.  Contemporary composer Hannah Kendall’s imaginative The Spark Catchers is inspired by the poem of the same name by Lemn Sissay. Tomasi’s playful Trumpet Concerto and Kreisler’s emotive Love Song will feature HSO’s principal trumpet, Scott McIntosh.
The Alexander Campbell McNally and Tina Mahar McNally Memorial Concert

March 13-15, 2020
Dvo?ák’s Eighth

Lalo Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21
Dvo?ák Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88, B. 163

Damon Gupton conductor
Leonid Sigal violin

Composed at his summer retreat in 1889, Dvo?ák’s Symphony No. 8 takes inspiration from Czech folk music, and has a cheer and optimism that was unusual for the composer and the time period. Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole, which was written for violinist Pablo de Sarasate, is sultry and colorful. Additional programming to be announced.

April 17-19 2020
Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky

 Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64, TH 29

Carolyn Kuan conductor
Henry Kramer piano

Tchaikovsky was obsessed with the concept of Fate, and his exhilarating and contrasting Symphony No. 5 explores the idea of “complete resignation before Fate.” His joyful Fifth Symphony is one of the composer’s most adored, despite him initially calling it “repulsive”! Rachmaninoff’s electrifying Piano Concerto No. 3 is a brilliant palette of moods, and is one of the most demanding concertos in the repertoire.

May 8-10, 2020
Enigma Variations

 Clyne Within Her Arms
Elgar Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85
Elgar Enigma Variations, Op. 36

Carolyn Kuan conductor
Joshua Roman cello

Elgar’s charming Enigma Variations presents a couple of mysteries – first, a guessing game as to who the 14 musical personality sketches he composed represent (most certainly his wife and friends). Plus, the question of what the “unheard” theme of the piece is – which is never stated, but Elgar insisted is very well-known. His contemplative Cello Concerto was his last significant work, and is a meditation on the aftermath of World War I.  London-born Anna Clyne’s Within Her Arms is a somber, deeply-affecting meditation on loss, inspired by her mother.

June 5-7, 2020
Beethoven’s Ninth

 Glass Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra
Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 “Choral”

Carolyn Kuan, conductor
Resurgam Quartet saxophone quartet
Harrison Kliewe, soprano saxophone
Colette Hall, alto saxophone
Sean Tanguay, tenor saxophone
Michael Raposo, baritone saxophone
Hartford Chorale Richard Coffey, music director
Vocal soloists to be announced

We conclude the 2019-2020 season with a true “Ode to Joy” – Beethoven’s towering, magnificent Symphony No. 9. The completion of his final and greatest symphony coincided with his total hearing loss, so that by the premiere, a concert soloist had to turn him around at the podium so he could witness the audience’s thunderous applause and ovations. Philip Glass’ jazzy and soulful Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra will be performed by the engaging Hartford-based Resurgam Quartet.


2019-2020 Masterworks brochure