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Fabio Luisi’s Second Season with Dallas Symphony Includes World and Dallas Premieres, American Music, Guest Artists Anne-Sophie Mutter and Renée Fleming, Eugene Onegin in Concert and More

Fabio Luisi and the Dallas Symphony (photo: Sylvia Elzafon)

“With glowing tone, this was playing sensitively scaled and shaped, with the subtlest touches of magic at just the right moments.” – Dallas Morning News on Fabio Luisi and the Dallas Symphony

In his second season as Louise W. & Edmund J. Kahn Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO), Grammy-winning conductor Fabio Luisi continues the orchestra’s exploration of American music, conducts and records Brahms’s First Symphony, collaborates with a starry roster of top soloists, helms a concert version of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, and much more. Highlights of the Texas Instruments Classical Series include the world premiere of the DSO-commissioned Concerto for Violin, Trumpet and Orchestra by Chinese composer Xi Wang, featuring the work’s dedicatees, violinist Karen Gomyo and trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth; the Dallas premiere of the DSO-co-commissioned Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt! by American composer Bruce Adolphe; the Dallas premiere of John Williams’s Second Violin Concerto, featuring Anne-Sophie Mutter’s DSO debut; and the Dallas premiere of Pulitzer Prize winner Kevin Puts’s The Brightness of Light, a dramatic multi-media piece featuring soprano Renée Fleming and baritone Rod Gilfry. The season also features multiple works by Richard Strauss, of whose music Luisi is a world-renowned interpreter; the Dallas Symphony Chorus joining the orchestra for Mozart’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; Adolphus Hailstork’s Martin Luther King, Jr. tribute, Epitaph for a Man Who Dreamed; and the Symphony No. 4 by Franz Schmidt, a composer whose works Luisi has long championed and extensively recorded. Luisi’s performances with the Dallas Symphony will be made available again this season—generally within a week of the original performance—through the Next Stage Digital Concert series. Recorded performances can be accessed via the DSO’s website for $10/concert or $125 season pass.

Kim Noltemy, Ross Perot President & CEO of the Dallas Symphony, comments:

“We are thrilled to share a full season of music with our patrons and community. We persevered through the 2020-21 season by performing weekly with 40-person orchestras on stage and small audiences as well as digital streams shared online. As we begin 2021-22, we look forward to returning to the stage with a full complement of musicians and larger, full orchestral works.”

An important overall theme this season is a continued exploration of American music in all of its diversity. Luisi explains:

“I am committed to the exploration of American music. We began that journey when I first arrived, and we will dig deeper in this season. I want to look at the full range of American music and those voices that we know, and those that have been perhaps forgotten. The history of America is very rich, and the more I learn, the more I discover new music from many times. I would like the audience, my orchestra and our community to learn more as well and to see how important these voices are to today’s musical life.”

The 2021-22 season opens with two American works—Copland’s Organ Symphony, with soloist Bradley Hunter Welch, and The Mystic Trumpeter by Frederick Converse, who in 1910 became the first American to have his music performed by the Metropolitan Opera. The program is rounded out with Brahms’s Symphony No. 1, which will be recorded for the future release of a complete set of Brahms Symphonies (Sep 16–19).

The following week, Luisi leads DSO Principal Flute David Buck with the orchestra in the first DSO performance of Joan Tower’s Flute Concerto, on a program with Weber’s Overture to Oberon and Richard Strauss’s Aus Italien (Sep 23 & 26). Another Strauss tone poem, Don Juan, will be performed at the DSO 2021 Gala (Sep 25), sharing the program with the Dallas premiere of John Williams’s Second Violin Concerto, written for four-time Grammy-winning violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and marking her DSO debut. After the concerto’s world premiere at the Tanglewood Festival in July 2021, the Berkshire Eagle reported, “the concerto has something to offer all listeners, including those who’d rather hear something from ‘Star Wars’ than anything dissonant or newfangled.”

Strauss’s elegiac Metamorphosen for strings, composed in the final days of World War II, is on the program for Luisi’s November concerts, with two other works alternating over four performances. On November 4 and 6 are performances of Mozart’s Requiem, featuring mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, who sang Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the DSO in 2019; the DSO debuts of soprano Kim-Lillian Strebel, tenor Spencer Lang, and bass David Leigh; and the long-awaited return of director Joshua Habermann’s DSO Symphony Chorus. For the alternating concerts on November 5 and 7, Strauss’s work will be complemented by the Dallas premiere of The Brightness of Light by Pulitzer Prize winner Kevin Puts. Set to texts from the correspondence between Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, this multimedia presentation will feature renowned American soprano Renée Fleming and baritone Rod Gilfry as soloists, with visuals created by Wendall K. Harrington projected above the stage.

Luisi’s first performances of the new year will feature Adolphus Hailstork’s Epitaph for a Man Who Dreamed, written in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and performed on the weekend before the holiday commemorating his life and work. That program also includes Elgar’s Violin Concerto with soloist James Ehnes, and Schumann’s Symphony No. 1, “Spring” (Jan 13 & 14).

At the end of January, Luisi conducts a program featuring Grammy-winning Russian piano virtuoso Daniil Trifonov—“without question the most astounding pianist of our age” (The Times of London)—playing Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1, along with the Symphony No. 4 of Franz Schmidt (Jan 20–23). Schmidt’s works are rarely played outside of his native Austria, but Luisi has been a passionate advocate for them, and has recorded all four of the composer’s symphonies as well as his oratorio The Book with Seven Seals.

Luisi’s February performances feature an encore performance of a piece he conducted in the 2019 SOLUNA Festival: William Grant Still’s Poem for Orchestra, written in 1944 to imagine the world’s spiritual rebirth after a time of severe darkness and desolation. Known as the “Dean” of African-American composers, Still was a pioneer: he was the first African-American to have a symphony performed by a leading American orchestra (1935), the first to conduct a major American orchestra (1936), and the first to have an opera performed by a major opera company (1949). On the same program are Max Bruch’s perennially popular Violin Concerto in G minor, featuring the DSO debut of violinist Daishin Kashimoto, and Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony (Feb 17–19).

One of the world’s most distinguished opera conductors, Luisi has pledged to make opera-in-concert performances a centerpiece of every season; in 2021–22 he and the orchestra will present a semi-staged full performance of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, with baritone Etienne Dupuis and soprano Nicole Car making their DSO debuts as the title character and his never-to-be lover (April 1–5). After the orchestra’s performance of Salome in February 2020, Classical Voice North America raved: “The Dallas Symphony Orchestra played magnificently under Luisi’s experienced hands. … The power and presence of the orchestra and the excellence of the singers kept this listener riveted from beginning to end.”

Also in April, Luisi is joined by violinist Karen Gomyo and Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth, making her DSO debut, for the world premiere of Xi Wang’s DSO-commissioned Concerto for Violin, Trumpet and Orchestra. An associate professor at Southern Methodist University’s Meadow School of the Arts in Dallas whose music has been called “dramatic and entrancing” (Dallas Morning News), Xi is the winner of numerous composition prizes and awards, including the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy Arts and Letters. The program is rounded out by Gottfried von Einem’s Capriccio and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique (April 8–10).

Finally, Luisi’s last concerts of the DSO season open with the Dallas premiere of Bruce Adolphe’s Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt! (This kiss to the entire world!), co-commissioned by the DSO and Colorado’s Bravo! Vail summer festival, and given its world premiere by Luisi and the DSO at the festival this past July. Adolphe was specifically commissioned to write a companion piece for the other work on the program, Beethoven’s stirring Ninth Symphony, for which the orchestra is joined by soprano Angel Blue, mezzo Taylor Raven, tenor Issachah Savage, and bass Soloman Howard, all making their DSO debuts, and the DSO Symphony Chorus, bringing Luisi’s DSO season to a rousing conclusion (May 12–15).

High-resolution photos can be downloaded here.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Fabio Luisi, 2021–22 Season
Texas Instruments Classical Series
(All concerts take place at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, TX.)

Sep 16–19
Bradley Hunter Welch, organ
CONVERSE: The Mystic Trumpeter
COPLAND: Organ Symphony
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 1

Sep 23 & 26
David Buck, flute
WEBER: Overture to Oberon
JOAN TOWER: Flute Concerto (first DSO performance)
R. STRAUSS: Aus Italien

Sep 25
Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin
R. STRAUSS: Don Juan
JOHN WILLIAMS: Violin Concerto No. 2 (Dallas premiere)

Nov 4 & 6
Kim-Lillian Strebel, soprano (DSO debut)
Kelley O’Connor, mezzo-soprano
Spencer Lang, tenor (DSO debut)
David Leigh, bass (DSO debut)
Dallas Symphony Chorus, Joshua Habermann, director
R. STRAUSS: Metamorphosen
MOZART: Requiem

Nov 5 & 7
Renée Fleming, soprano
Rod Gilfry, baritone
R. STRAUSS: Metamorphosen
KEVIN PUTS: The Brightness of Light (Dallas premiere)
Multi-Media Presentation featuring the letters of Georgia O’Keeffe & Alfred Stieglitz
and video by Wendall Harrington

Jan 13 & 14
James Ehnes, violin
ELGAR: Violin Concerto
ADOLPHUS HAILSTORK: Epitaph for a Man Who Dreamed
SCHUMANN: Symphony No. 1, “Spring”

Jan 20–23
Daniil Trifonov, piano
BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 1
SCHMIDT: Symphony No. 4

Feb 17–19
Daishin Kashimoto, violin (DSO debut)
W. G. STILL: Poem
BRUCH: Violin Concerto in G minor
TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique”

April 1–5
Etienne Dupuis, baritone (Eugene Onegin)
Nicole Car, soprano (Tatyana)
Pavol Breslik, tenor (Lensky)
Brindley Sherratt, bass (Prince Gremin)
Deniz Uzun, mezzo-soprano (Olga)
Keith Jameson, tenor (Triquet)
Further soloists to be announced
Dallas Symphony Chorus, Joshua Habermann, director
TCHAIKOVSKY: Eugene Onegin
Opera-in-Concert—Sung in Russian with English surtitles

April 8–10
Karen Gomyo, violin
Tine Thing Helseth, trumpet (DSO debut)
EINEM: Capriccio
XI WANG: Concerto for Violin, Trumpet and Orchestra (world premiere of DSO commission)
BERLIOZ: Symphonie fantastique

May 12–15
Angel Blue, soprano (DSO debut)
Taylor Raven, mezzo-soprano (DSO debut)
Issachah Savage, tenor (DSO debut)
Soloman Howard, bass-baritone (DSO debut)
Dallas Symphony Chorus, Joshua Habermann, director
BRUCE ADOLPHE: Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt! (Dallas premiere of DSO co-commission)
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9, “Choral”

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© 21C Media Group, September 2021


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