Read our season preview of premieres, new productions, and other performance highlights in North and South America.
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This spring, The Metropolitan Opera presents a new production of Adams’s opera-oratorio El Niño (Apr 23-May 17), directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz and conducted by Marin Alsop, featuring soprano Julia Bullock and bass-baritone Davóne Tines. Bullock, a champion of Adams’s music in recent years, also performs in multiple presentations around the country of El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered (a chamber version arranged by conductor Christian Reif), and debuts as Cleopatra to Gerald Finley’s Antony in Adams’s recent opera Antony and Cleopatra at the Liceu Opera Barcelona (European premiere, Oct 28-Nov 8), conducted by Adams.
Adams also takes to the podium to conduct his masterpiece City Noir with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Mar 22-24) and The Cleveland Orchestra (Apr 4-6). In the spring, he unveils a major new orchestral work, Frenzy (Mar 3), premiering with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle—future international performances to be announced.
> All Adams performances
Auerbach’s Icarus, which evokes the intense, explosive story from Greek mythology, is performed by two major US orchestras this season: the Minnesota Orchestra with Thomas Søndergård (Sep 28-30) and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with Jonathon Heyward (Nov 30-Dec 3). The Boston Globe describes the piece as “[soaring] upward, in its ethereal violin solos, over a Shostakovichian world of clamor.”
> All Auerbach performances
Bernstein’s beloved scores are featured in orchestral programming across the country, from Los Angeles to Chicago to New York. Highlights include Cincinnati Symphony and Louis Langrée playing music from his score for the Oscar-winning film On the Waterfront (Oct 13-14), and violinist Baiba Skride joining the New York Philharmonic and Santtu-Matias Rouvali to perform Serenade (after Plato’s ‘Symposium’) (Feb 8-13).
> All Bernstein performances
New B&H signing Courtney Bryan introduces two works this season: a new chamber work for the International Contemporary Ensemble (Nov 1) premiering at New York’s Kaufman Music Center that she describes as “inspired by sounds of freedom”; and a new orchestral piece for Jacksonville Symphony (Mar 8), where she previously served as composer-in-residence from 2018-2020.
North Carolina Symphony performs Rejoice (Feb 16-17) led by Carlos Miguel Prieto, who conducted the world premiere of the Biblical text–inspired work in 2019.
> All Bryan performances
Unsuk Chin unveils two new orchestral pieces, both traveling to North America this season. Alaraph ‘Ritus des Herzschlags’ (Ritual of the Heartbeats) is inspired by the concept of “heartbeat stars”—star systems in eccentric orbits with vibrations caused by tidal forces. The San Francisco Symphony, led by Ryan Bancroft, gives the US premiere of Alaraph (May 16-18), following performances in Basel and Amsterdam. Operascope for orchestra traces the history of operatic music—with references to Verdi, Puccini, Messiaen, Berg, Shostakovich. It receives its North American premiere with the Esprit Orchestra in Toronto (date to be announced).
Chin’s 2020 Beethoven-inspired subito con forza—a new contemporary favorite among orchestras—is performed by the St. Louis Symphony (Sep 29-30), Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Nov 16-19), The Cleveland Orchestra (Apr 26-28), Minnesota Orchestra (May 9-10), and Chicago Sinfonietta (May 10-11).
Chin’s Violin Concerto No. 2, “Scherben der Stille,” composed for soloist Leonidas Kavakos, is given its South American premiere with Kavakos, the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, and Thierry Fischer (Mar 14-16).
> All Chin performances
Visual arts–inclined composer Anna Clyne draws on the artwork and processes of painter Gerhard Richter for her new piano concerto ATLAS, composed for soloist Jeremy Denk who premieres the piece with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Fabio Luisi (Mar 28-30), followed by the New Jersey Symphony (May 17-19). Clyne’s Quarter Days, a concerto for string quartet and orchestra, debuts with the Euclid Quartet and South Bend Symphony Orchestra (Oct 22), followed by performances with the Dalí Quartet and Harrisburg Symphony (Feb 10-11).
Cellist Inbal Segev joins the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop to give the South American premiere of Clyne’s cello concerto DANCE (Nov 2-5)—Segev’s widely acclaimed recording of the work has now hit 10 million streams on Spotify. Other notable highlights include performances of Prince of Clouds at the Kennedy Center (Dec 1), featuring Jennifer Koh and Jaime Laredo with members of the Juilliard Orchestra, and Color Field with the Houston Symphony (Jan 12-14) and Boston Symphony Orchestra (Apr 4-6).
> All Clyne performances
The Martha Graham Dance Company kicks off its three-year Graham100 celebrations at The Soraya performing arts center in Los Angeles with Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo (Sep 30), featuring a newly commissioned bluegrass adaptation of Copland’s score arranged by multi-instrumentalist and composer/arranger Gabe Witcher. The dance company will also present the new rendering of Rodeo at New York City Center (Apr 17-20).
> All Copland performances
Currier pens a new chamber piece Ongoingness for celebrated harpist Bridget Kibbey, written for solo harp and string quartet. Kibbey is joined by the Calidore String Quartet for the world premiere of the new work at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto as part of its 21C Music Festival (Jan 21), with future performances to be announced.
> All Currier performances
Concerto Venezolano for Trumpet and Orchestra, D’Rivera’s 2019 trumpet concerto for Pacho Flores, opens the North Carolina Symphony’s 2023-2024 concert season (Sep 22-23). The commission is part of Flores’s worldwide project to expand the repertoire for trumpet concertos by multiple composers including Arturo Marquez, Robert Sierra, and Gabriela Ortiz.
> All D'Rivera performances
Ginastera’s Violin Concerto is performed by virtuoso Hilary Hahn (who released a critically acclaimed recording of the work last year) with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (Mar 22-24) and New York Philharmonic (Apr 25-27), both orchestras conducted by Juanjo Mena.
Mena also conducts Ginastera’s Harp Concerto with Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (Apr 17-18), featuring harp soloist Jennifer Swartz.
> All Ginastera performances
Johannes Moser gives the North American premiere of Glanert’s Cello Concerto (following the world premiere in Luxembourg) with Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä (Mar 27-28). The season also sees soloist Thomas Rolfs and the Boston Symphony Orchestra performing Glanert’s Trumpet Concerto (Apr 25-27); and baritone Dashon Burton performing Vier Präludien und Ernste Gesänge (Four Preludes and Serious Songs) with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Glanert’s orchestrations of Brahms’s “Four Serious Songs” with original introductions and interludes woven through (Mar 1-2).
> All Glanert performances
Gubaidulina’s 2020 Prologue for Orchestra—a 2020 piece dedicated to Beethoven—is given its US premiere with Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Apr 25-27).
Later in the spring, Antoine Tamestit, who has recorded Gubaidulina’s 1996 Viola Concerto, performs the work with the New York Philharmonic and Jaap van Zweden (May 23-28), following performances in Amsterdam. Gubaidulina highlights “the peculiar mysteriousness and veiled quality of the viola’s timbre,” and creates an intriguing soundscape by introducing a solo string quartet tuned a quarter-tone lower.
> All Gubaidulina performances
DAVID T. LITTLE
David T. Little unveils SIN-EATER, a theatrical choral work written for The Crossing and Bergamot Quartet, receiving its world premiere production in Philadelphia (Oct 14-15). The piece draws on the 18th- and 19th-century ritualistic practice of placing bread on a person’s corpse to “absorb” their sins, which is then consumed by a lower-ranking person from the town outskirts who thereby takes on their sins and absolves the dead. Little draws parallels to modern day "sin-eaters"—essential workers, social media content moderators, soldiers—who absorb the ills of society, enabling the others to lead safer, healthier, and oblivious lives.
Other major productions of Little’s works include his monodrama Soldier Songs, performed by Nathan Gunn at Chicago Opera Theater (Oct 5); and Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera, his comedic opera written with librettist Royce Vavrek, presented by Opera Parallèle and SF Jazz (Apr 5-7).
> All Little performances
Composer Steven Mackey often turns to his instrument, the guitar, to create a unique sound world in his works, blending blues and rock with classical, and bending pitches to find the “right wrong notes.” While frequently performing as soloist in his own works in the past, Mackey has now written a concerto for electric guitar and orchestra for another virtuoso guitarist, JIJI, who joins Robert Spano and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of Aluminum Flowers (Mar 9). JIJI performs the new work with the Utah Symphony the following month, led by David Robertson (Apr 20).
Mackey’s Memoir, a 75-minute musical-theatre work based on the unpublished memoir of his mother, debuted in 2022 and continues to be performed this season at Benaroya Hall in Seattle (Feb 2), featuring narrator Natalie Christa and the arx duo, directed by Mark DeChiazza. The deeply personal work follows Elaine Mackey’s descriptions of the tumultuous 20th Century—the Great Depression, World War II—and personal challenges like social anxiety, divorce, and alcoholism.
> All Mackey performances
The Brentano String Quartet, joined by violist Hsin-Yun Huang, gives the world premiere of MacMillan’s viola quintet Heart Speaks to Heart at the Moss Arts Center in Virginia (Sep 22), with future performances to be announced.
Jörgen van Rijen (principal trombonist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra) joins the Minnesota Orchestra to perform James MacMillan’s Trombone Concerto (Oct 13-14), a piece that was written for him, and which he has premiered and recorded. The NRC Handelsblad describes the work’s “sacral glowing melodies, rich chording and ear-splitting eruptions of sound" and De Trouw exclaims, “The trombone sang, sang, sang … It is a concerto for eternity.”
> All MacMillan performances
Meyer has composed new music as part of Joshua Bell’s The Elements, a suite of five commissioned works for violin and orchestra by leading American composers: Jake Heggie (Fire), Jennifer Higdon (Air), Edgar Meyer (Water), Jessie Montgomery (Space), and Kevin Puts (Earth). Bell premieres the suite in September with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, then tours the work internationally, including US-based performances with the New York Philharmonic (Sep 29-Oct 1), Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Jun 13-15), and Seattle Symphony Orchestra (Jun 20-22).
> All Meyer performances
Gabriela Ortiz’s Kauyumari for orchestra, which premiered in 2021 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has impressed with its “rhythmically interweaving, pulsating explosion of hope and renewal” (San Francisco Classical Voice). The piece has already entered the repertoire of multiple American orchestras, and features on several programs this season: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Houston Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The acclaimed Mexico-based Orquesta Sinfonica de Mineria, led by Carlos Miguel Prieto, also performs the piece on its coast-to-coast US tour in October.
Ortiz’s fruitful creative partnership with the LA Phil produces another new work this season: Revolución diamantina (Nov 16-19), premiering as part of the inaugural California Festival, led by Gustavo Dudamel.
> All Ortiz performances
The New York Philharmonic gives the world premiere of Steve Reich’s Jacob’s Ladder (Oct 5-7), joined by Synergy Vocals. Reich’s large ensemble work sets Biblical texts in Hebrew that describe a vision presented to Jacob, in which he sees a ladder between Heaven and Earth, with angels ascending and descending the rungs between the spaces.
Reich is the subject of a major retrospective in Paris, as part of Maison de la Radio et de la Musique’s Festival Présences 2024 (Feb 5-11). His music will be presented across 12 events, featuring performances by the Colin Currie Group, Synergy Vocals, Roomful of Teeth, Orchestre national de France, Ensemble Intercontemporain, and more. The Hallé in Manchester also presents a three-concert Reich festival, including a performance of Electric Counterpoint by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood (Feb 1-3).
> All Reich performances
Estonian writer, poet, and composer Jüri Reinvere crafts a double concerto for new music champion, violinist Leila Josefowicz, and harpist Trina Struble, who premiere the piece with The Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst (May 23-25). Inspired by his time working with the harpists of the Estonian Festival orchestra, Reinvere was eager to create more music spotlighting this instrument with the orchestra. He explores the relationship between the harp and violin, both stringed instruments, through their similarities and many differences.
> All Reinvere performances
Ned Rorem’s centennial takes place on October 23, 2023. The Pulitzer Prize–winning composer, who passed away last November, is saluted by the Curtis Institute of Music (where he served on the composition faculty from 1980 to 2001) with multiple performances of his music, including a special Rorem tribute concert (date to be announced). The New York Festival of Song presents “NED at 100” at The Juilliard School (Jan 18), honoring the composer’s legacy through his music and diaries, alongside performances of songs by his inner circle of composer-friends, including Bernstein, Poulenc, Thompson, and Copland. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum also marks Rorem’s 100th birthday with a presentation of his magnum opus Evidence of Things Not Seen—an evening-length cycle of 36 songs for four voices and piano—to be performed by singers from the Victory Hall Opera (Oct 1).
On Mar 1-2, soloist Andrea Overturf and the San Diego Symphony, led by Ludovic Morlot, perform Rorem’s acclaimed Concerto for English Horn and Orchestra.
> All Rorem performances
The Colorado Symphony and Peter Oundjian perform Rouse’s moving final opus, his Symphony No. 6 (Jan 27). At its posthumous premiere, The New York Times described it as a “haunting and profound farewell” with “the sweep of Mahler but the concision of poetry,” and the Cincinnati Business Courier named it “one of the symphonic masterpieces of our time."
> All Rouse performances
On April 13, members of the Oregon Music Festival Orchestra give the US premiere of Serbian-Canadian composer Ana Sokolovic's Serbian Tango, a piece for violin, accordion, double bass, and piano that was inspired by tango, jazz, and a Serbian traditional dance called “kolo.”
> All Sokolovic performances
2024 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Giacomo Puccini, who passed away before he was able to complete his opera Turandot. Washington National Opera has commissioned composer Christopher Tin to create a new ending for the opera (replacing the standardly performed ending by Franco Alfano), which will be unveiled May 11-25.
Tin’s new ending aims to create “a more three-dimensional Turandot whose transformation from selfish sadist to an empathetic leader and lover is not only believable but inspiring, and perhaps even sparks a dialogue about the nature of leadership in today’s society.”
> All Tin performances
Barbara Hannigan conducts Vivier’s works around the world, opening the London Symphony Orchestra’s 2023-2024 season with Wo bist du Licht!, followed by October performances of the piece in France. She also conducts Lonely Child, featuring soprano Aphrodite Patoulidou, with The Cleveland Orchestra (Nov 9-11) and Münchner Philharmoniker in December.
> All Vivier performances
In celebration of its 50th anniversary this season, sacred-music chamber choir The Tallis Scholars performs Whitacre’s Sainte-Chapelle at Carnegie Hall (Apr 8) on a program exploring stories tied to Easter, Lent, and natural disaster across six centuries. Whitacre's piece was originally composed in honor of the ensemble’s 40th anniversary in 2013.
> All Whitacre performances
Photo: Sala Nezahualcoyotl by Paulina Vallejo
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