THE BALTIMORE SYMPHONY Orchestra today announced a restructured 1991-92 Pops program with eight separate "higher quality" artists instead of 16 as this year, a new Thursday series, only one Saturday series instead of two, and the same Sunday series of five concerts. The total number of concerts remains unchanged at 27.
Scheduled are singer Johnny Mathis, Oct. 3, 4, 5 and 6; singer Tony Bennett, Oct. 24, 25 and 26; Cole Porter's 100th Anniversary Celebration with the BSO Nov. 29, 30 and Dec. 1; Gershwin, Broadway and the BSO Jan. 2, 3 and 4.
Also, the Artie Shaw Orchestra led by Dick Johnson Jan. 23, 24 and 25; the Canadian Brass March 12, 13, 14 and 15; David Zinman leading a Pops program for the first time with the BSO playing Leonard Bernstein April 23, 24, 25 and 26; and Hal Linden May 15, 16 and 17.
"It is extremely difficult to book 16 varied, high quality Pops programs each year," BSO executive director John Gidwitz explained. "There aren't 16 terrific Pops concerts out there. By consolidating the Pops (from 16) into eight programs, we are able to attract more top-line soloists and offer high quality concerts.
"People want quality artists but they also don't want too much repetition year after year," Gidwitz said. Mathis, Bennett and the Artie Shaw group will make their Pops debuts. The Canadian Brass was here about four years ago.
Gidwitz said "a major study was done of the desires of our Pops subscribers, and this restructuring is a response to their preferences." He denied the changed program was basically an economy move since the BSO is paying about the same for the eight acts as it did for 16 this year. Although the concerts will be consolidated from 16 to eight weeks, any one series this year had at most eight concerts.
Next season, the Thursday series will have all but the Cole Porter and Hal Linden programs. The Friday and Saturday Pops programs will each have all eight shows. The Sunday series will have all but Tony Bennett, Gershwin and Artie Shaw.
Each subscriber to the current discontinued Saturday A Series is being personally telephoned by a BSO representative. Other subscribers are being sent letters with full information about their subscriptions. Others may call 783-8000 for information.