Restructure of Pops series brings Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis to perform

January 17, 1991|By Stephen Wigler | Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic

Tony Bennett and Johnny Mathis will be making their Baltimore Symphony Orchestra debuts in the BSO's 1991-'92 Pops Series.

This is the first time the BSO has been able to present such important pop-music figures. This comes, said BSO executive director John Gidwitz, as a result of a restructuring of the series. Instead of performing 16 different programs in 16 weeks, as it has been in the past, the BSO will perform eight different programs in eight weeks. The total number of concerts will be unchanged at 27 because each program will be performed either three or four times.

"We're doing this because we just felt that it was difficult to put together 16 terrific concerts," Gidwitz said yesterday. "There aren't that many terrific people out there who do this sort of thing with orchestras. This won't cost us any more because it's not three times as expensive to hire Tony Bennett for three concerts as it is for one, and this way we'll get eight superb programs for our money."

Other factors in the orchestra's decision, Gidwitz said, were an audience survey last year that indicated that the audience wanted more variety in the concerts, and input from orchestra players who objected to having to perform pops and classical concerts in the same week. Pops concerts will no longer fall in weeks when the orchestra must play classical concerts.

Other highlights of the next season's series include BSO music director David Zinman, making his Pops debut in an all-Leonard Bernstein program; Cole Porter and George Gershwin programs, and appearances by the Canadian Brass and the Artie Shaw Orchestra, which is considered by some to be the best of the big bands.

One of the two current BSO Pops Series -- the Saturday A series -- will be discontinued next year. Gidwitz said that subscribers are being called so that they can rearrange their tickets next season. There will be four series: six concerts on Thursdays; eight on Fridays; eight on Saturdays, and five on Sundays. For further information, call the BSO box office at 783-8000.

BSO's 1991-'92 Pops Series

Oct. 3, 4, 5 and 6: Johnny Mathis performs with the BSO.

Oct. 24, 25 and 26: Tony Bennett performs with the BSO.

Nov. 29, 30 and Dec. 1: Cole Porter program conducted by Erich Kunzel.

Jan. 2, 3 and 4: All-Gershwin program conducted by Carl Davis.

Jan. 23, 24 and 25: Artie Shaw Orchestra (program does not include the BSO).

March 12, 13, 14 and 15: The Canadian Brass performs with the BSO.

April 23, 24, 25 and 26: David Zinman conducts music of Leonard Bernstein.

May 15, 16 and 17: Hal Linden performs with the BSO.

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