Top Conductors To Highlight Bso Season

March 06, 1991|By Stephen Wigler | Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic

Appearances by conductors Mariss Jansons, Peter Maag and Hans Vonk -- all making their local debuts -- will highlight the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's 1991-92 season, details of which were announced yesterday by music director David Zinman.

Among the biggest roadblocks the BSO has faced in the past has been inducing prominent conductors to lead the orchestra. While the services of these three conductors do not indicate a major breakthrough, they add to a growing number of first-rate conducting talents now willing to come to Baltimore.

Jansons, a Soviet conductor in his early 40s, has made recordings with the Leningrad Philharmonic of Shostakovich and Prokofiev and a complete Tchaikovsky cycle with the Oslo Philharmonic that Zinman yesterday called "superb." Vonk,

TC Dutch conductor in his 50s, is now principal conductor of the Cologne Radio Symphony and has held major posts in Dresden and the Hague. Maag, a Swiss conductor in his 60s, seems poised to make the major breakthrough made by other previously ignored but now much admired conductors such as Wolfgang Sawallisch and Gunter Wand.

Among the guest soloists making debuts next season will be the pianist Mitsuko Uchida, whose recordings of Mozart on the Philips label have elicited much praise; the Russian-born pianist Alexander Toradze, a mercurial artist who either dazzles or infuriates; and the soprano Deborah Voight, who won first prize last summer in Moscow's Tchaikovsky's Competition and whom Zinman described yesterday "as the world's next great Verdi voice."

Popular returning soloists include pianists Andre Watts and Misha Dichter, violinists Elmar Oliveira and Joshua Bell and flutist James Galway.

As he has in his six previous seasons as music director, Zinman has selected a large number of new American works for his programs. Chief among them should be Christopher Rouse's "Karolju," a choral work in which the BSO's former composer-in-residence has set 10 Christmas carols in various languages. Zinman also will lead the Baltimore premieres of Jacob Druckman's "Brangle," a work that the conductor predicted "will be challenging for the orchestra and fun for the audience," and Robert Beaser's flute-and-orchestra "Song of the Bells," which the composer -- one of the most gifted of the so-called "neo-Romantics" -- wrote for Galway.

Perhaps the most anticipated of the new pieces will be the Viola Concerto of Alfred Schnittke, who is considered the most important Soviet composer since Shostakovitch, which will be played by BSO principal violist Richard Fields.

Among the works Zinman also will lead are Barber's First and Second Essays for Orchestra, "Music for a Scene from Shelley" and Symphony No. 1, which Zinman and the BSO will record for the Argo label, and Elgar's Symphony No. 1 and Rachmaninov's Symphony No. 2, which conductor and orchestra will record for the Telarc label.

Subscription prices for the 1991-92 season will undergo modest increases of about 6 percent. This means, for example, that eight concerts in prime orchestra locations go from $200 to $215 and the same number of concerts in the cheapest location in the second balcony increase from $88 to $96.

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