With David Zinman back from conducting in Australia and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra warming up in two Eastern Shore concerts this week, the Baltimore concert season will begin officially Saturday with more than 1,500 expected at the BSO's Meyerhoff-to-Harborplace gala.
The evening will start with a 7 p.m. concert of classical hits at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Patrons will then be bused round-trip to Stouffer Harborplace Hotel and The Gallery for cocktails, dinner and dancing to two bands, the Loren Schoenberg Big Band and Julia & Company.
The $500 tickets for the annual concert/dinner/dance are sold out but $100 buffet tickets and $300 sit-down dinner tickets are still available. Mike and Jeanne Sullivan are the planners behind the black-tie fund-raiser. To reserve tickets, call 783-8016.
The regular subscription season opens at 8:15 p.m. Sept. 12, when the BSO plays Samuel Barber's Second Essay for Orchestra and Music for a Scene from Shelley and Richard Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier Suite" and Death and Transfiguration.
Zinman is in his seventh season with the BSO. He has two more seasons left on his current contract. He will lead the orchestra in 24 weeks of concerts and recordings.
The BSO will record Elgar's Symphony No. 1 and Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 on the Telarc label and six Barber pieces on Decca/Argo.
Christmas comes early to the BSO with the world premiere of Christopher Rouse's orchestral and choral piece, "Karolju," Nov. 7 and 8, a series of new Christmas carols with texts by the composer.
By the way, experienced singers interested in trying out for the BSO chorus under Edward Polochick, are asked to call 379-0549 or 783-8100. Choral pieces planned include Handel's Messiah, Cole Porter's 100th anniversary celebration and works by Haydn, Faure and Rachmaninoff.
A considerable body of music scheduled is familiar, but 15 of the BSO's schedule of 52 composers are living and some of their music is less well-known.
Besides Rouse, these composers include Stephen Albert, Robert Beaser, Michael Daugherty, William Doerrfeld, Jacob Druckman, Lukas Foss, Kamran Ince, and Gyorgy Kurtag.
Besides the Johnny Mathis concerts in early October, pops and other non-classical concert dates include Tony Bennett, Oct. 24, 25 and 26; Cole Porter 100th anniversary celebration Nov. 29, 30 and Dec. 1; balladeer Roger Whittaker, Dec. 7; George Gershwin and Broadway, Jan. 2, 3, and 4.
Also, the Artie Shaw Orchestra, Jan. 23, 24 and 25; Big Band Salute to Benny Goodman, Feb. 12; Mel Torme and Maureen McGovern, Feb. 25; Canadian Brass, March 12, 13, 14, 15; The Chieftans, March 22, and Hal Linden, May 15, 16 and 17.
Conductors include Christopher Seaman, conductor in residence; Chosei Komatsu, associate conductor; Hans Vonk (Cologne Radio Orchestra); Maris Jansons (Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra); Hugh Wolff (New Jersey Symphony); Zdenek Macal (Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra); and Sergiu Comissiona, BSO conductor laureate.
The 76th season also includes a "Classically Black" series aimed at attracting African-American audiences, 57 concerts for young people and 12 "run-out" concerts outside of Baltimore in Frederick, Westminster, Salisbury, Havre de Grace and Centreville.
The BSO also has several ticket-selling and other changes planned for its 76th season.
The Meyerhoff ticket office will be open Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. starting Sunday. Individual tickets will be sold only for about two months ahead for any concert in the season. Tickets are now being sold for concerts through Nov. 8. Tickets for Johnny Mathis concerts on Oct. 3, 4, 5, 6 will be sold starting at noon Sept. 22. Tickets for Nov. 15-Jan. 13 concerts will be sold starting Oct. 27. Tickets for Jan. 17-Feb. 29 concerts will be sold starting Jan. 5. Tickets for March 6-May 9 concerts will be sold starting Feb. 23. Tickets for May 15-June 5 concerts will be sold starting May 3. The number to call for tickets is 783-8000.
These staggered dates allow a new "mini-series" subscription packages of three and four concerts to be sold through most of season. Series prices start at $33.
A two-for-one BSO ticket sale in September tied to $50 purchases at Harborplace is planned in a joint BSO-Harborplace promotion. The venture includes BSO musical groups playing at 2 p.m. Sept. 14, 21 and 28 in the first level of The Gallery.