BSO to offer more and cheaper concerts

February 23, 1993|By Stephen Wigler | Stephen Wigler,Music Critic

Next year, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will expand its number of individual series, present more informal concerts that feature music director David Zinman talking to audiences and lower its prices for Saturday and Sunday concerts.

The 1993-1994 season will also feature a strong roster of guest soloists and conductors and introduce a number of new works to Baltimore audiences, including the much-talked-about "AIDS" Symphony No. 1 by John Corigliano and Henryk Gorecki's Symphony No. 3, Zinman's recording of which is at the top of the pop music charts in Britain.

The orchestra also announced its Summerfest programs for July, which will feature a return to its original mostly Mozart format, and its Pops series for next season.

Series tickets will be available in packages of six, eight, nine, 12 and 17 concerts. Six of the Saturday night concerts will feature Zinman talking to the audiences, as will Sunday afternoon concerts and the BSO's popular "casual concerts" at 11 a.m. Some tickets for the Sunday afternoon and Saturday concerts have dropped to $10.

The guest soloists will include debuts by three celebrated young artists: violinist Anne Akiko Meyers (Nov. 26, 27 and 28); pianist Awadagin Pratt (Jan. 14, 15 and 16), the first African-American instrumentalist to win first prize in the prestigious Naumburg Competition; and pianist Helene Grimaud (June 3, 4 and 5), whose dazzling playing has made her one of the most admired musical imports from France since World War II.

Returning soloists include pianists Mitsuko Uchida (April 21, 22 and 23) and Ivan Moravec (Feb. 17, 18 and 19), two Mozarteans who will turn their attention to the concertos of Brahms and Schumann, respectively; Bruno-Leonardo Gelber (Nov. 18, 19 and 20), who will offer his interpretation of the Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto; and Radu Lupo (Jan. 20, 21 and 22), making one of his rare American appearances for Beethoven's First Piano Concerto.

Guest conductors will include the local debuts of Sir Neville Marriner (Nov. 5, 6 and 7); and Eduardo Mata (Feb. 17, 18 and 19), who was for 16 years the music director of the Dallas Symphony. Other conductors include BSO conductor laureate Sergiu Comissiona (May 12, 13 and 14), Hans Vonk (Sept. 30, Oct. 1 and 2), Gunter Herbig (March 10, 11 and 12) and James DePreist (Feb. 11, 12 and 13).

In addition to the Gorecki (Sept. 22 and 23) and Corigliano (April 21, 22 and 23) symphonies, works that will be heard by BSO audiences for the first time include three by living American composers: the world premieres of local composer Gordon Cyr's Symphony No. 2 (April 14, 15 and 16) and Michael Daugherty's "Superman Suite" (Jan. 6 and 7); and the first local performances of David Crumb's "Clarino" (Jan. 20 and 21), David Dzubay's "Snake Alley" (Nov. 18, 19 and 20) and Lowell Liebermann's Flute Concerto (Oct. 21, 22 and 23).

Other firsts include three masterpieces that have never been performed by the orchestra: Elgar's "The Dream of Gerontius" (Oct. 28 and 29), Vaughan Williams' Symphony No. 2 (Feb. 2, 3, 4 and 5) and Haydn's Symphony No. 48 (March 24, 25 and 26).

The BSO's Summerfest series, which will run from July 15 through July 31, will be dedicated almost entirely to Mozart and will feature Zinman's conducting six of the composer's seven last symphonies, several of the great concertos for violin, piano and other instruments and the local debut -- as a conductor -- of the famed violinist Shlomo Mintz (July 31). Guest soloists will include violinist Joshua Bell (July 15), pianist Christian Zacharias (July 20 and 22) and several BSO principal players (July 17). The traditional Viennese evening will be led by the BSO's associate conductor, David Lockington (July 29).

The Pops series will feature singers Johnny Mathis, Rosemary Clooney, Chita Rivera and Bernadette Peters, as well as programs that spotlight the orchestra. Among the most intriguing are Zinman's conducting an evening of music by Kurt Weill and BSO resident conductor Christopher Seaman's leading evening of Viennese waltzes.

For information about purchasing BSO subscription series, call the BSO box office at (410) 783-8000.

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