Boston Symphony Orchestra to offer an array of artists and repertoire in first post-Levine season

May 12, 2011
By Michael Quinn

Anne-Sophie Mutter will perform Mozart's complete violin concertos to open the Boston Symphony Orchestra's 131st season.

Anne-Sophie Mutter will open the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s 2011-12 season – making her first appearance with the orchestra in the dual roles of conductor and soloist.

Mutter, who made her debut with the orchestra in 1983, will return to Boston for the first time since April 2007 to perform all five Mozart violin concertos over two nights on September 30 and October 1.

The 131st season — the first of the post-James Levine era — will also see 13 guest artists making their first appearances with the Boston Symphony. Conductors new to Symphony Hall audiences will include Jiří Bělohlávek, who will lead performances of music by Beethoven and John Harbison; Juanjo Menja conducting Dvořák and Bartók; Jaap van Zweden, with works by Beethoven and Rachmaninoff; and Andris Nelsons, who is scheduled to conduct the American premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s From the Wreckage, featuring the BSO debut of trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger in a program that also includes music by Haydn and Strauss on January 5-7, 2012.

Pianists Till Fellner and Cédric Tiberghien also make their BSO debuts during the seven-month-long season, respectively playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22 and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G. Other keyboard highlights include three of Beethoven’s five piano concertos – Leif Ove Andsnes playing No. 1; Emanuel Ax, No. 2; and Jonathan Biss No. 4 – with other concerto appearances including Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (Prokofiev’s Third); Yefim Bronfman (Brahms’s Second, conducted by Kurt Masur); Richard Goode (Mozart’s 25th); Garrick Ohlsson (Samuel Barber’s only Piano Concerto); and Peter Serkin in Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Winds.

Other returning soloists include violinists Leila Josefowicz, playing Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Violin Concerto (with the composer also conducting); Gidon Kremer, with Schumann’s Violin Concerto; Frank Peter Zimmermann performing Dvořák; and Leonidas Kavakos, combining conducting and soloist roles in Bach’s BWV.1052 Concerto in D minor and Lutosławski’s Musique funèbre, and conducting Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony.

Cellists due to appear at Symphony Hall include Yo-Yo Ma in Dvořák’s Cello Concerto and Gautier Capuçon, making his BSO debut, playing Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain….

The 2011-12 season will also see the completion of the orchestra’s two-year cycle of symphonies by John Harbison when David Zinman conducts the world premiere of the BSO-commissioned Symphony No. 6 in a program with works by Weber, Beethoven, and Strauss (Jan. 12-17). There will also be performances of the composer’s Fourth and Fifth Symphonies in November and December respectively.

Making long overdue returns to Boston, Myung-Whun Chung, who last appeared with the orchestra in 1996, will lead Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony and music by Weber and Barber, while Christoph Eschenbach’s first appearance in Symphony Hall for more than a decade will see him conducting Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique and the Overture to Benvenuto Cellini.

Elsewhere in the season, Charles Dutoit leads Debussy’s La Mer and Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain…, and following his acclaimed BSO debut in April 2011, Stéphane Denève returns with a program of music by Stravinsky, Ravel, and Shostakovich.

Vocal and choral music comes in the shape of concerts by bass-baritone James Morris, who will perform excerpts from Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg conducted by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos; Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis conducted by Kurt Masur, with Christine Brewer, Michelle DeYoung, Simon O’Neill, and Eric Owens; and Layla Claire and Kate Lindsey in the complete Incidental Music to Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Claire Bloom as narrator.

Riccardo Chailly will lead a rare BSO performance of Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang (“Hymn of Praise”) with all three featured soloists – sopranos Carolyn Sampson and Camilla Tilling, and tenor Mark Padmore – making their Boston Symphony debuts. And Christoph von Dohnányi is scheduled to return to Boston to conduct Brahms’A German Requiem with soprano Anna Prohaska (making her BSO debut) and bass-baritone Hanno Müller-Brachmann in solo roles.

French conductor Ludovic Morlot, an assistant conductor with the BSO from 2004-07, will stand in for James Levine, who officially vacates the position of the Boston Symphony’s Music Director in September 2011 on the orchestra’s West Coast tour with performances in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Palm Desert, and Los Angeles. The tour’s repertoire includes Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 with Richard Goode, Elliott Carter’s Flute Concerto No. 25 with BSO principal flutist Elizabeth Rowe, Ravel’s Suite No. 2 from Daphnes and Chloé, Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, and Brahms’s Violin Concerto with Gil Shaham.

The Boston Symphony’s Conductor Emeritus Bernard Haitink will be on the podium to close the season on May 3-5 with a double bill of Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, with soprano Jessica Rivera and mezzo-soprano Meredith Arwady, and, making their Boston debuts, tenor Roberto Saccá and bass Günther Groissböck.

For current program information, dial 617-CONCERT (266-2378). For further information, call the Boston Symphony Orchestra at 617-266-1492, or go online to

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