The season opens on September 27 with Robert Spano (whose tenure as music director began in 2001) conducting a concert staging of Puccini's La Bohme, with direction by Ed Berkley. The cast includes sopranos Norah Amsellem as Mimì and Georgia Jarman as Musetta, tenor Marcus Haddock as Rodolfo, and baritone Fabio Capitanucci as Marcello. The performance, which will be recorded live by Telarc (with whom the ASO has an ongoing recording contract) marks the beginning of a four-week festival called "I Love Paris."
Other highlights of the festival include Franck's tone poem The Accursed Huntsman, Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Garrick Ohlsson as soloist), orchestral selections from Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet, Ravel's Tzigane, and Saint-Saëns's "Organ" Symphony (No. 3), with Peter Marshall as soloist under the baton of guest conductor Pinchas Zukerman. Spano closes the festival with Milhaud's Cration du monde and works by Debussy, Ravel and Gershwin.
Spano will also conduct world premieres of two ASO commissions: a piano concerto by Iranian composer Behzad Ranjbaran, with Jean-Yves Thibaudet as soloist, and a new work by Venezuelan composer Gonzalo Grau. The contemporary music lineup also includes John Adams's On the Transmigration of Souls and the Atlanta premiere of Osvaldo Golijov's The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind, which marks the ASO debut of clarinetist Todd Palmer.
In February, Oliver Knussen conducts a performance of his Where the Wild Things Are with soprano Lucy Shelton; that program also includes Ravel's Mother Goose Suite.
Principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles (whose tenure also began in 2001) conducts four subscription concerts, including Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3, Beethoven's Symphony No. 4, Berlioz's Requiem and Symphonie fantastique, and Henryk G‹recki's Symphony No. 3, the "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs," with soprano Christine Brewer.
In April, the ASO, the ASO Chorus, and Spano return to Carnegie Hall for the New York premiere of Christopher Theofanidis's The Here and Now. The program also includes Sibelius's Tapiola and Ravel's Daphnis and Chlo_.
The upcoming season features the ASO debuts of more than 15 artists, including conductor Kwam Ryan, violinist Viviane Hagner and pianists Nicholas Angelich and Adam Golka. Returning soloists include pianists Ingrid Fliter and Horacio Gutirrez and Yefim Bronfman; violinists Leila Josefowicz and Cho-Liang Lin and baritone Nathan Gunn.
In addition to its own concerts, the ASO will present the China Philharmonic Orchestra, which will be making a U.S. tour in advance of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The program includes works by Chinese composers and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Lang Lang as soloist.