The SPCO announced a year ago that it would change its leadership model, replacing a single music director with a series of artistic partners who would each lead a series of performances. Joshua Bell, Douglas Boyd, Nicholas McGegan, and Stephen Prutsman are serving in the role this season; Abbado, as previously announced, was unable to join them until 2005-06.
Abbado will lead a three-week Mozart festival in April 2006, marking the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth. The repertoire includes the last three symphonies, the Coronation Mass, and a semi-staged production of CosÐ fan tutte.
Other highlights include the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon's Oboe Concerto and performances with James Sewell Ballet featuring a new dance set to Schoenberg's Serenade.
Visiting soloists include pianists Garrick Ohlsson and Yefim Bronfman; Jeffrey Kahane and Piotr Anderszewski will both lead the SPCO in Mozart piano concertos from the piano.