Boston Symphony Opens 125th Season

Classic Arts News   Boston Symphony Opens 125th Season
Music director James Levine leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in an all-French program tonight, the opening night of the storied orchestra's 125th season.

The gala performance includes Berlioz's Le Corsaire Overture, Debussy's Jeux, Milhaud's Le Boeuf sur le toit, and Saint-S‹ens' Symphony No. 3 ("Organ"), with organist Simon Preston as soloist.

The concert will be preceded by a champagne reception and followed by a dinner. Levine, who drew rave reviews for his first season in Boston last year, will introduce the season at a press conference this afternoon.

Highlights of the season include a series of concerts juxtaposing the music of Beethoven and Schoenberg. The season will also include four works commissioned to mark the 125th anniversary (a total of 13 works have been commissioned, but the remainder will be performed in other seasons). In addition, the orchestra will revive several works that it previously commissioned and premiered.

The Beethoven/Schoenberg project, which will continue through 2006-07, will include six programs in 2005-06. This season's concerts include performances of Beethoven's Missa solemnis with Deborah Voigt, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Ben Heppner, and Ren_ Pape; Schoenberg's Gurrelieder with Karita Mattila, Hunt Lieberson, and Paul Groves; Beethoven's Triple Concerto, Symphony No. 1, and Symphony No. 7; and Schoenberg's Five Pieces for Orchestra, Variations for Orchestra, and the symphonic poem Pelleas und Melisande. Finally, the BSO will pair Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony No. 1 with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

New commissioned works scheduled for 2005-06 include Elliott Carter's Three Illusions for Orchestra, Peter Lieberson's Neruda Songs (which is a co-commission with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and was premiered in Los Angeles last spring); a new work by Leon Kirchner; and a new work for cello and orchestra by Osvaldo Golijov, performed by Yo-Yo Ma.

Levine will lead his first BSO tour as music director in March 2006. The tour, to feature Neruda Songs and Three Illusions for Orchestra, will include stops at Carnegie Hall and in Chicago, Newark, Philadelphia, and Washington.

Guest conductors in 2005-06 include Colin Davis, Christoph von Dohnšnyi, Bernard Haitink (making his first appearances as conductor emeritus), Kurt Masur, David Robertson, and Robert Spano. Among the soloists on the schedule are pianists Richard Goode and Piotr Anderszewski and violinists Joshua Bell and Gil Shaham.

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