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Centennial Season Features Homecomings of World-Class Artists

Who Have Played an Important Role in the BSO’s History

Including Lang Lang, Yo-Yo Ma, André Watts, Leon Fleisher, Hilary Hahn,

Joshua Bell, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Music Director Emeritus Yuri Temirkanov

Large-scale Works and Collaborations Featured in Blockbuster Season

Centennial season includes full-evening, semi-staged performances of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (with Center Stage) and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet  (Folger Theatre), Copland’s Appalachian Spring in the original choreography by Martha Graham (Baltimore School for the Arts), as well as classic repertoire including the Requiems by Brahms and Verdi, Mahler’s 5th Symphony, An Alpine Symphony and Also sprach Zarathustra by R. Strauss, Holst’s The Planets and the first BSO performances in 50 years of the B-Minor Mass by J.S. Bach.

The exact 100th anniversary is celebrated with a special concert on February 11, 2016.

12 Commissions and Celebration of Baltimore Composers

The BSO’s legacy and support of new music is featured through two new large-scale commissions – a multimedia project by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts and a percussion concerto by James MacMillan – and 10 short Centennial Commissions

Season includes works by 6 Baltimore-native and –resident composers, 22 works by living composers and 43 works by composers who lived during the last 100 years

Carnegie Hall Centennial Concert April 16, 2016

BSO and Marin Alsop return to New York to perform new BSO/Carnegie Hall co-commission, The City (Symphony No.5) by Kevin Puts, and Mahler’s 5th Symphony

2015-2016 BSO SuperPops Season with Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly

Features Holiday Pops with Brian Stokes Mitchell and a

reprise of Hairspray in Concert, narrated by John Waters

BSO Launches Pulse

A new concert series, Pulse, mixes BSO classical ensembles and indie rock artists,

produced in collaboration with 89.7 WTMD

Markus Stenz Begins Tenure as BSO’s New Principal Guest Conductor

(Baltimore, Md.) March 11, 2015 Music Director Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) announce the Orchestra’s celebratory Centennial 2015-2016 season, its ninth season under the direction of Maestra Alsop. Through appearances by the world’s most renowned artists, premieres of several new works, Baltimore homecomings from local artists or artists who got their start on the BSO stage, exciting signature projects and strengthening of longstanding community partnerships, the BSO marks this important milestone in grand fashion.

“For 100 years, the BSO has been embedded in the fabric of this community,” says BSO Music Director Marin Alsop. “We have become Baltimore’s soundtrack and the inspiration for more than five generations of music-makers and music-lovers. Our legacy runs deep and our roots in communities throughout Maryland run even deeper. This season, we pay homage to that enduring legacy of artistic greatness and community engagement through a season more spectacular, meaningful and innovative than any other in our history. It is our way of saying thank you to the audiences who have supported us and grown with us over time. And it is also our invitation to join us to see what artistic achievements and community milestones the Orchestra’s next 100 years will bring.”

Centennial Extravaganza: The Year of Extraordinary

“The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s 100th birthday is an opportunity to reflect on how the BSO has grown from its humble beginnings as a municipally-funded orchestra of the City of Baltimore to the world-class ensemble it is today,” says BSO President and CEO Paul Meecham. “It also provides an opportunity for the organization to look forward to its second century as a vibrant, innovative institution serving our audiences, community and schools in ever-greater numbers. The BSO honors this legacy and celebrates the Orchestra’s future through a year-long extravaganza of compelling programs and meaningful community connections. This is a moment for which we have planned for many years. Our Orchestra and entire organization are thrilled that the time has finally come to share with the public all of the exciting programs and special events designed to commemorate this momentous occasion.”

Anniversary Week

A high point of the entire 2015-2016 season will be the BSO’s Centennial Celebration Week, February 10-14, 2016, marking the Orchestra’s inaugural concert that took place on February 11, 1916.

The highlight of the Anniversary Week is the 100th Anniversary Concert, to be performed on February 11, 2016. The program includes legendary violinist Joshua Bell performing his own unique adaptation of Bernstein’s West Side Story Suite. The program will commemorate the occasion with key moments in the BSO’s history, celebrate the BSO’s current successes, and share glimpses of what the next 100 years may hold.

“The fact that the BSO is thriving and even more important to its community than it was a century ago is an accomplishment that ought to be met with great fanfare. The 100th Anniversary Concert does just that,” promises Maestra Alsop. “One of the world’s best violinists, Joshua Bell, plus music by the great Leonard Bernstein that pulses with energy, combined with stirring tributes from BSO friends, has created a program as momentous as the Orchestra it celebrates.”

Students from across Maryland will have the opportunity to sit in on a rehearsal preparing the orchestra for the February 11th 100th Anniversary concert featuring Joshua Bell, a nod to the BSO’s 1916 opening concert which also invited students to attend a rehearsal. [Editor’s Note: Details about this Open Rehearsal will be announced at a later date.]

Creating history in 2005 when it opened and became founding partner and resident orchestra at its second home, The Music Center at Strathmore in N. Bethesda, Md., the BSO is the only major American orchestra that operates year-round in two venues and two distinct markets. As part of the centennial festivities, on February 13, 2016, the BSO hosts its second annual gala at The Music Center at Strathmore with Joshua Bell performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. Also on the program are Rossini’s William Tell Overture and Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra.

A Homecoming of World-Class Artists

The 2015-2016 season boasts a lineup of some of the world’s most beloved artists, many of whom made their debuts with the BSO or collaborated with the Orchestra early in their careers.

In 1998, an expressive 16-year-old Chinese pianist made his American orchestra debut with the BSO. A few years later in 2001, he joined the Orchestra again to make his Carnegie Hall debut performing Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the BSO under the direction of former Music Director Yuri Temirkanov. Since then, his star has continued to rise. That young pianist was Lang Lang, who today is described by The New York Times as “the hottest classical musician on the planet.” He headlines this year’s Gala Concert on September 12, 2015, performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Christopher Seaman, the BSO’s Resident Conductor from 1987 to 1998.

Violinist Hilary Hahn remembers growing up attending BSO concerts with her family. As a child prodigy she began her violin studies at The Peabody Institute at the age of three. She made her BSO debut in 1991 at the age of 11, thanks to former Music Director David Zinman’s interest in and encouragement of her talent. In 1999, Hahn and the BSO under Maestro Zinman collaborated on a Grammy Award-nominated recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. Today, she is one of the most sought-after classical music stars in the world. She returns to Baltimore to be part of her hometown orchestra’s anniversary season, performing Dvořák’s Violin Concerto on November 19-21, 2015.

The world knows Leon Fleisher for his soul-stirring piano performances and powerful story of persevering through injury when a mysterious affliction rendered his right hand useless. Longtime BSO fans still remember the dramatic 1982 concert that opened the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and featured Fleisher, for the first time since his injury, performing a work that required both hands: César Franck’s Symphonic Variations. This season, Mr. Fleisher returns to perform Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 4 for the Left Hand on January 7 and 10, 2016.

One outcome of Fleisher’s injury was his discovery of his passion for teaching. It allowed him to have more time to devote to his students at The Peabody Institute, one of whom was the child prodigy André Watts. Watts maintains loyalty to the region where he studied, performing frequently with the BSO and formerly serving as Artist-in-Residence at the University of Maryland. This season, he will return to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 9, “Jeunehomme,” on February 4-6, 2016, under the direction of Mario Venzago, former Artistic Director of the BSO’s Summer Music Fest from 1999 to 2003.

When violinist Joshua Bell was considering which orchestra would accompany him for the recording of John Corigliano’s Red Violin Concerto in 2006, he turned to the BSO and then music director-designate Maestra Alsop. The mutual respect continues, as the BSO has invited Bell as the featured guest for the BSO’s 100th Anniversary Concert on February 11, 2016.

Music Director Emeritus Yuri Temirkanov, who served as Music Director from 2000 to 2006, makes his much-anticipated homecoming appearance leading two pinnacle works of the Russian repertoire: Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 featuring Denis Matsuev, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, on March 17-19, 2016.

Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg made her BSO debut as a 13-year old in 1974 performing Bruch’s Violin Concerto No.1 at the BSO’s summer home, Oregon Ridge. As an international superstar, she has been a regular favorite with BSO audiences and she returns to reprise the Bruch concerto, and a new work written for her by the Brazilian composer Clarice Assad, on May 7-8, 2016, conducted by Marin Alsop.

On June 3-5, 2016, Baltimore’s own John Waters reprises his role as narrator of Hairspray: In Concert, the concert adaptation of the Broadway hit that celebrates the quirky charm of Charm City and tells the story of a girl who dreamed of being on TV but ended up changing the world. The program features a full Broadway cast and includes dance numbers and set designs. The BSO’s sold-out 2013 production of Hairspray: In Concert received enthusiastic critical acclaim, with The Baltimore Sun describing it as “an infectious celebration of a great American musical.”

Finally, classical music ambassador and famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma also maintains close ties with the Orchestra, having recorded two Grammy Award-winning albums, collaborated for international tours and made regular guest artist appearances. An Honorary Life Director of the BSO, he returns to close the BSO’s season on June 15, 2016, for a special concert performing Dvořák’s Cello Concerto.

The 2015-2016 Season: A Love Letter to Baltimore and the Region

For 100 years, the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland have provided a nurturing, supportive home for the BSO. In addition to a season filled with Baltimore homecomings, the BSO says thank you by spotlighting repertoire by Baltimore-born and -based composers. Works by Christopher Rouse, Philip Glass, James Lee III, Jonathan Leshnoff, Alan Shulman and Kevin Puts are among the season’s highlights.

The 2015-2016 season also underscores its longstanding partnerships with hundreds of local and regional performing ensembles and community organizations and includes collaborations with the Baltimore School for the Arts, The Peabody Institute, the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Morgan State University, the University of Maryland Concert Choirs, Center Stage, Folger Theatre and 89.7 WTMD.

Beyond Baltimore: International Exposure for an Orchestra of World-renown

In addition to its following among regional audiences, the BSO’s reputation extends around the world. During its 100-year history, critically acclaimed tours of Europe, Asia, and North America have propelled the Orchestra’s fame far beyond its Baltimore home. The BSO builds on its longstanding reputation of excellence in the upcoming season with a return engagement at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. This appearance marks the 39th time in its history that the BSO has performed at this prestigious venue.

On April 16, 2016, BSO will return to Carnegie Hall to perform The City (Symphony No.5), a new multimedia work by Kevin Puts, which celebrates the vibrancy of cities and Baltimore, in particular. The music is to be paired with a film created by Baltimore-based multimedia artist James Bartolomeo. The work is commissioned jointly by the BSO and Carnegie Hall, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary. Another Symphony No.5, by Gustav Mahler, completes the program. Marin Alsop launched her tenure in September 2007 with this work.

The BSO will make the story of its legacy available to fans around the world in a specially-commissioned book by BSO oboist and acclaimed author and historian Michael Lisicky, available for sale in Fall 2015.

Special Events for a Season of Extraordinary

A number of special events with broad appeal are planned for the Centennial, many involving collaborations with regional artistic partners.

  • The season begins with the Gala Celebration featuring Chinese pianist Lang Lang on September 12, 2015 at the Meyerhoff. Conductor Christopher Seaman, the British conductor who previously served as the BSO’s well-respected Resident Conductor from 1987 to 1998, returns to the BSO to lead a program featuring Rachmaninoff’s passionate Second Piano Concerto.
  • Prokofiev’s sumptuous ballet music score to Romeo and Juliet underscores the struggles of young love in Shakespeare’s classic play. The BSO under Marin Alsop performs a newly-created, full-evening adaptation combining music with Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet: In Concert on October 16-18, 2015 with an ensemble of actors directed by Edward Berkeley and presented in association with D.C.’s Folger Theatre.
  • An evening as special as the BSO’s 100-year history will take place on February 11, 2016 at the Meyerhoff. The 100th Anniversary Concert is led by Marin Alsop and includes Ravel’s Boléro and features legendary violinist Joshua Bell performing his own unique adaptation of Bernstein’s West Side Story Suite. Through special speakers and pre- and post-concert events, the evening will celebrate the BSO’s past and provide audiences with a glimpse of its bright future.
  • The BSO conducted by Marin Alsop is partnering with Morgan State University Choir and Center Stage for performances of Gershwin’s poignant love story about the denizens of Catfish Row, Porgy and Bess: In Concert on April 8-10, 2016. Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah makes his directorial debut with the BSO.
  • NPR’s Kitchen Sisters have created a compelling radio series, Hidden World of Girls, which shares intimate portraits of girls around the world. In a musical adaptation by Laura Karpman and other leading female composers, these stories come to the Meyerhoff on May 6, 2016, in a dramatic multimedia experience led by Marin Alsop.
  • The BSO will reprise its 2013 hit production of Hairspray: In Concert, narrated by John Waters, conducted by Jack Everly and featuring a full Broadway cast in a run of 5 performances June 2-5, 2016. This quirky classic follows a young girl who dreams of starring in a dance show but instead ends up changing the world.
  • One of the biggest stars of classical music and a longtime friend of the BSO, cellist Yo-Yo Ma joins the BSO on June 15, 2016 for a program of Dvořák, led by Marin Alsop. Ma performs the composer’s Cello Concerto and the BSO performs the composer’s beloved and dramatic Symphony No. 9, “From the New World.”
  • The centennial season culminates on June 17-19, 2016 in a fittingly grandiose finale: Verdi’s Requiem, performed with The Choral Arts Society of Washington, led by Marin Alsop and featuring an all-star soloist quartet: soprano Tamara Wilson, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Bishop, tenor Dimitri Pittas and bass Morris Robinson.

Living Music: Music for the New Century

In the 2015-2016 season, the BSO looks ahead to the next 100 years and reaffirms its commitment to new music. A total of 43 classical works performed in the upcoming season were penned by composers who lived during the last 100 years. Of those works, 22 are by living contemporary composers, including 9 by women.

In addition to the new work by Kevin Puts (described above), another commissioning project used crowd-sourcing by inviting members of the public to submit ideas as inspiration for ten short Centennial Celebration commissions. Ten American composers (five female and five male) will each compose a short celebratory work to be presented during the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 seasons. These include TJ Cole, Kristen Kuster, Libby Larsen, Caroline Shaw, Joan Tower, James Lee III, Jonathan Leshnoff, Christopher Rouse and Christopher Theofanidis. Chosen themes for the commissions include: fanfare for the common woman, earth, death of Poe and dancing blue crabs. These Celebration Centennial works have been commissioned for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop by Classical Movements, Inc. as part of the Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program.

Further, the upcoming season boasts premieres and performances of works by some of today’s most celebrated living composers. Contemporary music on the bill next season includes the East Coast premiere of a new co-commissioned percussion concerto by James MacMillan for the Scottish percussionist Colin Currie, as well as works by John Adams, Thomas Adès, Clarice Assad, Victoria Borisova-Ollas, Anna Clyne, Philip Glass, Laura Karpman, Christopher Rouse, Tan Dun and Joan Tower.

New Next Generation Series

The BSO, in collaboration with 89.7 WTMD, announces a new concert series Pulse. Aimed at the next generation of symphony-lovers, this series celebrates the music of independent artists both locally and nationally. Each program will feature a nationally renowned independent touring artist or band, juxtaposed with a BSO ensemble performing classical repertoire that shares techniques or idioms with the indie music. The series will offer pre- and post-concert activities, such as drink specials, food truck stops, and lobby performances by local artists, to enhance each unique event. A complete Pulse programming schedule, list of featured artists and on-sale date will be announced in the coming months.

New BSO Principal Guest Conductor Markus Stenz Begins Tenure

Markus Stenz will begin his tenure as the BSO’s new Principal Guest Conductor in the 2015-2016 season. Like Marin Alsop, Stenz was a student of Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood in the late 1980s. Most recently as the general music director of Cologne Opera and formerly music director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the 50-year old German-born conductor has earned international acclaim for his performances in both opera houses and on the symphony podium. His October 2012 debut with the BSO drew high praise from critics as well as favor with the orchestra. In the 2015-2016 season, he will conduct three programs:

  • Maestro Stenz leads a program of Mozart masterworks on October 1 & 4, 2015. The first half of the program includes Mozart’s Symphony No. 1 and Sinfonia Concertante, which features the BSO’s Associate Concertmaster Madeline Adkins and Principal Violist Lisa Steltenpohl. In the second half of the program, the BSO presents scenes from Mozart’s opera, Don Giovannni.
  • On March 46, 2016, Markus Stenz leads the BSO and the University of Maryland Concert Choir in Brahms’ deeply personal A German Requiem. The concert opens with Bach’s Suite No. 3, featuring the “Air”—one of the most famous movements in Baroque music.
  • Finally, Maestro Stenz leads an all-Beethoven program on March 11-13, 2016. Lars Vogt makes a welcome return to perform Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto. In the Overture and Incidental Music to Beethoven’s Egmont, the story of the life and heroism of the 16th-century Dutch nobleman the Count of Egmont, Centerstage’s charismatic Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah is the narrator.  Also on the program is the composer’s Leonore Overture No. 2.

BSO Musicians featured in several subscription programs

No BSO season is complete without BSO musicians as soloists, and the 2015-16 season is no exception, spotlighting 11 members of the Orchestra.

  • Concertmaster Jonathan Carney is the soloist on September 25-27, 2015¸ performing Glazunov’s Violin Concerto, under the baton of Juanjo Mena, the Spanish conductor who made his American orchestra debut with the BSO in 2004.
  • Associate Concertmaster Madeline Adkins and Principal Viola Lisa Steltenpohl, making her debut as a soloist with the BSO, perform Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with Markus Stenz in his first subscription week as Principal Guest Conductor on October 1 and 4, 2015.
  • Six BSO musicians (to be announced) join Marin Alsop, November 5 and 8, 2015 for two Vivaldi works, in a program that also includes Jonathan Carney reprising his celebrated rendition of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
  • Principal Oboist Katherine Needleman is the soloist in Christopher Rouse’s genial and spirited Oboe Concerto, January 14-16, 2016, in performances conducted by Marin Alsop.
  • And Principal Cellist Dariusz Skoraczewski performs Tchaikovsky’s beloved Variations on a Rococo Theme led by Andrey Boreyko making his BSO conducting debut, April 29-May 1, 2016.

Additional Anniversary Season Classical Subscription Highlights

The entire 2015-2016 anniversary season promises to be a year of “extraordinary.” Below are some additional classical subscription highlights. For a complete list of all of the programs in the 2015-2016 season, please reference the Season Calendar in the 2015-2016 Press Kit.

  • The BSO’s 2015-2016 subscription season opens on September 17-19, 2015, with Marin Alsop leading the BSO premiere of Anna Clyne’s Masquerade, a work Maestra Alsop debuted at the London Proms in 2013. Also on the program is Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, featuring Russian pianist Olga Kern. The program culminates in Strauss’ An Alpine Symphony, the tone poem Strauss penned to capture the scale and glory of the Alps of his homeland.
  • Two rising stars make their BSO subscription debuts on October 2325, 2015: Joshua Weilerstein conducts the BSO and Ukrainian pianist and YouTube sensation Valentina Lisitsa in Mozart’s dramatic Piano Concerto No. 20. Baltimore-based composer Christopher Rouse channels the gothic energy of another luminary who Baltimore claims as her own: Edgar Allen Poe. His short story, “Masque of the Red Death,” about Prince Prospero’s attempts to avoid a dangerous plague comes to life through the BSO premiere of Rouse’s Prospero’s Rooms. The second half of the program features Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3, “Scottish,” which earned its nickname for its musical colors that depict the Scottish highlands.
  • Conductor Marin Alsop takes audiences on a time-traveling journey in Philip Glass’ Icarus at the Edge of Time, performed on November 5 and 8, 2015. The work is based on the novella by Brian Greene. Scenes from the story will be projected on a screen above the Orchestra and National Public Radio host Scott Simon will narrate. The program also includes works by Vivaldi, including the “Spring” and “Winter” movements from Vivaldi’s ever-popular Baroque masterpiece, The Four Seasons, performed by concertmaster Jonathan Carney, and the Concerti for Four Violins and Cello and for Two Trumpets featuring BSO soloists.
  • A Laurentian Overture, composed in 1952 by locally-born Alan Shulman (1915-2002), and conducted by the BSO’s first BSO-Peabody Conducting Fellow Joseph Young, opens a Baltimore-themed first half on January 7 and 10, 2016. The remainder of the concert is under Maestra Alsop’s baton, joined by Baltimore-based and internationally renowned pianist Leon Fleisher performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 4 for the Left Hand. In the second half, the BSO performs Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3, which sings with the composer’s romantic longing for home and culminates in a satisfying finale of dance rhythms.
  • BSO Principal Oboist Katherine Needleman performs Baltimore native Christopher Rouse’s genial and spirited Oboe Concerto (BSO premiere), to be performed on January 14-16, 2016. Marin Alsop is at the podium and also leads the BSO in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, “Eroica,” which weaves struggle, tragedy and triumph into a story that celebrates human possibility. Also on the program is Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture.
  • Handel’s Royal Fireworks Music opens the all-British program on February 25 and 28, 2016. Marin Alsop conducts the East Coast premiere of a BSO co-commission by James MacMillan, the Percussion Concerto No. 2, written for and performed by world-renowned percussionist Colin Currie. Also on the program is Elgar’s Enigma Variations, the masterpiece which depicts the composer’s friends in its variations.
  • John Adams—one of the most performed and important composers living today—returns to the BSO podium to lead Beethoven’s grandiose Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor,” featuring American pianist and winner of the 2013 MacArthur “Genius” Award, Jeremy Denk. Adams will also conduct his own expressive Harmonielehre, the symphonic essay that helped solidify his place as one of the most performed contemporary composers. The concerts take place on May 12 and 15, 2016.
  • The natural world—both on this planet and beyond—is the subject of the concerts performed on May 20-22, 2016. Part composer, part shaman, Tan Dun uses the elemental force of water as both the subject matter and the instrument in his Water Concerto, featuring percussionist Christopher Lamb. Making his BSO debut, John Storgårds conducts the program, which also features Holst’s soaring orchestral suite, The Planets.
  • For the first time in 50 years, the BSO will perform Bach’s great Mass in B minor—a fitting addition to the centennial season. Offering moments of sorrow and spiritual transcendence, the mass is a culminating effort in the composer’s long career of craftsmanship and artistry. The concert is led by BSO favorite Nicholas McGegan—world-renowned for his mastery of baroque music—and also includes the Baltimore Choral Arts Society and a cast of superb singers: soprano Yulia van Doren, countertenor Christopher Ainslie, tenor Thomas Cooley and bass Dashon Burton. The program will be performed on May 26-28, 2016.
  • Appalachian Spring—Copland’s lush love-letter to America’s sweeping landscapes and spirit of optimism and adventure—will be performed by the BSO under Maestra Alsop’s baton and featuring dancers from the Baltimore School for the Arts in the work’s original Martha Graham choreography, on June 9-11, 2016. The BSO performs its premiere of Polaris by Thomas Adès, one of the most original voices of our time. Also on the program is Ravel’s flamboyant orchestral showpiece Daphnis and Chloe, Suite No. 2.

Off the Cuff Series

The BSO’s charismatic Music Director Marin Alsop personifies the future of the BSO. She has deepened the institution’s investment in the community and brought innovative programming concepts to its stage. One of those reinventions is the popular Off the Cuff series. Now in its eighth season at the Meyerhoff and sixth at Strathmore, Off the Cuff is the BSO’s fastest growing series. With its unique, shorter concert format, generally featuring one masterwork, the Off the Cuff series attracts a devoted following of classical music aficionados and newcomers alike. These audiences share a desire to delve deeper into the themes and meanings of major works and the lives of the composers who wrote them. During the Centennial season, Marin Alsop has invited new Principal Guest Conductor Markus Stenz and American composer John Adams to take the lead and host two of the five Off the Cuff programs.

  • The Off the Cuff Series opens with scenes from Mozart’s most romantic opera, Don Giovanni on October 2-3, 2015. Charismatic conductor Markus Stenz makes his Off the Cuff series debut, as he discusses Mozart’s anti-hero Don Giovanni—or Don Juan—who seduces and preys upon women. Maestro Stenz will delve deeper into the psychological and supernatural themes laced through this drama that inspired 19th-century composers and their predecessors long after.
  • On November 6-7, 2015, Marin Alsop leads the BSO in a staple of the classical repertoire: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The masterpiece is the perfect example of “program music”—music intended to communicate an idea, such as the feeling of rebirth in the “Spring” movement or the somber, contemplative mood of “Winter.” Maestra Alsop will help explain the compositional tricks that Vivaldi employed to communicate these picturesque scenes, while also explaining how this popular work elevated the entire genre of “program music.”
  • Rachmaninoff’s Third Symphony is the subject of the third Off the Cuff program performed on January 8-9, 2016. Sergei Rachmaninoff was once described by his contemporary Stravinsky as a “six-and-a-half-foot scowl.” Maestra Alsop explores the life events that contributed to his melancholy, such as a life in exile after he emigrated with his family from Bolshevik Russia. And yet, despite being unwelcome in his homeland, his music still sings with vestiges of love of and longing for his native Russia. Maestra Alsop will help audiences understand this complicated, fascinating composer.
  • Marin Alsop will lead the BSO in Elgar’s Enigma Variations on February 26-27, 2016. Embedded within this work are two riddles. The first begs audiences to guess which of Elgar’s friends each variation is intended to depict. The second is far more elusive. Elgar’s program notes about the riddle obliquely explain, “The enigma I will not explain—its ‘dark saying’ must be left unguessed.” The mysterious riddles and magnificent music combine for a riveting Off the Cuff concert and conversation.
  • Beethoven composed the heroic “Emperor” piano concerto as “Nothing but drums, cannons, human misery of every sort…” blazed outside the walls of Beethoven’s friend’s cellar where he sought refuge during the French siege of Vienna. Award-winning pianist Jeremy Denk will perform Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto on May 13-14, 2016, led by distinguished composer/conductor John Adams.

Jack Everly and the BSO SuperPops Season

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly returns for his 13th season with the BSO. He has assembled a glitzy and captivating SuperPops lineup which celebrates the BSO’s 100 years with programs that include Broadway, Pixar animation, classic tunes from past to present and much more.

  • The 2015-2016 SuperPops season opens with Classic FM: Five Decades of Radio Hits, performed on October 8-11, 2015. Maestro Everly conducts favorite radio hits from the past and present, including “Graceland,” “I Will Survive,” “Happy,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Let It Be,” “Dancing Queen,” “Sweet Caroline” and many more.
  • As part of the BSO’s popular holiday offerings, the BSO presents ‘Tis the Season with Brian Stokes Mitchell on December 9-13, 2015. Best known for his many turns on “The Great White Way” and for his numerous television appearances on shows like Frasier and Glee, “Stokes” will perform traditional and contemporary holiday favorites, led by conductor Damon Gupton.
  • The BSO presents Pixar: In Concert for the young and young-at-heart on January 21-24, 2016. The program pairs visually stunning movie clips from favorite Pixar films, including Toy Story, Up, A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc. and more, with the live performance of each film’s memorable music score. Constantine Kitsopoulos conducts.
  • Emmy Award-winning TV star and Tony Award-winning Broadway legend Mandy Patinkin stars in a powerful evening of song led by Eric Stern on February 18-21, 2016. From Irving Berlin to Stephen Sondheim, from Cole Porter to Harry Chapin, every song will give credence to what The New Yorker promises: “Mandy Patinkin is in the business of showstopping.”
  • Broadway Divas take center stage on March 31-April 3, 2016. Jack Everly leads the BSO and four of Broadway’s leading ladies in hits from blockbuster musicals like Les Miserables, Dreamgirls, My Fair Lady, Annie and Chicago.
  • The SuperPops season culminates in a command encore premium performance of Hairspray: In Concert, narrated by John Waters, conducted by Jack Everly and featuring a full Broadway cast, performed on June 2-5, 2016. This quirky classic follows a young girl who dreams of starring in a dance show but instead ends up changing the world.
  • And in an additional special event on November 29, 2015, the Grammy Award-winning singer Judy Collins brings her solo show to the Meyerhoff for one performance only.

BSO Offers Wide Range of Holiday Programming

From classical traditions such as Handel’s Messiah to such new experiences as the live score accompaniment of the family favorite film Home Alone, the BSO is the place to spend the Holidays.

  • The holiday season kicks off with the BSO and Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale’s annual performance of the perennial favorite, Handel’s Messiah, on December 4 and 6, 2015 at the Meyerhoff. Composed in just 24 days of divine inspiration, Handel’s beloved oratorio will be led by Edward Polochick, who, like the composer, conducts the work from behind the harpsichord.
  • Tony Award-winning Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell takes center stage to perform a program of traditional and contemporary holiday favorites on December 9 and 11-13, 2015 at the Meyerhoff and December 10, 2015 at The Music Center at Strathmore. Damon Gupton leads this holiday extravaganza that even includes a special appearance by Santa himself.
  • Spend Christmas with the Morgan State University Choir, led by Eric Conway, on December 17-18, 2015 at the Meyerhoff. The program includes a selection of Christmas favorites performed with the BSO and culminates in a gospel cantata.
  • The music score that John Williams composed for the 1990 classic film Home Alone has some of the most instantly recognizable and beloved themes. On December 19, 2015, the BSO with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society will perform the film score live to accompany a screening of this holiday family favorite.
  • One of the BSO’s most popular holiday programs returns: Cirque de la Symphonie joins the BSO, led by Maestro Everly, for a New Year’s celebration on December 31, 2015 and January 1-2, 2016 at the Meyerhoff. World-class acrobats, gymnasts, jugglers, contortionists and balancing acts perform acts choreographed to some of classical music’s most riveting orchestral showpieces.

Family Series and Educational Programming

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra boasts 100 years of innovative programming for youth. Through the Music Box Series for children ages six months to three years and Family Concerts for children ages four and older and their families, the BSO uses music as the vehicle to stimulate and inspire young minds. The BSO serves nearly 60,000 students annually with age-appropriate musical programming. And the BSO estimates that it has reached nearly four million students during its 100 years.

Family Concert Series

During the 2015-2016 season, the BSO will present four interactive, age-appropriate programs at the Meyerhoff. Each concert begins at 11 a.m. However, families are encouraged to arrive early at 9:45 a.m. to participate in the Inspiration Zone. Prior to each concert, the Meyerhoff lobby is the site of a range of exciting, interactive activities, such as an instrument petting zoo, arts and crafts stations, interactive workshops, face painting and performances by members from the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestras and OrchKids.

  • Wizards and Wands: Harry Potter, Star Wars and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a magical way to open the 2015-2016 Family Concert Series on October 31, 2015. The mesmerizing puppets from the Enchantment Theatre will bring to life the music from Harry Potter, by legendary film composer John Williams, and the spellbinding Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Dukas.
  • On December 5, 2015, BSO Associate Conductor for Education Ken Lam leads the BSO in Polar Express—the timeless tale about a boy who still believes in Santa and gets a first-class ride to the North Pole. Images from the Caldecott Medal-winning book are projected above the stage, bringing the holiday classic to life.
  • It is All About Sports on February 6, 2016. Ken Lam conducts a program where sports and music collide. Audiences will explore sports and sports heroes such as Jesse Owens, Arthur Ashe and more, and hear action-packed musical selections such as John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine, Handel’s Water Music and family favorites like “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
  • The perennial children’s favorite Prokofiev’s Peter & The Wolf returns for two performances on March 12, 2016, at the Music Center at Strathmore and a performance at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall on April 2, 2016. Led by Nicholas Hersh and narrated by Rheda Becker, the world’s most famous musical fairytale about an heroic boy and mischievous wolf is brought to life by the Bob Brown Puppets.

Music Box Series

In the 2015-2016 season, the BSO continues its highly popular Music Box Series for infants and toddlers age six months to three years. Each Saturday morning half-hour concert features the musical talents of a small ensemble of BSO musicians performing classical and children’s songs to develop musicality, creativity, coordination and literacy. Children and parents sit on the floor and close to the low stage in the Meyerhoff lobby, creating an inclusive, non-threatening, highly interactive environment. Prior to the concert, the lobby is filled with a range of musical and creative activities, thanks to the BSO’s partnership with Ready at Five.

Below is a list of the concert dates, times and themes for the 2015-2016 Music Box series:

October 10, 2015, 10am & 11:30am: Dinosaurs

November 7, 2015 10am & 11:30am: Alphabet Soup

December 19, 2015 10am & 11:30am: Sleigh Ride

March 5, 2016 10am & 11:30am: Great Big Animals

April 9, 2016 10am & 11:30am: Birdie Melodies

May 14, 2016 10am & 11:30am: Life in the Water

For more information about repertoire or to purchase tickets, visit Details of the Music Box series in Montgomery County will be announced at a later date.

BSO Passport Returns: Discounts for Patrons Ages 21- 40

The BSO attracts new patrons with a fourth season of the popular BSO Passport program. This discounted ticket program for young professionals continues the BSO’s commitment to accessibility and audience development. Patrons age 21-40 can pay a one-time flat fee of $75 to purchase a BSO Passport, good for admission to unlimited (pending availability) concerts for the entire 2015-2016 season at both the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, Md. and The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md.

Editor’s Note: Further details will be available in Fall 2015. BSO Passports not available for purchase until September.

BSO Student Select Program Returns: Discounts and Parties for College Students

For the third year, the BSO will continue its popular BSO Student Select program for college students. This discounted ticket program offers nearly unlimited access to BSO concerts for the entire 2015-2016 season to area students (pending availability) for just $25. In addition, the BSO Student Select program includes free admission to BSO College Nights, special late-night parties held after select concerts throughout the season. BSO College Nights feature free food, prizes, drink specials and the opportunity for students to mingle with BSO musicians.

Editor’s Note: BSO College Night parties are held at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall only. Admission to College Night without BSO Student Select is $10 per concert with valid student ID. BSO Student Select tickets go on sale in September 2015.

Naxos Music Library Offered Free to Subscribers

Continuing the Orchestra’s ongoing relationship with the classical record label Naxos, the BSO is pleased to offer the return of the exclusive online access to the Naxos Music Library for all BSO subscribers. By subscribing to the BSO, patrons gain exclusive online access to the world’s largest collection of streaming classical music. Naxos Music Library is a streaming audio music resource that features more than one million tracks, powerful tools to stimulate music education and research, the daily addition of new releases and remote access. This subscriber benefit has an estimated value of $300 per person, and is completely free to all patrons with a BSO subscription and a valid email address. More information is available at


Subscriptions for the 2015-2016 season are on sale now. Visit or call 410.783.8000 to order. Single tickets for the general public will go on sale August 3, 2015.



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