In his third season as Louise W. & Edmund J. Kahn Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO), Grammy-winning conductor Fabio Luisi conducts eight programs in the Texas Instruments Classical Series, as well as leading the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala. Season highlights include the world premiere of Angélica Negrón’s Arquitecta; recorded performances of Brahms’s Third and Fourth Symphonies; a concert of works by Clara Schumann, Julia Perry and Louise Farrenc, as an upbeat to the Women in Classical Music Symposium; Verdi’s monumental Requiem with the Dallas Symphony Chorus and a stellar roster of soloists; Carl Orff’s seldom-performed Catulli Carmina, complementing a performance of Carmina Burana; collaborations with cellist Jan Vogler and with pianists Hélène Grimaud and Lise de la Salle; violinist Nicola Benedetti giving the U.S. premiere of James MacMillan’s Violin Concerto No. 2; and much more. Each of Luisi’s 2022-23 performances with the Dallas Symphony will also be available for streaming – generally within a week of the live event – through the Next Stage Digital Concert Series. These filmed performances can be accessed at the DSO’s website for $10 per concert or $125 for a season pass.
Looking forward to the new season, Luisi explains:
“I am always curious about new music. That can be music that is truly new and contemporary as well as music that is new to us: forgotten works or forgotten artists who deserve to be performed. Throughout this season, we will share a number of overlooked masterpieces, and we will introduce Dallas audiences to new voices.”
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala takes place on October 1. Luisi will lead an evening of selections from Lehár’s popular operetta The Merry Widow, starring mezzo-soprano Susan Graham – “an artist to treasure” (New York Times) – and baritone Thomas Hampson – “one of the world’s greatest opera singers” (Good Morning America). This once-a-season benefit event raises funds for the DSO’s education and outreach programs.
The conductor’s first two concert weekends feature the DSO debut of cellist Jan Vogler and the return of pianist Hélène Grimaud. Vogler joins Luisi – a world-renowned interpreter of the music of Richard Strauss – for the composer’s tone poem Don Quixote, on a program with Tchaikovsky’s beloved Symphony No. 5 (Sep 29; Oct 2). Grimaud joins the DSO under Luisi’s direction for Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and the program is rounded out by César Franck’s Symphony in D minor, the composer’s best-known orchestral work (Oct 7–9).
As a prelude to the fourth annual Women in Classical Music Symposium, Luisi presents music by three female composers. The program opens with Study for Orchestra by 20th-century American composer Julia Perry, who was born in Akron, Ohio, and attended Westminster Choir College. She studied composition with both Luigi Dallapiccola and Nadia Boulanger, and received two Guggenheim Fellowships to further her studies. Next, Luisi’s frequent collaborator Lise de la Salle performs Clara Schumann’s sole piano concerto, and the program concludes with Louise Farrenc’s Third Symphony (Nov 46). A slightly older French contemporary of the Schumanns, Farrenc was known mostly for her piano music, but she also wrote chamber music and three large works for orchestra. Luisi comments:
“Our program at the beginning of November, leading into the Women in Classical Music Symposium, was a pleasure to discover. Lise is well known for her interpretation of Clara Schumann’s concerto, but the works by Perry and Farrenc were new to me. In planning a concert to precede the symposium, three female voices from an earlier time fit perfectly. These women may have been overlooked in their own era, but in our time, we are able to share their works in performance and gather together at the symposium to discuss how all voices may have a chance to be heard.”
The full Dallas Symphony Chorus makes its season debut in Verdi’s monumental Requiem, with soprano Adriana González, mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford, tenor Piero Pretti and bass Wenwei Zhang as soloists (Nov 1013). One of the world’s most distinguished opera conductors, Luisi is especially admired for his leadership of the works of Verdi. After a Verdi performance in November 2020, the Dallas Morning News declared: “With an Italian conductor who clearly has Verdi in his veins, there wasn’t a dull moment.”
Acclaimed violinist Nicola Benedetti returns to the DSO to join Luisi for the U.S. premiere of James MacMillan’s Violin Concerto No. 2. Both hailing from Scotland, MacMillan and Benedetti collaborated on her self-titled 2006 Deutsche Grammophon release, on which MacMillan led the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and for which he composed his From Ayrshire. Also on the program, Luisi conducts Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, the “Romantic,” marking the first Bruckner performance of his DSO tenure (Nov 1719). The Guardian called Luisi’s recording of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9 with the Dresden Staatskapelle “essential listening … a fiery performance … majestic yet sensual. Form and structure are laid bare with blazing clarity.”
Continuing their long-term project of recording Brahms’s complete symphonies, the DSO and Luisi present Brahms’s Third and Fourth Symphonies this season (March 16–18, 2023May 4–7, 2023). For the second of these concert series, Luisi also welcomes pianist Francesco Piemontesi as soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, and collaborates with composer-in-residence Angélica Negrón for the world premiere of her Arquitecta, featuring Colombian singer Lido Pimienta, a collaborator of Negrón’s and winner of Canada’s Polaris Music Prize in 2017. Negrón says of the work:
Arquitecta is based on a poem of the same name by Puerto Rican poet Amanda Hernández. [The poet] captures the maternal spirit and its connection to tangible spaces often burdened by a lifetime of memories and labor, both visible and invisible. The physical and emotional weight of caring for family and home transcends the passage of time and endures beyond loss; it ultimately becomes inextricable from the conception of self and, paradoxically, a solace.”
Luisi closes his DSO season with two works by Carl Orff: the iconic Carmina Burana and the less familiar Catulli Carmina, which together comprise two-thirds of the composer’s Trionfi musical trilogy. Never before performed at the DSO, Catulli Carmina is scored for a full orchestra of percussion instruments, chorus and soloists (May 1114, 2023).