Are you ready to have the pleasures of hearing live music again, with a full orchestra, come later this year? The Sarasota Orchestra plans to satisfy that yearning, announcing a lineup of concerts headed your way, in person, during the 2021-22 season.
The concert season, announced recently, actually presents five series: Masterworks, Pops, Discoveries, Great Escapes and Chamber Soirees, beginning as early as late September and continuing through May 2022. Orchestra president and CEO Joseph McKenna said in the press release announcing the schedule that “By the fall, we believe vaccination rates and public health trends will improve” enough to enable live concerts in various performance venues.
Here’s a look at what the orchestra plans to bring to audiences who have mostly been listening from home this past year due to the pandemic.
The Masterworks series commences with “Portraits in Sound,” Nov. 5, 6 and 7, welcoming guest conductor Marcelo Lehninger and guest violinist Blake Pouliot. On the program: Guarnieri’s Festive Overture, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Mussorgky’s popular Pictures at an Exhibition. (Masterworks performances take place at Van Wezel Performing Arts Art and the Neel Performing Arts Center.)
Conductor Teddy Abrams and pianist Conrad Tao guest next with “American Voices,” Dec. 10, 11 and 12, offering Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Ellen Reid’s Petrichor, Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Abrams’ own Overture in Sonata Form.
Acclaimed pianist Garrick Ohlsson returns to the local stage with conductor Jeffrey Kahane for “Ohlsson Plays Rachmaninoff,” Jan. 7, 8 and 9. Ohlsson will deliver the composer’s Piano Concerto No. 3; Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 is also on the bill.
“Beethoven and Tchaikovsky,” Feb. 3, 4, 5 and 6, presents conductor Yaniv Dinur and violinist Augustin Hadelich, rendering Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. Also: Gabriella Smith’s Field Guide and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4.
“Fairy Tales and Fireworks” are promised next, Feb. 25, 26 and 27, with returning conductor JoAnn Falletta and pianist Aaron Diehl taking the stage. Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, Gershwin’s Concerto in F Major and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances will be heard.
“New World,” March 10, 11, 12 and 13, will deliver, appropriately, Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 (New World Symphony), along with Barber’s Concerto for Violin and Jim Beckel’s Toccata for Orchestra. Guest violinist Simone Porter and conductor Thomas Wilkins will do the honors.
Closing out the Masterworks series will be “Breaking Boundaries,” April 1, 2 and 3, presenting violinist Angelo Xiang Yu and conductor Bramwell Tovey. Coleridge-Taylor’s Ballade for Orchestra, Korngold’s Concerto for Violin and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 are the program highlights.
The Pops series, delivering popular favorites, presents Sarasota Orchestra musicians joined by vocalists to perform hits from the Beatles, Broadway and the Great American Songbook. These concerts take place at Van Wezel, and commence Jan. 21 and 22 with “Revolution: The Music of the Beatles,” William Waldrop conducting. “The Envelope Please,” March 4 and 5, features vocalists Susan Egan, Douglas LeBrecque and Lisa Vroman (Christopher Confessore conducting); and “Unforgettable: The American Songbook,” features singers Nick Ziobro and Julia Goodwin led by conductor Sean O’Loughlin, April 8 and 9.
The Discoveries series, featuring 75-minute programs aimed at both newcomers and those familiar with classical music, showcases the music of Mozart and other composers performed with rising guest soloists. These performances, set for Oct. 2, Dec. 22 and May 14, take place at the Sarasota Opera House and will include works from Schumann, Debussy, Vivaldi, Britten and Resphighi, among others.
The popular Great Escapes series offers a mix of light classics and familiar favorites in themed concerts at Holley Hall. Coming up: “The Roaring ’20s,” Oct. 13-16; “Holiday Lights,” Dec. 1-5; “Comedy Tonight,” Jan. 12-16; “Be Mine,” Feb. 9-13; “Journey on the Orient Express,” March 16-20; and “Saddles of the Silver Screen,” April 20-23.
Finally, the orchestra’s Chamber Soirees offer themed, small-ensemble performances at Holley Hall; this season, each program is inspired by a poem. Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends inspires the program Sept. 26; Elizabeth Hobbs’ Slow Dancing on the Highway: The Trip North Oct. 10; Amanda Gorman’s In This Place, Oct. 28; Friedrich Schiller’s The Gods of Greece Dec. 19.; Goethe’s The Beautiful Night Jan. 23, Bruce Weigl’s The Harp Jan. 27, Nikki Giovanni’s BLK History Month Feb. 17 and Longfellow’s A Psalm of Life April 10.
The orchestra will monitor all safety guidelines and protocols as warranted. New subscriptions are on sale now at sarasotaorchestra.org; you can also call the box office at (941) 953-3434 for more information.