Sunday, September 09, 2007

Opening night

For most orchestras, September is the official start of their 2007/2008 concert season.  The last few years have been unsettled for the United States' major orchestras.  Nevertheless, 2007/2008 promises a number of important events that may be the start of an orchestral renaissance in the United States. 

Events to look forward to this year...

  • Ricardo Mutti will be spending two weeks with the Chicago Symphony.  Mutti will be leading concerts featuring Ravel, Falla, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky and Hindemith.  After turning down the New York Philharmonic, Mutti is considered a front runner to permanently replace Daniel Barenboim. 
  • Marin Alsop debuts as the Baltimore Symphony's new music director and the first female music director of a major, American orchestra.  Alsop's first season will seek out a new audience with a unique grant making subscription tickets only $25 each and connect contemporary works by living, active composers with Beethoven's nine symphonies.
  • Christoph Eschenbach is back in the good graces of the Philadelphia Orchestra and will be sharing podium responsibilities with Charles Dutoit.  This was supposed to be Eschenbach's last year with the orchestra.  Orchestra members had lost faith in his interpretive abilities and the relationship became openly hostile.  However, the problems were apparently nothing a glowingly reviewed U.S. tour couldn't cure and last month it was announced that Eschenbach would continue some conducting duties while the orchestra looks for a replacement.  With the improving relationship, one wonders if the players will indulge Eschenbach in his more unorthodox interpretive choices. 
  • Of course, right here in Seattle, Gerard Schwarz and the orchestra will be testing out a new concertmaster model that will utilize four difference concertmasters throughout the season.   
  • In New York, Alan Gilbert, the newly appointed music director of the New York Philharmonic will ply his trade in early spring with a mix of the old and the new.  Early in the season New York gets a look at LA's new leader - Gustavo Dudamel. 
  • LA will also get another chance to inspect their incoming music director, when Dudamel brings his youth orchestra to Disney Hall for a performance of Mahler's epic 5th Symphony.
  • Detroit seems to be close to putting its labor dispute behind them, Peter Oundjian will lead the orchestra this year, while Leonard Slatkin is sitting in the wings, waiting for Detroit to be his next conducting stop. 
  • Jap van Zweden will lead the Dallas Symphony for the first time as the orchestra's music director designate.  Zweden steps in for the third and fourth weeks of a Beethoven festival.

No comments: