John Williams, a celebration of Ludwig van Beethoven, and the return of a Grammy Award-winning duo are just some of the highlights of what the Albany Symphony has planned for its 2020-21 season.
The Albany Symphony unveiled its upcoming season promising a dozen new or recent works by leading voices in American concert music in a statement today, Wednesday, Jan. 15. The season will also include the work of Beethoven, Béla Bartók and Sergei Rachmaninoff. The symphony’s season starts with Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Palace Theatre.
“The new season celebrates composers whose artistry and creativity reflect their triumph over adversity,” stated David Alan Miller, the symphony’s music director. “Inspired by the inextinguishable spirit of Beethoven, our season traces heroic journeys, especially for those who, like Bartok and Rachmaninoff, struggled to find a sense of place or belonging in a changing world, and others who overcame seemingly insurmountable adversity to create great art.”
The highlights of the upcoming season, however, include the North American premiere of John Williams’ “Scherzo” for piano and orchestra next June. The evening also reunites Miller with Dame Evelyn Glennie as the symphony performs and records a new percussion concerto by Turkish-American composer Kamran Ince. Glennine and Miller had earned a Grammy Award together in 2014. It will all be a part of the American Music Festival’s “Drums Along the Hudson,” to be performed at EMPAC on the Rensselaer campus on Saturday, June 12, 2021.
William’s North American premiere follows a tribute to the Academy Award-winning composer in May. Williams, who has earned five Academy Awards in his storied career, is best known for composing the musical scores to Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and many more popular movies. His most recent nomination earned him 52 for his career, making him the most nominated living person in Oscar history. The tribute is a return engagement for the Albany Symphony, which performed a similar show last year. “A Salute to John Williams” is to take place on Saturday, May 1, 2021, at the Palace Theatre.
The centerpiece of the new season is an ambitious recreation of Beethoven’s 1808 “mega-concert” at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on December 12 and 13, 2020, which is just days before his 250th birthday.
“We wanted to do something unique to honor Beethoven’s legacy,” said Miller. “Like many composers today, Beethoven was a determined entrepreneur and on December 22, 1808 at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, he curated and conducted a four-hour ‘musical Akademie’ in which he premiered not only the mighty Fifth Symphony, but six other major masterpieces,” said Miller. “Listeners will be able to relive this mind-boggling historic performance in the perfect acoustic of the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.”
The Saturday performance will include his “Pastoral” Symphony No. 6 and Fourth Piano Concerto. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony will headline the Sunday matinee alongside his Choral Fantasy.
The 2020-2021 season also features many beloved classics. Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra open the season, followed by Holst’s The Planets in November. 2021 begins with guest conductor Erina Yashima conducting Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherezade at Proctors in Schenectady. The orchestra celebrates Valentine’s Day with De Falla’s The Three Corned Hat, Strauss’ Don Juan, and Robert Schumann’s “Rhenish” Symphony. Miller will lead the orchestra next March at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall with music by Mozart, Haydn, and Vivaldi followed by Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and Debussy’s La Mer next April at the Palace Theatre.
OPENING NIGHT: RACHMANINOFF’S THIRD PIANO CONCERTO Saturday, Oct. 24, at 7:30 p.m., Palace Theatre in Albany
David Alan Miller, conductor Inon Barnaton, piano
JESSIE MONTGOMERY: Coincident Dances RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 3 BARTÓK: Concerto for Orchestra
THE PLANETS! Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020 at 7:30 p.m., Palace Theatre in Albany
David Alan Miller, conductor Albany Pro Musica Women’s Chorus
VIET CUONG: Concerto for Orchestra (World Premiere) ANDRE MYERS: World Premiere HOLST: The Planets
THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS Sunday. Dec. 6, at 3 p.m., Palace Theatre in Albany
David Alan Miller, conductor A Capital Region holiday tradition featuring Christmas carols, sparkling holiday favorites and a sleigh full of talent from local schools and ensembles.
BEETHOVEN 250TH | A RE-CREATION OF BEETHOVEN’S 1808 “MEGA-CONCERT” Saturday, Dec. 12, at 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, Dec. 13, at 3 p.m. , Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
David Alan Miller, conductor
Part 1: Saturday Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral” Ah! Perfido, concert aria Gloria, from Mass in C major Piano Concerto No. 4
Part 2: Sunday Symphony No. 5 Sanctus, from the Mass in C major Extemporized fantasia for piano Choral Fantasy
SCHEHERAZADE AT PROCTORS! Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 at 7:30 p.m., Proctors in Schenectady
FOUNTAINS OF ROME Saturday, Apr. 24, 2021 at 7:30 p.m., Palace Theatre in Albany
David Alan Miller, conductor Richard O’Neill, viola
DEBUSSY: La Mer GABRIELA FRANK: Apu RESPIGHI: Fountains of Rome WALTON: Viola Concerto
A SALUTE TO JOHN WILLIAMS | STAR WARS & MORE, THE SEQUEL! Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 7:30 p.m., Palace Theatre in Albany
David Alan Miller, conductor The music of John Williams will transport you, setting your imagination free, and taking you on heart-stopping adventures. Be there as the Albany Symphony plays your John Williams favorites: Star Wars, Harry Potter, Superman, Raider of the Lost Ark, E.T., Jaws, Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park, Born on the 4th of July, and the Hymn to the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan. Plus, extra Sci-fi surprises!
DOGS OF DESIRE AT THE AMERICAN MUSIC FESTIVAL Friday, June 11, 2021 at 7:30 p.m., EMPAC Rensselaer
Captivating, fresh, and cutting edge, the Dogs of Desire returns to the American Music Festival with an unparalleled concert experience featuring newly penned works by today’s most adventurous composers. Hear it here first, before the ink dries.
AMERICAN MUSIC FESTIVAL | DRUMS ALONG THE HUDSON Saturday, Jun. 12, 2021 at 7:30 p.m., EMPAC Rensselaer
David Alan Miller, conductor Evelyn Glennie, percussion Gloria Cheng, piano Molly Joyce, vocalist
NINA SHEKHAR: World Premiere KAMRAN INCE: Cikirikcilar Hill -Percussion Concerto (Recording) MOLLY JOYCE/CHRISTOPHER THEOFANIDIS: Songs (World Premiere) JOHN WILLIAMS: Scherzo for Piano and Orchestra (North American Premiere)
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