In announcing its 2021-2022 season, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) is offering something music lovers need after more than a year of a pandemic: hope. Beginning this fall, the upcoming season is a robust line-up featuring the return of full orchestral works and the Dallas Symphony Chorus.
In September 2020, the DSO became the first American orchestra to perform for live audiences in a concert hall since the beginning of the pandemic.
The orchestra has been performing weekly concerts with a 40-person orchestra for a limited capacity audience. Currently, the orchestra allows 300 patrons at the Meyerson Symphony Center in the Dallas Arts District. The orchestra also began producing a digital concert series, NEXT STAGE.
While the DSO plans to perform with more musicians onstage next season, the orchestra remains cautious.
“The health and safety of our patrons and musicians remain of utmost importance, and we have shown that as circumstances change, the DSO adapts its concerts to continue to deliver incredible performances in new ways. That will continue as we move into 2021/22, and we look forward to returning to the stage with a full complement of musicians and larger, full orchestral works,” Kim Noltemy, Ross Perot President & CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, said.
The 2021-2022 season will be the second season of Fabio Luisi’s tenure as the DSO’s Music Director. As part of the Texas Instruments Classical Series, Luisi will explore American music, with increased attention given to music by people of color.
“I want to look at the full range of American music and those voices that we know, and those that have been perhaps forgotten. The history of America is very rich, and the more I learn, the more I discover new music from many times. I would like the audience, my orchestra, and our community to learn more as well and to see how important these voices are to today’s musical life,” Luisi said.
The Texas Instruments Classical Series begins with two American works, Copland’s Organ Symphony and Frederick Converse’s The Mystic Trumpeter. Bradley Hunter Welch, the DSO’s resident organist, will solo on Copland’s work.
The series also includes the Dallas premiere of The Brightness of Light by Pulitzer Prize-winner Kevin Puts. Set to texts from the correspondence between Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, this multimedia presentation will feature renowned American soprano Renée Fleming and baritone Rod Gilfry as soloists, as well as projections above the stage created by Wendall K. Harrington, including images of O’Keeffe and texts from the letters.
The DSO will present world-premiere performances of two works by American composers. Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, the first female composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music, will debut a piece dedicated to the memory of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Oct. 7 concert will feature mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves and pianist Jeffrey Biegel as soloists.
A new work by American composer, violinist and educator Jessie Montgomery will premiere on May 27, 2022. A winner of the Sphinx Medal of Excellence, Montgomery has been a frequent collaborator with the DSO, from performances of her works to her involvement in the two Women in Classical Music Symposium.
Opera-in-concert returns to the Meyerson Symphony Center in the form of a full performance of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin in a semi-staged production. “Opera-in-concert is a benefit not only for our musicians but also for our audiences. It focuses on the music with few stage distractions and lets the music stand on its own. It gives a new perspective to these works,” Luisi said.
Luisi will lead his first DSO Gala on Sept. 25. Luisi and the DSO will welcome four-time Grammy winner Anne-Sophie Mutter. Mutter will perform the Dallas premiere of John Williams’s Violin Concerto No. 2., a piece was written specifically for her.
Women will play significant roles in the 2021-2022 season. Principal Guest Conductor Gemma New will return to the DSO for her third season. New will lead the DSO in four concert programs this season, including the popular New Year’s Eve concert. DSO Composer-in-Residence Angélica Negrón will return for her second season. Negrón will curate a chamber music concert on Nov. 9, as part of the DSO’s third annual Women in Classical Music Symposium.
After a year and a half absence, the Dallas Symphony Chorus will return to the Meyerson. Under the direction of Joshua Habermann, the Chorus will perform with the DSO in Mozart’s Requiem in November and will have a prominent role during the holiday season as part of DSO’s Christmas Pops in December. They will join the DSO as part of Eugene Onegin and again at the end of the season for Beethoven’s popular Symphony No. 9.
In February, former Music Director Andrew Litton returns to the Meyerson for the first time since 2013 with his frequent collaborator Stephen Hough. The event will mark the thirtieth anniversary of Litton’s debut with the DSO prior to his tenure as Music Director.
The Pop Series features a tribute to the Tejano legend, Selena, the music of The Beatles, and the DSO debut of Renée Elise Goldsberry, best known for her role as Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton.
The DSO will celebrate holidays with music. In addition to the Christmas Pops and a New Year’s Eve concert, the DSO will perform a Día de los Muertos concert and a patriot program on Veteran’s Day weekend. The DSO’s popular Movies-in-Concert series features the music of Coco, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, and Toy Story.
“Concert programs are always the result of many hours of collaborative and creative discussions – and many happy surprises. It is a special joy to program the DSO’s concerts with Fabio Luisi, and to be sharing his curiosity and enthusiasm for the highways and the byways of every exciting musical journey,” Peter Czornyj, the DSO’s Wildenthal Families Vice President of Artistic Operations, said.