Van Zweden’s final Dallas season to offer a fond farewell with friends

Sat Feb 11, 2017 at 7:00 pm
By Wayne Lee Gay
Jaap van Zweden will lead 11 weeks of concerts in the 2017-18 season, his final as Dallas Symphony Orchestra music director.

Jaap van Zweden will lead nine programs in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s 2017-18 season, his final as music director.

Making the best of music director Jaap van Zweden’s impending departure for the New York Philharmonic, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra will present the conductor’s final season as Dallas music director as a celebration of his decade-long tenure.

        Simultaneous with the friendly farewell, the orchestra will host a number of guest conductors in the 2017-18 season — presumably eyeing potential candidates to take over the soon-vacant post of music director.

While the search for van Zweden’s potential successor moves into high gear, the Dallas Symphony Chorus will celebrate its 40th anniversary with several high-profile events, including a world premiere. American mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung will serve as artist-in-residence for the season, and the Meyerson Symphony Center’s Lay Family Organ will be featured more frequently than usual in the course of the season, in honor of the 25th anniversary of its installation.

        While easing into his new post in New York, van Zweden is by no means neglecting his obligations in Dallas, and will conduct nine of the nineteen concerts on the orchestra’s main classical subscription series (compared to just four programs in his role as music director-designate in New York during the same time period).

Van Zweden will open the Dallas Symphony’s classical subscription season September 14  with an instrumental excerpt (“Elegy”) from Steven Stucky’s oratorio August 4, 1964 on a concert also featuring Mahler’s Fifth Symphony; besides recalling the premiere of Stucky’s oratorio early in van Zweden’s Dallas tenure in 2008, the performance will commemorate the composer’s death in 2016.

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma will join van Zweden and the orchestra to perform Dvorak’s Cello Concerto for the annual gala concert on September 17. Business-as-usual subscription concerts under van Zweden’s baton will include an all-Beethoven concert with pianist Rudolf Buchbinder September 28-October 1, as well as appearances with cellist Alisa Weilerstein on November 24-26 and cellist Harriet Krugh on February 8-10.

Traveling a little off the beaten path, van Zweden will present the Dallas premiere of Philip Glass’s Concerto for Two Pianos with Katia and Marielle Labèque on a concert also featuring Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8 on February 2-3. He will also conduct Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”) with the Dallas Symphony Chorus, soprano Dorothea Röschmann, and mezzo-soprano DeYoung on February 23-25.

        The closing weeks of the season will provide a series of grand finale concerts for van Zweden, beginning with a performance of Duruflé’s Requiem with the Dallas Symphony Chorus  (on a concert also featuring Louis Lortie in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20) on April 26-28. After van Zweden conducts an alternate-site “Remix” concert across the street at Dallas City Performance Hall on May 10 and 11, he will return to the Meyerson for a complete concert version of Wagner’s Die Walküre on May 18-20, with soprano Heidi Melton, mezzo-soprano DeYoung, tenor Simon O’Neill, and baritone Matthias Goerne. Van Zweden’s final announced performance as music director will take place May 24-26 when he conducts Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and the world premiere of Jonathan Leshnoff’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with co-concertmaster Alexander Kerr as soloist. Mezzo-soprano DeYoung and baritone Goerne will return as soloists for this concert, joined by soprano Lise Lindstrom, tenor Stuart Skelton, and the Dallas Symphony Chorus.

        Works that van Zweden will conduct in Dallas as well in New York during the season include the Glass Concerto for Two Pianos and Mahler’s Fifth Symphony; besides the complete performance of of Wagner’s Die Walküre in Dallas, he will conduct Act I of that opera in New York.

        In terms of new music for Dallas audiences, the Dallas Symphony Chorus will join conductor Joshua Habermann (the chorus’s director), and organist Bradley Hunter Welch to present the premiere of an as-yet-unnamed work by Jake Runstead on a concert also including Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms on October 8. On the main classical subscription series, Finnish guest conductor Hannu Lintu will present Canadian composer Samy Moussa’s A Globe Itself Infolding for organ and orchestra with soloist James Diaz on September 21-24, on a concert also featuring violinist Hilary Hahn and works of Dvorak, Sibelius, and Shostakovich.

Spanish-born Gustavo Gimeno, currently music director of the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, will conduct the U.S. premiere of Scottish composer James MacMillan’s Trombone Concerto, with soloist Jörgen van Rijen on a concert on February 15-18, next to works of Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky. Not so new, but definitely noteworthy on a season of the Dallas Symphony, all six of J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos will be presented on March 22-25, with Richard Egarr conducting from the harpsichord with soloists from the orchestra.

        Other guest artists for the season will include conductor Pablo Heras-Casado and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet on an all-French concert on October 19-22; conductor James Gaffigan and pianist Stephen Hough on a concert of works of Copland, Rachmaninoff, and Tchaikovsky on November 2-5; conductor Jun Märkl and organist Vincent Dubois on an all-French concert on November 16-16.

Also on tap is conductor Cristian Macelaru, pianist Behzod Abduraimov, and organist Welch in works of Barber and Rachmaninoff on January 11-13; conductor Donald Runnicles and violinist Nicola Benedetti in music of Beethoven and Sibelius on January 18-21; conductor Fabio Luisi and pianist Lise de la Salle in works of Beethoven and Richard Strauss March 8-11; and conductor Nicholas McGegan and pianist Beatrice Rana in works of Haydn, Prokofiev, and Beethoven April 12-15.

Along with van Zweden’s appearance in May, the Remix Series at Dallas City Performance Hall will feature concerts conducted by the orchestra’s assistant conductor Ruth Reinhardt October 13-14 and March 2-3. The season will also feature a three-concert organ recital series featuring organists Michel Bouvard on October 15, Isabelle Demers on February 11, and Ken Cowan on April 22. In a cross-over gesture, pianist Jon Nakamatsu, more well-known on the classical circuit, will perform Rhapsody in Blue in an all-Gershwin concert on the orchestra’s Pops series September 8-11.

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