Luisi making quick impact on DSO with adventurous 2019-20 season

Tue Feb 12, 2019 at 10:00 am
By Wayne Lee Gay

Music director designate Fabio Luisi will lead five weeks of concerts in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s 2019-20 season. Photo: Barbara Luisi

Although Fabio Luisi will conduct only five of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s nineteen subscription classical music programs in the 2019-20 season, the DSO’s music director designate will definitely make a mark on the orchestra.

His adventurous agenda will include more new works than the orchestra has presented in a single year in decades as well as some obvious bows to Luisi’s particular and unique interests. (Luisi will be at the head of the orchestra more frequently in the 2020-21 season before assuming the podium for a full season in 2021-22.)

Probably the most striking example of Luisi’s influence will be the Dallas premiere of Franz Schmidt’s apocalyptic oratorio The Book with Seven Seals. Luisi advocates the early twentieth-century Austrian romantic composer as a major, albeit neglected symphonic composer, and it seems likely that Dallas audiences will more of Schmidt’s grand symphonies in subsequent seasons. The performance of The Book with Seven Seals will take place on April 3-5, 2020.

Other large-scale choral works by the Dallas Symphony with the Dallas Symphony Chorus will include performances of Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony on October 25-27, with Robert Spano conducting, and Berlioz’s Romeo et Juliette, a “symphonie dramatique” for chorus and orchestra, with Jun Märkl conducting, on May 22-24, 2020.

Luisi and the orchestra will perform Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 on April 9, 10, and 11 in conjunction with a projected recording of a complete cycle of Brahms’ four symphonies. Additionally, Luisi has announced that he intends to conduct at least one opera in concert during his tenure with the orchestra; he will begin that project with performances of Richard Strauss’ Salome on January 31 and February 2, 2020, with soprano Ausrine Stundyte in the title role and baritone Mark Delavan as Jochanaan.

The season will include a record number of world premieres, Dallas premieres, and works by female composers for the orchestra. During the course of the season, Luisi will conduct the Dallas premieres of August Read Thomas’ Aureole and composer-in-residence Julia Wolfe’s Fountain of Youth; Edo de Waart will conduct the Dallas premiere of Michael Ipplito’s Nocturne; the orchestra’s newly appointed principal guest conductor Gemma New will conduct the Dallas premiere of Salina Fisher’s Rainphase; and, Karina Canellakis will conduct the Dallas premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s The Magic Lantern.

In an admirable strategy on the part of the orchestra, principal musicians from the orchestra will be featured as soloists in three world premieres.

Spano will conduct the world premiere of George Tsontakis’ Violin Concerto No. 3, with the orchestra’s senior principal associate concertmaster Gary Levinson as soloist, on October 25-27. New will conduct the world premiere of Steven Mackey’s Timpani Concerto with Dallas Symphony principal timpanist Brian Jones as soloist on November 8-10; and Ruth Reinhardt will conduct the world premiere of Jerod Tate’s Ghost of the White Deer for Bassoon and Orchestra with Dallas Symphony principal Ted Soluri as soloist on February 13-16. The Dallas Symphony Chorus, organist Bradley Hunter Welch, and conductor Joshua Habermann will present the world premiere of an as-yet-untitled work by Ryan Murphy in an all-choral concert on September 22. Dalia Stasevska will conduct the U.S. premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s Two Episodes for Orchestra on May 7-9, 2020.

Major guest soloists appearing with the orchestra will include pianists Beatrice Rana, Joyce Yang, Garrick Ohlsson, Benedetto Lupo, and Stephen Hough, and violinists Maxim Vengerov and Gil Shaham. Joshua Bell, and Pinchas Zukerman. Dallas Symphony artist-in-residence James Ehnes will appear as both violin soloist and conductor during the course of the season. Besides Spano, New, de Waart, Canellakis, and Reinhardt, the hefty list of guest conductors will include Christian Reif, Marek Janowski, Xian Zhang, Kirill Karabits, and Bernard Labadie.

The season will also include a generous pops series, a series of four blockbuster movies with live orchestral accompaniment, a full schedule of holiday concerts, an organ recital series, family concerts, a special event celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Meyerson Symphony Center on September 4, and a gala concert with violinist Bell on September 28.

All concerts will be performed at Meyerson Symphony Center. Complete information is available at

Leave a Comment