Albany Symphony Announced 2020-21 Season including Beethoven’s 250th Birthday “Mega-Concert” Celebration

The Albany Symphony recently unveiled its 2020-2021 season, which features music ranging from world premieres and contemporary classics to iconic, timeless masterworks.  Curated by Grammy Award-winning conductor David Alan Miller, the season brings to life the inspirational music of giants like Beethoven, Bartok, and Rachmaninoff, and dazzling performances of artists including legendary Scottish percussionist, Dame Evelyn Glennie.     

“The new season celebrates composers whose artistry and creativity reflect their triumph over adversity,” said Albany Symphony Music Director, David Alan Miller. “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 season includes twelve new or recent works by leading voices in American concert music, including the long-awaited North American premiere of John William’s Scherzo for Piano and Orchestra with pianist Gloria Cheng; world premieres by Bard College’s Distinguished Composer in Residence, George Tsontakis, Andre Myers, Viet Cuong, Nina Shekhar, Christopher Theofanidis and Molly Joyce; and recent works by Gabriela Lena Frank and Jessie Montgomery. 

The 2014 Grammy Award-winning duo, Dame Evelyn Glennie and David Alan Miller, will reunite to perform and record a new percussion concerto by Turkish-American composer, Kamran Ince, starting the fourth recording in a quartet of albums featuring Evelyn Glennie and the Albany Symphony.  The orchestra will also perform and record Christopher Rouse’s Bassoon Concerto, the only remaining unrecorded concerto by the late composer who passed away in September 2019.   

David Alan Miller

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 & 13, 2020, 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 4-hour “musical Akademie” in which he premiered not only the mighty Fifth Symphony but six other major masterpieces.”  Miller continued, “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 withs 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.  David Alan Miller leads the orchestra in 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 in April at the Palace Theatre.  Leading up to the North American premiere of his Scherzo for Piano and Orchestra on June 12, 2021, the orchestra will perform a salute to John Williams on May 1, 2021, focussing on his classic film scores.  Williams recently received his 52nd Oscar nomination, making him the most nominated living person in Oscar history. 

Robert Honstein ‘Juvenalia’ performed by Colin Currie,
Albany Symphony and David Alan Miller

The Albany Symphony will bring many great solo artists to the Capital Region during the new season. Violist Richard O’Neill, composer/performer Molly Joyce and Albany Pro Musica return, while the “stunningly virtuosic” (The New York Times) bassoonist, Peter Kolkay, pianist Inon Barnaton, 18-year old violin prodigy Maya Buchanan, The Bard College Chamber Singers, and The Bard Festival Chorale, and pianist Gloria Cheng will make their Albany Symphony debuts.  In March, the Albany Symphony’s Principal Oboist, Karen Hosmer will step forward to perform a Vivaldi Oboe Concerto.   

The 2020-2021 season runs from October through the American Music Festival in June. Concerts will be held at the Palace Theatre, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Proctors, and EMPAC Rensselaer. With a growing audience, especially on Saturdays at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, subscriptions offer patrons the opportunity to purchase their favorite seats before tickets go on sale to the general public.  The Compose Your Own season subscriptions offers flexibility and convenience.  Subscriptions start at $102.  Through the new Nielsen Associates’ Student Access Program, students can purchase discount subscriptions and enjoy the full benefits of being a subscriber for as little as $45.

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