Symphony’s new season builds on past successes

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The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has announced its 2016-17 season and while there aren't big surprises in the  87th season, it looks like a carefully crafted set of concerts building from past successes.

Krzysztof Urbanski, in his sixth season as music director (read profile here), is scheduled for two high-profile weeks near the start of the season, one with pianist Andre Watts (Sept 29-Oct. 1) for an all-Beethoven program and another with violinist Hilary Hahn packed with Prokofiev. The latter including a "Romeo and Juliet" suite put together by Urbanski (who was not at the schedule announcement due to illness).

Urbanski will also conduct an ISO commission from pianist Dejan Lazic entitled "Mozart and Salieri," which will have its world premiere in April in a program that includes music from both of those rival composers. 

Former ISO leaders Raymond Leppard and John Nelson will both be back. Leppard will lead an October concert and Nelson a February weekend anchored by Rachmaninoff.

Other guests conductors include Roberto Abbado, early music specialist Bernard Labadie, and Jun Markl as well as subscription debuts for Milwaukee Symphony's Edo de Waart, Joshua Weilerstein, and Matthias Pintscher. Guest soloists include violinist Gil Shaham and sister pianists Katia and Marielle Labeque. Those looking for something unusual might consider John Adams' "Saxophone Concerto" in February. 

The midwinter festival that brought solid crowds to the theater for a space-focused program earlier in 2016 will be more grounded this year with a Music of the Earth theme. Programming includes Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde” (“The Song of the Earth”) along with Strauss’ “Alpine Symphony.” Urbanski is set to conduct both sets. 

Returnees on the pops side of the schedule include a new, world premiere Cirque de La Symphonie and trumpeter Chris Botti. Newcomers include five former cast members of Broadway’s “Jersey Boys” and “Motown: The Musical” in The Doo Wop project, a Sci-Fi Spectacular including a tribute to the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek” (and possible guest appearance by George Takei), an evening with Maureen McGovern, and a screening of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” with full orchestra accompaniment.

Pops Maestro Jack Everly will be leading the Opening Night Gala (Sept. 24), a  concert celebrating the state bicentennial as well as the 100th birthday of the Hilbert Circle Theatre. 

The season ends with the full force of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir and the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, plus soloists, for Orff's “Carmina Burana” and Bernstein's "Chichester Psalms."

And while the Happy Hour concerts have yet to be announced, ISO management assured that Time for Three will still play a part, even with the departure of Zachary De Pue from its ranks. Violinist Nikki Choo will be taking his spot as De Pue focuses on his ISO concertmaster duties.

Find more schedule details here.

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