Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Announces 2019-20 Season

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Announces 2019-20 Season 

New season celebrates the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the U.S. featuring conductors Carolyn Kuan, Ruth Reinhardt and Xian Zhang and composers including Vivian Fung and Lotta Wennäkoski with world premieres by Lera Auerbach and Anna Clyne

“Beethoven 2020” honors 250th anniversary of composer’s birth with recital appearance by Evgeny Kissin and “All Together: A Global Ode to Joy” in collaboration with Carnegie Hall

BSO salutes 30th anniversary of Hubble Space Telescope with NASA collaboration in performances of Holst’s The Planets

Baltimore (February 26, 2019) The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) announces the details of its upcoming 2019-20 season, which celebrates milestones including the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the U.S., the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven and the 30th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope. Under the artistic leadership of Music Director Marin Alsop, the BSO pays tribute to the achievements of women in music with guest conductors Carolyn Kuan, Ruth Reinhardt and Xian Zhang; composers including Lera Auerbach, Anna Clyne, Fanny Mendelssohn, Florence Price and Chen Yi; and guest artists including Gala-headliner Renée Fleming, vocalist Jennifer Holliday, pianist Olga Kern and violinist Viktoria Mullova.

“Considering it is 2019 and the country will be remembering and reflecting upon this significant moment in our history, I felt it was important to put together a season that represents the world as we all believe it should be,” said Alsop. “Rather than tokenism, I wanted to present the ‘new normal,’ so all of the women we are presenting in 19-20 were selected for their talent and abilities first. They deserve to be on stage as much as their male colleagues. This is hopefully only the start to a new and more inclusive approach to programming.”

Another initiative for the new season is Beethoven 2020, which celebrates the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. The cornerstone of celebration is All Together: A Global Ode to Joy, a project launched in collaboration with Carnegie Hall. Alsop leads performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on five continents and with nine orchestras as part of a year-long project running from December 2019 to December 2020. The BSO’s performances, slated to close the 2019-20 season, feature a new translation of “Ode to Joy” by Baltimore-based rapper and musician Wordsmith. The performances also include a new arrangement of the spiritual song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and a commission by Reena Esmail.

Beethoven 2020 includes Evgeny Kissin performing a recital of Beethoven’s most renowned works for solo keyboard. Alsop also leads concerts featuring the composer’s Symphony No. 6, “Pastoral,” and his Violin Concerto in D Major with Viktoria Mullova in her BSO debut.

The BSO also celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope in the 2019-20 season with performances of Holst’s The Planets. These performances feature images of photos taken from the Hubble as well as a special guest from NASA.

Premieres: The BSO continues its commitment to contemporary music with world premieres of newly commissioned works by Lera Auerbach, Anna Clyne and Reena Esmail; the U.S. premiere of Clyne’s Restless Ocean; and the BSO premieres of works including Vivian Fung’s Dust Devils, Hindemith’s Sancta Susanna, Florence Price’s The Oak, Daniel Bernard Roumain’s Voodoo Violin Concerto, Lotta Wennäkoski’s Hava and Chen Yi’s Antiphony.

Guest Artists: Notable guest artists highlighting the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s season include pianists Yulianna Avdeeva, Emanuel Ax, Conrad Tao, Olga Kern and Evgeny Kissin; violinists Ray Chen, Daniel Bernard Roumain and Gil Shaham; cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason; soprano Renée Fleming; and mandolinist Avi Avital. 

BSO Debuts: Several guest artists and conductors in the 2019-20 season make their BSO debuts, including Avi Avital, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Viktoria Mullova, Matthias Pintscher, Philippe Quint and Daniel Bernard Roumain.

Movies with Orchestra: In 2019-20, the BSO presents five Movies with Orchestra, in which films are projected onto a large HD screen while the Orchestra performs the score live. Special presentations include Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi, Ghostbusters (1984) and Amadeus. The Wizard of Oz is also featured in a Movie with Orchestra concert on the SuperPops subscription series.

Off The Cuff: Off The Cuff concerts allow audiences to explore a single piece of music in depth with background and historical information from the conductor and a post-concert audience Q&A. Marin Alsop leads Off The Cuff performances of Brahms’ Symphony No. 4, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Guest conductor Jun Märkl leads an Off The Cuff presentation of Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto with Ray Chen at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Peter Oundjian conducts Holst’s The Planets in an Off The Cuff concert at The Music Center at Strathmore.

SuperPops Highlights: Under the leadership of Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly, the BSO presents concerts in the 2019-20 season featuring Grammy and Tony Award-winning singer Jennifer Holliday, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, tributes to Aretha Franklin and Nat King Cole, the classic hits of Lerner and Loewe and Movie with Orchestra: The Wizard of Oz.

Holiday Specials: The 2019-20 holiday season includes Handel’s classic Messiah, a return appearance by CeCe Winans for Gospel Christmas, Cirque Nutcracker with Troupe Vertigo, a Family concert presentation of The Snowman and Holiday Spectacular.

Family Series: For ages four and up, the BSO’s 2019-20 Family series presents Lemony Snicket’s The Composer is Dead; The Snowman; Classical Mash-up; and Through The Telescope, a concert presented in collaboration with NASA, the Goddard Space Flight Center and the Space Telescope Science Institute. Performances are led by BSO Associate Conductor Nicholas Hersh.  

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Subscriptions for the 2019-20 season for the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and the BSO at Strathmore are on sale beginning February 26 through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000, 877.BSO.1444 or Single tickets for the general public will go on sale in August 2019. For press comps, additional artist bios or media materials, please contact the PR Department at


Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Meyerhoff)
1212 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

The Music Center at Strathmore (Strathmore)
5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD



About the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra     

For over a century, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) has been recognized as one of America’s leading orchestras and one of Maryland’s most significant cultural institutions. Under the direction of Music Director Marin Alsop, the orchestra is internationally renowned and locally admired for its innovation, performances, recordings and educational outreach initiatives including OrchKids. Launched by Marin Alsop and the BSO in 2008, OrchKids provides children with educational resources and fosters social change through the power of music in some of Baltimore’s most underserved communities.

The BSO is widely recognized for its highly acclaimed recordings, including a 2010 disc on the Decca label featuring Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F and Rhapsody in Blue, as well as the 2017 Naxos release of Bernstein’s Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2. Both recordings were led by Alsop and feature pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Alsop also led the BSO in its 2009 Naxos recording of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS. Recent releases include Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet with Alsop and Handel’s Messiah with conductor Edward Polochick and the Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs annually for more than 350,000 people throughout the State of Maryland. Since 1982, the BSO has performed at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore. In 2005, with the opening of The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, MD, the BSO became the nation’s first orchestra with year-round venues in two metropolitan areas. More information about the BSO can be found at