Denève to hit the ground running in first season leading New World

By Lawrence Budmen

Stephane Denève will  open the New World Symphony’s 2023-24 season on September 12.

The New World Symphony’s 2023-2024 season marks Stephane Denève’s first as artistic director. Denève is only the second conductor to hold that position in the orchestral academy’s 35-year history. Founding artistic director laureate Michael Tilson Thomas will return to lead multiple concerts.

In previous years, the pre-season concerts were led by less well known, up and coming conductors and the programs were often devoted to lighter fare. Not this season.

Denève will conduct the ensemble’s first pre-season concert September 12 in a program that includes Adolphus Hailstork’s American Ports of Call and Debussy’s La Mer. Tilson Thomas leads the two subsequent September pre-season outings with programs that feature Sibelius’ Symphony No. 6, Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra and Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes.

Denève will open the main season October 14 and 15 in a program featuring mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor as soloist in Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs plus James Lee III’s Visions of Cahokia and Prokofiev’s Suite from Romeo and Juliet. He conducts two addition programs plus an exploration of Jennifer Higdon’s Blue Cathedral with the composer. On the season’s final program May 11 and 12, Denève premieres a new NWS commission by French composer Guillaume Connesson. James Ehnes will solo in John Williams’ Violin Concerto and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring caps the season.

Continuing the New World’s relationship with the Cleveland Orchestra, Denéve directs the Clevelanders plus New World fellows in Strauss’ massive Alpine Symphony on November 17 at the Arsht Center. Members of the Cleveland Orchestra will also join NWS players in a chamber music concert.

Tilson Thomas will conduct his own Agnegram as well as Shostakovich’s infrequently played Symphony No. 15, the composer’s orchestral swan song. After an absence of several seasons, the orchestra’s Concerto Night (with NWS members in the solo spotlight) returns with rising conductor Linda Gonzalez-Granados on the podium. Toronto Symphony music director Gustavo Gimeneo debuts with Mahler’s Symphony No. 6. Other guest conductors include Douglas Boyd (Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Master Chorale of South Florida), Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Carlos Miguel Prieto and German contemporary music specialist Andre de Ridder in a program of works by Edgar Varèse, Bartok and Nicole Lizée.

Among the soloists are mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard (Ravel’s Shèherazade), bass-baritone Dashon Burton (Copland’s Old American Songs) and pianists Emanuel Ax (Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3) and Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Ravel’s Concerto in G), and trumpet player-composer Pacho Flores (in his his own Cantos y Revueltas).

An eclectic chamber music series mixes standard, rare and contemporary works with pianist Elizabeth Joy Roe and violinist Aisslinn Nosky as guest artists. Wynton Marsalis’ A Fiddler’s Tale will be given a multi-media presentation.

There will be three concerts (and the Cleveland program) at the Arsht Center in Miami with all other programs at the New World Center in Miami Beach.

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Thu Mar 30, 2023
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