Utah Symphony will feature Audra McDonald, Itzhak Perlman, Beethoven’s Ninth and more in new season

The first season after the departure of musical director Thierry Fischer focuses on ‘musical narratives.’

(Utah Symphony) David Robertson will conduct three programs in the Utah Symphony's 2023-2024 season — his first season in a three-year term in the symphony's new role of "creative partner."

Utah Symphony’s first season without conductor Thierry Fischer will feature some major guest musicians, an array of composers from Ludwig van Beethoven to Danny Elfman, and the introduction of the orchestra’s first “creative partner.”

Symphony leaders announced the lineup for the 2023-2024 season late Wednesday.

“Every work we present has a story to share, and we continually strive to connect our audiences to these powerful musical narratives,” Steve Brosvik, president and CEO of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, said in a statement. Those narratives include, he said, “the idealism of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony contrasted with the darkness of Berg’s “Wozzeck,” the humor in Strauss’ “Till Eulenspiegel,” or the nostalgia of a past era that inspired pianist Stephen Hough’s first concerto.”

The season will happen without a permanent conductor and music director. Fischer, who has held those roles for 14 seasons, is scheduled to conduct his final concerts with Utah Symphony on May 26 and 27. He has already started his next job, conducting the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, OSESP, in Brazil.

The new season will mark the beginning of a three-year term for David Robertson, taking the newly created position of “creative partner.” Robertson will conducting three concerts, including the Beethoven’s Ninth and “Wozzeck,” both part of the same program on Nov. 3 and 4, and a “Guitar Celebrations” concert (April 19-20, 2024) with the guitar collective Another Night on Earth performing works ranging from The Beatles to Frank Zappa.

Among the guest stars scheduled to play with Utah Symphony next season are: Violinist Itzhak Perlman, performing a suite of John Williams’ film scores on Oct. 14; Broadway star Audra McDonald singing Nov. 10 and 11; pianist Sir Stephen Hough, performing the world premiere of his own piano concerto, “The World of Yesterday,” on Jan. 12 and 13, 2024; and British percussionist Colin Currie, performing Danny Elfman’s Percussion Concerto on March 22 and 23, 2024.

Subscriptions for the new season are on sale now, via the USUO mobile app, online at UtahSymphony.org, or by calling USUO’s patron services at 801-533-NOTE (6683). The flexible Design-a-Series packages go on sale starting June 5. Individual tickets go on sale Aug. 1.

All concerts will take place at Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City, unless otherwise noted.

Here’s the lineup of Utah Symphony’s 2023-2024 season:

• Sept. 8-9 • “Black Panther” in Concert • (Films in Concert Series) The Marvel movie set in Wakanda — starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke and Martin Freeman — will be screened with the Utah Symphony playing Ludwig Göransson’s score live.

• Sept. 15-16 • Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony & Barber’s Violin Concerto • (Masterworks Series) Conducted by Ludovic Morlot, with violinist Aubree Oliverson. Program: Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World,” Barber’s Violin Concerto, and Ravel’s “Bolero.”

• Sept. 18-19 • Celebración Sinfónica: A Festival of Latin American Culture • (Special Events) Conducted by Enrico Lopez-Yañez, this annual concert features Latin American orchestral music, popular hits and traditional tunes. Food trucks, artisan crafts and dancers will fill the plaza before the show.

• Sept. 22-23 • Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto • (Masterworks Series) Conducted by Eduardo Strausser, with pianist Marie-Ange Nguci. Program: Mozart’s Overture to “Don Giovanni”, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor”, and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5.

• Oct. 14 • Special Celebration — Itzhak Perlman’s Cinema Serenade • (Special Events) A one-night-only event, in which famed violinist Itzhak Perlman performs music composed or arranged by John Williams, including such movie scores as “Schindler’s List,” “Far and Away” and “Sabrina.”

• Oct. 19-21 • Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 & Liszt’s “Totentanz” with Pianist Joyce Yang • (Masterworks Series) Conducted by Rune Bergmann, with pianist Joyce Yang. Program: Saint-Saëns’ “Danse Macabre,” Liszt’s “Totentanz,” and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2. (The Oct. 19 concert will be at the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts, Utah Valley University, Orem.)

• Oct. 26-28 • Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows - Part 2″ in Concert • (Films in Concert Series) The final installment in the “Potter” franchise, with the climactic Battle of Hogwarts, will screen with the Utah Symphony playing Alexandre Desplat’s score live.

• Nov. 3-4 • Beethoven’s Ninth • (Masterwork Series) Conducted by David Robertson. Program: Bruckner’s “Christus factus est,” Berg’s “Wozzeck” (Act III), Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 “Choral.”

• Nov. 10-11 • Audra McDonald • (Pops Series) Broadway and television star Audra McDonald performs, in a show conducted by Andy Einhorn.

• Nov. 17-18 • Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 • (Masterworks Series) Conducted by Markus Poschner. Program: Mathilde Wantenaar’s “Prélude à une nuit américaine,” Strauss’s “Death and Transfiguration,” Brahms’ Symphony No. 2.

• Nov. 22 • 63rd Annual Salute to Youth • (Special Events) Utah’s most talented young musicians go through a rigorous audition process for a chance to perform a movement of a concerto with the Utah Symphony, in this annual event.

• Nov. 25-26 • Utah Symphony and Utah Opera’s “Messiah” Sing-in • (Special Events) The annual tradition continues, with a Thanksgiving weekend performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” with the Utah Opera Chorus and members of the audience singing the famous “Hallelujah” Chorus.

• Nov. 30-Dec. 2 •Appalachian Spring” & Bach with Pianist Awadagin Pratt • (Masterworks Series) Conducted by Teddy Abrams, with pianist Awadagin Pratt. Program: Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in A Major, Jessie Montgomery’s “Rounds” for Piano and String Orchestra, Teddy Abrams’ Overture to “The Greatest,” Copland’s “Appalachian Spring.” (The Nov. 30 concert will be at the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts, Utah Valley University, Orem.)

Dec. 8-9 • David Robertson Conducts Schumann’s “Rhenish” Symphony • (Masterworks Series) Conducted by David Robertson. Program: Sibelius’ “En saga,” Ives’ “Three Places in New England,” Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 “Rhenish.”

• Dec. 15-16 • Holiday Pops Extravaganza! • (Pops Series) A seasonal staple, featuring vocalist Carmen Bradford and a special appearance from Santa Claus. Hot chocolate in the lobby.

• Dec. 16 • Here Comes Santa Claus! • (Family Concert Series) The kid-friendly matinee concert, with a narrative played out by actors, and closing with a sing-along — and an appearance by a certain man in a red suit — is a holiday tradition.

• Dec. 21-23 • Frozen” in Concert • (Films in Concert Series) The Disney hit that spawned “Let It Go” and a snowman named Olaf screens, with the Utah Symphony playing the score live.

• Jan. 4-6, 2024 • Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 & Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 • (Masterworks Series) Conducted by David Danzmayr, with violinist Francesca Dego. Program: Beethoven’s “Coriolan” Overture, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3; Carlos Simon’s “Fate Now Conquers,” Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. (The Jan. 4 concert will be at the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts, Utah Valley University, Orem.)

• Jan. 12-13, 2024 • Stephen Hough Performs Stephen Hough — with Conductor Donald Runnicles • (Masterworks Series) Conducted by Sir Donald Runnicles, with pianist Sir Stephen Hough. Program: Elgar’s “Cockaigne (In London Town),” Stephen Hough’s Piano Concerto (“The World of Yesterday”) (a world premiere; Utah Symphony co-commission), Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 5.

• Feb. 2-3 • Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 • (Masterworks Series) Conducted by Jun Märkl, with violinist Madeline Adkins. Program: Richard Strauss’ “Macbeth,” Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1, Dvořák’s “In Nature’ Realm,” Richard Strauss’ “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks.”

• Feb. 9-10, 2024 • Casablanca” in Concert • (Films in Concert Series) The Utah Symphony plays Max Steiner’s score live to a screening of the 1942 classic, with Humphrey Bogart as a bar owner brought back into the fight when he sees his lost love (Ingrid Bergman) and her freedom-fighting husband (Paul Henreid).

• Feb. 15-17, 2024 • Strauss’ “Don Juan” & a World Premiere with Principal Trombone Mark Davidson • (Masterworks Series) Conducted by Conner Gray Covington, with trombonist Mark Davidson. Program: Haydn’s Symphony No. 88, Quinn Mason’s Trombone Concerto (world premiere; Utah Symphony co-commission), Strauss’ “Don Juan,” Barber’s Symphony No. 1. (The Feb. 15 concert will be at the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts, Utah Valley University, Orem.)

• Feb. 22-24, 2024 • Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 2 & a Concerto with the World’s Top Violist • (Masterworks Series) Conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya, with violist Tabea Zimmermann. Program: Rimsky-Korsakov’s Suite fromThe Invisible City of Kitezh,” Michael Jarrell’s “Émergences-Résurgences” (U.S. premiere; Utah Symphony co-commission), Weber’s Andante & Hungarian Rondo, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2. (The Feb. 22 concert will be at the Brigham Young University School of Music Concert Hall, Provo.)

• March 1-2, 2024 • Louis Armstrong & Friends — Featuring Byron Stripling • (Pops Series) Vocalist and trumpeter Byron Stripling leads this tribute to the great Louis Armstrong and his famous friends — including Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington.

• March 16, 2024 • Peter and the Wolf” • (Family Concert Series) Prokofiev’s music propels this story of a boy who captures a menacing wolf, with the help of his animal friends — while also introducing young audiences to the different instruments of the orchestra.

• March 22-23, 2024 • Danny Elfman’s Percussion Concerto with Colin Currie • (Masterworks Series) Conducted by David Danzmayr, with percussionist Colin Currie. Program: Bryce Dessner’s “Tromp Miniature,” Danny Elfman’s Percussion Concerto, Brahms’ Symphony No. 1.

• March 28-30, 2024 • Dvořák’s Violin Concerto • (Masterworks Series) Conducted by Anna Rakitina, with violinist Sirena Huang. Program: Smetana’s “Šárka from Má Vlast (My Fatherland),” Dvořák’s Violin Concerto, Sibelius’ Symphony No. 1. (The March 28 concert will be at Daines Concert Hall, Utah State University, Logan.)

• April 12-13, 2024 • Direct from Sweden: The Music of Abba • (Pops Series) The show-band Direct from Sweden joins the Utah Symphony for a tribute to the supergroup Abba.

• April 13, 2024 • An Outer-Space Adventure! “The Secret of the Cardboard Rocket” • (Family Concert Series) A collaboration with Clark Planetarium, this concert presents an all-ages space adventure (based on the planetarium’s long-running show), featuring music from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Holst’s “The Planets” and more.

• April 19-20, 2024 • Guitar Celebrations: Jiji Plays Rodrigo’s Guitar Concerto • (Masterworks Series) Conducted by David Robertson, featuring the guitar collective Another Night on Earth (Jiji, Joe Gore, Daniele Gottardo, Steven Mackey, Gretchen Menn, James Moore, Heiko Ossig). Program: Hendrix/arr. Mackey “Foxy Lady”; arr. Joe Gore and David Robertson, “Falling Through Time: Music from the 1300s”; James Moore’s “Sheep Is Shattered” for electric guitar and orchestra (April 19 only); Steve Mackey’s Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra (April 20 only); arr. Leo Brouwer, “Beatlerianas (From Yesterday to Penny Lane)”; Rodrigo’s “Concerto de Aranjuez”; Zappa’s “G-Spot Tornado.”

• April 23, 2024 • “How to Train Your Dragon” in Concert • (Special Events) The most-requested movie title among Utah Symphony fans finally goes up on the big screen, with the symphony’s live accompaniment.

April 26-27, 2024 • Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G with Ingrid Fliter • (Masterworks Series) Conducted by Aziz Shokhakimov, with pianist Ingrid Fliter. Program: Polina Nazaykinskaya’s “Winter Bells,” Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, Prokofiev’s Selections from “Romeo & Juliet.”

• May 9, 2024 • Free Community Concert: Access to Music • (Special Events) A concert designed for families of those with disabilities and sensory sensitivities, this show — at the Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City — offers a relaxed concert environment, where attendees are free to move about and express themselves.

• May 17-18 •Scheherazade” • (Masterworks Series) Conducted by Elena Schwarz, with soprano Wendy Bryn Harmer. Program: Lotta Wennäkoski’s “Hava,” Ravel’s “Shéhérazade,” Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade.”

• May 24-25, 2024 • Anne Akiko Meyers Plays “Fandango” • (Masterworks Series) Conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero, with violinist Anne Akiki Meyers. Program: Jennifer Higdon’s “Fanfare Ritmico,” Arturo Márquez’s “Fandango,” Copland’s Symphony No. 3.