The 2019/20 season marks the start of Music Director Randall Craig Fleischer’s third decade in Alaska. Alongside the beloved conductor, the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra looks ahead to a year of concerts with world premieres, returning collaborators, and a surplus — as if there were such a thing — of great music.
The ASO Classic series begins next week with the triumphant return of piano virtuoso Daniel Hsu. Hsu performed made his ASO premiere last season in a thrilling performance of Rachmaninoff’s devilish third piano concert. When Fleischer programmed Frederic Chopin’s first piano concerto for the start on the 2019/20 season, it was an easy choice to invite Hsu back. Still a student at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, Hsu is quickly rising as a budding star in the classical music world. His Rachmaninoff performance with the ASO last season was met with an immediate standing ovation and cheers for an encore, which he indulged, much to the audience’s satisfaction. The rest of this years opening concert, which features Ravel’s La Valse, Gershwin’s An American in Paris and Berlioz’s Rob Roy will surely delight, but make no mistake, the star of the show will be Hsu in Chopin’s charming first concerto.
Throughout the season, the ASO continues to celebrate the world of film music. In performances of The Cheechakos, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Moonrise, and the yearly Silent Film Night, the ASO provides world class accompaniment for award winning and celebrated stories.
Trailblazers, on November 9th, fits a much more traditional concert mold. The concert showcases violinist Zach DePue in a performance of Antonin Dvorak’s sweeping violin concerto and Beethoven’s dramatic Egmont Overture. The trailblazer namesake of the concert is Florence Beatrice Price, who’s Symphony No. 1 is the meat of the program and was the first symphony by an African-American woman to be performed by a major U.S. orchestra. Premiered in 1933 by the Chicago Symphony, Price’s first symphony paved the way for generations of women and composers of color. Like many works by female composers at the time, much of Price’s music was left forgotten but, luckily, has been rediscovered and is finally receiving the time in the light that it deserves. Price’s music has roots in European tradition but with a distinctly colorful and poignant American voice.
Other highlights of the season include Musical Fantasies, which features the world premiere of long time ASO principal clarinetist Karl Pasch’s very own concerto with himself as soloist, Ralph Vaughn-Williams’ ethereal Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, and a full performance of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe. In typical ASO style, the season comes to a rousing close with a performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria, which will feature choirs from four different Anchorage high schools and vocal soloists alongside the symphony. Assuming they can all fit on stage, it’s sure to be quite a sound.
The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra season begins September 21st with A French Connection in the Atwood Concert Hall at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets for this show and the rest of the ASO season are available at CenterTix.com.