Before season opens, ASO musicians to do concert under different name


Atlanta Symphony Orchestra musicians

As ATL Symphony Musicians: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 29 at Westside Cultural Arts Center, 760 10th St. N.W., Atlanta. Doors open (with a "welcome reception") at 6:30 p.m.; talk by ASO program annotator Ken Meltzer at 7 p.m. Tickets — $50, $75 VIP seating, $25 standing room only — via

As Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: 8 p.m. Sept. 17 and 19 in Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. Tickets, $20-$89, via 404-733-5000,

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will open its 2015-16 season with concerts on Sept. 17 and 19. But before music director Robert Spano conducts the orchestra and chorus in the program featuring Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony, the players will be performing what might be termed a preseason concert.

Oh, and they’ll be doing so under another name.

To clarify: Billing themselves as the ATL Symphony Musicians, the players will present a Baroque music program titled "The Brandenburg Affair," featuring all six of J.S. Bach's Brandenburg concertos in a 7:30 p.m. Aug. 29 concert at the Westside Cultural Arts Center, it was announced this week.

The ASO players adopted the ATL Symphony Musicians moniker for benefit concerts at alternative sites, performed independently of ASO management’s auspices, when they were locked out of Symphony Hall during protracted and difficult collective bargaining agreement negotiations in 2012 and 2014.

Typically those sites were smaller, more intimate spaces like Westside Cultural Arts Center, a performing arts venue and gallery in West Midtown, drawing musicians and audiences closer.

Presented by the nonprofit ATL Symphony Musicians Foundation and Anacrusis Productions Ltd., which hope to make an end-of-summer concert by the ATL players an annual rite, “The Brandenburg Affair” will benefit the foundation’s educational outreach program.

Michael Palmer, a former ASO associate conductor who conducted the group during both lockouts, will lead the Aug. 29 chamber music concert.

Fortunately, this performance finds matters far more harmonious between orchestra management and the musicians, who are entering the second season in a four-year contract. The Woodruff Arts Center, the ASO's parent group, recently announced that the orchestra finished the 2014-15 season with its first surplus in more than a decade and that the arts center had raised $13.3 million to endow additional musician positions.

Meanwhile, here are details on the ASO's official season-opening program:

The 8 p.m. Sept. 17 and 19 concerts at Symphony Hall will mark the launch of the orchestra’s 71st season and the 15th year of artistic partnership between maestro Spano and principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles.

Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony will feature the ASO and chorus with special guests Laura Tatulescu, soprano, and Kelley O’Connor, mezzo-soprano.

Opening night will begin with a red carpet welcome for patrons, followed by a champagne toast to ring in the season.