Atlanta Symphony’s season: Star soloists, Romantics, and new sounds

Dvořák, Bruckner, Strauss, Brahms, Verdi and Tchaikovsky on the menu.
Violinist Joshua Bell (left) is among the star soloists who will visit the Woodruff Arts Center during the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's 2023-2024 season. The new season will also include evenings of music curated by composer and former Atlantan Carlos Simon (center) and an all-Strauss program by star soprano Renee Fleming. Photos: Phillip Knott, Terrance Ragland and Timothy White

Credit: Atlanta Symphony

Credit: Atlanta Symphony

Violinist Joshua Bell (left) is among the star soloists who will visit the Woodruff Arts Center during the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's 2023-2024 season. The new season will also include evenings of music curated by composer and former Atlantan Carlos Simon (center) and an all-Strauss program by star soprano Renee Fleming. Photos: Phillip Knott, Terrance Ragland and Timothy White

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s new season, the second under the baton of music director Nathalie Stutzmann, offers stellar soloists, new sounds and a strong series of 19th century Romantics, with two weekends celebrating the 200th birthday of Austrian composer Anton Bruckner.

Among the musicians who will perform with the ASO in the 2023-2024 season are violinist Joshua Bell, who visits Oct. 25, playing the Bruch Violin Concerto and excerpts from “The Elements,” a suite for violin commissioned by Bell. Guest conductor Peter Oundjian will lead the ASO.

Robert Spano, who directed the symphony for two decades, will return in May 2024 to conduct Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3, with star pianist Garrick Ohlsson at the keyboard. Spano also conducts Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” with the ASO Chorus, alongside the world premiere of Jonathan Leshnoff’s “Sacrifice of Isaac.”

The season begins Oct. 5, with the Atlanta debut of French harpist Xavier de Maistre, performing Alexander Mosolov’s Harp Concerto.

Near the end of her first season as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Nathalie Stutzmann, is already having an impact. Photos: ASO

Credit: Atlanta Symphony

icon to expand image

Credit: Atlanta Symphony

Stutzmann, only the second woman to lead a top 25 orchestra, will focus on literature from the Romantic composers, including an all-Strauss program on April 11, 2024, featuring eminent soprano Renée Fleming singing “Four Last Songs,” “Four Orchestral Songs,” and selections from “Der Rosenkavalier” and “Capriccio.”

Former Atlantan and Grammy-winning composer Carlos Simon curates concerts in February to celebrate Black History Month, featuring the glee clubs of Morehouse College and Spelman College, as well as poet and spoken-word performer Marc Bamuthi Joseph. The evenings will include Simon’s “brea(d)th” and “Motherboxx Connection,” and Uzee Brown’s “We Shall Overcome.” Jonathan Taylor Rush conducts.

Stutzmann is a world-class contralto who began her career as a vocalist. She will conduct the ASO Chorus in evenings of Brahms and Rachmaninov in November, and performances of Verdi’s “Requiem” in February.

Guest conductor Krzysztof Urbański will lead the chorus and the Georgia Boy Choir in March 2024 performances of perhaps the most recognizable choral piece of the last century, “Carmina Burana.”

Making her debut with the orchestra is Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires, who will play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4.

The ASO is focused on broadening its musical sources and this fall will offer performances featuring the sarod, a stringed instrument from the Indian subcontinent that is as popular as the sitar. Bearing four to six melodic strings and several sympathetic, drone strings, it is played with a plectrum. The fretless neck is nickel-plated or stainless steel, producing a “sliding,” glissando sound that approximates the human voice.

“Samaagam,” a concerto for orchestra and sarod by Amjad Ali Khan, will be performed by the composer, along with his two sons, Ayaan and Amaan Ali Bangash, who studied under their father. The ASO will be led by Russian-American conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya, making her ASO debut.

The orchestra will focus on Stutzmann’s strengths within the Romantic era, offering music from Dvořák, Bruckner, Strauss, Brahms, Verdi and Tchaikovsky.

“There was a big request from the orchestra to dive more into this big core repertoire,” said Stutzmann, in an interview from her home in Geneva. “To me, the music director has to keep the core repertoire very strong.”

This will be a season of artists and guest conductors making first-time visits to symphony hall; 13 musicians and six conductors will debut at the Woodruff Arts Center during the ASO’s 2023-24 season.

Subscriptions go on sale at noon Wednesday, March 15. Every subscription includes free access to the orchestra’s streaming series, Behind the Curtain.

For more infomation, go to


Nathalie Stutzmann conducts Tchaikovsky, “Overture to The Queen of Spades,” “Polonaise” from “Eugene Onegin,” Mosolov’s Harp Concerto featuring Xavier de Maistre, harp, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. Oct. 5 and 7.

Lidiya Yankovskaya conducts “Folk Tales, Ragas and Lost Love,” featuring Amjad Ali Khan on sarod; also Gabriel Lena Frank, “Elegía Andina (Andean Elegy)” and Prokofiev, “Suite from Romeo and Juliet.” Oct. 19 and 21.

Joshua Bell plays Rimsky-Korsakov, “Capriccio espagnol”; excerpts from “The Elements: Suite for Violin and Orchestra,” commissioned by Bell; Smetana, “The Moldau”; Bruch, Violin Concerto; Peter Oundjian conducts. Oct. 25.

Nathalie Stutzmann conducts the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the ASO Chorus in “Songs of Destiny,” including Brahms: “Nänie,” “Schicksalslied” and “Gesang der Parzen”; Rachmaninov, “The Isle of the Dead”; Dvořák, selections from “Slavonic Dances”; Nov. 2 and 4.

Nathalie Stutzmann conducts Dvořák, “New World Symphony,” Josef Špaček, violin; Sibelius, “Cortège”; Dvořák, Violin Concerto and Symphony No. 9. Nov. 9 and 11.

Michele Cann, piano, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2, conducted by David Danzmayr; Perry, “Short Piece for Orchestra”; Rachmaninov, Piano Concerto No. 2; Prokofiev, Symphony No. 7; Nov. 16, 18 and 19

Andrew Brady, bassoon, plays John Williams, “Five Sacred Trees”; Chanda Dancy (new work to be announced); Price, Symphony No. 3, conducted by Anthony Parnther; Nov. 30 and Dec. 2.

David Coucheron, violin and conductor. Vivaldi “The Four Seasons”; Mozart, “Divertimento in D”; Elgar, “Introduction and Allegro for Strings.” Jan. 3, 2024.

Nathalie Stutzmann conducts Bruckner festival “Architect of the Spirit: Celebrating Bruckner @200.″ Marina Viotti, mezzo-soprano; James Ley, tenor; David Leigh, bass; (soprano to be announced); Bruckner, Symphony No. 9; Bruckner, “Te Deum”; with the ASO Chorus and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Jan. 18 and 20.

Sunwook Kim, piano. Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 22; Bruckner, Symphony No. 7; Nathalie Stutzmann conducts; Jan. 25 and 27.

The Planets. Gemma New conducts Salina Fisher, “Rainphase”; Adam Schoenberg, “Losing Earth”; Holst, “The Planets,” featuring Joseph Petrasek, percussion; Georgia State University Women’s Chorus; University of Georgia Women’s Chorus. Feb. 1 and 3.

Carlos Simon Curates. Jonathan Taylor Rush, conductor; Kearstin Piper-Brown, soprano; Brian K. Major, baritone; Marc Bamuthi Joseph, spoken word; Morehouse College Glee Club; Spelman College Glee Club; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra playing Carlos Simon, “Motherboxx Connection”; Uzee Brown, “We Shall Overcome,” Carlos Simon, “brea(d)th.” Feb. 15 and 17.

Nathalie Stutzmann conducts Verdi’s “Requiem.” Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha, soprano; Ekaterina Gubanova, mezzo-soprano; Issachah Savage, tenor; Andrea Mastroni, bass-baritone; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and ASO Chorus. Feb. 22, 24 and 25.

Osmo Vänskä conducts Henry Dorn, “Transitions”; Prokofiev, Piano Concerto No.2; Sibelius, Symophony No. 3; Alexander Melnikov, piano. Feb. 29 and March 2.

Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty.” Conducted by Alpesh Chauhan, with Johannes Moser, cello and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; Tchaikovsky, prologue from “Sleeping Beauty”; Dutilleux, “Tout un monde lointain (A Whole Distant World)”; Tchaikovsky, “Suite from Sleeping Beauty.” March 14 and 16, 2024.

“Carmina Burana.” Conducted by Krzysztof Urbański; featuring Janai Brugger, soprano; Miles Mykkanen, tenor; Anthony Clark Evans, baritone; Georgia Boy Choir, David White, director; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, performing Orff, “Carmina Burana” and Lutoslawski, “Concerto for Orchestra.” March 21-24, 2024.

Mozart and Brahms. Nathalie Stutzmann, conductor; David Coucheron, violin; Zhenwei Shi, viola; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; Brahms, “Variations on a Theme by Haydn”; Mozart, “Sinfonia Concertante”; Brahms, Symphony No. 1. April 4 and 5, 2024.

Nathalie Stutzmann conducts Strauss. Renée Fleming, soprano; Strauss, “Sextet from Capriccio,” “Four Last Songs, “Four Orchestral Songs,” “Der Rosenkavalier Suite.” April 11 and 13, 2024.

Stutzmann conducts Beethoven with Pires. Maria João Pires, piano; Mendelsohn, “The Hebrides Overture”; Beethoven, piano Concerto No. 4; Schumann, Symphony No. 4. April 18 and 20, 2024.

Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” Lina Gonzalez-Granados, conductor; Cedric Tiberghien, piano; Gabriela Ortiz, “Kauyumari”; Joel Thompson, (new work to be announced); George Gershwin, “Rhapsody in Blue”; Gabriela Lena Frank, “Walkabout, Concerto for Orchestra”; Arturo Marquez, “Danzón No. 2.” April 25 and 26, 2024.

Jonathon Heyward Conducts Rachmaninov. Jonathon Heyward, conductor; Yeol Eum Son, piano; Britten: Piano Concerto (1938); Rachmaninov, Symphony No. 2. May 2 and 4, 2024.

Robert Spano and Garrick Ohlsson. Robert Spano, conductor; Garrick Ohlsson, piano; Adam Schoenberg, world premiere of “Concerto for Orchestra”; Rachmaninov, Piano Concerto No. 2. May 9 and 11, 2024.

Robert Spano and “Rite of Spring.” Robert Spano, conductor; John Tessier, tenor; Cody Bowers, countertenor; Joseph Lattanzi, baritone; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus; Jonathan Leshnoff, “Sacrifice of Isaac”; Stravinsky, “The Rite of Spring.” May 16 and 18, 2024.

Stutzmann and Trifonov. Nathalie Stutzman conducts Brahms and Dowland; Daniil Trifonov, piano; Brahms, Piano Concerto No. 2; Dowland, “Lachrimae antiquae” from “Lachrimae, or Seaven Teares”; Schumann, Symphony No. 2. May 30 and June 1, 2024.

The Ring Without Words. Nathalie Stutzmann conducts; Wagner (arrangement by Lorin Maazel). June 6 and 8, 2024.

“Firebird” Finale. Nathalie Stutzmann conducts; Veronika Eberle, violin; Beethoven, Violin Concerto; Ravel: “Alborada del gracioso (Morning Song of the Jester)” and “Menuet antique”; Stravinsky: “The Firebird.” June 13, 15 and 16, 2024.