Fall A&E Guide: Classical music returns with ASO opener, world premieres

ASO music director laureate Robert Spano leads a number of concerts this fall. 
Courtesy of Jeff Roffman

Combined ShapeCaption
ASO music director laureate Robert Spano leads a number of concerts this fall. Courtesy of Jeff Roffman

If the 2020-2021 classical music season was a slate of concerts unlike any other, this coming season’s shows will be just as unusual, marked by the return of audiences and, in some cases, guest artists to performance venues. So what can audiences expect upon their return? Many spaces have at least some social distancing and masking policies, but as of now, these requirements vary widely. All events are subject to changing protocols and restrictions. It’s best to check with the venue in advance of the show. One thing is certain: this won’t be the typical concert-going experience. Be prepared for coronavirus precautions, a few anxious patrons and an immense amount of joy. Here’s a list of highlights.

ASO season opener. This year, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s longtime music director Robert Spano is officially in music director laureate mode, having stepped down at the end of a virtual 2020-2021 season as head of the symphony, a post he held for two decades. Spano ignites the symphony’s return to the hall with a longtime guest pianist Garrick Ohlsson and two rounds of Beethoven. Sept. 9-11. $23-$109. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-5000, www.aso.org.

9/11 concert. The Kennesaw State University Chamber Singers join the school’s wind ensemble and orchestra for a memorial evening in remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001. Both virtual and in-person ticketing is available. Sept. 11. $5-$10. Bailey Performing Arts Centre, 488 Prillaman Way, Kennesaw. 470-578-6650, arts.kennesaw.edu.

Conrad Tao. Spano and the ASO welcome violinist Stefan Jackiw to perform the world premiere of Conrad Tao’s violin concerto. The concert also features two pieces from Richard Strauss, “Don Juan” and “Till Eulenspiegel,” along with Alvin Singleton’s “Different River.” Sept. 17-18. $23-$109. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-5000, www.aso.org.

Combined ShapeCaption
South African soprano Pretty Yende gives a solo recital at the Schwartz Center. Courtesy of Dario Acosta

Credit: Dario Acosta

South African soprano Pretty Yende gives a solo recital at the Schwartz Center.
Courtesy of Dario Acosta

Credit: Dario Acosta

Combined ShapeCaption
South African soprano Pretty Yende gives a solo recital at the Schwartz Center. Courtesy of Dario Acosta

Credit: Dario Acosta

Credit: Dario Acosta

Pretty Yende. Pretty Yende, a soprano from South Africa, will have her Atlanta debut this year as part of Emory University’s Candler Concert Series. The solo recital shares the fall schedule with pianist George Li (September) and a concert by violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Yuja Wang (November). Oct. 3. $51-$60. Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, 1700 N. Decatur Road, Atlanta. 404-727-5050, schwartz.emory.edu.

Combined ShapeCaption
Spivey Hall welcomes the Modigliani Quartet in November. Courtesy of Jérome Bonnet

Credit: jerome bonnet

Spivey Hall welcomes the Modigliani Quartet in November. 
Courtesy of Jérome Bonnet

Credit: jerome bonnet

Combined ShapeCaption
Spivey Hall welcomes the Modigliani Quartet in November. Courtesy of Jérome Bonnet

Credit: jerome bonnet

Credit: jerome bonnet

Modigliani Quartet. Spivey Hall’s season gets started in September with pianist Jeremy Denk, but it’s hard to pass up the Modigliani Quartet playing string quartets by Schubert, Bartok and Grieg in November. This season is the first without longtime director Sam Dixon, who stepped down at the beginning of August. Nov. 7. $50. Spivey Hall, 2000 Clayton State Blvd., Morrow. 678-466-4200, www.spiveyhall.org.

Atlanta School of Composers. This one-night-only show encapsulates one of Robert Spano’s legacies: the Atlanta School of Composers. Now on its second cohort, Spano founded the loose assemblage of artists so Atlanta could direct its energies toward championing key works from emerging composers. On this program, world premieres of ASO commissions by Michael Gandolfi and Krists Auznieks share space with music by Brian Nabors, Adam Schoenberg and the ASO’s own Michael Kurth. Nov 19. $23-$109. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-5000, www.aso.org.

More of our fall arts preview

10 fall events you don’t want to miss

Atlanta theaters reopening for fall

Women artists shine in visual arts

‘Giselle’ and contemporary works highlight dance

Classical music premieres and more

Rolling Stones, George Strait, Killer Mike headed to Atlanta