SA Symphony Announces Its 2019-2020 ‘Season of Transition’

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Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

After the San Antonio Symphony's 2019-2020 season, Sebastian Lang-Lessing will become its musical director emeritus.

On the heels of its announcement that longtime conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing will be handing over his baton next year, the San Antonio Symphony has set its 2019-2020 season.

The season begins with a rebirth and includes a solemn acknowledgment that all things come to an end. Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony Sept. 20-21 revisits the 2014 christening of the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, and Mozart’s Requiem will be performed with the San Antonio Symphony Mastersingers Nov. 22-23.

Lang-Lessing called the season “a season of transition” in a news release and said the repertoire will reflect the work he has done with the orchestra over his past decade as music director.

The symphony itself will celebrate 80 years of existence, new Executive Director Corey Cowart noted in the news release. “This season is both a milestone in our history, and a time to look to the future and our next 80 years,” he said, while also celebrating Lang-Lessing’s “significant artistic impact on the orchestra.”

One Lang-Lessing signature is an annual festival, this time celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday, with a rare performance of the legendary composer’s only ballet score, The Creatures of Prometheus, and all five of his piano concertos performed over two evenings.

Another major feature of the season will be guest conductors, who will handle 10 of the season’s 16 concerts. Joshua Weilerstein will conduct a Gershwin piano concerto Oct. 4-5, David Danzmayr will conduct the Requiem program, and Christian Reif will lead the Brahms Symphony No. 1 program Jan. 10-11, 2020, also featuring the Mastersingers.

Also in 2020, Ruth Reinhardt will conduct the Dvořák Cello Concerto (Opus 104) Feb. 21-22, Brett Mitchell conducts a program combining popular favorites Mozart and Ravel March 13-14, and Marcelo Lehninger conducts a special “Seductive Spanish Guitar” program featuring guest guitarist Pablo Sainz Villegas. Lastly, on May 15-16, 2020, Roderick Cox will conduct Mozart’s best-known piano concerto, nicknamed Elvira Madigan, in a program including Stravinsky’s 1947 version of Petrushka.

Lang-Lessing returns in 2020 to conduct Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 April 3-4, his full slate of piano concertos April 10-11, Bruckner’s “Romantic” Symphony No. 4 May 22-23, and closes the season on a high note June 5-6 as guest pianist Yefim Bronfman performs Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 3, with Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 and a work by noted composer Jennifer Higdon rounding out the program.

“I am telling a story with the concerts I conduct,” Lang-Lessing notes in the news release. For the 2019-2020 season, the story is one of beginnings, ends, and hopeful futures for San Antonio’s orchestra.

More information is available on the Symphony’s website. Tickets are made available first to current season ticket-holders (packets will be sent out April 8, according to the website), then to new subscribers, before becoming widely available.

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