The Lancaster Symphony Orchestra has much to celebrate in the coming 2021-2022 season: its 75th anniversary, the return of live performances, the final stage of its music director search, and a brand-new concert series. “The entire season is a celebration of who we are and who we are becoming. As an organization, as neighbors in this community, and as members of the global community, we can all relate on some level. We’ve come this far in the midst of COVID. We’ve been reshaped by the events of the past and present but are pressing onward,” states Sara Male, LSO’s new Board Chair and Acting Principal Cello.
Helping to drive excitement are four fresh faces who will take the podium as finalists from LSO’s music director search. The finalists, Jayce Ogren, Delta David Gier, Michael Butterman, and Chelsea Gallo, will present and conduct an exhilarating program of their design.
“At the LSO, we believe there is nothing like a shared, live music experience to capture and process the fullness of life,” states Brent Edmondson, LSO’s Principal Bass and Chair of the Music Director Search Committee. He continues, “Every raw emotion, felt; every story, told; every challenge, met; every endeavor, completed. This is the most important season in our history. Every performance this year will resonate with hope, discovery, and renewal. This is the season we all need.”
Audiences will play a role in helping the LSO select their next music director by voting for their favorites and submitting comments about their impressions. With opportunities to engage with the finalists on and off the podium, you won’t want to miss the chance to help the LSO select the next music director! When the season concludes, and with great anticipation, the LSO will name a new music director.
Two special performances on September 23-24 (The Return) kick things off with light and hope for all. They include Wagner’s Prelude to Lohengrin, Richard Strauss’s Death and Transfiguration, Jennifer Higdon’s Light, and Stravinsky’s Suite from The Firebird.
Following on October 15-16 is Summit, conducted by finalist Jayce Ogren. As if approaching a mountaintop, Summit will take audiences on a journey and ask them to consider what is on the other side. Ogren focuses on the listeners’ experience, how the pieces unfold and balancing restraint and emotion. The performance includes Sibelius’s emblematic Finlandia, James MacMillan’s turbulent The Confession of Isobel Gowdie, Mozart’s elegant Flute Concerto in G Major, and Sibelius’s Seventh Symphony.
Finalist Delta David Gier will conduct the Orchestra on November 12-13 in reVision. Audiences will be treated to Sinfonietta for Strings and Symphony No. 4 by Puerto Rican-born composer Roberto Sierra. Sierra infuses traditional symphonic forms with Latin color, rhythm, and imagination. These works will be paired with Rachmaninoff’s symphonic comeback, his vast and romantic Second Symphony.
Sounds of the Season, a favorite holiday tradition, returns December 17-18, featuring LSO Brass & String soloists and the Lancaster Symphony Chorus. This festive tradition is sure to bring a smile to all.
As spring approaches, the LSO and Lancaster Symphony Chorus will perform Haydn’s oratorio The Creation. This masterpiece draws from the biblical account of creation and promises to move and inspire listeners from all backgrounds. Dr. William Wright, chorusmaster, will conduct March 4-5, 2022.
The April 8-9 Masterworks Awaken is also well suited for the spring season, with its central themes of refreshment, renewal, and reinvention. “This program looks at old wine in new bottles – taking inspiration from what has come before and making it your own,” finalist Michael Butterman states. The performance includes the mystical Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughn Williams, “Spring” from Max Richter’s Recomposed: Vivaldi The Four Seasons, Respighi’s Renaissance-inspired Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 1, and Tchaikovsky’s rousing Symphony No. 2.
The LSO’s 75th Anniversary Season closes with Earthbound on May 6-7, 2022. These performances, conducted by finalist Chelsea Gallo, will prelude Mother’s Day weekend. Appropriately, the program will honor familial ties and, in a broader sense, the shared experience of endurance. The program includes Aaron Copland’s legendary Appalachian Spring Suite, Samuel Barber’s poignant Knoxville: Summer of 1915, and Brahms’ grounded and affirming Symphony No. 2.
“We are thrilled about the return of in-person gatherings and the reopening of the Lancaster arts community,” states Guy McIntosh, LSO executive director. “We are proud to be one of Lancaster’s oldest performing arts organizations. Our 75th season focuses on new beginnings and promises fresh music-making and a new vision for the organization,” McIntosh adds.
The Orchestra is also excited to debut its new LSO Neighborhood Series! Fun, educational, and engaging, these pay-what-you-wish concerts will follow a briefer format and allow the community to connect more deeply with the music, musicians, and each other.
Every performance will take place at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Lancaster. For subscriptions, tickets, or additional information about the season, visit www.lancastersymphony.org or call the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra at (717) 291-6440.