If you have an ear for music and enjoy live concert performances, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) will have “An Experience for Everyone” during its upcoming 2023-24 season.
The programs will take you to other worlds, into one of today’s most popular pastimes, get your feet tapping and your ears always in tune to experience classics or discover something new for this 80th season.
SSO conductor and music director Peter Stafford Wilson and executive director Lou Ross want to make the shows unique and to erase the image some may have of a symphony concert. The six SSO concerts at the Clark State Performing Arts Center and three Springfield Symphony Jazz Orchestra concerts between October and May will challenge preconceived notions.
“I’m excited about our upcoming season as it truly has a live symphonic experience for every musical taste,” said Wilson, who is going into his 22nd season here. “There are classics from Beethoven, Holst, Schubert and Bruck, a wide variety of music of our time. The rapidly emerging genre of video game music with be represented and an American icon will join us.”
A year ago, the SSO’s board gave the go-ahead to plan something that would grow the audience and keep the faithful and included a season that began with one of the most celebrated musicians on Earth – Itzhak Perlman.
“The board said let’s go for it, and we had a wonderful season and tried new things. We sold out the house for Perlman and that gave us an incredible start,” Ross said. “We got new donors and patrons, and the board said again for us to shake it up in 2023-24.”
Individual and season tickets are available now for all shows.
One of the most SSO’s most popular programs in recent years was a multi-media experience involving the galaxy, and the same spirit will be repeated during the opener “The Planets” on Oct. 7. A sounds and sights experience will envelope the audience as the Now Device will bring visuals and Wittenberg University professor Dan Fleisch will lead the program with the SSO rounding out the experience with the mood-setting music.
Beethoven’s 4th on Nov. 11 will have pianist Robert Henry on “Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4″ and include “Shostakovich Symphony No. 10.”
Violinist Sarah Chang will help start the season back in the new year on Jan. 27 as she performs Max Bruch’s “Violin Concerto No. 1. Also included will be Franz Schubert’s “Symphony No. 4″ and Bohuslav Martinu’s “Overture.”
An effort to show music can reach all audiences and a symphony can prove its versatility will come on March 2 with “Video Games Live,” an immersive concert experience. Expect special lighting effects, images and music from some of the most popular video games ever.
Another of the area’s most acclaimed groups, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, will bring their talent to the Clark State Performing Arts Center to combine energies and past traditions with the future on April 13.
And a music legend will take on one of the most timeless pieces of American music to round out the season on May 18 when banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck will celebrate the 100th anniversary of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”
“Our orchestra continues to attain new levels of artistic excellence and every concert will be an exciting experience,” Wilson said.
The Jazz Orchestra will continue its popular appearances with three shows.
“This is a very special season for us with iconic names in American music and culture and we can’t wait to share these with the audience,” said Todd Stoll, Jazz Orchestra director. “At this time, we need to reassert the power of our shared humanity and coming together as a community to celebrate this iconic music is one of the most powerful statements we can embrace.”
The Jazz Orchestra will start with “The Duke Meets the Queen,” with the music of Duke Ellington and Mahalia Jackson on Nov. 4 at the John Legend Theater. It will feature guest vocalist Tammy McCann, who recently performed live here at the Springfield Jazz and Blues Festival.
They’ll ring in the holidays with the annual “A Swingin’ Big Band Christmas” on Dec. 16 at Mother Stewart’s Brewing Co., then finish the season with “Basie Swings, Sinatra Sings,” celebrating the songs of Count Basie and Frank Sinatra with Rob Lee on vocals on March 23 at the Legend Theater.
“We’re proud of the Jazz Orchestra and the Youth Symphony. We’ll have an incredible amount of talent here on the Kuss stage. It’s a good time for us right now and we encourage everyone to get up and check us out,” Ross said.
For more information on the SSO, its season or to purchase tickets, go to springfieldsym.org/. Jazz Orchestra and Youth Symphony shows are not included in season ticket packages.