Composer Norman, mobilized “Voices of Hope” highlight Carnegie 2020-2021 season

Tue Jan 28, 2020 at 11:30 am
Andrew Norman’s work will be performed throughout Carnegie Hall’s 2020-2021 season. Photo: Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging

Carnegie Hall’s 2020-2021 season will open in October with Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic and culminate with a season-ending spring festival entitled “Voices of Hope: Artists in Times of Oppression.” 

In between, a trio of acclaimed musicians will curate three individual “Perspectives” series, the Debs Composer’s Chair will welcome a new occupant in Grawemeyer Award winner Andrew Norman, and some performers long absent from the Carnegie stage will return.

The citywide “Voices of Hope” festival runs March-May 2021 with Americana musician Rhiannon Giddens headlining and, on the classical music side, concerts by the Kronos Quartet (playing George Crumb’s Black Angels, among other works on March 24), Decoda, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Jerusalem Quartet (Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Bartók on April 28), and the trio of Joshua Bell, Steven Isserlis, and Evgeny Kissin playing Bloch, Shostakovich and others on May 15.

The 2020-2021 opening gala is slated for October 7 with Dudamel, the LA Phil, pianist Lang Lang and soprano Liv Redpath. The concert will open with John Adams’s fanfare Tromba Lontana and is filled out with Grieg’s Piano Concerto and selections from Peer Gynt.

The new season, announced this morning, has Giddons as one of three artists curating Perspectives series. The other two will be of substantial interest to classical music lovers: conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the great viola da gamba player and musicologist Jordi Savall. 

Nézet-Séguin will conduct seven concerts with four different ensembles; October 14 he brings in the Philadelphia Orchestra for Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis (soloists include Jennifer Rowley and Eric Owens), then leads the Philadelphians in Debussy’s La mer and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, with Ekaterina Gubanova and Piotr Beczała on March 2, 2021. On May 7, 2021 he welcomes adds pianist Mitsuko Uchida playing Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major, along with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 8 and a new work by Mason Bates. 

For two Nézet-Séguin concerts with the MET Orchestra, June 17 and 24, 2021, the programs will be Berlioz, including the Symphonie fantastique and songs with Joyce DiDonato, and then Strauss, Missy Mazzoli, and Act I of Die Walküre, with Christina Goerke, Brandon Jovanovich, and Günther Groissböck as vocal soloists. On November 22, Nézet-Séguin will conduct the Westminster Choir. He leads an all-Brahms program with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, March 10, 2021, featuring Lisa Batiashvili soloing in the Violin Concerto.

Lisa Batiashvili plays Carnegie Hall this December and March 2021. Photo: Chris Singer

Savall will conduct two concerts of Monteverdi’s music with his Le Concert des Nations period instruments orchestra and the La Capella Reial de Catalunya chorus. November 5 will be the Vespro della Beata Virgine and November 9 the Madrigals of Love and War. Savall will play music from the Balkans in the age of the Ottoman Empire with his chamber ensemble Hespèrion XXI, April 13, 2021, and perform ancient Mediterranean music April 14, 2021 with kanun player Hakan Güngor and multi-instrumentalist Dimitri Psonis.

Award-winning composer Andrew Norman will hold the Debs Composer’s Chair, and his association with some of the leading ensembles in classical music promises an exciting series of concerts. On October 8 Dudamel and the LA Phil will deliver the first New York performance of Norman’s Violin Concerto, with Leila Josefowicz, along with new music from Gabriella Smith and Ginastera’s Estancia. Two nights later, the LA Phil New Music Group will play a concert curated by Norman and conducted by John Adams. 

Ensemble Connect will play Norman’s The Companion Guide to Rome and Mozart’s Quintet for Piano and Winds, K. 452 on October 19. Norman’s Begin is featured on an American Composers Orchestra (ACO) concert on November 5, and on November 18 and 20, the composer’s Unstuck will be on a Berlin Philharmoniker program, conducted by Kiril Petrenko, along with Brünhilde’s Immolation Scene from Götterdämmerung and Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben

In 2021, yMusic will play Norman’s Difference in its New York premiere on January 7. Teddy Abrams, the Louisville Orchestra and Louisville Ballet will perform his Sacred Geometry, Copland’s Appalachian Spring, and The Order of Nature by Jim James on February 20, 2021. Emanuel Ax will play Norman’s Suspend as well as Brahms Op. 118 Klavierstücke, and Chopin on March 31, 2021.

There will be more new and recent music, including 19 pieces commissioned by Carnegie, in the upcoming season. 

Highlights include the dynamic conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, which last played Carnegie Hall 28 years ago, performing Thomas Adès’ Angel Symphony (October 23); a new work by Ellen Reid, heard from the ACO (November 5); new works by Caroline Shaw (played by Ensemble Connect on January 13) and Kaija Saariaho (played by Ars Nova Copenhagen on February 16, 2021); the Spektral Quartet playing Enigma, by Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Sigurður Guðjónsson (November 13), and Jennifer Koh playing Christopher Cerrone’s Violin Concerto, “Breaks and Breaks,” with the ACO (April 20, 2021).

The roster of visiting orchestras includes the Carnegie premiere of the Galilee Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Saleem Abboud Ashkar and featuing Renée Fleming and Daniil Trifonov (December 7); musicAeterna with Teodor Currentzis conducting the Adagio from Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique” (November 4); Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and conductor Sir Antonio Pappano (April 12, 2021), and the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra with a February 12, 2021 concert for the Lunar New Year, performed on traditional Chinese instruments and led by Muhai Tang.

Well known and welcome visitors will include Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (October 26 and April 14-15, 2021) — their concerts will include the Rite of Spring and a concert performance of Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk, with Kristina Opolais and Brandon Jovanovich; the Mariinsky Orchestra and music director Valery Gergiev (February 10-11, 2021) playing Schubert, Bruckner, and Rachmaninoff’s five works for piano and orchestra — all in one night — with pianist Denis Matsuev. Dudamel returns February 26-28, 2021 leading the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and playing Schubert, Ravel, Stravinsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Haydn, and Prokofiev.

More early music will come from violist Antoine Tamestit and harpsichordist Masato Suzuki, playing Bach on November 20; Christina Pluhar’s L’Arpeggiata ensemble  with soprano Céline Scheen and countenor Valer Sabadus performing Handel and Vivaldi (March 23, 2021), and another Handel opera in concert from the English Concert and conductor Harry Bicket, Tamerlano, which will be heard on April 25, 2021 and feature two of the finest contemporary countertenors, Bejun Mehta in the title role and Jakub Józef Orliński as Andronico.

Highlights of the chamber music and solo recital programs include the Signum Quartet — in their Carnegie Hall debut — playing Haydn, Rainier, Schubert, and Matthijs van Dijk’s (rage) rage against the, November 6, and the Danish String Quartet opening a four-season “Dopplegänger” series at Carnegie February 26, 2021 with Schubert’s G Major Quartet, D. 887, and new music by Bent Sørensen. 

Angel Blue sings Strauss at Carnegie Hall in April 2021. Photo: Sonya Garza

Mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter returns to Zankel Hall March 18, 2021 accompanied by fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout in songs by Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara and Robert Schumann, Schubert, Lindblad and Berwald. Soprano Angel Blue — Bess at the Metropolitan Opera this season — sings Strauss, Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov, Weill and Bruce Adolphe on April 22, 2021 with pianist James Baillieu. Hélène Grimaud returns to Carnegie for the first time since 2006; she will play Brahms, Silvestrov and Schumann’s Kreisleriana, March 11, 2021. Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, violinist Lisa Batiashvili and cellist Gautier Capuçon will play Shostakovich, Ravel and Mendelssohn on December 9. Thibaudet returns April 21, 2021 with an all-Debussy program. 

The exceptional young pianist Vikingur Ólafsson will make his Carnegie debut February 4, 2021, cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan and Daniil Trifonov will play Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff  and Arvo Pärt’s Fratres on February 24, 2021 while a solo Trifonov plays Szymanowski, Weberand Brahms on October 28. The October 20 Isaac Stern Memorial Concert will have Pinchas Zukerman with pianist Yefim Bronfman playing music for both violin and viola from Beethoven, Shostakovich and Franck.

Subscription packages are now on sale for the 2020-2021 season. Single tickets go on sale to Carnegie subscribers and members 8 a.m. Monday, August 10 and to the general public 8 a.m. Wednesday, August 19. carnegiehall.org; 212-247-7800.


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