Season announcement

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra invites international superstars to play on 2020-21 season

FW Symphony invites international superstars to play on 2020-21 season

Audra McDonald
Audra McDonald joins FWSO for a special concert. Photo by Michael Orenstein
Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma will perform at the gala concert. Yo-Yo Ma/Facebook
Back to the Future movie still
The pops season includes Back to the Future. Photo via Universal Pictures
Audra McDonald
Yo-Yo Ma
Back to the Future movie still

The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra may be losing Miguel Harth-Bedoya as its beloved music director this year, but he'll still show up on the podium for a few concerts on the 2020-21 season.

The FWSO's concert lineup, announced January 24, is packed with superstar guest artists, including Broadway queen Audra McDonald and renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, as well as intriguing guest conductors. The bold season includes a mix of mix of Classical, Romantic, and 20th century composers, along with varied pops and special concerts.

“The 2020-2021 season will be a transitional year for us as Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya moves into his new role as Conductor Laureate, and as we welcome Robert Spano for his first concerts as Principal Guest Conductor,” says FWSO President and CEO Keith Cerny in a release. “For the new season, we will feature several extraordinary guest artists as soloists, and we have also planned programming that showcases the exceptional talents of the musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.”

Here is the season overview, with descriptions provided by FWSO:

Symphonic Season Overview
The FWSO will perform symphonic favorites including Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Beethoven’s Symphonies No. 6 and No. 7, Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter,” Stravinsky’s Pétrouchka, Händel’s Messiah, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Holst’s The Planets, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, “Tragic.”

Two FWSO musicians will be featured soloists in 2020-2021. Principal Clarinet Stanislav Chernyshev will perform Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, and Principal Trumpet Kyle Sherman will perform Tomasi’s Trumpet Concerto. Also featured are several guest soloists, including pianists Jeremy Denk and Alexander Malofeev, violinists Karen Gomyo, Stefan Jackiw, and Benjamin Baker, and guitarist Artyom Dervoed.

At the podium for two concerts each will be Harth-Bedoya, assuming his new role of Music Director Laureate, and Robert Spano, making his first appearances since being named Principal Guest Conductor in March 2019. Guest conductors on the series include Patrick Summers, David Briskin, Brett Mitchell, Anna Skryleva, Julian Wachner, and Tianyi Lu.

2020-2021 Symphonic Series:

  • September 18-20, 2020: Patrick Summers, conductor; Alexander Malofeev, piano (VERDI Overture to La forza del destino; RACHMANINOFF Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini; MENDELSSOHN Symphony No. 4, “Italian”)
  • October 16-18, 2020: David Briskin, conductor; Artyom Dervoed, guitar (MENDELSSOHN The Hebrides Overture, “Fingal’s Cave;” JOBY TALBOT Ink Dark Moon; BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6, “Pastoral”)
  • October 30–November 1, 2020; Brett Mitchell, conductor; Karen Gomyo, violin (BRAHMS Tragic Overture; SHOSTAKOVICH Violin Concerto No. 1; MOZART Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter”)
  • November 20-22, 2020: Anna Skryleva, conductor; Stanislav Chernyshev, clarinet (BERNSTEIN Candide Suite; COPLAND Clarinet Concerto; STRAVINSKY Pétrouchka (1947 Revision))
  • December 4-6, 2020: Julian Wachner, conductor; Molly Netter, soprano; Luthien Brackett, mezzo-soprano; Steven Soph, tenor; Jonathan Woody, bass; (HÄNDEL Messiah)
  • January 8-9, 2021: Robert Spano, conductor; Stefan Jackiw, violin (JENNNIFER HIGDON blue cathedral; PROKOFIEV Violin Concerto No. 2; RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Scheherazade)
  • February 26-28, 2021: Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor; Kyle Sherman, trumpet (J.S. BACH, Passacaglia in C Minor; TOMASI Trumpet Concerto; HOLST The Planets)
  • March 19-21, 2021: Robert Spano, conductor; Jeremy Denk, piano (CHRISTOPHER THEOFANIDIS Dreamtime Ancestors; MOZART Piano Concerto No. 25 in C Major; BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7)
  • May 14-16, 2021: Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor (MAHLER Symphony No. 6, “Tragic”)
  • May 28-30, 2021: Tianyi Lu, conductor; Benjamin Baker, violin (GLINKA Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila; MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto; TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No. 5)

Pops Season Overview
The 2020-2021 Pops Series highlights a variety of musical styles for fans of different ages and genres. Tribute performances include nods to singer/songwriter Paul Simon, film composer John Williams, and soul artists, including Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, James, Brown, Otis Redding, and more. Movie buffs will also enjoy a screening of the 1985 box office sensation Back to the Future, with the orchestra performing the score live on stage. The Grammy Award-winning Texas band Asleep at the Wheel will perform as part of their 50th Anniversary celebration. The spellbinding Troupe Vertigo will perform acrobatic feats, and as always, the FWSO will usher Fort Worth audiences into the Christmas season with the annual Home for the Holidays concert.

The Pops Concerts:

  • September 11-13, 2020: Asleep at the Wheel – Celebrating 50 Years, Robert Franz, conductor. "Pegged by Reuters as 'one of the best lives acts in the business,' the multi-Grammy award-winning band joins forces with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in celebration of its 50th anniversary."
  • September 25-27, 2020: LEGENDS: The Paul Simon Songbook, William Waldrop, conductor. "Explore the unique artistry of singer/songwriter Paul Simon when the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra takes you on a journey from his years with Simon and Garfunkel through his solo albums Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints. Songs include “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard,” “The Sound of Silence,” “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” “Graceland,” and more."
  • October 23-25, 2020: SOUL MEN, Byron Stripling, conductor. "SOUL MEN showcases legendary artists Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, James Brown, Otis Redding, The Temptations, Al Green, and others in an evening of soulful rhythms. Featured hits include “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Try a Little Tenderness,” “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” and “I Only Have Eyes For You.”
  • November 13-15, 2020: The Music of John Williams, Richard Kaufman, conductor. "It’s the music that brought to life some of the most action-packed films of all time, including Superman, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harry Potter, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and more. Be there when celebrated film conductor Richard Kaufman leads the FWSO in a concert saluting the music of five-time Academy Award winner and legendary film composer John Williams."
  • November 27-29, 2020: Home for the Holidays, Bob Bernhardt, conductor. "Get into the holiday spirit with a program of your favorite seasonal tunes and Christmas carols performed by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and special guests. This perennial favorite has become a staple of the Fort Worth holiday season, where a visit from Santa and a magical snowfall invite you to come 'Home for the Holidays' once again."
  • March 12-14, 2021: Troupe Vertigo: Cirque Carnaval, Stuart Chafetz, conductor. "Fusing together elements of cirque acrobatics, classical dance and contemporary theater, Troupe Vertigo will take you on a spellbinding journey through the world of artistic movement. With world-class aerial artists, contortionists, and ballet dancers, the Los Angeles based company, whose “dizzying acts defy gravity and leave its lucky audiences in awe” (Los Angeles Times) will leave you in awe."
  • March 26-28, 2021: Back to the Future, Ron Spigelman, conductor. "Power up your DeLorean… recharge your flux capacitor…  and get ready to celebrate this unforgettable movie classic as you’ve never seen and heard it before. Fans old and new will experience the thrill of Back to the Future like never before – on a big screen with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra performing Alan Silvestri’s dazzling musical score live in synch with the movie."  

Family Series Overview
The 2020-2021 Family Series makes symphonic music accessible for even the youngest fans of symphonic music with age-appropriate programming and concert lengths that cater to a family schedule. Each concert is preceded by fun crafts and activities in the Bass Performance Hall Lobby.

The Family Series Concerts:

  • September 12, 2020: Wild, Wild West, Robert Franz, conductor. "The FWSO takes audiences back in time to the wild, wild west with tunes like “Woody’s Roundup” from Toy Story, “Comin’ Round the Mountain,” selections from Billy the Kid, and more."
  • November 21, 2020: The Snowman. "Based on the award-winning book, this concert captures a magical night for a boy and his snowman friend."
  • March 27, 2021: Birds of a Feather. "Take flight with the Fort Worth Symphony with selections from The Firebird, Mother Goose Suite, Swan Lake, and more."

Special Concerts and Gala
There are five stand-alone concerts, including the orchestra’s annual gala with international cello superstar Yo-Yo Ma in the 2020-2021 season. These programs are available only to subscribers now through June 7, 2020.

The Special Concerts:

  • November 6, 2020: Audra McDonald in Concert. "Tony, Grammy, and Emmy award=winning vocalist Audra McDonald performs with the Fort Worth Symphony for the first time and will dazzle audiences with her luminous soprano voice."
  • December 31, 2020: Prohibition: A New Year’s Eve Celebration. "Imagine time-traveling one night through the dark cabarets and speakeasies of New York, Paris, Berlin, London and Atlantic City, reliving the 1920s in all its decadence…. Prohibition, Gangsters, Ingenues and Intrigue. Join them for a trip back in time as you ring in 2021 in roaring twenties style."
  • January 2, 2021: America’s Wonders. "This concert will take you on a 3D road trip through the country’s most incredible National Parks including Yellow Stone, Niagara Falls, Channel Islands, Everglades, Grand Tetons, Denali, Yosemite, Mount Rushmore, Bryce Canyon, Badlands, Grand Canyon, and many more."
  • February 20, 2021: A Gala Evening with Yo-Yo Ma. "Whether performing new or familiar works from the cello repertoire, collaborating with communities and institutions to explore culture’s role in society, or engaging unexpected musical forms, Yo-Yo strives to foster connections that stimulate the imagination and reinforce our humanity. Be there when he takes the Bass Performance Hall stage for the first time since 2014."
  • April 3, 2021: Warner Bros. Presents Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, 30th Anniversary Edition. "Relive the Saturday mornings of your childhood when Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Wile E. Coyote, and Road Runner are projected larger than life on the big screen, while the Fort Worth Symphony plays the original scores live. Conducted by George Daugherty and created by the Emmy Award winning team of Daugherty and David Ka Lik Wong, this new edition celebrates the 30th Anniversary of Bugs Bunny at the Symphony with classics like 'What's Opera, Doc?,' 'The Rabbit of Seville,' and 'Rhapsody Rabbit,' plus new additions 'Dynamite Dance,' 'Wet Cement,' and three new 3-D Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner shorts."

Ticket information:
All Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra regular season concerts take place at Bass Performance Hall unless otherwise noted. Subscriptions for the 2020-2021 season go on sale Friday, January 24, 2020 and can be purchased by calling 817-665-6000 or online at fwsymphony.org. Symphonic subscriptions for the 2020-2021 season range in price from $184-$784. Pops subscriptions range from $209-$643. The Family Series is $62 for Adults and $32 for Children. Single tickets will go on sale June 8, 2020.

The FWSO’s Student Subscription program will offer discounted tickets for high school and college students. For $35, students can attend unlimited Symphonic concerts for one full year.