Sadly for your ticket budget, all of the orchestras on the schedule are going to be worth hearing. Conductor Iván Fischer, a former conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra, is generally at his best with the Budapest Festival Orchestra (October 26), and a program of Bartók (including András Schiff on the second piano concerto) and Schubert’s ninth symphony should make this something special. John Eliot Gardiner will lead the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique in period-instrument performances of Beethoven (November 19). The Vienna Philharmonic will finally return to Washington (February 29), with Lorin Maazel and a program that spotlights Sibelius’s seventh symphony. The last three visits by the Philadelphia Orchestra have been spectacular, thanks in no small part to having Charles Dutoit at the podium: he returns with the orchestra next season and with violinist James Ehnes to boot (May 11), in the ensemble’s last season before their new music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, takes over. If we had to leave one of the WPAS orchestras out, it would be the European Union Youth Orchestra (April 15), not because they will not play well but because their soloist for Bruch’s first violin concerto, Pinchas Zukerman, leaves me cold.
The performers you may not have heard of but don’t want to miss include pianists Till Fellner (October 1), fresh off a triumphant cycle of all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, and Jeremy Denk (May 19), a little unpredictable and always smart. Also getting a gold star are violinists Julia Fischer (February 18), whose performances always impress by their musicality and polish, and Stefan Jackiw (May 5), who has been widely acclaimed for his performances in Washington. The wild cards in the season are pianist Marouan Benabdallah, who made his American debut last month at Carnegie Hall; teenage whiz-kid pianist Benjamin Grosvenor (March 3), who has been receiving admiring notices since winning the keyboard prize at the BBC Young Musician competition in 2004 (when he should have beaten violinist Nicola Benedetti for the overall prize); and violinist Mikhail Simonyan (March 31).
You can look at the other performers on the WPAS schedule at their Web site.Subscribe to Washingtonian
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