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Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano conducts.
Robert Spano will lead his final season opener for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra this weekend . (Photo by Jeff Roffman)

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra announces 2020-21 season, last under Robert Spano

Symphony Hall may be dark now, but the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is looking to the 2020–21 season and the last under the baton of music director Robert Spano.

The symphony has announced the upcoming season, which will celebrate Spano’s 20-year tenure and the 50th anniversary of the acclaimed Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus. The season will include world premiere commissions by composers Gity Razaz, Adam Schoenberg, Michael Gandolfi, Jonathan Leshnoff, Mark Buller and Krists Auznieks.

In addition, the ASO announced that Jerry Hou will become associate conductor and music director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, replacing Stephen Mulligan, who is ending his three-year tenure. Hou is the associate conductor at Rice University’s School of Music in Houston.

“We look forward to again taking the stage in Symphony Hall to celebrate the indelible legacy of Robert Spano and the rich history of our beloved . . . chorus,” Jennifer Barlament, ASO executive director, said in a press release. “We’ll celebrate the majesty of the ASO with epic masterpieces and works by and about women, both legendary and present-day. And we could not celebrate Robert Spano without works from our great American composers, including an evening featuring music of the Atlanta School of Composers.”

Spano will lead 10 programs, including opening weekend on September 24 and 26 with guest violinist Gil Shaham performing Korngold’s Violin Concerto.

“In my final season, I am looking forward to every performance,” Spano said in a press release. “A highlight will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ASO Chorus. We’ll close the season with Mahler’s Third Symphony. With its profound expression of love, I can think of no more fitting work with which to say ‘thank you’ for 20 blessed years with the ASO.”

In addition to the holiday perennial of Handel’s Messiah, the chorus will be featured in November for Mendelssohn’s Elijah, in March for Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” in April for Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and in June for Spano’s final performance with Mahler’s Symphony No. 3. The chorus will also be spotlighted at an October 15 performance led by principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles and Norman MacKenzie.


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