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DSO Announces New Season, New Beethoven Festival – and a New Approach to Audiences

by Jerome Weeks 31 Jan 2013 4:00 PM

The DSO has announced its next season – with appearances by such soloists as opera star Renee Fleming. But in among all the familiar concertos and choral works is the beginning of what may help shape the orchestra’s future.


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The Dallas Symphony has announced its next season – with no reduction in the number of performances from last year’s smaller season. But KERA’s Jerome Weeks reports the season’s most unusual feature is where the DSO will perform.

  • KERA radio report:
  • Expanded online report:

The Dallas Symphony is picking up and moving. Just a little. Or a lot, depending on what this means for the future.

The DSO will open its next season in September. Those first concerts include the DSO’s annual gala at the Meyerson Symphony Center, featuring opera star Renee Fleming. Other highlights among the planned performances include maestro emeritus Andrew Litton’s return, the JFK memorial concert and such massive choral works as Verdi’s Requiem and Dvorak’s Te Deum. The choices in the rest of the season sound familiar enough.

But the orchestra will close its new season next May with a three-week Beethoven Festival. And that festival includes chamber music concerts – performed just a block down the street from the Meyerson in the new City Performance Hall. The DSO’s new president, Jonathan Martin, says the move may seem small but it’s significant.

“It’s a deliberate separation,” he says. “The look and feel of that venue is different than the Meyerson. It’s less formal, it’s more intimate, which I think is important as we start to do some of these new programs.”

That’s right, the Beethoven Festival is only one example of the symphony’s new experiment in programming. There’ll still be the DSO’s core, classical and pops series. But the DSO has two other weeks booked at the City Performance Hall during the season (one in fall, one in spring). When those concerts are announced in a few weeks, they’ll be in a separate series, a series featuring music that’ll be newer, more adventurous.

“If we’re going to rebuild audiences for orchestras in America,” Martin says, “we’re not going to do it just by sticking with 125-year-old product. It’s not going to happen.”

Martin says it’ll happen by targeting younger audiences. The DSO’s concerts at the City Performance Hall will start sooner, run shorter and seating will be general admission.

It’s worth noting: Martin tried this same idea when he ran the Charlotte Symphony. He said audiences loved it.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Announces
2013-2014 Texas Instruments Classical Series
New Alternative Concert Programs

Jaap van Zweden’s sixth season as Music Director
features season-ending Beethoven Festival

Dallas, TX (January 31, 2013) – The Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) announced today its 2013-2014 Texas Instruments Classical Series season, the orchestra’s sixth season under Music Director Jaap van Zweden.

In addition, the Dallas Symphony announced today the launch of an Alternative Concert Program with two new concerts separate from the Texas Instruments Classical Series to take place at City Performance Hall in the Dallas Arts District and designed to present classical music in fresh, innovative ways.

“This exciting new concert season features the kind of bedrock programming our patrons know and love, with the addition of two new alternative concerts this year designed to be decidedly different from the kind of performances people have come to expect from the Dallas Symphony,” says Jonathan Martin, Dallas Symphony President and CEO. “Our goal with the 2013-2014 Texas Instruments Classical Season is to continue the musical excellence achieved over five seasons by Music Director Jaap van Zweden leading our wonderful orchestra.

“Maintaining this unprecedented level of performance I believe will inspire continued positive trends in ticket sales and earned revenue while we work tirelessly to raise contributed income, attract new audiences, expand our orchestra’s reach, and increase the value of the Dallas Symphony for every person in Dallas and across North Texas.”

Among the Highlights of the Upcoming Season:

  • 2013 Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala with Jaap van Zweden and Grammy® Award-winning American soprano Renée Fleming
  • Memorial concert with DSO commissioned piece honoring President John F. Kennedy
  • Launch of new concerts presenting classical music in fresh, innovative ways
  • Three-week Beethoven Festival featuring orchestral and chamber performances, talks, films in the Dallas Arts District
  • Popular familiar works: Ravel’s Bolero, Stravinsky’s The Firebird, Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, Dvořák’s New World Symphony
  • Major choral works: Verdi’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Dvořák’s Te Deum
  • Renowned guest soloists: Joshua Bell, Hélène Grimaud, Matthias Goerne, Arabella Steinbacher, Louis Lortie, Yefim Bronfman
  • Return of Music Director Emeritus Andrew Litton

The 2013-2014 Texas Instruments Classical Series season at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center will begin Sept. 19-22, 2013 with Jaap van Zweden conducting Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony. It will conclude May 15-18, 2014 with Maestro van Zweden leading Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

On Nov. 21-24, 2013 Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony will join other Dallas-area arts and civic organizations in honoring the legacy of President John F. Kennedy with a special memorial concert at the Meyerson Symphony Center. Part of the 2013-2014 Texas Instruments Classical Series, the President John F. Kennedy Memorial Concert will feature the world premiere of The World Is Very Different Now, a work by teenage composer Conrad Tao commissioned by the Dallas Symphony especially for the occasion.

The Dallas Symphony’s 2013-2014 Texas Instruments Classical Series will feature popular and important orchestral pieces such as Ravel’s Bolero and Mahler’s Fourth Symphony. Performances of works by Benjamin Britten – the Sinfonia da Requiem (Nov. 14-17, 2013) and Suite on English Folk Tunes (Jan. 23-26, 2014) – honor the centennial of the composer’s birth. Familiar composers such as Brahms, Dvořák, Ravel and Mozart will be well represented throughout the year.

A highlight of the 2013-2014 Texas Instruments Classical Series will be a three-week Beethoven Festival conducted by Maestro van Zweden, featuring performances of the Fifth, Seventh and Ninth Symphonies; stirring instrumental concerti including the Emperor Concerto with acclaimed piano soloist Yefim Bronfman; chamber music performed by DSO principal musicians and special guests at City Performance Hall, and related activities and events such as talks, movies, food and beverages.

Interesting musical rarities to be performed during the 2013-2014 season include Fairy Tale by Czech composer Josef Suk (Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2013); Murder of a Great Chief of State by Milhaud, composed in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 (Nov. 21-24, 2013); and The Water Goblin, a tone poem by Dvořák (March 27-30, 2014).

The 2013-2014 Texas Instruments Classical Series season will last 16 weeks and include 62 classical music performances. Music Director Jaap van Zweden will conduct 12 of those weekends. Joshua Habermann will return for his third season as Director of the Dallas Symphony Chorus.

Outside of the Texas Instruments Classical Series, DSO on the GO will return in 2013-2014 for its second season of performances at venues in cities across North Texas.


2013 Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala – Sept. 28, 2013


Tickets are now on sale for the 2013 Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala to take place on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at the Meyerson Symphony Center, featuring international soprano superstar Renée Fleming, Music Director Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

“We are excited to welcome Ms. Fleming to Dallas to perform with Jaap van Zweden and the DSO,” says President and CEO Jonathan Martin. “Her incomparable artistry, elegance and universal appeal will make the 2013 Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala a special evening all will long remember.”

One of the most beloved and celebrated musical ambassadors of our time, three-time Grammy Award winner Renée Fleming captivates audiences with her sumptuous voice, consummate artistry, and compelling stage presence.

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala is the DSO’s largest single fundraising event. The black-tie evening includes a champagne reception, a seated dinner, the Dallas Symphony concert with Renée Fleming and the famed late-night Gala After-Party.

Concert/After-Party only tickets to the 2013 Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala are $150-$500. Tickets to the full Gala start at $1,250. Tables start at $10,000. For tickets, visit or call 214.692.0203. For more information, contact [email protected] or call 214.871.4045.


President John F. Kennedy Memorial Concert – Nov. 21-24, 2013


Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra will honor President John F. Kennedy in special memorial concerts Nov. 21-24, 2013 at the Meyerson Symphony Center. The program will include world premiere performances of the The World is Very Different Now, a special DSO commission by young American composer Conrad Tao, supported in part by awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and TACA.

Tao will bring new musical perspectives to the shock and tragedy of Kennedy’s assassination on Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas. The World is Very Different Now hopes to inspire fresh insights into the on-going historical and social implications that reverberate from that dark day.

The program for the President John F. Kennedy Memorial Concert on Nov. 21-24, 2013 at the Meyerson Symphony Center is:

Jaap van Zweden, conductor
Joshua Bell, violin
Dallas Symphony Orchestra

CONRAD TAO: The World Is Very Different Now
(DSO Commission in Memory of John F. Kennedy)
SIBELIUS: Violin Concerto
MILHAUD: Murder of a Great Chief of State
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 3, Eroica

NOTE: Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 marks 50 years to the day of the Kennedy assassination.


Launch of new concerts presenting classical music in innovative ways

Next season, the Dallas Symphony will also present two programs, separate from and in addition to the Texas Instruments Classical Series, performed at the brand new and more intimate City Performance Hall in the Dallas Arts District.

“While we are beginning this initiative in a measured way with two programs, these orchestral concerts are designed to provide the Dallas Symphony with a new ‘canvas’ upon which to paint a significantly different concert experience,” says Jonathan Martin, the Dallas Symphony’s President and CEO. “These new concerts will be grounded in a wide selection of classical music works, but presented in a way that provides an alternative to our existing offerings.”

Beginning in the 2013-2014 season, these new Dallas Symphony programs will be shorter, with no intermission and with an earlier start and finish time. At City Performance Hall, a one price-general-admission ticket will include light appetizers and beverages.

“As these programs evolve,” Martin says, “one can expect to see elements within the performance that include multimedia, a more theatrical and informal approach to staging, and informative comments from the artists onstage both during and following the concerts. All of these elements we hope will combine to form a fresh new way of experiencing classical music that will help us broaden our audiences.”


Beethoven Festival

The final three concerts of the 2013-2014 Texas Instruments Classical Series will be included in the Beethoven Festival. Conducted by Jaap van Zweden, the Beethoven Festival features performances of Beethoven’s iconic Fifth Symphony (May 15-18, 2014); stirring Seventh Symphony (May 8-11, 2014) and revolutionary Ninth Symphony with its stirring finale Ode to Joy (May 1-3, 5, 2014). Acclaimed soloists include Yefim Bronfman playing Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto (May 8-11, 2014; DSO Concertmaster and Co-Concertmaster sharing the composer’s Two Romances (May 1-3, 5, 2014), and Alisa Weilerstein, cello, and Martin Helmchen, piano, joining Concertmaster Alexander Kerr performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto (May 15-18, 2014).

Five chamber music concerts (April 28-May 17, 2014) will take place at City Performance Hall in the Dallas Arts District, and include the Beethoven’s complete 10 Violin Sonatas performed by Dallas Symphony Concertmaster Alexander Kerr, Co-Concertmaster Nathan Olson, and special guest Chee-Yun, with piano collaborations by Alessio Bax and Martin Helmchen. Piano trio performances add DSO Principal Cellist Christopher Adkins and Weilerstein for Haydn’s Piano Trio No. 39, Gypsy (April 28, 2014), Schubert’s Notturno in E-flat major (May 6, 2014), and Beethoven’s Archduke Trio (May 17, 2014). (NOTE: Tickets to Chamber Music performances are available as add-on purchases to the 2013-2014 Texas Instruments Classical Series subscriptions.)

In addition to stirring symphonic, instrumental concerti, and chamber music performances, the Beethoven Festival will feature related activities and fun events such as talks, movies, food and beverages. Utilizing the Meyerson Symphony Center and other venues around the Arts District, the Beethoven Festival will build a District-wide energy that showcases the staggering body of music Beethoven left to us, and lays the groundwork for a spring festival tradition that can become international in scope.


Popular familiar works

The 2013-2014 Texas Instruments Classical Series features bedrock, familiar repertoire and popular composers who are beloved by Dallas Symphony audiences. Among the greatest and most-familiar pieces to be performed will be:

Ravel’s Bolero, conducted by Jaap van Zweden (Feb. 27-March 2, 2014)

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, conducted by Jaap van Zweden (May 25-28, 2014, part of the Beethoven Festival)

Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, conducted by Jaap van Zweden (Nov. 21-24, 2013, part of the President John F. Kennedy Memorial Concert)

Stravinsky’s The Firebird, conducted by Andrew Litton (Oct. 17-20, 2013)

Dvořák’s New World Symphony, conducted by Jaap van Zweden (Jan. 16-18, 2014)

Major choral works

In 2013-2014 Joshua Habermann returns for his third season as Director of the Dallas Symphony Chorus, and with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra will present these stirring pieces for orchestra, chorus and internationally-acclaimed vocal soloists:

Verdi’s Requiem – Jaap van Zweden will conduct Verdi’s monumental and emotional masterwork, with internationally-acclaimed soloists Hui He, soprano; Marianne Cornetti, mezzo-soprano; David Lomelí, tenor; and Orlin Anastassov, bass. (Feb. 20-23, 2014)

Dvořák’s Te Deum – Czech conductor Tomáš Netopil makes his Dallas Symphony debut and the Dallas Symphony Chorus gives festive voice to this glorious hymn of praise, with soloists Twyla Robinson, soprano; and baritone Weston Hurt. (Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2013)

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – One of the most-popular and performed symphonies of all time, Jaap van Zweden conducts the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Beethoven’s revolutionary Ninth Symphony to inaugurate the DSO’s season ending Beethoven Festival, with soloists Pretty Yende, soprano; Kate Aldrich, mezzo-soprano; Frank Lopardo, tenor; and Oren Gradus, bass. Note the special Monday evening performance May 5, 2014. (May 1-3, 5, 2014)


Renowned guest soloists

The Dallas Symphony is proud to present the world’s leading soloists performing music’s most-beloved works:

Joshua Bell, violin – Acclaimed American virtuoso Joshua Bell makes a much-anticipated appearance in the Texas Instruments Classical Series. Often referred to as the “poet of the violin,” Joshua Bell is one of the world’s most celebrated violinists. He enchants audiences with his breathtaking virtuosity, tone of sheer beauty, and charismatic stage presence. (Sibelius Violin Concerto. Nov. 21-24, 2013)

Hélène Grimaud, piano – A multi-faceted and charismatic artist, pianist Hélène Grimaud is a naturally emotive, spiritual performer whose success as an international artist is overwhelming. A committed conservationist and human rights campaigner, Grimaud champions the Wolf Conservation Center which she founded in upper New York State in 1999. (Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2. Jan. 16-18, 2014)

Matthias Goerne, baritone – Matthias Goerne is one of the most internationally sought-after vocalists and has collaborated with leading orchestras all over the world. Since his opera début at the Salzburg Festival in 1997 (Papageno), Goerne has appeared on the world’s principal opera stages. Goerne’s artistry has been documented on numerous recordings, many of which have received prestigious awards. (Mahler Des Knaben Wunderhorn (“A Youth’s Magic Horn”). Jan. 23-26, 2014)

Yefim Bronfman, piano – Justly celebrated for his performances of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 with Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony in January, 2013, Yefim Bronfman returns to the Meyerson to perform the one of the grandest and greatest of all concertos, part of the Dallas Symphony’s Beethoven Festival. Grammy Award-winning pianist Yefim (“Fima”) Bronfman is among the most talented virtuosos performing today. His commanding technique and exceptional lyrical gifts have won consistent critical acclaim and enthusiastic audiences worldwide (Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor. May 8-11, 2013)


Wonderful Dallas Symphony Debuts

These exceptional artists are among those making their Dallas Symphony debuts in the 2013-2014 Texas Instruments Classical Series season:

Annalisa Stroppa, mezzo-soprano – One of the most promising young singers on the world’s stages today, Annalisa Stroppa has performed in the most important international opera houses, including Salzburg Festival, Teatro Real de Madrid, Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova, Teatro San Carlo di Napoli and Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, with the most influential opera conductors. (Berlioz Les Nuits d’été. Sept. 19-22, 2013)

Arabella Steinbacher, violin – German violinist Arabella Steinbacher has firmly established herself as one of today’s leading soloists on the international concert scene, performing with the world’s major orchestras. Steinbacher’s career was launched in 2004 with an extraordinary and unexpected debut in Paris, when she stepped in on short notice for an ailing colleague and performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France under Sir Neville Marriner. (Brahms Violin Concerto. Nov. 14-17, 2013)

Anna Fedorova, piano – Anna Fedorova is one of the world’s premier young pianists. From an early age, she demonstrated an innate musical maturity and astounding technical abilities. Her international concert career took off while she was only a child, and audiences around the world are stunned by the depth and power of her musical expression. (Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2. March 20-22, 2014)

Jan Lisiecki, piano – Recognized around the world for his poetic and mature playing, 17-year-old Jan Lisiecki has received several awards, including the 2010 Révélations Radio-Canada Musique and the 2011 Jeune Soliste des Radios Francophones. Lisiecki was born in 1995 in Calgary to Polish parents; he signed an exclusive recording agreement with Deutsche Grammophon at age 15. (Chopin Piano Cocnerto No. 2. March 27-30, 2014)

Ottavio Dantone, conductor – The Dallas Symphony’s annual exploration of Baroque music continues with Italian maestro Ottavio Dantone leading from the harpsichord seldom-heard jewels of the Italian Baroque, with Handel’s festive and popular Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks. (April 3-6, 2014)

Martin Helmchen, piano – With his highly virtuosic yet unpretentious style, pianist Martin Helmchen continues to make his impression on the international music scene including recent impressive debuts with Berlin Philharmonic and Herbert Blomstedt, Vienna Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev, London Philharmonic with Vladimir Jurowski and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons. In the USA he made his concerto debut as soloist with Christoph von Dohnányi at the 2011 Tanglewood Festival with Boston Symphony. (Beethoven Festival: Triple Concerto, Kreutzer Sonata, Archduke Trio. May 10, 15-18, 2014)

(Complete artist debuts are denoted with in the list below.)


Return of Music Director Emeritus Andrew Litton – Oct. 17-20, 2013

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra welcomes the return of conductor Andrew Litton Oct. 17-20, 2013, when he leads the orchestra in a program featuring Stravinsky’s complete ballet The Firebird. Maestro Litton, named Music Director Emeritus in 2006, was Music Director of the Dallas Symphony from 1994-2006. He currently serves as Music Director of Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest, and Conductor Laureate of Britain’s Bournemouth Symphony. In June 2012 he was named Artistic Advisor of the Colorado Symphony assuming artistic leadership of the Denver based orchestra. He guest conducts the world’s leading orchestras and opera companies and has a discography of over 100 recordings with awards including America’s Grammy, France’s Diapason d’Or, and many British and other honors.


DSO 2013-2014 Guest Conductors and Soloists


Guest Conductors

  • Andrew Litton, Music Director Emeritus (Oct. 17-20, 2013)
  • Tomáš Netopil (Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2013)
  • Jakub Hrůša (March 27-30, 2014)
  • Ottavio Dantone (April 3-6, 2014)



  • Alessio Bax (Sept. 26-27, 29, 2013)
  • Hélène Grimaud (Jan. 16-18, 2014)
  • Louis Lortie (Feb. 27-March 2, 2014)
  • Anna Fedorova (March 20-22, 2014)
  • Jan Lisiecki (March 27-30, 2014)
  • Yefim Bronfman (May 8-11, 2014)
  • Martin Helmchen (May 15-18, 2014)



  • Karen Gomyo (Oct. 17-20, 2013)
  • Arabella Steinbacher (Nov. 14-17, 2013)
  • Joshua Bell (Nov. 21-24, 2013)
  • Alexander Kerr (May 1-3, 5, 2014)
  • Nathan Olson (May 1-3, 5, 2014)



  • Alisa Weilerstein (May 15-18, 2014)



  • Annalisa Stroppa, mezzo-soprano (Sept. 19-22, 2013)
  • Chen Reiss, soprano (Sept. 26-27, 29)
  • Renée Fleming, soprano (DSO AT&T Gala, Sept. 28, 2013)
  • Twyla Robinson, soprano (Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2013)
  • Weston Hurt, baritone (Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2013)
  • Matthias Goerne, baritone (Jan. 23-26, 2014)
  • Hui He, soprano (Feb. 20-23, 2014)
  • Marianne Cornetti, mezzo-soprano (Feb. 20-23, 2014)
  • David Lomelí, tenor (Feb. 20-23, 2014)
  • Orlin Anastassov, bass (Feb. 20-23, 2014)
  • Pretty Yende, soprano (May 1-3, 5, 2014)
  • Kate Aldrich, mezzo-soprano (May 1-3, 5, 2014)
  • Frank Lopardo, tenor (May 1-3, 5, 2014)
  • Oren Gradus, bass (May 1-3, 5, 2014)


DSO Principal Musicians

  • Alexander Kerr (May 1-3, 5, 2014)
  • Nathan Olson (May 1-3, 5, 2014)

DSO debut


Subscription Information

Several different subscription packages are available for the 2013-2014 Texas Instruments Classical Series. Subscription packages start at just $138.

Renewal packets will be in the mail and subscriptions will be available for sale within the next 10 days. For more information and to purchase or renew subscriptions, please call 214.692.0203 or visit

Single tickets will go on sale in August, 2013.


Sponsorship Information


The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is grateful for the generous support of these leading sponsors for the 2013-2014 season:


  • Texas Instruments is the title sponsor of the 2013-2014 Texas Instruments Classical Series.
  • AT&T is the title sponsor of the 2013 Dallas Symphony AT&T Gala.
  • Hunt Consolidated, Inc. and Macy’s Foundation present the Family Concert series.
  • Ebby Halliday Companies is the presenting sponsor of the DSO on the GO series.
  • American Airlines is the official airline of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas is the official hotel of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
  • Other leading sponsors include Bank of America, ExxonMobil, Fluor, TACA, and Texas Instruments Foundation.
  • The Meyerson Symphony Center is operated by the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs.


Dallas Symphony Media Contacts


Chris Shull, Manager of Publications and Public Relations (214.871.4061), [email protected]

Erica Baker, Public Relations and Marketing Associate (214.871.4010), [email protected]