Alexandria Symphony Announces 2023-2024 Season: ASO at 80!

Posted Jul 24, 2023 | ASO News, Events, Press Releases, 

Alexandria, VA—The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra announces its 2023-2024 Season led by Conductor and Music Director James Ross. ASO will celebrate its 80th anniversary season with four ASO at 80 original commissioned pieces, works featuring composers and soloists from diverse backgrounds, multiple masterworks, and selections by living composers.

“I am thrilled with the eclectic, multifaceted programs we are offering to celebrate the ASO’s 80th anniversary and to contribute to the 275th anniversary of the City of Alexandria in 2024,” says Maestro James Ross. “These programs represent who we are through music — from classics to the contemporary, from master composers to new voices, from our western heritage to what is uniquely American. Each program speaks to us in terms of its own time and place yet relates directly to what we see and experience today.”

ASO kicks off its anniversary celebration on September 30 and October 1, 2023, with a program entitled “ASO at 80-oh!” The concert opens with a commission, Toast, featuring Artistic Advisor and composer Lester Green at the piano leading into Quinn Mason’s Toast of the Town with full orchestra. The concert includes two masterworks: Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 and Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto with Elissa Lee Koljonen as soloist. Hailed for her sensual playing, Koljonen has graced the stages of prominent venues throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The concert opens with a surprise guest artist.

“Going Home” on November 4 and 5, 2023, ASO conveys the sounds of Appalachia and Americana, anchored by Antonín Dvořák’s beloved New World Symphony. Tsenacomoco by Native American composer Dawn Avery connects to Alexandria’s Native history and Dvořák’s exploration of Native American and African American music. Also featured are excerpts from Margaret Bonds’ Montgomery Variations (a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.) followed by Conni Ellisor’s Blackberry Winter with Stephen Seifert on mountain dulcimer. Seifert has performed with numerous orchestras and at hundreds of festivals and events in the U.S., England, and Japan.

ASO’s presents its annual holiday concert “With a Twist” on December 16 and 17, 2023, with a mix of traditional and contemporary favorites to celebrate the season. Jazz singer and opera librettist Joshua Banbury will delight with his baritone styling. Alexandria’s own world whistling champion Chris Ullman will serenade you; Ullman has performed with major orchestras in a variety of genres. This concert is family-friendly, and patrons are invited to come early to hear students from ASO’s Sympatico music education program in the lobby.

In collaboration with Cantate Concert Choir, ASO brings you W.A. Mozart’s emotionally stirring Requiem in D minor on February 10 and 11, 2024 with a program entitled “Do Not Go Gentle.” The wide-open spaces of Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring balance the intensity of Anna Clyne’s Sound and Fury, inspired by and enhanced with narration from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The program opens with a commission, Milad Yousufi’s Aurora, drawn from his experience as an Afghan refugee.

For the season finale on April 20 and 21, 2024, ASO presents “Shuffle and Deal” with Dmitri Shostakovich’s triumphant Symphony No. 5. Renowned Cuban pianist and composer Aldo López-Gavilán performs his concerto Emporium, expanded from a tune inspired by his twin daughters. Leonard Bernstein’s “Three Dance Episodes” from On the Town will be followed by a fourth dance and final commissioned work: Alexandria Shuffle by Jorge Amado. Maestro Ross premiered one of Amado’s works with the Cuban American Youth Orchestra in 2019.

The 2023-2024 Season is generously underwritten by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alexandria Commission for the Arts, and the Rea Charitable Trust. ASO at 80 works are commissioned by Classical Movements for the September/October, November, and April performances. February’s ASO at 80 composition is commissioned by Nancy Davenport.

All Saturday performances will be held at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday matinees will be held at the George Washington Masonic Memorial at 3:00 p.m. Parking is free at both venues. Subscriptions and single tickets are now on sale. Subscription packages start at $86 for five concerts; adult prices for single tickets start at $20 with $5 for youth (18 and under) and $15 for students. Military, senior and group discounts are also available.