The Akron Symphony Orchestra is proud to announce the opening of its 2023-2024 concert season with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on September 29. The program celebrates the 50th anniversary of EJ Thomas Hall.
“We are thrilled to be a part of EJ Thomas Hall’s 50th anniversary celebrations and honored to have the opportunity to open the Akron Symphony Orchestra’s 70th season at this historic venue. As the orchestra that performed at the hall’s inaugural night on October 9, 1973, we are privileged to still be performing here 50 years later,” said Paul Jarrett, Executive Director. “It is fitting that we open the season with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a work that we performed at the opening of the hall, and, like EJ Thomas Hall, has stood the test of time.”
This season promises to be one of the most exciting yet, with a diverse range of repertoire and world-class performers. It also celebrates the Akron Symphony Orchestra’s 70-year history, and the 30th anniversary of a beloved Akron tradition, Gospel Meets Symphony.
“I am thrilled with the lineup for next year. It features great music, past and present,” said Music Director Christopher Wilkins. “In this anniversary season, we’ll perform many “greatest hits.” But the classical tradition is wide and deep, filled with extraordinary works not widely known. We love to explore this music too. More than anything, it is our pleasure to share the exceptional talents of the Akron Symphony with the community that supports it so generously.”
Maestro Wilkins leads the towering Ninth Symphony of Beethoven on opening night, Friday, September 29. During the program’s first half, Cleveland Institute of Music-trained composer and conductor, Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate conducts his work, Clans, telling legends drawn from his Chickasaw heritage. Akron’s own Dr. LaDonna Blue Eye, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation, narrates.
The January 13th concert features a sequel to last season’s extraordinary co-creation with Akron-based EarthQuaker Devices. Composers Jake Gunnar Walsh and Jon Sonnenberg collaborate once again, bringing EarthQuaker’s otherworldly sounds to the symphonic stage.
World-renowned cellist, and Baldwin Wallace University faculty member, Khari Joyner performs the Dvořák Cello Concerto on November 18. And superstar trumpeter Mary Elizabeth Bowden performs a new work for trumpet and string orchestra by the multi-talented Brazilian American composer, Clarice Assad.
The ASO is dedicated to bringing the highest quality performances to the Akron community and beyond, and with a season like this, there is much to celebrate!
September 29, 2023
Christopher Wilkins, conductor
Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, guest conductor
Dr. LaDonna Blue Eye, narrator
Sirgourney Cook, soprano
Leah Heater, alto
John Pickle, tenor
Frank Ward, bass
Akron Symphony Chorus
Chris Albanese, Director
Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate “Clans” from Lowak Shoppala’ (Fire and Light)
Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 9
October 21, 2023
Robert Mollard, Organ
Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson Worship
Ottorino Respighi Church Windows
Camille Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony
November 18, 2023
Dvořák & Tchaikovsky
Khari Joyner, cello
William Grant Still Festive Overture
Antonín Dvořák Cello Concerto
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 “Pathétique”
January 13, 2024
Mozart Meets EarthQuaker
Arvo Pärt Fratres
Wolfgang Amadè Mozart Symphony No. 29 in A
Mary Lou Williams Zodiac Suite
Jake Gunnar Walsh & Jon Sonnenberg Conflagration (with EarthQuaker Devices)
March 2, 2024
Richard Wagner Lohengrin: Prelude to Act I
Anton Bruckner Symphony No. 4 “Romantic”
April 6, 2024
Tchaikovsky & Bowden
Mary Elizabeth Bowden, trumpet
Ralph Vaughan Williams Fantasia on “Greensleeves”
Jessie Montgomery Strum
Clarice Assad Bohemian Queen: Concerto for Trumpet and String Orchestra
Jennifer Higdon Reel Time
Julia Perry Prelude for Strings
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Souvenir de Florence
May 11, 2024
Mozart’s “Great” Mass
Akron Symphony Chorus
Chris Albanese, Director
Sonya Headlam, soprano
Amanda Powell, soprano
Tim Culver, tenor
Brian Keith Johson, baritone
Lili Boulanger On a Spring Morning
Maurice Ravel Le Tombeau de Couperin
Wolfgang Amadè Mozart Mass in C minor “Great”
December 8, 2023
February 10, 2024
Gospel Meets Symphony
(30th Anniversary Concert)
All performances start at 7:30 PM, at The University of Akron’s EJ Thomas Hall.
All Classic Series concerts are preceded by a free Preview from the Podium talk by Music Director Christopher Wilkins.
The best way not to miss a note is to become a season subscriber. Patrons who subscribe enjoy steep discounts on a full season of concerts, guaranteed seats, a 10 percent discount on additional single-ticket purchases, and a flexible ticket exchange program. Subscription packages will go on sale in April. Single tickets go on sale on August 1 and pricing starts at $20.
All dates, artists, and programs are subject to change.