As the Charleston Symphony Orchestra approaches the end of its current season, it's preparing for the next. And the 2014-15 lineup includes lots of variety and star power.
JoAnn Falletta will be the guest conductor of the first concert in the Masterworks series, featuring Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 played by Pavel Kolesnikov.
CSO Concertmaster Yuriy Bekker will play and conduct Beethoven's violin concerto followed by a performance of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5.
Spoleto Festival veteran, soprano Elizabeth Futral, will join the CSO for a performance of Richard Strauss' "Four Last Songs."
Pianist Jeremy Denk will visit Charleston to play Bartok's Piano Concerto No. 1 in a program that also includes Beethoven's Symphony No. 5.
Conductor Gerard Schwarz will lead the orchestra in a performance of Brahms' Symphony No. 4.
And the CSO Chorus will join the orchestra for the opening chorus from Smetana's "Bartered Bride" and Dvorak's Te Deum, followed by renditions of Dukas' "Sorcerer's Apprentice" and Debussy's "La Mer."
Of the stars slated to shine on Charleston next season, Denk's surely is the brightest at the moment. In recent months, he was named a MacArthur Fellow and designated "instrumentalist of the year" by Musical America magazine. He also secured a book contract with Random House to write a memoir based on a well-received essay published in The New Yorker. This week, Denk will be awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, which recognizes a musician's talent and life work (and is accompanied by a $75,000 check).
Presumably, the 2014-15 season will be the last without a designated music director. The symphony will conclude its search next month and soon after decide who the new leader will be. The new music director will take the reins during the 2015-16 season.
The Chamber Orchestra Series at the Dock Street Theatre will include a program playfully called "Bach and the Devil"; Stravinsky's neo-Classical Pulcinella Suite paired with Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 and a commissioned piece by Paul Dooley; a concert devoted to holiday music; a student-teacher program featuring new works by, among others, College of Charleston composer Yiorgos Vassilandonakis and violinist-composer Nick Bentz. The series will close with "The Sound of Vienna."
The Pops series will serve up a show featuring singer-pianist Tony DeSare and conductor Charlton Singleton; a holiday concert with the CSO Chorus; a Beatles tribute and a concert by Project Trio, a Brooklyn group that presents a high-energy mix of genres and styles.
"Overall, my vision is, first and foremost, to bring our orchestra to a new height," Bekker said. He has been acting artistic director since the death of former music director David Stahl in 2010. "In one season we are bringing a lineup of world-renowned soloists and conductors, household names that people hear regularly on the radio."
Bekker said he is especially pleased by the diverse array of music on offer next season.
"We have absolutely everything," he said.
For more details on the upcoming concerts, and to purchase season tickets, visit charlestonsymphony.org.