Charleston Symphony announces new season featuring blockbuster concerts
More than two years ago, the president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., came to Charleston to talk about what a troubled arts organization should and should not do to survive recession and financial strain.
The typical response of a struggling arts group is to cut expenses, Michael Kaiser told an audience that packed the Simons Center Recital Hall. But the danger in cutting programming and marketing costs is that the organization will get “smaller and sicker and less relevant,” he said. “The counterintuitive thing and scary thing to do is think big.”
For more information about the CSO's new season, and to subscribe or renew, visit charlestonsymphony.org or call 723-7528.
The Charleston Symphony Orchestra, which was flirting with bankruptcy and was forced to shut down a month after Kaiser's visit, appears to have taken his words to heart.
It has restructured and relaunched with a bang. Its performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in October 2010 signaled the CSO's intent to stick around.
By November, the CSO was ready for a regular season, and it kicked it off with a special appearance by pianist Emanuel Ax playing Beethoven's Emperor concerto. And now, as the symphony gears up for its April 21 finale performance of Mahler's Second Symphony, the “Resurrection,” it has announced its 2012-13 season.
Among the highlights of the next Masterworks series at the Sottile Theatre are:
Holst's “The Planets” on Oct. 12 and 13
Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, played by Charleston prodigy Micah McLaurin, on Jan. 11 and 12
An all-Brahms program including his Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra and his Symphony No. 2 on Feb. 15 and 16.
Grandest of all will be a special performance of Verdi's “Requiem,” offered April 12 and 13.
In its effort to resurrect itself and rejuvenate classical music, the CSO has added a chamber orchestra series at the Dock Street Theatre, and next season brings a few gems, especially a double presentation on Nov. 10 of “The Four Seasons,” one version by Vivaldi and another by Tango master Astor Piazzolla.
The Pops! series includes a holiday concert on Dec. 14 and 15, a circus extravaganza on Jan. 25 and 26, and a dance-a-thon featuring famous American tunes on March 1 and 2. Handel's “Messiah” also is scheduled for three performances in December.