The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra has announced its 2019 season, with a string of guests – both conductors and concerto soloists – filling the gap before Norwegian maestro Eivind Aadland takes over from Marko Letonja (who steps down at the end of this year) as the orchestra’s Chief Conductor in 2020.

Aadland will, however, conduct the orchestra in 2019 – as will Letonja, who returns in his new role of Conductor Laureate, amongst a line-up including Swedish soprano Nina Stemme, Australian soprano Nicole Car, British early music specialist Stephen Layton and the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Artistic Director Richard Tognetti.

Richard Tognetti. Photo © Mick Bruzzese

Tognetti opens the orchestra’s mainstage concerts with a bang, performing Mozart’s Fifth Violin Concerto and Richard Meale’s Cantilena Pacifica with the orchestra and conducting Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture and First Symphony.

He’s just one of many violin soloists on the 2019 season, with American violinist Benjamin Beilman up next, performing the Tchaikovsky Concerto on a program alongside Neilsen’s Helios and Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony, conducted by Italian-born Danish conductor Giordano Bellincampi.

British conductor Stephen Layton joins the TSO in April for Bach’s St John Passion, with soloists soprano Sara Macliver, mezzo Jess Dandy, tenor Gwylim Bowen, baritone Michael Craddock and bass-baritone Lawrence Williams, before Simone Lamsma continues the run of violin concertos with the Sibelius Concerto on a program of Brahms conducted by second generation TSO regular Alexander Shelley.

The first of May’s violin concertos will be the Brahms, performed by American violinist Stefan Jackiw and capping off a concert featuring Dvořák’s Serenade for Winds and Kodaly’s Dances of Galanta, with British rising-star conductor Andrew Gourlay on the podium.

Emma McGrath, Tasmanian Symphony OrchestraEmma McGrath. Photo: supplied

Following on the heels of the Brahms, the TSO’s own concertmaster Emma McGrath will perform Britten’s Violin Concerto with Gourlay, in a concert bookended by Mendelssohn’s Ruy Blas Overture and Scottish Symphony.

The third Violin Concerto for May will be the Beethoven – played on piano by beloved TSO regular soloist and conductor Howard Shelley, who opens the concert with Cherubini’s Médée Overture and closes it with Schubert’s Fourth Symphony. Armenian cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan and Spanish conductor Jaime Martín perform Tchaikovsky’s Nocturne for Cello and Small Orchestra and his Mozart-inspired Variations on a Rococo Theme at the end of the month, alongside Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin and Brahms’ Serenade No 1.

Another rising star conductor, the Taiwanese winner of the 2015 Malko Competition Tung-Chieh Chuang takes the podium at the beginning of August, in a concert of Debussy, Honegger and Bizet that will also see the TSO’s Principal Clarinettist Andrew Seymour tackle Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto.

Eivind Aadland, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, TSOTasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s Chief Conductor from 2020, Eivind Aadland. Photo © Benjamin Ealovega

TSO’s incoming Chief Conductor Eivind Aadland will be in Hobart for Nordic Spirit in August, a concert featuring Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony (which hasn’t been heard in Tasmania in 30 years) and Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto (with Spanish pianist Javier Perianes as soloist). The concert will also feature a new TSO commission – a new piece by Maria Grenfell.

Australian soprano Nicole Car also joins the TSO that month to sing Mozart and Beethoven, on a concert bookended by Haydn and Mozart Symphonies, French conductor Bertrand de Billy on the podium, while Australian saxophonist Amy Dickson will give the world premiere of another new TSO commission at the end of August: Matthew Hindson’s brand new Saxophone Concerto. The Concerto sits on a program alongside Ravel’s Mother Goose suite and Mozart’s Prague Symphony, conducted by Benjamin Northey.

English violinist Anthony Marwood will direct the TSO in September, in a concert featuring Mozart’s Second Violin Concerto, an arrangement for violin and strings of Stravinsky’s ballet music Le baiser de la fée or The Fairy’s Kiss (itself a reworking of music by Tchaikovsky) and Dvořák’s perennial Serenade for Strings. Later that month, Principal Guest Conductor Johannes Fritzsch will join sopranos Lorina Gore and Stacey Alleaume and tenor Paul O’Neill for excerpts from Weber’s Der Freischütz with the TSO and TSO Chorus, on a program alongside Mendelssohn’s Second Symphony.

Letonja returns to Tasmania in October, joined by composer HK Gruber, who will perform (speaking/singing rhymes) his Frankenstein!! – “A pan-demonium for chansonnier and orchestra” – alongside Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain and selections from Beethoven’s ballet score The Creatures of Prometheus.

Nina Stemme, TSO, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, 2019 SeasonNina Stemme. Photo © Neda Navaee 

Returning to Tasmania for the first time since her triumphant performance in the TSO’s 2016 concert performance of Tristan und Isolde, soprano Nina Stemme will join baritone John Lundgren and the TSO – with Letonja on the podium – in an all-Wagner Gala concert featuring excerpts from the Ring Cycle’s Die Walküre and Götterdämmerung, as well as Der fliegender Holländer.

Having farewelled Wotan in the Wagner concert, the TSO will say goodbye to one of its own in Swansong: cellist Sue-Ellen Paulsen, who will give farewell solo performances of Respighi’s Adagio con variazioni, Tchaikovsky’s Pezzo capriccioso, and – fittingly for a swansong concert – Saint-Saëns’ The Swan from The Carnival of the Animals. Letonja will conduct the concert, which will open wth Schumann’s Manfred Overture and close with his Second Symphony.

Pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk will bring the TSO’s 2019 to a close in December with Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto, Fritzsch conducting, on a concert alongside Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

Next year will also see the return of the TSO’s family concerts, including Peter and the Wolf in March in Launceston and Scottsdale, as well as special events including The Best of Rogers and Hammerstein concert for Broadway lovers in July and the popular free concerts RACT Symphony under the Stars in Hobart (for the first time in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens) and Launceston to kick off the year in February.

The Full Program