ISO season moves into a new era with a new music director

With anecdotal reports coming in at high praise, it's likely that Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra audiences in 2024-25 will hear the enthusiasm the musicians have for the rec

Mario Venzago, whose exit as ISO maestro was contentious

ent appointment of Jun Märkl as the orchestra's eighth music director. In this first season under his artistic leadership of the Classical Series, Märkl will conduct six subscription weekends. The first weekend of his conducting in his new role will be Jan. 16-18 in a program of Beethoven's 7th Symphony and Manuel de Falla's "Three-Cornered Hat" ballet music. 

Beginning with a return to the Hilbert Circle Theater podium by Mario Venzago, the sixth music director of the ISO, at the annual Gala Concert Sept. 28, the season will end with  Märkl conducting Beethoven's "Choral" Symphony, No. 9 in D minor, on June 20-21, featuring four vocal soloists and the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir. The concert will be filled out with the rare inclusion of a work by modernist master Arnold Schoenberg, "Peace on Earth," an a cappella motet, also featuring the ISC.

Conrad Tao will play Rachmaninoff "Rhapsody"

The Opening Night Gala also brings in as guest artist the pianist Conrad Tao, playing the solo part in Sergei Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. The IU Health Plans Classical Series will begin with the subscription-debut Oct. 18-19 of guest conductor Gemma New, principal guest conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Other guest conductors making their debuts in the 2024-25 season are Keitaro Harada, Valentina Peleggi, Daniel Raiskin, and Joseph Young. 

Among the guest soloists returning are violinist Karen Gomyo and pianists Stewart Goodyear and Awadagin Pratt. Pratt's local appearances have included a fascinating interpretation in 2013 of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, with Märkl's predecessor as music director, Krzysztof Urbanski, conducting a work whose centennial is this year. 

That birthday-boy composition will come to the ISO fore again with Steve Hackman's "Uncharted Series" premiere, "Bohemian Rhapsody in Blue," on Sept. 18.  The creative pop-classical mash-up series will also link Bartok and Bjork (Feb. 19). And that's not all: With soloist Goodyear and the ISO, Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly will conduct the Gershwin work Oct. 11 and 12 in a series that will open with  Broadway star Ashley Brown Sept. 20-21.

On the Classical Series, several ISO members will be featured as soloists, including concertmaster Kevin Lin. Other principals in the solo spotlight next season include contrabassist Ju-Fang Liu, and, in a new double concerto by Indianapolis-based composer Hanna Benn, oboist Jennifer Christen and bassoonist Ivy Ringel.

Complete information on the season, including the Film Series, has just been put up on the ISO website.


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