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The Celebrity Series of Boston's 2019-2020 Season

clockwise from upper left: conductor Gustavo Dudamel; pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard; Danish String Quartet; violinist and conductor Joshua Bell; Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig; soprano Angela Gheorgiu
clockwise from upper left: conductor Gustavo Dudamel; pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard; Danish String Quartet; violinist and conductor Joshua Bell; Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig; soprano Angela Gheorgiu

One of the major drivers of Boston's cultural life has announced its schedule for the coming season, with appearances by world-class orchestras, pianists, chamber groups, vocalists, and much more.

Hear a preview of the 2019-2020 season and what it takes to put it together with Celebrity Series of Boston Executive Director Gary Dunning:

Boston is home to one of the richest cultural landscapes anywhere in the country, and the Celebrity Series of Boston plays a unique role in that ecosystem. As a presenter of touring artists and ensembles, it connects this region to the wider cultural world beyond New England. And it does so through a volume of performances and events that involves virtually every week of the concert season.

In announcing its 81st season, the Celebrity Series continues and expands on that mission. Dance, jazz, and world music are well represented, but classical music - in its broadest definition - makes up the foundation of the season.

The most unusual - and intriguing - part of the season is called Concert For One. For 10 days in September, this project brings together one musician and one listener for one minute of private performance, facilitated in specially outfitted shipping containers placed at Harvard Science Center Plaza in Cambridge and Chinatown Park on The Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston. The Celebrity Series estimates that 5,000 people will take part in this unique live performance experience.

More conventional though no less exciting concert experiences are highlighted in performances by three major orchestras. On Oct. 27, Andris Nelsons leads the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig in Brahms's Double Concerto, featuring violinist Leonidas Kavakos and cellist Gautier Capuçon, and Schubert's Great C major symphony.

Then, on Nov. 23, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Gustavo Dudamel return to Symphony Hall to perform John Adams's new concerto Why Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes?, with pianist Yuja Wang, as well as Ginastera's Variaciones Concertantes and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring.

Finally, on Feb. 23, Joshua Bell brings the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields to Boston, leading the ensemble in Brahms's Symphony No. 4 and taking on the additional role of soloist for Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 1.

Chamber music, as always, plays a central role in the Celebrity Series, with concerts by the Jerusalem Quartet (Oct. 26) and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (Nov. 17). In addition, both the Calidore (Mar. 4) and Danish (May 3) String Quartets bring programs to Boston that cast Beethoven's music in distinctive new light, through the context of other composers and new commissions, all in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth.

Beethoven is also celebrated in a program by Lyon Opera Ballet (Mar. 27-29), in which the composer's Grosse Fuge is the basis for three works by different female choreographers, including Lucinda Childs, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, and Maguy Marin.

The same anniversary is also explored through two fascinating programs by pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard on Mar. 28 and 29, setting Beethoven's music in the context of other works by Schoenberg, Stockhausen, Sweelinck, Berg, and George Benjamin.

Other stellar pianists perform Celebrity Series concerts in the coming season, including Richard Goode (Nov. 9), Joyce Yang (Dec. 4), Steven Osborne and Paul Lewis (Feb. 21) in a four-hands-one-piano program, and Daniil Trifonov (Mar. 15), who plays Bach's music as arranged by Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Brahms.

Major artists of the opera world perform recitals in 2019-2020, including soprano Ying Fang (Feb. 12), bass-baritone Davóne Tines, with pianist Adam Nielsen (Apr. 1), soprano Angela Gheorgiu, with pianist Alexandra Dariescu (Apr. 17), and soprano Renée Fleming, with pianist Evgeny Kissin (Apr. 26).

For complete information about its 2019-2020 season, visit the Celebrity Series of Boston.

Brian McCreath is the Director of Production for CRB.