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2022-2023 at the Celebrity Series of Boston

photo collage of Celebrity Series performers during the 2022-2023 season, including Gustavo Dudamel, Fatma Said, Lawrence Brownlee, Beatrice Rana, Kirill Petrenko, Emi Ferguson
Danny Clinch, Josef Fischnaller (Warner Classics), Shervin Lainez, Simon Fowler, Monika Rittershaus, Rebecca Fay
Clockwise, from top left: Gustavo Dudamel, Fatma Said, Lawrence Brownlee, Beatrice Rana, Kirill Petrenko, Emi Ferguson

As the performing arts world continues to integrate pandemic-era practices and protocols into its everyday reality, the Celebrity Series of Boston has announced a 2022-2023 season as vibrant and deep as any season in recent memory. But, building on the organization’s reinvigorated mission, the season also reflects new priorities, enacted by a transitional artistic leadership team.

With the departure of longtime Celebrity Series Artistic Director Amy Lam, the season has been curated by Hanako Yamaguchi, for classical music; Bobby Asher, for jazz, popular music, and the Stave Sessions; and Karen Brown, for dance. Behind the programming of each area is the organization’s commitment to racial equity.

In a statement, Executive Director Gary Dunning said, “We are delighted that this will be the most diverse season Celebrity Series has seen in our 84-year history, which helps us to make real our commitment to support racial diversity and center equity, inclusion, and accessibility both on stage and behind the scenes as a key strategic goal for the organization.”

Here are highlights of the season in several categories:

Three orchestras are part of the next Celebrity Series season.

  • On Oct. 23, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Music Director Gustavo Dudamel perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 and a newly commissioned work by Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz, featuring Spanish violinist María Dueñas in her Boston debut.
  • Then, only a few weeks later, on Nov. 13, the Berlin Philharmonic and chief conductor Kirill Petrenko return to Boston with a program that includes Andrew Norman’s Unstuck, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 1 – featuring the orchestra’s American-born 1st Concertmaster, Noah Bendix-Balgley – and Korngold’s Symphony.
  • Later in the season, on Mar. 22, Chineke! Orchestra, the first professional majority Black and Asian orchestra in Europe, makes their Boston debut, with conductor Andrew Grams and pianist Stewart Goodyear, in a program of works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Goodyear, and Florence Price.

The roots of the Celebrity Series of Boston are in solo piano concerts, and true to its 84-year history, six distinctive pianists will perform solo recitals in the 2022-2023 season.

  • Víkingur Ólafsson performs a Nov. 29 program that places works from Mozart’s last decade in dialogue with pieces by Haydn, C.P.E. Bach, Cimarosa, and Galuppi.
  • On Dec. 6, Martin Helmchen performs music by Bach, Robert Schumann, and Brahms.
  • Just five days later, on Dec. 11, Seong-Jin Cho performs two suites by Handel, Brahms’s Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, along with other selected pieces by the same composer, and Robert Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes.
  • On Mar. 4, Igor Levit performs Beethoven’s final three piano sonatas - Nos. 30, 31, and 32.
  • Beatrice Rana returns to Boston on April 14 with Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 and Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata.
  • On April 23, Evgeny Kissin performs Bach’s Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, Mozart’s Sonata No. 9, Debussy’s Estampes, and selections from Rachmaninoff’s Preludes and the complete Études-Tableaux.

Just as compelling is the diversity and artistic range of the vocal soloists appearing over the course of the season.

  • On Nov. 5, Mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout perform songs by Schubert and Fanny Mendelssohn, as well as songs from von Otter’s home country of Sweden.
  • Tenor Lawrence Brownlee and pianist Kevin Miller return on Mar. 5 with a program based on texts by poets and authors of the Harlem Renaissance, at GBH’s Calderwood Studio.
  • Soprano Fatma Said makes her U.S. recital debut with guitarist Rafael Aguirre on Mar. 30, in a program of Spanish, Egyptian, Brazilian, and Lebanese songs.
  • Then, on April 26, bass-baritone Davóne Tines and pianist Adam Nielsen perform Recital No. 1: MASS, an invitation to recontextualize Bach arias, Caroline Shaw’s Mass, and religious ritual next to arrangements of spirituals by Tyshawn Sorey, Moses Hogan, and Margaret Bonds, as well as Julius Eastman’s powerful a cappella work, Prelude to the Holy Presence of Joan d ’Arc

Chamber music – of all kinds – continues to play a major role in the Celebrity Series season.

  • On Dec. 10, Junction Trio (violinist Stefan Jackiw, cellist Jay Campbell, and pianist Conrad Tao) perform arrangements of chant, madrigals, and a Robert Schumann trio alongside a Celebrity Series co-commission, “Bells and Whistles” by Amy Williams.
  • A landmark concert on Jan. 22 sees the Emerson String Quartet make their final Boston concert appearance, with selections drawn from their recordings of quartets by Bartók, Shostakovich, Beethoven, along with the poignant Lyric for Strings by George Walker.
  • Just five days later, on Jan. 27, the Danish String Quartet returns to the Series with quartets by Haydn and Shostakovich alongside Nordic folk tunes arranged by members of the ensemble.
  • On Feb. 11, flutist Emi Ferguson (Principal Flute of the Handel and Haydn Society) and Ruckus are in GBH’s Calderwood Studio with Fly the Coop, a wild romp through some of Bach’s most playful and transcendent works, orchestrated for baroque flute, baroque guitars, baroque bassoon, cello, viola da gamba, harpsichord, organ, bass, and banjo.
  • Then, on Feb. 22, violinist Alexi Kenney performs Shifting Ground, a program of music for solo violin with and without electronics that weaves selections from Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas with contemporary compositions.
  • Two incredible artists join forces on April 4 when violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Daniil Trifonov perform a program of Beethoven, Prokofiev, and Franck at Symphony Hall.
  • In another collaborative concert, the Doric String Quartet performs with pianist Benjamin Grosvenor on April 22 in a program that begins with quartets by Haydn and Beethoven and ends with British composer Frank Bridge’s Quintet in D.
  • On May 3, the Aizuri Quartet performs Clara Schumann’s Ich stand in dunklen Träumen, Bartók’s Quartet No. 4, Sivunittinni, by Canadian Inuk composer and throat singer Tanya Tagaq, and Haydn’s “Sunrise” Quartet.

Some performances are in categories unto themselves, stretching conventional boundaries and reaching across genres to, in many cases, create some of the most memorable events of the season.

  • On April 16, An Afternoon with Itzhak Perlman showcases Perlman in a deeply personal look at his childhood and the earliest years of his celebrated career in an afternoon of multimedia, music, and storytelling.
  • In a co-presentation with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Osvaldo Golijov’s Falling Out of Time, A Tone Poem in Voices, confronts grief, memory, and reconciliation, from the novel by David Grossman with translation from Hebrew by Jessica Cohen.

Rob Kapilow returns to the Celebrity Series with two What Makes It Great? programs.

  • On Nov. 20, Inventing America Part 1: The Songs of Irving Berlin: An American Voice for Popular Music features Kapilow with vocalist Michael Winther at GBH’s Calderwood Studio.
  • And on Feb. 5, Inventing America, Part 2: Copland’s Appalachian Spring: An American Voice for Classical Music features Boston-based chamber orchestra A Far Cry, at NEC’s Jordan Hall.

The Stave Sessions – the contemporary, cross-genre series – returns, Mar. 29-April 1, at Somerville’s Crystal Ballroom.

  • Mar. 29: Sō Percussion and Dominic “Shodekeh” Talifero
  • Mar. 30: Wild Up
  • Mar. 31: Yasmin Williams
  • April 1: Craig Taborn

For complete information, including jazz and dance performances, as well as Arts for All! community engagement programs, visit the Celebrity Series of Boston.

Brian McCreath is the Director of Production for CRB.