The Bangor Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming 126th season will bring a highly anticipated return to in-person concerts at the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono.
But music director and conductor Lucas Richman and executive director Brian Hinrichs still plan to stream each concert in the season, a digital option for fans and subscribers that started as a necessary pandemic stopgap but became surprisingly popular as the months wore on without in-person concerts.
“It was something our subscribers really enjoyed,” Hinrichs said. “Now, they’ll have the chance to experience a concert live and then again from home, from a different angle.”
The digital concerts also allowed the orchestra to reach new audiences, Hinrichs said. And for the upcoming season, health and safety also motivated the BSO to offer a way for people to see concerts remotely.
“We want to be able to tell people to stay home if they are not feeling well, and this makes it easier to do that,” Hinrichs said.
While the online-only performances were necessary and often rewarding, Richman said, nothing takes the place of live music — and he’s planned a season that he thinks will excite and inspire the BSO’s audiences.
“This new season showcases the full orchestra for the first time in almost two years, and the music we’ve chosen takes advantage of that, moving our art form forward while also providing comfort and inspiration to our community,” Richman said.
The new season will start on Oct. 10, with Richman conducting three crowd-pleasers, plus a world premiere of a new work by Venezuelan composer Reinaldo Moya, “Concerto for Piano, Strings and Percussion.” The work, commissioned by the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation for the BSO, features pianist Joyce Yang.
Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” Giacomo Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” and Benjamin Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” round out the program.
For the Nov. 21 concert, the orchestra will play Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 in F major, Opus 93, with Felix Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture” and Camille Saint-Saens “Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor,” featuring cellist Mark Kosower. On Jan. 30, 2022, the orchestra will perform two works by Mozart, Symphony No. 39, K. 543, E-flat major and Concerto for Bassoon, K. 191, B-flat major, featuring the BSO’s own bassoonist, Wren Saunders. Chevalier de Saint-Georges Symphony No. 2, op. 11 is also on the bill.
On March 6, 2022, the BSO will take on Igor Stravinsky’s explosive “Firebird Suite,” and will also premiere another Ellis-Beauregard Foundation commission, a world premiere from composer Jessica Meyer. Also on the bill is Conni Ellisor’s “Blackberry Winter,” featuring Maine-based musician Pam Weeks performing the mountain dulcimer.
On Saturday, March 19, 2022, the BSO will finally premiere Richman’s new work, “The Warming Sea,” commissioned by the Maine Science Festival. That premiere will come two years after it was supposed to premiere just days after the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020.
The season wraps up on April 10, with Antonin Dvorak’s “Carnival Overture,” Alexander Borodin’s “Polovtsian Dances,” and Beethoven’s epic Piano Concerto No. 4, G major, Op. 58, featuring Roberto Plano on piano.
Details about holiday programming, including performances of “The Nutcracker” with the Robinson Ballet, will be announced at a later date, according to Richman.
All concerts are at 3 p.m. at the Collins Center for the Arts, except “The Warming Sea,” which is set for 7 p.m., also at the Collins Center. Season tickets are now available for purchase, starting at $45 for new individual subscribers. Single tickets will go on sale on Sept. 7. For more information, visit bangorsymphony.org.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated who commissioned “The Warming Sea”