SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The 2022-23 season at the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) brings to Springfield two “pops” concerts and six classical performances.

The new season will begin with the first performance on Saturday, October 22 featuring the famous conductor, JoAnn Falletta, Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.  

Two of the guest conductors for this upcoming season are JoAnn Falletta and Theodore Kuchar. According to David Hurwitz, a music critic and executive editor of ClassicsToday.com, the two conductors have been included in the 10 best living conductors in the world.

Interim SSO Director Paul Lambert said, “We are announcing this concert season at a time when we continue to be without a labor agreement with the musicians’ union. We want to be clear that we remain hopeful for a new agreement and look forward to working together to present this concert season. This concert season will showcase the extraordinary talent of the SSO musicians under the direction of a talented collection of guest conductors.” 

The first pops concert on the schedule is with conductor William Waldrop. “Holiday Pops” on Saturday, December 3, 2022, featuring guest soprano, Camille Zamora, and the Springfield Symphony Chorus.

Byron Stripling, who also will perform on trumpet and vocals, will lead the second pops concert on Saturday, February 25, 2023, celebrating Mardi Gras. He is now the principal Pops conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Stripling is a favorite of Springfield.

Dates of performances:

  • Saturday, October 22 conducted by JoAnn Falletta, featuring Zoltan Kodaly’s Dances of Galanta, Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto with guest cellist Joshua Roman, and Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7, considered by many musicologists to be his best symphony;
  • Saturday November 5, The Sound of Silence, conducted by Tania Miller, former Music Director of the Victoria (Canada) Symphony Orchestra,  featuring “Messenger,” a work by Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 36  (Linz), and Johannes Brahms; Symphony No. 3, from which Dvořák derived the inspiration for his 7th Symphony;
  • Saturday, January 14, 2023 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration with African American guest conductor Kevin Scott, featuring the extraordinarily beautiful music of African-American composers, including Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in D minor performed by Artina McCain, and William Grant Still’s Symphony No. 4, the Autochthonous;
  • Saturday, March 11, a program conducted by Mark Russell Smith featuring the work of female composers  Joan Tower in her Fanfare #1 for the Unknown Woman, and Louise Farrenc in her Symphony No. 3; The program concludes with the powerful Piano Concerto #2 of Sergei Prokofiev, performed by Wei Luo;
  • Saturday, April 15, Asian-American conductor Tian Hui Ng, Music Director of the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra, will conduct a program featuring Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto, No. 2, an epic work of Romanticism, performed by Jiayan Sun, and Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations; 
  • Saturday, May 13, conductor Theodore Kuchar, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Lviv (Ukraine) National Symphony Orchestra, will lead a program featuring Dvorak’s Carnival Overture, Thomas de Hartmann’s Cello Concerto with guest cellist Matt Haimovitz, and Jean Sibelius’s dramatic and ever-popular Symphony No.2.

Guest pianists will be included in this upcoming season such as African American pianists, Artina McCain, Wei Lou, and Jiayan Sun. McCain performed with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and Oregon East Symphony. Wei Luo, a pianist from Shenzhen, China is regarded as the “most influential pianist of her generation”; and Jiayan Sun, a native of Yantai, China is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at Smith College and Julliard graduate. Sun has performed with The Cleveland Orchestra, The Hallé Orchestra, the Chinese and RTÉ (Ireland) National Symphony Orchestras, and the Fort Worth and Toledo Symphony Orchestras.