My colleagues and I are very excited to invite you to join us as we explore and experience so much Great Music celebrating Life, Resilience, Hope and Joy.
There are many highlights I want to tell you about, here we go :)
We will open the season with a Richard Strauss Gala, performing his masterpieces Don Quixote and Heldenleben side by side, as conceived by Strauss. With the sumptuous and opulent music of Strauss, we celebrate Life at its fullest; all the joys, dreams, victories AND sorrows, disappointments, defeats - as Don Quixote goes on his quest for the ideal, and Strauss himself in Heldenleben as the emerging composer-hero. At the end of both works, Don Quixote and Strauss attain a beautiful clarity on Life, expressed in such a moving and glowing music with so much poetry and poignancy. Life is so precious - it is the sum of all our experiences and the millions of emotions that make those experiences uniquely our own. The tears make the smiles more sweet, sadness makes happiness more meaningful, nostalgia makes the future shine. And Strauss is a master of capturing this enduring duality of Life.
And of course, Gustav Mahler! Mahler’s symphonies have been a regular oﬀering at TSO during our past 5 seasons together. It has always been my aim that they serve as guideposts for TSO’s musical identity and artistic aspirations. Mahler continues to shape the sound and musicality of TSO by challenging us to rise up to his uniquely astonishing scope of expression, which requires deepest passion and conviction, extreme range of emotional palette, highest virtuosity, utmost flexibility in sound, and enduring stamina from every single musician.
In the autumn, we will perform Mahler’s much loved Symphony No 5, which starts with a Funeral March and ends with a blazingly joyful celebration of Life, with the most tender and heartfelt love song Adagietto in between…. Later in the spring, we will present “Das Lied von der Erde” - Mahler’s love song and farewell to Life. It has the most unforgettable last movement where Mahler’s goodbye speaks so directly to our hearts because while saying farewell, he still holds on to Life “forever” (“ewig”) with his spirit. It is a uniquely human privilege to have the idea of “Forever” in our hearts. It is one of the greatest song-symphony in the entire symphonic repertoire.
In November, my colleagues and I will climb what will no doubt be the highest summit of all our music making together - the Beethoven Cycle Part I. Over the course of 3 concerts in 3 weeks, we will perform for you Symphonies 1, 3, 4, 7 and 9, paired with Piano Concerto No 3 and the Triple Concerto.
Performing Beethoven as a Cycle will be a fantastic challenge and opportunity: a challenge because Beethoven’s music is like an X-ray; as a musician/orchestra, one can not hide behind anything, all of our musical being is exposed by Beethoven’s soul baring music! And it will be an opportunity to infuse ourselves in Beethoven’s mighty music. Living face to face with this giant’s very first symphony to his last will be PURE JOY!
Beethoven did not give up on his life as a composer despite losing his hearing throughout his adult life. His titanic inner strength is a true Miracle - his resilience, endless striving for higher ideals, the fight against himself for his life’s vocation and love - Music. And this inner strength is the essence of his Music. It shines brilliantly in every single note, and makes Beethoven peerlessly great. There is something so universally Good, Just and Right in his music, and these qualities are born out of the furnace of his tremendous suﬀerings and strivings. For me, Beethoven is the highest ideal one can achieve in Music. I am so honored and thrilled to perform these works as an immersive Cycle with my colleagues for you.
So…we have Beethoven, my Hero. And Mahler, my Soulmate!
Then, towards the end of the season, I look forward so much to performing Verdi’s Requiem. It is so powerfully moving because it speaks such a transcendental and precious message in an emotional language utterly human and down to earth. This music is so truthful about all the suﬀerings, doubts, faith and hope of Human Life. It provides a profound solace and sustenance.
A word about our very special Artist of the Season: I am absolutely thrilled to welcome my teacher and friend, the greatest living cellist Maestro Mischa Maisky. He will perform with the TSO three times over the course of our season: Strauss Don Quixote, Beethoven Triple Concerto and an evening of Cello Favorites. My colleagues and I are truly excited and honored that he will make TSO his “home” for three weeks. Welcome Mischa!
Last but not least, I am very happy to introduce to you Anna Clyne as our Contemporary Composer of the Season. When I first encountered her music, I was immediately drawn to her imaginative harmonic language, beautiful melodic lines and open expression. I hope you too will enjoy her works throughout the season.
With all of our hearts, passion, dedication and love in the Music, my colleagues and I warmly invite you. Come and join us. Share our joy, share our life in Music. Great music is an inspiring food for the soul, a soaring joy for the spirit, a refreshing getaway for the mind, and a common partaking for our community.
I hope our performances of Great Music will serve to give you much Joy! Welcome and see you at the concert!
Sincerely, with my warmest greetings, Han-Na Chang