CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra (WVSO) unveiled its new 2018-’19 season that includes an all-American performance featuring country music legend Lee Greenwood, Bugs Bunny and friends set to live music, and a new City National Bank Casual Classics Series that takes orchestral music inside two stunningly beautiful Charleston churches.
“This is our most exciting season yet,” said WVSO President Joe Tackett. “We are offering more concerts, a great mix of classic orchestral music featuring some outstanding guest soloists as well as the music of Frank Sinatra and our hugely popular holiday concert. We are very excited to have Music Director Larry Loh on board for his first full season with us.”
Series subscription sales, which range from $96-$495, begin this week. Single ticket sales start Aug. 1.
The Elliot Foundation Symphonic Series kicks off Sept. 29 at the Clay Center. The WVSO’s “Opening Night Spectacular” features guest pianist Jon Nakamatsu playing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and includes WVSO performances of Torke’s Javelin and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances.
The Nov. 17 concert at the Clay Center, “A Percussive Surprise,” includes Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet and a special performance of Richard Danielpour’s “The Wounded Healer” Percussion Concerto, written for guest percussionist Lisa Pegher. Pegher.
On Jan. 12 at the Clay Center, guest violinist and Astral Artist Nikki Chooi will return to the WVSO to play Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D minor during its “Something Old, Something Blue” concert. The WVSO will also present Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 in D Major and Jennifer Higdon’s “Blue Cathedral.”
The WVSO’s fourth symphonic concert, “NINE!,” brings the voices of area choruses together with the WVSO to perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, along with guest cellist and Astral Artist Gabriel Cabezas, who will play Camille Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1 with the orchestra. During this March 23 concert at the Clay Center, the WVSO will premiere a special arrangement by American composer Gary Fry being written especially for the WVSO and the Appalachian Children’s Chorus.
Twin pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton will dazzle Clay Center audiences with a May 4 performance of Mozart’s Double Piano Concerto in E-flat Major. Rounding out the WVSO’s final symphonic concert of the season, Double Treble, are performances of Shostakovich’s Festive Overture in a side-by-side performance with the West Virginia Youth Symphony, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10.
New this year is the WVSO’s City National Bank Casual Classics Series, which builds on the success of last year’s Go For Baroque concert at First Presbyterian Church in Charleston in which the WVSO featured the church’s exquisite organs. Once again, the WVSO will perform music perfectly suited to the venue on Oct. 13 as guest organist Bradley Welch performs Poulenc’s Organ Concerto. Performances of Schubert’s Rosamunde Overture and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 will complete the WVSO’s “Pipe Dreams” concert.
On Feb. 23, the WVSO’s “My Harp Will Go On” concert will feature guest harpist and Astral Artist Emily Levin performing Ginastera’s Harp Concerto at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Charleston. The WVSO will also perform Rossini’s Italian in Algiers Overture and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4: “The Italian.”
The ZMM Architects & Engineers Pops Series kicks off Oct. 20 with “Lee Greenwood: Salute to America,” a special SuperPops concert at the newly renovated Charleston Civic Center. This special concert features some of Greenwood’s most famous songs, including “God Bless the USA,” and offers special VIP seating and hospitality tables on the arena floor.
Guest conductor Michelle Merrill will return to the Clay Center on Dec. 8 for the WVSO’s celebrated holiday tradition, newly renamed Sounds of the Season, which will offer a selection of holiday favorites, and a visit by Jolly Old Saint Nick.
On Feb. 9, guest soloist Tony DeSare will join the WVSO at the Clay Center in performing some of Frank Sinatra’s most beloved tunes. The WVSO will deliver a fresh take on old-school classics like “Fly Me to the Moon,” “The Summer Wind” and “My Way.”
The ZMM Pops Series concludes April 13 with a celebration of beloved cartoons and classical music with “Bugs Bunny at The Symphony.” The WVSO will play live music as the antics of Daffy Duck, Road Runner and Tom and Jerry, just to name a few, play out on the screen overhead.
To order a subscription, call the Clay Center box office at 304-561-3570 or visit wvsymphony.org.