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The Phoenix Symphony Announces 2023-24 Season Programming: Renowned Guest Artists Are Featured In A Dynamic Season Filled With Classical and Popular Programs

By on April 18, 2023 0 324Views

The Phoenix Symphony today announces its 2023-24 Season, presenting an extraordinary range of classical and popular programming.

The Phoenix Symphony’s 77th season brings classical masterpieces, world-class guest artists, and new concert experiences to the Valley from Symphony Hall and the Mesa Arts Center to the Orpheum and Arizona Financial Theater.

A wide variety of subscription packages are available now, including the return of Classical and Pops subscriptions in response to popular demand.

Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” REVERB: Contemporary Music Festival, and popular films with live music are all a part of Virginia G. Piper Music Director Tito Muñoz’s final season, after a decade in the role.

“The breadth of programming in our 2023-24 Season reflects our innovative, dynamic and vibrant community in Phoenix and Arizona,” said Peter Kjome, President and CEO. “The Phoenix Symphony is one of Arizona’s most important cultural assets, and this season includes extraordinary programs that will enrich the lives of Arizonans of all ages.”

Photos by: Aaron Soto

Classical Performances

The Symphony welcomes guest artists such as pianist Joyce Yang, a Silver Medalist at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and violinist Rachel Barton Pine, the first American and youngest Gold Medalist of the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition. Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony “Pathétique,” Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony are a few of the many renowned works in the Classics series.

The 77th season opens and closes with two important programs led by Virginia G. Piper Music Director Tito Muñoz. Joined by The Phoenix Symphony Chorus and Phoenix Boys Choir, the season begins in September with Carl Orff’s mighty cantata, Carmina Burana. The Classics series concludes in May 2024 with Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 in C Minor, “Resurrection,” joined by The Phoenix Symphony Chorus.

Carmina Burana was the first piece I conducted when I began my tenure as Virginia G. Piper Music Director of The Phoenix Symphony,” said Muñoz. “This work seemed like a fitting way to begin my tenth season in Phoenix as we celebrate a decade of shared accomplishments and countless performances enriching the lives of people in our community.”

The 2023-24 Season will be Muñoz’s final season at the helm of The Phoenix Symphony, although he will continue in the newly created role of Artistic Partner in future seasons.

Photos by: Aaron Soto

Several prominent guest conductors will lead The Phoenix Symphony in 2023-24 including Ankush Bahl, music director of the Omaha Symphony; José Luis Gomez, music director of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra; Vinay Parameswaran, former associate conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra; and Lidiya Yankovskaya, music director of Chicago Opera Theater.

Beloved favorites next season include Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, a Spanish-flavored work for guitar and orchestra starring Spanish guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas, a past winner of the Segovia Award and the Gold Medalist at the inaugural Christopher Parkening International Guitar Competition.

Superb guest artists who will join The Phoenix Symphony also include the dynamic cellist Johannes Moser, a top prize winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition, performing Antonín Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B Minor.

The Phoenix Symphony will present six of its 10 Classics concerts at Mesa Arts Center. New this season, a special Friday Nights in Mesa subscription package is available for the series held in the intimate, acoustically superb Ikeda Theater in Mesa.

Also new for 2023-24 will be the projection of supertitles at select concerts including the Classics series opening and closing concerts and the March 2024 performances of Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs. Titles and translations will be projected in both English and Spanish.

Some of the many inspiring programs include the local premiere of a violin concerto by Florence Price, the first African-American woman to compose a symphony performed by a major American orchestra. The Violin Concerto No. 2 that Price completed in 1952, less than a year before her death, will be performed by Rachel Barton Pine.

New music will play an important role in the 2023-24 Classics series including Picture Studies by Adam Schoenberg, an Emmy Award-winner and two-time Grammy-nominated composer. Muñoz also will lead the orchestra in the world premiere of the sound of space beyond us by Annie Nikunen, a composer, flutist, choreographer, dancer and radio personality.


Pops and Film Performances 

The extensive lineup of Pops concerts includes a tribute to the music of ABBA with the Finnish vocal sensation Rajaton as well as “And I Love Her: The Beatles Reimagined” with Steve Hackman, featuring reimagined songs by the Fab Four.

Highlights include an appearance by the “Queen of Mariachi,” Aída Cuevas, with the renowned Mariachi Aztlán in a program of mariachi and more, and “The Music of Queen,” a one-night-only rock concert extravaganza in the Arizona Financial Theatre.

Fresh from her successful run in “Aretha: A Tribute,” a salute to the music of Aretha Franklin, vocalist Capathia Jenkins joins The Phoenix Symphony in “She’s Got Soul” with some of the greatest hits of R&B and soul including “I Will Always Love You,” “Midnight Train to Georgia,” “Celebration” and “Rolling in the Deep” as performed by leading ladies of song such as Whitney Houston, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Adele, and many others.

The spectacular artists returning next season include Byron Stripling, in the Pops concert “Mardi Gras in New Orleans.” Stripling’s electrifying and heartfelt tribute to Louis Armstrong has become one of America’s most popular orchestral pops programs.

Pops programs include “Broadway Tonight!” led by Bob Bernhardt, a frequent guest conductor of The Boston Pops and principal pops conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony. In addition, “Prohibition: The Music of Moulin Rouge, Boardwalk Empire and More!” features music including “St. Louis Blues,” Edith Piaf’s “La Vie En Rose” and Kurt Weill’s “Mack the Knife.”

Composer and music visionary Steve Hackman created “And I Love Her: The Beatles Reimagined,” which opens the 2023-24 Pops series. He also curated the final show on the series, The Resurrection Mixtape. One week after Muñoz conducts Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony No. 2 to conclude the 2023-24 Classics season, Hackman will conduct the orchestra in The Resurrection Mixtape, with excerpts from Mahler’s Second Symphony intermingled with music by Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G, two legendary figures in the world of rap.

Blockbuster films with live orchestra include Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceTM, the sixth film in the Harry Potter Series, Star Wars: A New HopeTM, the original 1977 film that launched the most storied franchise in cinematic history and Disney’s Encanto TM.

Holiday Performances

Performances of Handel’s Messiah have been an annual Christmas tradition in the English-speaking world for more than 275 years, and four superb soloists will join The Phoenix Symphony Chorus in December. In addition, Muñoz will lead the orchestra with world-class soloists and talented local choral singers from Hispanic churches and community groups in the Christmas portion of Handel’s Mesíasperformed in Spanish.

The holiday celebrations begin with Holiday Pops led by guest conductor Gerald Steichen, principal pops conductor of the Utah Symphony and a frequent guest conductor of the Boston and New York Pops.

Troupe Vertigo, a company of acrobats, aerialists, contortionists, jugglers and more, will present Cirque Spectacular set to live music in a New Year’s Eve show led by guest conductor Stuart Chafetz, a frequent and popular guest conductor of the Pops concerts in Phoenix.

REVERB: Contemporary Music Festival

REVERB, an exploration and celebration of works from the current musical landscape, will include intimate concerts, panel discussions and behind-the-scenes events to explore the repertoire and learn more about the living composers. Conducted by Tito Muñoz and curated by GRAMMY-nominated violinist and composer Curtis Stewart, this 3rd annual REVERB promises to be an exciting, varied and engaging program.


Subscriptions are available now. Traditional Classics and Pops subscription packages are returning this season and are on sale with savings of up to 20 percent off single-ticket prices. Subscriptions for the 10-concert Classics series start at $250, including fees. Along with separate packages for the Classics, Pops and Films series, concertgoers can Create Your Own series by bundling four or more concerts while enjoying the same 20 percent off savings.

To learn more, visit www.phoenixsymphony.org or call Patron Services at (602) 495-1999.