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Santa Fe Symphony draws award-winning guest conductors for its nine performances

Internationally acclaimed pianist Olga Kern performs at the Santa Fe Symphony’s season-opening concert on Sept. 27.

Internationally acclaimed pianist Olga Kern performs at the Santa Fe Symphony’s season-opening concert on Sept. 27.

In its 2015-16 season, the Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus brings nine programs to the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, with a host of beloved works and a star-studded array of soloists from near and far.

This season will be the third year of the organization’s principal conductor search, drawing award-winning conductors from diverse backgrounds as the guest conductors at each concert.

Here is the season schedule:

  • 4 p.m. Sept. 27, “Showcase of the Stars”
ZORMAN: Won international violin competition

ZORMAN: Won international violin competition

The season opener will be led by guest conductor Guillermo Figueroa and feature two ever-popular soloists. Violinist Itamar Zorman, winner of the 2014 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award as well as the 2011 Tchaikovsky International Violin Competition, will perform Tchaikovsky’s Concerto for Violin in D major.

One of the great pianists of her generation and the first woman in more than 30 years to receive the Gold Medal in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Olga Kern will perform Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Verdi’s dramatic La Forza del Destino overture completes the program.

  • 4 p.m. Oct. 18, “Mozart & Schubert”

The Symphony’s Concertmaster David Felberg and Principal Violist Kim Fredenburgh are featured soloists during this tribute to two Viennese masters. Widely regarded as Mozart’s greatest string concerto, the Sinfonia Concertante is a deeply expressive masterpiece that combines technical virtuosity and rich harmony.

Schubert’s monumental and final Symphony in C Major earned the nickname “Great” for its grandeur and sense of space; Schumann proclaimed it the greatest instrumental work since Beethoven.

  • 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21 and 4 p.m. Nov. 22, “Messiah”

The annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah” will feature the full Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, with Guest Conductor Tom Hall, Choral Director Linda Raney and guest soloists Devon Guthrie, Joseph Beutel, and Joshua Dennis. A musical rite of the holiday season, this Baroque-era oratorio still awes listeners.

  • 4 p.m. Dec. 13, “Christmas Treasures (Pops)”

This is the Santa Fe Symphony’s annual afternoon of Christmas favorites. This celebratory performance will feature Guest Conductor David Felberg as the symphony performs Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, Yon’s “Gesu Bambino,” Faith’s “Brazilian Sleigh Bells,” “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin, Wendel’s “Little Drummer Boy Bolero” and Anderson’s “A Christmas Festival.”

  • 4 p.m. Jan. 17, “Bizet, Bach & Shostakovich”

Guest Conductor Ryan McAdams returns to lead the symphony in a performance that frames Bach, one of the greatest and most influential composers of all time, with two extraordinarily colorful and popular works. The program begins with a suite of music taken from Bizet’s enduring and unforgettable final opera, “Carmen.” The symphony’s principal flutist, Jesse Tatum, is showcased in Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 2 for Flute & Orchestra, a seven-movement work in B minor.

  • 4 p.m. Feb. 14 “Mozart – Dvorák”

This is a Valentine’s Day symphonic meditation on the depth and power of human emotion. The program begins with Weber’s “Overture to Der Freischütz,” one of the cornerstones of Romantic opera, suffused with mystery and feeling. Guest soloist Michael Ludwig joins the orchestra for Mozart’s Concerto for Violin in A Major, known for its expressive range, brilliant orchestration, and moments of lyrical poetry.

  • 4 p.m. March 20, “Stravinsky – Brahms”

The symphony celebrates the arrival of spring with a program dedicated to sunshine, fun, innovation and surprise. Brahms’ pastoral Serenade No. 1 is bucolic, exuberant and jovial, while Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite, drawn from his ballet interpretation of an 18th-century commedia dell’arte work, is full of arch humor and clever double entendres. Haydn’s Symphony No. 45, known as “Farewell,” derives its name from its unique finale which sees the orchestra members, each in turn, pick up their instruments and leave the stage.

  • 7 p.m. April 10, “Four Seasons”

Violinist Alexi Kenney returns to lead the symphony to perform Vivaldi’s beloved “Four Seasons” as well as Bach’s Double Concerto for Oboe and Violin, featuring Kenney alongside the symphony’s principal oboist, Elaine Heltman.

  • 7:30 p.m. May 14 and 4 p.m. May 15, “Beethoven Festival”

American Pianist Association, Crystal Award and Van Cliburn winner Sean Chen returns for a tribute to one of the most influential of all classical composers, performing Beethoven’s freewheeling and optimistic Choral Fantasy with orchestra and chorus. Guest Conductor Ryan McAdams leads the program that also includes the March and Chorus from The Ruins of Athens as well as the Symphony No. 7.

Season subscriptions are available by calling The Santa Fe Symphony box office at 505-983-1414. Individual tickets from $25 to $80 also are on sale.

The Lensic Performing Arts Center is at 211 W. San Francisco St. in Santa Fe.