The New Mexico Philharmonic’s new season embraces Russian romance, Brazilian guitar and Scheherazade in a program of classics and concertos.
The festivities kick off with a three-day Tchaikovsky festival on Oct. 15, 16 and 22 with pianists Olga Kern and Sylvia Thereza.
Kern will play the composer’s Concerto No. 1, while Thereza will perform his Concerto No. 2. The concerts take place at 6 p.m. on Saturdays and at 3 p.m. Sunday.
“We had great success with our Beethoven festival last season,” music director Roberto Minczuk said.
The decision to produce a Tchaikovsky festival is the beginning of a trend, he said. The philharmonic will continue to produce annual festivals focusing on a single composer each season.
On Oct. 29, the musicians will present the three finalists of the Olga Kern International Piano Competition with more than $30,000 in cash prizes to the winners, along with concert dates throughout the U.S. and Europe.
On Nov. 5 Brazilian guitarist Yamandu Costa will play two original concertos on his seven-string guitar.
“Yamandu comes from the south of Brazil,” Minczuk said. “And he’s self-taught, but he’s like a force of nature. I met him when he was playing at a jazz bar. I had never seen such virtuosity on the guitar.”
Richard Strauss’ “Don Juan” welcomes the New Year on Jan. 14.
Beethoven dominates the Feb. 11 concert with his nearly 200-year-old Ninth Symphony. The program will open with a piece by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Reid. The Philharmonic commissioned the work with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.
March 18 will mark Romanian cellist Andrei Ionita,winner of the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition, performing Dvorák’s Cello Concerto, followed by Ravel’s Suites from “Daphnis et Chloé,” written for the ballet.
The classics series will end with violin virtuoso Jennifer Frautschi performing as the soloist in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, nicknamed “Turkish.” The concert will end with Mahler’s Symphony No. 1.
“I’ve decided we’re going to do all of the Mahler symphonies over the next seasons,” Minczuk said. “Mahler is the composer that explored the symphony orchestra like no other composer. His music is monumental. It’s like climbing Mount Everest.”
All concerts take place at Popejoy Hall on the University of New Mexico campus. All performances are at 6 p.m., except for the Tchaikovsky Festival concerts, and are preceded by a free preconcert talk at 5 p.m. For tickets: nmphil.org.