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Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra announces 2022-23 season

Seven classical concerts and two pops programs aim to increase representation and accessibility.

Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra
The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra has announced its 2022-23 season.
File / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra has announced its 2022-23 season, which includes seven classical music concerts and two pops programs presented at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center's Symphony Hall.

In a statement accompanying the announcement, executive director Brandon VanWaeyenberghe said the orchestra has embraced "three new programming goals": to "celebrate unheard voices," "highlight rising artists," and "engage new audiences."

While the orchestra's programs will feature classical mainstays like Ludwig von Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (May 6) and Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 (March 18), the orchestra will also perform work by composers who aren't yet household names.

"The focus here is on music by Black composers, from past (Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Florence Price, William Grant Still) to present (Adolphus Hailstork, Jessie Montgomery)," said music director Dirk Meyer in a statement. "We also introduce other works that, I suspect, might be less familiar to our audience, such as the beautiful 'Cantus Arcticus' by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara or Michael Tippett’s emotional oratorio 'A Child of Our Time.'"

The DSSO's programming push echoes newfound efforts by classical music organizations around the world to address severe and longstanding disparities in the representation of artists of color, both in repertoire and among performers. The orchestra is also aiming to increase accessibility by making tickets more affordable.

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"One of the most visible changes we are making this season is adjusting our ticket prices and map," said VanWaeyenberghe in the season announcement. "This change adds 280 $20 seats into the hall, with most of them on the main floor." The DSSO is also continuing its "casual concert" series with two matinee performances that are free to children 17 and under and $10 for adults.

The new season's pops concerts include a Feb. 25 tribute to John Williams, who regularly tops polls as the most popular living composer — with film credits including "Star Wars," "Jurassic Park," and the "Harry Potter" series. The other pops concert, on Dec. 3, will be a "holiday spectacular."

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Two newly created positions will allow the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center to bring more shows of different sizes to the harborside complex.

Guest artists joining the DSSO for Symphony Hall concerts next season include pianist Terrence Wilson, violinist Bella Hristova, and cellist Gabriel Martins. In the announcement, VanWaeyenberghe said that in the spirit of highlighting rising artists, the DSSO has "a vision of being a career launcher for soloists."

Meanwhile, this summer the DSSO will return to Bayfront Festival Park for Independence Day and present small ensembles at venues including the Great Lakes Aquarium and local breweries. Three free "Bridge Sessions" featuring DSSO artists at the Depot in summer 2022 include a July 15 collaboration with singer-songwriter Rachael Kilgour.

The DSSO's 2021-22 season concerts at Symphony Hall conclude on April 30, with the new season kicking off on Sept. 24. That program begins, aptly enough, with Hailstork's concert overture "An American Port of Call."

Tickets for individual concerts in the 2022-23 season go on sale Sept. 1, with subscription packages available earlier. Details are available at dsso.com.

Related Topics: MUSICDULUTH
Arts and entertainment reporter Jay Gabler joined the Duluth News Tribune in February 2022. His previous experience includes eight years as a digital producer at The Current (Minnesota Public Radio), four years as theater critic at Minneapolis alt-weekly City Pages, and six years as arts editor at the Twin Cities Daily Planet. He's a co-founder of pop culture and creative writing blog The Tangential; and a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can reach him at jgabler@duluthnews.com or 218-279-5536.
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