Dallas Symphony Orchestra announces concert programs for Fall 2020

Debut of Fabio Luisi as Dallas Symphony Music Director in September 2020

Concerts Carefully Curated Artistically to Reflect Dallas Symphony’s Commitment to Return Safely to the Stage with Small Orchestra and Chamber Ensembles and New Audience Protocols

Six Black Composers Included in Revised Programming and November 11 Concert Added, in Partnership with Dallas Black Dance Theatre and Project Unity, to Honor Lives Lost to Racial Violence and Injustice

Robotic Cameras and Video Control Room Installed in the Meyerson; Concerts to Be Captured and Offered on Demand; Available for Those Who Cannot Attend

Dallas, TX (July 31, 2020) – The Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and Music Director Fabio Luisi (Louise W. & Edmund J. Kahn Music Directorship) today announce NEXT STAGE, revised programming for Fall 2020 Texas Instruments Classical Series, Pops Series and Dallas Symphony Presents concerts. With the safety of DSO musicians and audiences foremost in planning and in response to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the programs will be performed with no intermission, will be composed of smaller, socially-distanced orchestral ensembles and will allow an audience of only 50-75 guests.

“After the shutdown in March, we were able to make music in unique ways and for many people across the Metroplex. These included more than 40 outdoor chamber music concerts, four programs in the Meyerson that were recorded and posted on our website, and, in partnership with DSO musicians, creation of original musical content from their homes,” said Kim Noltemy, Ross Perot President & CEO of the Dallas Symphony. “There is no substitute for performances on our stage at the Meyerson with an audience. We look forward to safely welcoming small audiences back this fall, and though attending concerts will be different than in previous seasons, our musicians will continue to inspire you.”

Building on procedures that began this summer, DSO musicians will volunteer for the concerts and will receive COVID-19 testing prior to playing. Strict distancing will be enforced in backstage areas, and additional cleaning will be part of musician common areas.

“We tested these protocols in June, and I felt safe and confident playing with my colleagues,” said Angela Fuller Heyde, Principal Second Violin (Barbara K. & Seymour R. Thum Chair). “We are so grateful that our health and safety are being taken so seriously and that every possible precaution is being taken. I can’t wait to be back on stage at the Meyerson!”

Tickets for Fall DSO concerts will be available first to subscribers. Concerts with demand that exceeds capped capacity may include on a case-by-case basis open dress rehearsals or additional performances added.

Subscribers will receive an added benefit beginning this season. Installation of a new robotic camera system and video studio at the Meyerson Symphony Center will allow the DSO to capture concerts for on-demand viewing or live streaming. Subscribers will have access to this collection of performances free of charge. Non-subscribers will be able to view for a fee. More details on the program will be available later this summer.

Music Director Fabio Luisi will lead the DSO in three programs this fall. Yefim Bronfman will join Luisi and the DSO for the music of Beethoven in concerts on September 10-13. Mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford and tenor Stuart Skelton will be the soloists in a unique chamber version of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (Song of the Earth) in programs October 9-11. Luisi’s third program of the fall will be a celebration of the operas of Giuseppe Verdi. Soprano Krassimira Stoyanova, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, tenor Piero Pretti and bass Wenwei Zhang will perform selections from AidaDon CarloThe Force of Destiny and others. Luisi is renowned for his interpretation of the music of Verdi. This new Verdi program replaces the originally programmed Requiem by Verdi which will be postponed to a time when a large gathering of chorus singers is possible.  

“Plans and programs may change, but our commitment to music and performing for our audience is unwavering. I am very excited to come back to Dallas and share music in the Meyerson. Sadly, we will not be able to perform Verdi’s Requiem at this time, but we will certainly prioritize programming this for a future season,” said Luisi.

Principal Guest Conductor Gemma New (Dolores G. & Lawrence S. Barzune, M.D. Chair) will begin her second season with performances of George Walker’s Lyric for Strings and Mozart’s Symphony No. 38, “Prague”. Principal Harp Emily Levin (Elsa von Seggern Chair) will be the soloist in Ginastera’s kaleidoscopic Harp Concerto.

Additional fall concerts in the Texas Instruments Classical Series bring a variety of excitement and perspectives. Trombonist Jörgen Van Rijen will return to Dallas for the US premiere of Bryce Dessner’s Trombone Concerto (October 1-4). Finnish conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov will bring the music of Beethoven to the Meyerson in concerts October 22-25. As part of the Women in Classical Music Symposium week, conductor Marin Alsop and violinist Hilary Hahn will join forces for a program of music by Mozart, Prokofiev, Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg and American composer Jessie Montgomery (November 5-8). The Dallas Symphony is also co-commissioning a new work by Montgomery to receive its world premiere in Spring 2022. Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in a shortened version will round out the fall programming with performances on November 27-29 conducted by Andrew Grams.

Assistant Conductor Katharina Wincor (Marena & Roger Gault Chair) will return to lead an educational concert program which will be filmed and recorded to be made available to North Texas students.  Alumni Soloists of the Sphinx Program as well as other guest artists will join Wincor for this project in November.

Dallas Symphony Pops patrons will enjoy music led by Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik (Dot & Paul Mason Podium) as well as special guests. Tyzik and frequent guest Byron Stripling will perform a program celebrating Jazz and Ragtime, with music by Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton and Gershwin. Tony Award-winner Kelli O’Hara, known for her beautiful starring roles in The Light in the PiazzaSouth Pacific and The King and I, will make her debut at the Meyerson in October. Soulful tunes and legendary vocals will be on the program for Queens of Soul, a look at the songs made famous by Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Patti LaBelle and more. In addition, Guest Conductor Sarah Hicks will lead the brass and percussion of the DSO in a range of music spotlighting the excitement of those sections. Resident Organist Bradley Hunter Welch (Lay Family Chair) will join the performance from the Lay Family Concert Organ.

Some originally scheduled Pops Series and movie programming has been moved to later dates. Toy Story Live in Concert has moved to September 2021, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has moved to November 2021. “The Music of Selena” has now been rescheduled to June 2021, and “Lush Life: The Music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn” has been postponed to March 2021. Both of those programs on the Pops Series will feature Jeff Tyzik conducting.

This summer, the DSO announced a new program for November 11. This concert, in partnership with Dallas Black Dance Theatre and Project Unity, will honor lives lost to racial violence and injustice. Baritone Reginald Smith, Jr. will join the DSO and DBDT, and musicians from the Young Strings Program will perform in this concert. The program will include a newly commissioned work by Dallas-based Quinn Mason.

Throughout the Fall programming, the orchestra will feature works by Black composers including Adolphus Hailstork, Scott Joplin, Quinn Mason, Jessie Montgomery, Jelly Roll Morton and George Walker. This is a first step in diversifying the selection of works being performed and providing opportunities for composers of color. “We have much work to do in the area of equity, diversity and inclusion,” said Noltemy, “but it is a priority for the DSO, and very soon we will share our comprehensive plan to ensure that the DSO takes a leadership role in this important work.”

Much planning and preparation has been done this summer to address the health concerns related to concert attendance during COVID-19 spread in the community. Working with colleagues in the Dallas Arts District as well as with the consultation of a medical doctor who is a specialist in infectious diseases, the DSO has implemented health standards and protocols for concert-going.

“My husband and I have been sheltering at home, and I had no intention of going further than daily walks,” said Cece Smith, Dallas Symphony Association Board of Governors incoming Chair. “Then I heard the comments from the musicians and other audience members about how safe they felt in the hall during the concerts performed in June, and we were convinced. The concert experience was handled beautifully, from the designated arrival time, to the parking, to the staggered entries and departures. The audience was seated substantially away from each other and, of course, wearing masks and staying distant from others.  It was so well done, and the live music was such a welcome treat, that we went to two more concerts! It is probably the safest place in Dallas.”

Patrons who return to the Meyerson can expect the following safety and health procedures:

  • Concerts will be approximately one hour in length and have no intermissions.
  • We will ask all attendees to wear masks unless there is a health issue that prevents this.
  • We will have voluntary temperature checks available as attendees arrive at the Meyerson.
  • We will ask patrons to arrive at a specific time and enter through a specific door and use a designated restroom to ensure no proximity to other patrons.
  • We will have contactless ticketing to minimize close interactions.
  • We will ensure that audience members are not seated near other attendees.
  • We will stagger departures of attendees.
  • We will not have food and beverage service in September and October, but have complimentary drink vouchers for nearby restaurants.
  • Patrons are permitted to bring water into the concert hall.
  • There will be hand sanitizers throughout the building available for use.
  • We have installed HEPA filters in the Meyerson and have an ongoing deep cleaning process between concerts.
  • Valet parking will only be available for those who have disabilities.

The COVID-19 situation is fluid, and the DSO will continue to follow current governmental guidelines and safety recommendations.

Since the pandemic shutdown in March 2020, the DSO pivoted quickly to provide music and service to the Dallas community. DSO musicians began an outdoor chamber music series performing in neighborhoods all across Dallas. Recognizing a need for music in healing and happiness, DSO musicians took requests for “special deliveries” of music to individual homes (performing outdoors). These performances brought joy for 100th birthdays, special anniversaries and to comfort those who were unable to leave their homes for health reasons. Building on work that began before the pandemic, the DSO worked with area hospitals to share videos and “one to one” performances via Zoom with patients. The DSO currently has a presence in all hospital systems in Dallas as well as most major assisted living facilities. Once music lessons for Young Musicians was moved online, the education team realized a need for more than instruction. The DSO has launched a food drive with board, musicians and staff and delivers groceries to food-insecure families which will continue until their local school is able to fulfill that need.

“Through this difficult time, music and community stays at the center of our mission,” said Noltemy. “It is our commitment and mission to perform live orchestral music to Dallas and to share the inspiration and life-changing programs that the DSO is known for, both in person and online. We thank our supporters, subscribers and the community for their continued support as we move to this NEXT STAGE.”


September 4-6, 2020

BRASS, ORGAN & PERCUSSION of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra

SARAH HICKS conducts


J. S. SMITH                    The Star-Spangled Banner (arr. Mueller, adapted V. Allen)

A. HAILSTORK              American Fanfare

COPLAND                     Fanfare for the Common Man

GIGOUT                         Grand Choeur et Dialogue for Organ & Brass

MICHAEL KAMEN         Dectet for Brass

IVES                               Variations on America for solo organ

HANDEL                        “La Rejouissance” & Minuet/Trio from Music for the Royal Fireworks (arr. Rickards)

MUSSORGSKY               “The Hut on Fowl’s Legs (Baba Yaga)” & “Great Gate of Kiev”,

  from Pictures at an Exhibition (arr. Michael Allen)

J.P. SOUSA                     Washington Post March

J. P. SOUSA                    The Stars and Stripes Forever (arr. Michael Allen)

September 10-13, 2020

Texas Instruments Classical Series

FABIO LUISI conducts


BEETHOVEN                  Piano Concerto No. 2

BEETHOVEN                  Symphony No. 8

September 18-20, 2020
Pops Series

JEFF TYZIK conducts

RAGTIME & JAZZ including music by Scott Joplin, Gershwin and Jelly Roll Morton arrangements.

September 24-27, 2020

Texas Instruments Classical Series

GEMMA NEW conducts


GEORGE WALKER          Lyric for Strings

GINASTERA                   Harp Concerto

MOZART                       Symphony No. 38 “Prague”

October 1-4, 2020

Texas Instruments Classical Series



BEETHOVEN                 Symphony No. 1

BRYCE DESSNER         Trombone Concerto (US Premiere)

KODÁLY                        Dances of Galanta

October 9-11, 2020

Texas Instruments Classical Series

FABIO LUISI conducts

TAMARA MUMFORD mezzo-soprano


MAHLER                       Das Lied von der Erde (Song of the Earth)
Chamber Ensemble Version by Schönberg/Riehn

October 16-18, 2020

Pops Series

ROB FISHER conducts

KELLI O’HARA vocalist


October 22-25, 2020

Texas Instruments Classical Series



BEETHOVEN                  Piano Concerto No. 3

BEETHOVEN                  Symphony No. 4

October 29-November 1, 2020

Texas Instruments Classical Series

FABIO LUISI conducts


JAMIE BARTON mezzo-soprano



VERDI                           Arias, Duets & Overtures from AidaDon CarloThe Force of Destiny and others

October 31, 2020



November 5- 8, 2020

Texas Instruments Classical Series

MARIN ALSOP conducts


MAGNUS LINDBERG      Absence (Abwesenheit – L’Absence) (US Premiere)

MOZART                       Violin Concerto No. 5


PROKOFIEV                   Symphony No. 1 in D Major, “Classical”

November 11, 2020


REGINALD SMITH, JR., baritone; and further vocal soloists to be confirmed

Dancers from Dallas Black Dance Theatre

Musicians of the DSO Young Strings Program

November 12, 2020

Dallas Symphony Presents


JEFF TYZIK conducts


November 13-15, 2020

Pops Series

JEFF TYZIK conducts



November 27- 29, 2020

Dallas Symphony Presents


TCHAIKOVSKY               The Nutcracker