2023-2024 Season Press Release

June 6, 2023

New York City


SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 – MARCH 22, 2024

Four Orchestral Programs Include Free Opening Concerts at Bryant Park and the Kupferberg Center for the Arts and Performances at Carnegie Hall and Riverside Church
Schoenberg’s Massive Gurre-Lieder, Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus, and Dvořáks Requiem
Free Chamber Concerts in Bryant Park Featuring a New Work by Javier Diaz

New York, NY, June 6, 2023 — The American Symphony Orchestra (ASO) announced its 62nd season featuring four full-orchestra programs at Carnegie Hall, Manhattan’s Riverside Church, and a free opening picnic concert titled American Expressions in Bryant Park on September 7, repeated and also free at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts in Queens on September 10.  The program focuses on music inspired by jazz, theater, and dance that was created in response to World War I, with works by composers including George Antheil, Aaron Copland, and Florence Price.

Season Highlights
The season continues by uncovering a rich selection of seldom heard jewels from history’s choral catalogue. One of Handel’s lesser-known oratorios, Judas Maccabaeus, is presented in Morningside Heights at Manhattan’s Riverside Church, modeled after the 13th Century Gothic cathedral in Chartres, France (December 14), followed by a rare performance of Dvořák’s Requiem (January 25, Carnegie Hall). The season concludes with Schoenberg’s massive cantata, Gurre-Lieder, infrequently performed due to the unusually large number of musicians required. The performance celebrates the centennial of the work’s premiere in 1913 (March 22, Carnegie Hall).

“As we prepare for our 62nd season, I am energized by our ongoing ability to renew live orchestral music as a vital force in contemporary American culture,” said Music Director Leon Botstein. “Now that we have emerged from the major restrictions of the pandemic, the ASO continues that mission in 2023-24 by presenting large choral works that highlight the power of the human voice.”

Chamber Music at Bryant Park
The ASO also offers America UNBOUND, with two additional free performances at Bryant Park, as part of its chamber concert series, presenting percussionist and composer Javier Diaz’s new work Suns and Moons of a New World (September 18 & 25). The composition, commissioned by the ASO, premiered at Bryant Park on May 22 and 23, 2023.

Digital Premiere of Ficciones
The ASO offers the digital premiere of Ficciones, an immersive concert film experience featuring Roberto Sierra’s Concerto for Electric Violin and Orchestra, which combines a mixture of Sierra’s Latin-influenced ideas with modern compositional techniques through the voice of the electric violin, performed by renowned soloist Tracy Silverman. The Puerto Rican composer based his four-movement concerto on short stories by the late Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges. The ASO co-commissioned the work and performed its world premiere on June 5, 2022 at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater, conducted by Leon Botstein. The short film is available to watch for free by clicking here through September 1, 2023.

Details of the ASO’s 2023-24 season are available at americansymphony.org.


Opening Program: American Expressions
Thursday September 7, 2023 at 7 pm, part of the Picnic Performances Series at Bryant Park 
Sunday September 10, 2023 at 3 pm, Kupferberg Center for the Arts, 6530 Kissena Blvd, Flushing, NY  
American Symphony Orchestra
Leon Botstein, conductor
George Antheil: A Jazz Symphony 
Ruth Crawford Seeger: Music for Small Orchestra 
Aaron Copland: Music for the Theatre 
Florence Price: Andante moderato (for string orchestra)
John Alden Carpenter: Krazy Kat
In the years immediately following World War I, the American artistic scene experienced an extraordinary burst of creativity. Responding to the horror and brutality of the war, artists, writers, and composers rejected the ideals of the previous century, focusing instead on creating a means of expression that would reflect the realities this new age required. With jazz, many American composers found a source of distinctly American inspiration that was modern and exciting. Some of the works offered in this program reflect a fascination with the language of the Roaring Twenties and its rhythmic energy and catchy melodies. Other composers sought to push the boundaries of musical expression with ‘ultra-modern’ language such as jagged counterpoint or atonality. The experimental impulses of this generation are presented here with works by some of its key proponents.

Tickets and Seating: Free performance. For Bryant Park on Sept. 7, no tickets or RSVP required, staff lends out free picnic blankets, provides bistro chairs, and offers a curated selection of food and drink to purchase from local vendors. For Sept. 10 at Kupferberg Center for the Arts, attendance is free with online RSVP at americansymphony.org (starting on August 10, 2023).


America UNBOUND: Free Chamber Concerts in Bryant Park
Monday September 18 and Monday September 25, 2023 at 5:30 pm
Bryant Park Upper Terrace
Toyin Spellman-Diaz, oboe, English horn, voice
Shari Hoffman, clarinet
John Sheppard, trumpet
Javier Diaz, percussion
Shiqi Zhong, percussion
Pauline Kim Harris, violin
Pete Donovan, double bass
Javier Diaz:
Suns and Moons of a New World
I. Preludio de la Gran Sabana (Prelude of the Great Plains)
II. Mis Muertos Cantan (All My Dead Sing)
III. Concierto Barroco (Baroque Concerto)
IV. Domingos Álvares, A Priest of Sakpatá in Eighteenth-Century Brazil
V. Sinfonía de Cámara (Chamber Symphony)

The ASO continues its series of free concerts in Bryant Park with America UNBOUND. The program underlines the importance of multicultural influences in the music of the Americas and presents the new chamber work Suns and Moons of a New World, by percussionist and composer Javier Diaz. Offering a compositional look at the American continent unbound through musical histories that emphasize the universality of sound, word, and song, the piece incorporates musical and cultural elements from across the Americas, including the use of a J.S. Bach chorale in Venezuelan merengue. It is performed by a chamber ensemble of ASO musicians and features GRAMMY-nominated Imani Winds’ oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz. Commissioned by the ASO, the work received its world premiere at Bryant Park in May 2023.

Tickets and Seating: Free, no tickets required. Music lovers will find a limited number of first-come, first-served chairs set up near Bryant Park’s Upper Terrace to enjoy an after-work respite with live music.


Judas Maccabaeus
Thursday December 14, 2023, 7 pm at Riverside Church Nave, 490 Riverside Drive, New York, NY
American Symphony Orchestra
Leon Botstein, conductor
Members of Bard Festival Chorale and Riverside Choir
George Frideric Handel: Judas Maccabaeus, HWV 63
The ASO offers an alternative to Handel’s Messiah with another oratorio, Judas Maccabaeus. Set amidst the story of Hanukkah, the oratorio is a dramatization of the Jews’ resistance to their oppressors during the Maccabean Revolt. Handel’s depiction of a peoples’ triumph over tyranny is brought to life through exultant choruses, sung by the members of Bard Festival Chorale and Riverside Choir and soloists. Soloists will be announced at a later date.

Tickets: Priced at $25–$35, available on September 1 at americansymphony.org.


Dvořák: Requiem
Thursday January 25, 2024, 8 pm at Carnegie Hall, Isaac Stern Auditorium
Conductor’s Notes Q&A at 7 pm
American Symphony Orchestra
Leon Botstein, conductor
Antonín Dvořák: Requiem, Op. 89
Antonin Dvořák’s Requiem (1890) is nowhere nearly as well known or performed as the composer’s late symphonies, chamber pieces, or other choral works, such as his Stabat Mater. Dvořák’s Requiem is close to Fauré’s or Cherubini’s contributions to the genre in its often introspective mood, its gentle melodies and overall lyricism. The use of a four-note chromatic motif in almost all sections of the piece gives the work a feel of thematic unity. While rich in invention and expressivity, its melancholic examination of the mysteries of life and death make the Requiem more deserving of further exploration in the public sphere.

Tickets: Priced at $25–$65, tickets are available on September 1 at carnegiehall.org, by calling CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800, or visiting the box office at 57th St. & 7th Ave.


Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder
Friday, March 22, 2024, 8 pm at Carnegie Hall, Isaac Stern Auditorium
Conductor’s Notes Q&A 7 pm
American Symphony Orchestra
Leon Botstein, conductor
Bard Festival Chorale
James Bagwell, choral director
Arnold Schoenberg: Gurre-Lieder
 To mark the centennial of its 1913 world premiere in Vienna, and more than 90 years since its 1932 American premiere by American Symphony Orchestra founder Leopold Stokowski with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the ASO presents Arnold Schoenberg’s massive and rarely performed Gurre-Lieder. Wagnerian in conception, this cantata represents the ideal of late Romanticism, with its lush, colorful orchestration of more than 150 musicians, endless melodies, and a highly chromatic harmonic language. The work is seldom performed due the sheer number of artists involved and the logistical challenges it poses. The cantata springs from a sonnet in an 1868 novella titled A Cactus Blooms by the young Danish poet Jens Peter Jacobsen, who based his prose on a 14th-century Gurre legend about King Valdemar, his passion for the maiden Tove Lille, and their love tryst at Gurre Castle. Soloists will be announced at a later date.

Tickets: Priced at $25–$65, tickets are available on September 1 at carnegiehall.org, by calling CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800, or visiting the box office at 57th St. & 7th Ave.


These projects are supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The ASO’s Vanguard Series is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

 These programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Media Contact

Pascal Nadon
Pascal Nadon Communications
Phone: 646.234.7088
Email: pascal@pascalnadon.com



June 6, 2023
New York City