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Austin classical season: Austin Symphony goes relatively radical

Michael Barnes
The opera "Everest" explores the deadly climbs of 1996 in one act. [Contributed by Austin Opera}

As much as I adore the Austin Symphony Orchestra, I could not have predicted that, in one stroke, the 108-year-old ensemble would produce this Austin season’s most innovative classical bill of fare.

As previously reported, the orchestra led by Peter Bay — who becomes the symphony’s longest-tenure director this season — has added a summer Beethoven festival as well as much-needed midday concerts.

It will celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday indoors at Dell Hall with a two-day-long festival in June that will include performances of all five Beethoven piano concertos by Austin concert keyboard star Anton Nel.

These additions might seem small, but the symphony has not changed its seasonal arrangements this radically in at least 35 years.


Here's a look at the 2019-2020 Austin classical season, which includes some jazz.

Austin Chamber Music Center

(Various locations; 512-454-0026,

Michelle Schumann and gang are the last word in chamber music.

Sept. 27-Sept. 28: Clara & the Phenomena

Nov. 1-Nov. 2: Crumb & the Innovators

Jan. 17-18: Reicha & the Inner Circle

Feb. 8-9: 17th Annual Black Composers Concert: The Living Composer

Feb. 14-15: Vieuxtemps & the Romantics

March 27-28: Beethoven & the Infinite

Austin Classical Guitar

(Various locations; 512-300-2247,

Hometown company now a national model for blending arts and service.

Oct. 5: Xuefei Yang

Oct. 20: Niño de Puro

Nov. 9: Raphaël Feuiltâtre

Jan. 24-26: Together

March 7: David Russell

March 29: Grisha

April 25: SoloDuo

Austin Gay Men's Chorus

(Various locations; 512-477-7464,

Formerly Capital City Men's Chorus, this group is taking on new challenges.

Sept. 27-28: "Lip Syng: Out and Proud"

Dec. 6-8: "Chrismahanakawanzaka"

Feb. 8: Dinner Cabaret

June 13-14: "Our Favorite Things"

Austin Opera

(Various locations; 512-472-5992,

Fearlessly on the comeback trail, the city’s big opera company reaches high, with two large-scale classics in its season along with a one-act opera about one of the world's most-famous peaks.

Aug. 26-Sept 1: Butler Opera International Competition

Nov. 9-17: “Rigoletto”

Jan. 23-26: “Everest”

March 28-April 5: Opera ATX: Schubert’s “Winter Journey (Winterreise)”

April 25-May 3: “Turandot”

Austin Symphony-Masterworks

(Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive; 512-476-6064,

The time has come for the symphony to take its place in the front line.

Sept. 13-14: “Triple Delight”

Oct. 18-19: “Spectres!”

Nov. 22-23: “Compassion”

Jan. 10-11: “Rach Star”

Feb. 7-8: “Picture Perfect”

March 6-7: "March Madness”

April 3-4: “American Landscapes”

May 15-16: “Beethoven 250”

Austin Symphony-Pops and Special Events

(Various locations; 512-476-6064,

More goodies from Austin’s big-time orchestra.

Oct. 26: “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”

Oct. 27: Halloween Children's Concert

Dec. 3-4: Handel’s “Messiah”

Dec. 28-29: “Lush Life: Music of Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn”

Feb. 22 “Raiders of the Lost Ark”

April 4: Midday Masterworks I

May 16: Midday Masterworks II

May 29-30: "Unforgettable: Music of Nat & Natalie Cole”

June 18-19: Beethoven 250 Festival: Complete Piano Concertos

June-August: Hartman Concerts in the Park

July 4: H-E-B Austin Symphony July 4th Concert and Fireworks

July 24: Butler Texas Young Composers Concert

Chorus Austin

(Various locations; 512-719-3300,

A rich tradition of choral music comes to maturity.

Oct. 26: Book of Rounds

Dec. 7: Sing-It-Yourself Messiah

Dec. 14: On a Winter’s Eve

Feb. 22: Song of the Earth

April 18-19: Southwest Voices

May 30: The Great American Songbook


(Various locations;

Fresh from the National Cathedral, Conspirare is becoming the nation's professional choir.

Sept. 20-22: “Carmina Burana”

Oct. 10 & Dec. 17: “Big Sing!”

Nov. 2: “How Little You Are”

Nov. 22-23: “Emerge” (Conspirare Youth Choirs)

Dec. 2-4: “Carillon Christmas”

Dec. 9-10: “Conspirare Christmas”

Feb. 20: “Vanguard II”

Feb. 23: “Contemporary & Classic"

April 25-26: “Earth Ritual”

May 1-2: “Reveal” Conspirare Youth Choirs”

May 15-16: “Beethoven at 250”

Ensemble VIII

(Various locations;

Renaissance and Baroque voices for Austin.

Oct. 4: “Tree of Life: Bach Family Motets”

Dec. 19-20: “A 17th-Century Venetian Christmas”

Feb. 7: “Mon Amour: Expressions of Love from the Renaissance”

May 8: “In Service to the Pope: Josquin, Palestrina and the Roman School”

Inversion Ensemble

(Various locations,

Sept. 28-29: "Air: Inspiration/Wind

Feb. 29-March: 1: "Fire: Passion/Psyche"

May 30-31: "Water: Intuition/Femininity"

La Follia Austin Baroque

(Various locations;

Focusing on the brilliance of the baroque.

Sept. 7-8: “Welcome Bach!”

Nov. 2-3: “Pachelbel: More Than the Canon”

Jan. 4-5: “Getting a Handle on Handel”

March 14-15: “French Baroque? Oui! Oui!”

April 17-18: “Herd of Harpsichords with Anton Nel”

Line Upon Line Percussion

(Various locations;

This Austin-based trio has premiered more than 40 new works for percussion, trio.

Sept. 27-29 "Cage, Reich, Xenakis"

Dec. 6-8: "Ten"

Jan. 4-11: Winter Composer Festival

March 22: "Tak"

May 29-31: "(Re)move"


(Various locations;

LOLA stands for Local Opera Local Artists.

Sept. 19: LOLA at 4th Tap

Oct. 5: Diva Cage Match

Dec. 26: LOLA at 4th Tap

Feb. 14-15: “Dido and Aeneas”

March 26: LOLA at 4th Tap

June 11: LOLA at 4th Tap

Long Center for the Performing Arts

(701 W. Riverside Drive; 512-474-5664,

Classical music is part of the mosaic at this all-encompassing center.

Oct: 20: Niño de Pura

One Ounce Opera

(Various locations.

Reimagining opera in unexpected spaces.

Feb. 7-16: 5th Annual Fresh Squeezed Ounce of Opera

One World Theatre

(7701 Bee Cave Road; 512-330-9500,

Jazz presented in an intimate setting.

Aug. 25: R. Carlos Nakai and Will Clipman

Aug. 26: Jake Shimabukuro

Sept. 1: Kyle Turner & Friends

Sept. 8: Brian Simpson Band

Sept. 21: Kenny G

Sept. 24-25: Subdudes

Sept. 27-28: Gino Vannelli

Oct. 17: Eddie Palmieri 

Oct. 18: Acoustic Alchemy

Oct. 20: Keiko Matsui

Oct. 29: JD Souther

Nov. 22: Ottmar Liebert

Nov. 29: Peter White Xmas

Dec. 15: The Mike Stern/Jeff Lorber Fusion

Dec. 20: Norman Brown's Joyous Xmas

Dec. 29: Kim Waters

Jan. 10: Stanley Clarke Band

Jan. 19: Tuck & Pati

Feb. 23: Wishbone Ash

April 2: Strunz & Farah

April 5: Cecile McLorin Salvant

April 17: Arturo Sandoval

May 17: Brubeck Brothers Celebrate Dave’s Centennial

Paramount Theatre and Stateside

(713 Congress Ave.; 512-472-5470,

These populist palaces on Congress Avenue include jazz in their line-ups.

Sept. 18 Paul Anka with Big Band Songs of Sinatra

Sept. 20 Leo Kottke

Oct. 15: Herb Alpert & Lani Hall

Jan. 24: Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Feb. 19: Kat Edmonson

March 4: Lila Downs


(Studio A, 5811 Berman Drive; Suite 132.

Returning the classical music experience to its radical roots in a new home. Season to be announced soon.

Texas Early Music Project

(Various locations;, 512-377-6961)

Keeping the old new in Austin for season after season.

Sept. 21-22: “Oh, Henry! The World According to Purcell”

Oct. 19-20: “Praising the Beloved: The Song of Songs”

Dec. 13-15: “An Early Christmas”

Feb. 22-23: “She Loves and She Confesses: Love Songs from the Baroque”

March 28-29: “Ah Sweet Lady: Passion in Medieval France”

May 9-10: “The Student Becomes the Master: Monteverdi & Cavalli in Venice”

Texas Performing Arts

(Various locations on the UT campus; 512-477-6060,

The University of Texas brings the world of arts to Austin.

Sept. 24: The Percussion Collective

Oct. 10: Anderson & Roe Piano Duo

Oct. 24: Nobuntu

Nov. 8: Rahim AlHaj “Letters from Iraq”

Jan. 17: Andrew Cyrille Quartet

Jan. 29: Profeti della Quinta

Jan. 31: Rolston String Quartet

Feb. 19: East Coast Chamber Orchestra

April 18: UT Jazz Orchestra with Dave Douglas

April 22: “Bella Gaia: Beautiful Earth”

UT Butler School of Music (highlights from the fall)

(Various locations on the UT campus; 512-477-6060,

Aug. 26-Sept. 1: Butler Opera International

Sept. 15: Wind Ensemble with Jonathan Villela

Sept. 20: Philippe Quint

Sept. 26: David Small and Jean Collier

Sept. 28: New Music Ensemble

Sept. 29: Symphony Orechestra

Oct. 3: Jeff Hellmer & the Jazz Faculty

Oct. 11: Symphony Orchestra

Oct. 12: “The Two Swords”

Oct. 13: Jazz Orchestra

Oct. 18: Miró Quartet

Oct. 25-Nov. 3: “Don Giovanni”

Oct. 28: New Music Ensemble

Nov. 2: Chee-Yun

Nov. 7: Sandy Yamamoto & Friends

Nov. 8: Chamber Singers

Nov. 10: Symphony Orchestra

Nov. 15: Jazz Orchestra

Nov. 18: Robert Chen

Nov. 20: Miró Quartet

Dec. 4-5: “Mansfield Park”

Dec. 7-8: Holiday Choral Concert


We're doing our fall arts preview a little differently this year, making it easier to digest by splitting it up into five stories. Here's the schedule:

Aug. 9: Dance

Aug. 16: Classical music

Aug. 23: Art

Aug. 30: Theater

Sept. 6: Culture