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New Dallas Symphony season: a JFK speech, two female Ukranian composers, five world premieres

Ukranian composer/sound artist Anna Korsun creates works that include traditional instruments but also voices, electronic instruments, videos and even singing saws.
Anna Korsun
Ukranian composer/sound artist Anna Korsun creates works that include traditional instruments but also voices, electronic instruments, videos and even singing saws.

It also features new record releases, part of the "Ring" cycle, a rare comic opera from a Nazi camp and composer Danny Elfman ("Batman," "The Simpsons")

Announced today, the Dallas Symphony's new season includes:

  • Composers Victoria Vita Polevá and Anna Korsun, both Ukranian, will have compositions performed by the DSO in November. Korsun's "Terricone" was premiered this January by the Bournemouth Symphony, where she is the composer-in-residence. Korsun is as much a "sound artist" as a traditional composer, drawing on electronic instruments, altered voices and even singing saws. "Terricone" will receive its Dallas debut. Polevá, meanwhile, is known for drawing on the traditions of sacred music, but her compositions have also been commissioned by such leading advocates of contemporary music as the Kronos Quartet. Her Cello Concerto will receive its world premiere in Dallas. For both works, the DSO will be led by Ukrainian conductor Kirill Karabits.
An excerpt from Poleva's Aria:

  • Listen to more of Polevá's music here.
An excerpt from Anna Korsun's Sirene:

  • Listen to more of Korsun's music here.
  • In total, the DSO will present five world premieres, the majority by female composers such as the Chinese-born Xi Wang and the Grammy-nominated Anna Clyne.

More offerings in the season:

  • Being given a Dallas debut will be "JFK: The Last Speech" by Adolphus Hailstork, a DSO co-commission that draws its text from Kennedy's speech at Amherst College in 1963, a month before his fateful trip to Dallas. Kennedy delivered a memorial to poet Robert Frost who had died recently. "The Last Speech" will make its world premiere in Denver before it's performed in Dallas in October, one month before the 60th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination.
  • Music director Fabio Luisi — still beloved in New York for conducting the Metropolitan Opera orchestra — will launch his opera-in-concert version of Wagner's entire "Ring" cycle. Luisi's performance of two of the "Ring" operas with the Met won Grammy Awards.
Composer Victoria Vita Poleva
Victoria Vita Poleva
Composer Victoria Vita Poleva

  • Performances by top classical performers such as Emanuel Ax, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard and baritone Matthias Goerne.
  • For the Pop Series, composer Danny Elfman — the creator of "The Simpsons" theme song and the brains behind the lively and engagingly oddball new wave band Oingo Boingo — will appear in person for an evening of his award-winning film scores ("Beetlejuice," "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "Batman").
  • The DSO will release recordings of Brahms' Third and Fourth Symphonies and Saint-Saëns' "Organ" Symphony — utilizing the Lay Family Organ in the Meyerson.
  • Perhaps the rarest, most unusual piece being performed this season will be "Ludmilla or Corpses on the Looping Band," an opera pastiche by Erich Ziegler (music) and Willy Rosen (libretto). Ziegler was a Jewish conductor and composer detained in a Nazi transit camp (on the way to one of the death camps). There, he took part in a cabaret revue with fellow prisoners, often entertaining German officers, including Adolph Eichmann, a leading organizer of the Holocaust. This led to the creation of "Ludmilla" with Rosen and comedian Max Ehrlich. The DSO will present it in March.

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra's new season runs from September 1 to March 3, 2024. For the full calendar, go to

Jerome Weeks is the Art&Seek producer-reporter for KERA. A professional critic for more than two decades, he was the book columnist for The Dallas Morning News for ten years and the paper’s theater critic for ten years before that. His writing has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, American Theatre and Men’s Vogue magazines.