The last time the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra ventured across the Atlantic was in the fall of 2005 for a tour that became a highlight of Yuri Temirkanov’s final season as music director. His successor, Marin Alsop, will be at the helm when the BSO returns to Europe in August after an absence of 13 years, a trip that could well become a highlight of her tenure.
The first stop on the tour was announced today, and it’s a major destination — the Edinburgh International Festival, founded in 1947. Every year, major artists and ensembles in music, dance and theater are presented over three weeks in the Scottish capital. The BSO, which performed in Glasgow when it visited the United Kingdom in 2001 with Temirkanov, will mark its festival debut.
“I look forward to bringing the musicians of the Baltimore Symphony to Edinburgh for the first time,” Alsop said in a statement.
The BSO will be the only professional American orchestra in the festival’s 2018 lineup.
Music that the BSO will first perform locally in May will be featured during the Edinburgh visit. The Aug. 24 concert spotlights notable French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet in Gershwin’s Concerto in F on a bill with Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 and the Suite from Stravinsky’s “The Firebird.”
On Aug. 25, the BSO will celebrate the legacy of Alsop’s mentor, composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein, who would have turned 100 that day. His centennial is being marked worldwide this year.
This program includes Bernstein’s “Serenade,” with acclaimed Scottish-born violinist Nicola Benedetti as soloist, along with the Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story” and Three Dance Episodes from “On the Town.” Pieces by John Williams, John Corigliano and Luciano Berio composed in honor of Bernstein will complete the concert.
The summer tour will mark Alsop’s first international appearances with the BSO (she and the orchestra’s only previous travel was to Oregon and California in 2012). Other tour stops will be announced over the next few weeks as the presenting organizations reveal their schedules.