The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra opens its 47th season tonight and tomorrow with a program brought to you by the letter B.
Maestro Jose-Luis Novo will begin his third year on the Maryland Hall podium by giving one of the most electrifying downbeats of the symphonic repertoire as his orchestra performs Beethoven's blisteringly intense Coriolan Overture.
The music of Brahms is next, with the conductor and guest soloist Soovin Kim joining forces for the great German master's Violin Concerto in D Major.
Kim, who has made the rounds with an international roster of orchestras including the Indianapolis Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic and the Prague Chamber Orchestra is known for the breadth of his repertoire, which extends to the chamber idiom as well as to solo works from every musical era.
The recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, Kim has recorded works by Paganini, Faure and Chausson for Azica Records, even as he has been building a reputation as a teacher at Yale and Temple universities.
Concluding the program will be Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra. A de facto five-movement symphony, the work was conceived by the Hungarian genius who was so gifted at spotlighting the tonal resources of the orchestra in an individualized manner that the word "concerto" describes it perfectly.
The commissioning fee paid to Bartok for his Concerto for Orchestra by Serge Koussevitsky, the legendary conductor of the Boston Symphony (and the mentor of Leonard Bernstein) might be the best $1,000 spent in the history of 20th century music.
The rest of the 2007-2008 season offers the potential for grand music-making at every turn.
The orchestra has commissioned four works from young composers as part of the city's "Charter 300" initiative, a musical commemoration of the 300th birthday of the City of Annapolis.
One distinguished visitor this season will be Jon Nakamatsu, the Van Cliburn Competition gold medalist who has graced the Maryland Hall stage twice in concertos by Beethoven and Schumann.
This time around, he will perform the beloved Grieg Concerto on Nov. 9 and 10.
Orli Shaham, the sister of violinist Gil Shaham and wife of David Robertson, conductor of the St. Louis Symphony, is a superb pianist, which will become evident when she performs Rachmaninoff's sumptuously romantic Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the orchestra in March.
Also returning to perform with the orchestra will be cellist Julie Albers, who will perform the Elgar Concerto in February.
Symphonists should be on alert for Dvorak's Symphony No. 7, Schumann's Fourth Symphony and Mahler's Symphony No. 4, in which soprano Audrey Luna will sing the child's evocation of heaven in the celestial fourth movement.
Finally, after last season's successful foray into the music of Richard Strauss (Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks), the ASO returns to that demanding composer for the tone-poem Death and Transfiguration, in which the metaphysics fly as high as high as the notes.