The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (ASO) announced its 2020-2021 Masterworks and Pops Live! Lineup, which includes five guest conductors, 10 guest artists, and six concerts conducted by ASO’s Interim Artistic Director Geoffrey Robson.

ASO Chief Executive Officer, Christina Littlejohn spoke to subscribers and donors during an exclusive season announcement event Tuesday, Feb. 18 at Byrne Hall, “We are so excited to present a season that has truly been a collaborative effort between Geoff Robson and the guest conductors.” Littlejohn said the 2020-2021 season program serves several strategic imperatives, such as growing the artistic excellence of the orchestra, building diversity on stage, and increasing the orchestra’s footprint in the state through Arkansas connections, low ticket prices, and free tickets for Arkansas children with the Entergy Kids Ticket.

According to the Press release, the 2020-2021 ASO season continues to serve ASO imperatives by focusing on artistic excellence, diversity, and building a larger footprint in Arkansas. ASO is proud to reveal that all the guest conductors have been chosen by ASO musicians. They have been chosen because they are excellent musicians and will create exciting concerts for our patrons.

The Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series opens Sep. 26 & 27, 2020 with Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World,” and features 2020-2021 Richard Sheppard Arnold Artist of Distinction violinist, Tessa Lark. Lark will perform “Sky” Concerto for Violin & Orchestra, a piece created specifically for her by American composer Michael Torke. The concert will open with “Ozark Traveler,” composed by Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra (ASYO) alumnus Jeremy Crosmer.

ASO’s casual concert and street party, Beethoven and Blue Jeans, returns Nov. 14 & 15, 2020. Guest conductor, Roderick Cox will lead the ASO through a program featuring the works of Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, and Brahms. Pianist Conrad Tao will play Rachmaninoff’s Concerto for Piano No. 4 in G minor. New York Magazine had this to say about the up-and-coming musician, Conrad Tao is “the kind of musician who is shaping the future of classical music.”

The Masterworks series continues in February with special guest artist Gil Shaham. Shaham is a world-famous, Grammy Award-winning artist who has played on some of the world’s biggest stages. Interim Artistic Director Geoffrey Robson will lead the ASO through a program featuring Arkansan composer Florence Price, Barber, and Tchaikovsky.

The Pops Live! Series opens with Halloween Spooktacular, Oct. 24 & 25, 2020. Interim Artistic Director Geoffrey Robson is collaborating with the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theater to immerse the audience in a spooky narrative while performing favorites like Night on Bald Mountain, March to the Scaffold, and music from classic horror films like Psycho and The Twilight Zone.

The ASO continues the Pops Live! Series with Kris Allen Holiday Spectacular, Dec. 18-20. Join Arkansas’ own American Idol-winner, Kris Allen for an evening of holiday favorites and some of Allen’s own compositions. Before Kris Allen was an “American Idol,” he played viola in the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra.

ASO is excited to announce Music of Fantasy Worlds, March 13 & 14, 2021 as the Pops Special. This program will feature music from blockbusters like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, dramatic television sagas like Game of Thrones, and video game music from the action-adventure series The Legend of Zelda!

The full Masterworks Series includes:

• Opening Night: New World Symphony featuring Matthew Kraemer, guest conductor and Tessa Lark, violin, Sep. 26 & 27, 2020, with music from Jeremy Crosmer, Michael Torke, and Dvorak’s “New World Symphony.”
• Beethoven and Blue Jeans featuring Roderick Cox, guest conductor, and Conrad Tao, piano, Nov. 14 & 15, 2020, with music from Beethoven, Mozart, and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2.
• Mozart & Strauss with Akiko Fujimoto, guest conductor and Martina Filjak, piano, Jan. 30 & 31, 2021, with music from Hindemith, Strauss, and Mozart’s Concerto for Piano No. 21.
• Gil Shaham plays Barber Violin Concerto featuring Geoffrey Robson, Interim Artistic Director, and Gil Shaham, violin, Feb. 20 & 21, 2021, with music from Price, Barber, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.
• The Firebird featuring Stephen Mulligan, guest conductor, and Gabriel Martins, cello, April 10 & 11, 2021, with music from Adams, Schumann, Ravel, and Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” Suite (1919 version).
• Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto featuring Andrew Crust, guest conductor, and Shannon Lee, violin, May 1 & 2, 2021, with music from Borodin, Shostakovich, and Tchaikovsky’s Concerto in D Major for Violin.

The full Pops Live! Series includes:

• Halloween Spooktacular, Oct. 24 & 25, 2020
• Kris Allen Holiday Spectacular, Dec. 18, 19, & 20, 2020
• Fascinating Gershwin, Feb. 6 & 7, 2021
• Cirque de la Symphonie, May 8 & 9, 2021

Subscriptions are on-sale now and offer discounts from single ticket prices as well as benefits exclusive to subscribers, such as guaranteed priority seating and free flexible ticket exchange. New subscriber prices range from $48 - $210 for Masterworks, and from $32 - $140 for Pops Live! , based on seating. Patrons interested in subscribing to the 2020-2021 season should visit ArkansasSymphony.org/2021 or call the Box Office at 501-666-1761 ext. 1.