Mozart’s Romantic Side: Piano Concerto No. 20

Mozart’s D minor Concerto marks the first of six staggering masterpieces for piano and orchestra written between 1785 and 1786. His stormiest concerto - and an omen of the Romantic Era - was regarded by the 19th-century masters as Beethoven-ish, the highest praise possible at the time. It’s a perfect pairing with Beethoven’s First Symphony, a work in which the first few moments already foreshadow that this giant was about to change everything. Van Cliburn Piano Competition-medalist Daniel Hsu joins Courtney Lewis and the Symphony in this spectacular season opener. 

Mozart’s Dream: Piano Concerto No. 21

It seems that Mozart wrote his 21st Piano Concerto as a vibrant and comedic antidote to the dark and dramatic 20th. Alessio Bax is the perfect pianist for this piece with fun and games in the outer movements and the famous middle movement’s floating nocturnal world. The New York Times called his playing “so seemingly effortless that the music appeared to live and breathe of its own volition.” Courtney Lewis and the Symphony pay homage to Mozart’s deep career connection to Prague with two pieces by Czech masters: Smetana’s Bartered Bride Overture and Dvořàk’s most intensely expressive symphony.

Mozart’s Defiance: Piano Concerto No. 24

The New York Times said, “Conrad Tao was never just another prodigy.” This young phenom is certain to bring new life and ideas to Mozart’s C minor Concerto, a piece so outside the conventions of the day that more than a few Viennese eyebrows were certainly raised at its 1786 premiere. Courtney Lewis notches another Sibelius symphony en route to a complete cycle with the Finnish composer’s First Symphony, a work with traces of Tchaikovsky yet distinct with Sibelius’ voice.

Mozart’s Groundbreaker: Piano Concerto No. 25

147 years. That’s how long the world had to wait to hear Mozart’s 25th Piano Concerto again after its debut performances in 1787. The piece was so unique and novel that most audiences and musicians at the time likely didn’t know what to make of it. Hear this piece that was far ahead of its time played by Jonathan Biss, a pianist in demand all around the world. The evening opens with the music of Tarik O’Regan, a composer with an international career who is writing a new work for the Jacksonville Symphony set to debut in June 2022.

Mozart’s Radiance: Piano Concerto No. 23

No other composer manages to blend lighthearted joy and profound beauty - and make it sound effortless - like Mozart. His 23rd and possibly most famous piano concerto exemplifies this to a T. Pianist Simone Dinnerstein, masterful at expressing the warmth and humanity of Mozart’s concertos, joins Courtney Lewis and the Symphony in the final installment of the season’s piano concerto mini-cycle on a program that opens with a piece brimming with optimism composed by Thomas Adès during the pandemic.