New blood and big hitters like Vengerov will help Queensland Symphony Orchestra celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2017.

Incoming Music Director of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra Alondra de la Parra has announced her first programme and revealed a daring double act into the bargain that should keep fans of the orchestra happy throughout 2017. Joining the acclaimed Mexican conductor for her inaugural season will be violinist Maxim Vengerov, who thrilled Queenslanders with his Sibelius last year, as the orchestra’s Artist-in-Residence.

Maxim Vengerov: QSO’s new Artist-in-Residence

The Russian virtuoso is just one of a roster of top-flight artists headed for Brisbane next year to celebrate the QSO’s 70th year of music making in an artistic line-up that has a bit of theme about it. “Heroes of all kinds have provided rich and necessary sources of inspiration for the great composers,” says de la Parra. “During my first year as Music Director, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra presents some of the finest heroes in symphonic music, with masterpieces such as Mahler’s Titan, Berlioz’s Harold and Tchaikovsky’s Manfred to Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Strauss’s autobiographical Ein Heldenleben and Bizet’s unforgettable Carmen.”

De la Parra will open the season herself on February 18 by following this year’s impressive Resurrection Symphony with the next instalment of her Mahler cycle: his Symphony No 1, nicknamed The Titan. That concert will include the much-fancied young Chinese pianist Zhang Zuo (Zee Zee) making her exclusive Australian debut performing Mendelssohn as well as Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture – the work that coincidentally opened the QSO’s inaugural concert way back in 1947 at the Brisbane City Hall. Other programmes will see the QSO’s Music Director presenting the music of her homeland by introducing Queenslanders to masterpieces by fellow Mexicans, including the gifted but troubled Silvestre Revueltas and Arturo Márquez, whose dazzling Danzón No 2 is a de la Parra speciality.

Philip Glass: 80 next year

Meanwhile, back to Vengerov, who will present a series of performances in February and November, including his first solo concert hall recital in Queensland, as well as one of his signature works with the QSO: Brahms’ Violin Concerto. And if the new Artist-in-Residence sounds like a coup, try this: the QSO has partnered with orchestras in Austria and Turkey in order to commission the much-anticipated Eleventh Symphony from iconic American composer Philip Glass who will celebrate his 80th birthday in 2017 with an Australian premiere. The concert will also include the Australian debut of Russian “wunderkind” Alexander Malofeev, performing Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto.

Talking of pianists and anniversaries, one of Australia’s favourite sons, Piers Lane, will celebrate his 40th year of performing with the QSO in October 2017 by giving his interpretation of Moszkowski’s E Major Concerto (the one that kick-started Hyperion’s game-changing Romantic Piano Concerto series) in a programme that includes music by Tchaikovsky and Dvořák and will be conducted by Enrique Arturo Diemecke. Other top-name pianists include the exclusive Australian debut of the fêted young Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki in August, Leslie Howard performing signature Liszt with maestro Johannes Fritzsch, and Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan making his Australian debut exclusively with QSO and conductor Muhai Tang.

Miloš Karadaglić

Among the other noted soloists making their Australian debuts will be the popular Montenegrin guitar virtuoso Miloš Karadaglić performing the Australian premiere of Howard Shore’s new Guitar Concerto in August. Spanish cellist Pablo Ferrández performs Haydn in May under the baton of the American conductor Roberto Trevino, while French violist Antoine Tamestit makes his Australian debut under conductor Darrell Ang.

July will see an anticipated collaboration between two internationally admired Australians: violinist Ray Chen performing Paganini’s fiendish First Violin Concerto alongside Holst’s The Planets under the baton of conductor Simone Young. Meanwhile QSO’s WorldBeat series will feature three eclectic concerts: The Chinese Year of the Rooster will be celebrated in February, America gets a themed concert in April, and the much loved (Not) The Last Night of the Proms happens again in August.

Ray Chen

The season finale in November 2017 will be a full concert version of Bizet’s perennial warhorse Carmen, with an international cast led by mezzo-soprano Vesselina Kasarova who will be making her Australian debut alongside Italian tenor Andrea Carè as Don José. Alondra de la Parra leads the QSO and a cast that includes some of Australia’s most fancied emerging artists.

Subscriber bookings for the QSO’s 2017 Season open at 9am on Tuesday August 2, 2016. Single ticket sales open at 9am on Monday October 24, 2016.