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Get lost in a live musical journey led by Milwaukee’s most talented musicians and conductors. With everything from classical to contemporary — and everything in between, there’s something for everybody.

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Holiday Pops

Bring the whole family to Milwaukee’s musical holiday tradition! Tony-nominated Broadway soprano Rebecca Luker (Showboat, The Music Man, Mary Poppins) joins the MSO for Holiday Pops, a musical jubilee of your favorite carols, classics and sing-alongs, plus a handbell ensemble and other delights. This beloved event sells out every year!

Hamilton’s Leslie Odom, Jr.: A Holiday Special

Leslie Odom, Jr., best known as Broadway hit Hamilton’s original Aaron Burr, joins the MSO for a holiday concert with a jazz twist. In this special event, this Grammy- and Tony Award-winning vocalist brings his smooth signature style to holiday classics such as “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “First Noel” and “My Favorite Things.” 

@ The Center Series: Home for the Holidays,

The Donald and Donna Baumgartner Studio Artists provide a prelude to the holidays with a concert of winter tunes and carols, reminding audiences of the joys of this festive time of year.

Christmas in the Basilica

Christmas in the Basilica, our most popular concert, has become a holiday tradition for thousands around the Milwaukee area. This year we will feature John Rutter’s Gloria and traditional Christmas carol arrangements by Michelle Hynson, Assistant Conductor and Accompanist, celebrating her 30th anniversary with Bel Canto Chorus. 

Wintertide Concert Performed by the Milwaukee Youth Chorale

Featuring the MCC Preparatory Choir alongside a professional string quartet and harp. The performance includes treasured classics of Vivaldi’s Laudamus te from Gloria, Handel’s And the Glory of the Lord and Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah, along with favorites Blake’s Walking in the Air from The Snowman and the Ukranian carol Carols of the Bells. MCC will even have a time for the audience to join in the singing with standard carols “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

Handel’s Messiah

The greatest story ever told. The most majestic music ever conceived. Handel’s "Messiah", with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Experience music’s most powerful message of faith. It’s the “Messiah” of the season!

Symphonic Power

Featuring the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble.

Russian Festival: Joyce Yang Returns

Pianist Joyce Yang will call upon her “impressive agility, balance and velocity” (Washington Post) for Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto — originally considered too difficult to be played, this dazzling showstopper has become a centerpiece of piano repertoire. For Prokofiev’s devilish Third Symphony, the composer borrowed material from his own opera about a woman’s dark obsession with a “fiery angel.”

Noble Vision

Showcasing its flagship orchestra, the Senior Symphony, the concert will also feature the Senior Symphony Brass Choir, a world premiere composed through the John Downey Creation Project and the Senior Symphony Concerto Competition Winner.

Progressions Winter Wonders

The students of the Progressions program will perform at this free concert.

Russian Festival: Johannes Moser Returns

Music Director Laureate Edo de Waart returns to conduct Rachmaninoff’s large and lush Second Symphony, a work of vast expression. The Second’s success also marked a personal triumph for Rachmaninoff, who suffered from writer’s block following the difficulty of his first symphony. Johannes Moser returns to perform Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto, a "deep meditation, reaching philosophical heights” (critic Lev Ginzburg).

Flute Fanfare

This concert will feature MYSO's two flute choirs, Flute Chorale and Chamber Flute Ensemble.

In the Avant-Garden of Love

Co-Artistic Director Eric Segnitz presents an edgy, post-modern, love-inspired chamber concert, featuring works by French singer/ songwriter/composer/visual artist, and Present Music’s guest artist, Sophie Dunér. In a special partnership with the silent film, The Love of Zero comes to musical life with live scoring composed by Eric Segnitz and premiered here in Milwaukee. Let your creative side go wild with a special couple’s upgrade option before the Valentine’s Day concert on February 14th, led by surprise local artists!

Ben Folds: One Night Only

Genre-bending singer-songwriter Ben Folds comes to Milwaukee to blend his chart-topping hits with the full power of the MSO. Listen for the best of Ben, including “Brick,” “You Don’t Know Me,” “Luckiest” and a movement from his Billboard chart topping piano concerto.

Symphonic Spectacular

Featuring the Prelude Orchestra, combined String Orchestras Central and North and Philharmonia.

Masur Conducts Mendelssohn

Mendelssohn’s “Italian” symphony was inspired by a tour from Milan to Naples, calling to mind sunny Roman landscapes. “This is Italy!" wrote Mendelssohn, “And now has begun what I have always thought to be the supreme joy in life.” Music Director Ken-David Masur also leads Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto which abounds with youth
and vigor, and was written as a showpiece for Beethoven himself. Orion Weiss, a pianist “with virtuosity to spare” (Washington Post),performs the Beethoven.

Classic Cadences

The combined String Orchestras West and South, Sinfonia and Chamber Orchestra are featured.

Jazz Heritage Festival

Jazz combo performances by the young musicians in the Jazz Studies program, as well as clinics led by professional jazz musicians.

Beethoven’s Violin Concerto

Anthony Marwood, a violinist of “golden tone and surefire musicianship” (Washington Post), takes the stage to perform Beethoven’s revolutionary Violin Concerto, a technically demanding stunner that demonstrates the power and potential of both the instrument and the performer. The MSO welcomes rising star conductor Gemma New for these concerts which begin with audience favorites by Stravinsky and Ravel.

Beethoven's Fifth

“Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony,” announced author E.M. Forster, “is the most sublime noise that has ever penetrated into the ear of man.” Beethoven’s Fifth has spellbound audiences for over 200 years, from its opening bars (dum-dum-dum-DUM) to its knocking hand of Fate and through its momentous finale; Peter Oundjian conducts
this iconic masterpiece. The MSO’s own Principal Clarinet Todd Levy performs Leonard Bernstein’s first published composition, the “Sonata for Clarinet."

J.S. Bach's Mass in B Minor

Widely hailed since the 19th century as one of the greatest compositions in musical history, Bach’s Mass in B Minor, will come to life through the voices of Bel Canto.  Bel Canto will be accompanied by members of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and joined by spectacular guest soloists.

Aretha: Queen of Soul

The MSO pays loving tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, in a program including some of the star’s greatest hits. Listen for “Respect,” “Think,” “A Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools,” and more of the songs Aretha made famous. Dazzling vocalists Capathia Jenkins and Ryan Shaw lend their voices to this musical celebration of an icon.

An Evening with Hamilton’s Renée Elise Goldsberry

Renée Elise Goldsberry took home a 2016 Tony Award for originating the role of Angelica Schuyler in Broadway’s smash hit Hamilton. Now Renée makes her MSO debut in a glittering evening of Broadway hits from shows such as The Lion King and Rent, as well as American pop standards such as “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

Brahms + Schumann

"If only you could breathe into your orchestra, when it plays, that longing for spring!” Schumann wrote to a conductor of his First Symphony, suggesting that the music feel like “the world turning green.” This program bursts with song, including three choral pieces written by Brahms and featuring the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus. The New York Times has called mezzo soprano Tamara Mumford “revelatory,” praising her “dusky depths” and “ringing heights.”

Revolution: The Beatles Symphonic Experience

The Beatles come to life in Revolution, a symphonic tribute to the Fab Four accompanied by a collection of rare photos, videos and animations displayed on the screen above the Orchestra. This magical musical and visual journey includes over 25 of the Beatles’ top hits, such as “Ticket to Ride,” Penny Lane,” “All You Need is Love, “Hey Jude” and more, all performed live by the MSO.

Fanfare and Finale

Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and Senior Symphony are showcased in the ensembles’ final performance of the season.

Beethoven’s Heroic Symphony

Beethoven experienced an on-again-off-again admiration for Napoleon Bonaparte, resulting in the composer famously ripping up the dedication page to his Third Symphony, initially named for Napoleon. Beethoven’s revised title “Eroica” (“Heroic”) suits this music; the Third is a grand symphony of tension, energy and triumph.

All Choir Concert – Families: Best Beloved

An afternoon exploring the relationships we hold dear at home and in our community.

Davidson Chamber Recitals

Presenting various performances from the Davidson Chamber Ensemble Program.

Beethoven + Bolcom’s Violin Concerto

“If any of Beethoven's contemporaries had written this symphony, it would be considered that composer's masterwork,” claims music scholar Robert Greenberg. While sometimes overshadowed by Beethoven’s other symphonies, the Fourth is a buoyant, witty example of Beethoven’s brilliance. Associate Conductor Yaniv Dinur leads the MSO in these concerts, which include a jazz-infused violin concerto by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom, performed here by the MSO’s own Ilana Setapen.

Rhythm and Blues

Performance features all Jazz Combos, including the elite Bronzeville Jazz Ensemble, plus Calypso and Soca steel bands.

A Flute Festival

The two flute choirs are highlighted in the ensembles’ final appearance of the season.

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi – Film with Live Orchestra

The MSO presents 1983’s Return of the Jedi, the third and final installment of the original Star Wars trilogy. Experience the complete movie — featuring Luke and Leia, Han Solo and Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, Jabba the Hutt and Darth Vader — as the Orchestra performs John Williams’s landmark score live-to-film.

Keep the Home Fires Burning

This concert surveys the music that accompanied and inspired the men and women who lived and fought during World War I. Bel Canto will perform music that sustained and consoled the troops as they lived and died in the trenches. The concert will culminate in a performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ epic plea for peace, Dona Nobis Pacem.  Special guest and friend of Bel Canto Chorus, Mary Alice Tierney, will narrate the program.

String Serenade

The all-string ensembles Prelude Orchestra, String Orchestras South/ West and String Orchestras North/Central will be featured.

Symphonic Celebration

This performance will feature the Percussion Ensemble, Philharmonia and Chamber Orchestra.

Progressions May Melodies

The Progressions program presents its final performance of the 2019-20 season.

Spaghetti Western

Co-Artistic Director David Bloom brings the 2020 season to a close for a program of crosscurrents with music by Americans living in Italy, and Italians whose music has permeated US culture. The Spaghetti Western season finale features a range of modernized studies on the music of film legend Ennio Morricone, American folk legend Woody Guthrie and more. Also included on the program is David Bloom’s chamber ensemble arrangement of Milwaukee-native composer Yotam Haber’s "New Ghetto Music."

Pastoral Sounds

A visit to the countryside and a pleasant, babbling brook. A “merry gathering” of friends and neighbors. A sudden downpour and, finally,feelings of “thanks to the Deity.” This is the path Beethoven charts through his Sixth Symphony, titled Pastoral after its idyllic country setting; listen for birdsong, thunder and the call of the shepherds. Music Director Laureate Edo de Waart returns to conduct this icon. On the first half, MSO Principal Cello Susan Babini performs Elgar’s poignant Cello Concerto.

Beethoven’s Emperor

In the season’s final celebration of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary, the MSO performs the composer’s mighty Emperor piano concerto; expect military rhythms and explosive brilliance for the solo piano. Han-na Chang also conducts Bartók’s towering Concerto for Orchestra, which gives each section of instruments a chance to shine.

Season Finale – Everyone Sang

The MSO closes its season with one of the most legendary and beloved works for the instrument: Bruch’s Violin Concerto, performed here by Concertmaster Frank Almond. The program also invites the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus for three choral gems: a sacred work by Dvořák, Vaughan Williams’ Whitman-inspired Toward the Unknown
Region
and Everyone Sang by contemporary composer Helen Grime.

Blockbuster Scores – Music from TV & Film

A great soundtrack can create drama, sizzle, intrigue and romance. In this dynamic program, we explore the world of blockbuster movie and TV scores, from Back to the Future to Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, and beyond. Prepare to have your hair raised, your heart melted, and your spirits lifted by the power of music.