MSO’s 79th season filled with ‘Fresh Voices’

[MSO’s 2023/2024 Season of Fresh Voices features music and musicians influenced by Mississippi.

MSO’s 79th season filled with ‘Fresh Voices’
Lineup celebrates new compositions, classics, and MSO’s finest

Jackson, Mississippi — The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra promises A Season of Fresh Voices to mark its 79th year. Beginning early September and providing the best in live classical and popular music, the season brims with new compositions and connections, as well as masterworks and beloved pops favorites.

A first-time collaboration with Jackson State University’s Phillis Wheatley Poetry Festival, this November, spotlights four of Margaret Walker’s greatest poems, including her famous “For My People.” Her words come to brilliant musical life in songs by composer Randy Klein, special guest vocalist Aurelia Williams and the combined choirs of Tougaloo College and Mississippi College.

A new concerto for violin and orchestra by James Sclater of Clinton honors MSO concertmaster and lifelong friend Shellie Kemp in a premiere performance, in January. And, next March, MSO performs a major new piece celebrating Native American heritage — James Lee III’s Visions of Cahokia, inspired by the pre-Columbian settlement at the center of Mississippian culture.

“Three brand new things, never been done here, that people will love,” MSO President and Executive Director Jenny Mann said of these series highlights.

More spotlight firsts include MSO Principal Bud Berthold in a timpani concerto in February and the award-winning Project Fusion Saxophone Quartet, in April. Several MSO musicians return to center stage as well, in a season that highlights their remarkable talents. Plus, the exciting and explorative series at Cade Chapel will once again present the talents of 5th Child, Teneia Sanders, pianist Tyler Kemp, and much more.

Traditional favorites abound throughout the season, including an all-Tchaikovsky concert in October, and an expanded “Mozart & Friends by Candlelight” in January, plus major works by Copland, Gershwin, Beethoven, Debussy, and Shostakovich.

In October, rock band and crowd favorite Jeans ’n Classics returns to MSO’ Pops Series with their “Back to Back” show, covering the chart-topping numbers of Billy Joel and Elton John. Love songs bloom in February’s “Heart Beats” concert and “Pepsi Pops” caps the season with a fireworks finale next May.

This season’s celebration of MSO musicians includes a commitment to raising their pay and appreciation for their deep community roots. MSO members are not only musicians — they are teachers, community leaders, business leaders, medical professionals, church performers, and more. “They bring the majority of live music to the Jackson area,” Mann said. “We want to celebrate and highlight what special artists all these people are, throughout the season.”

Subscriptions are on sale now for all of MSO’s vibrant concert series. Benefits include the best possible choice of seats, cost savings over the per-concert price, first notice of all MSO developments, and more opportunities to come.

MSO prides itself on offering a range of listening experiences in the capital city area and around the state:

  • its flagship Bravo Series, presented by the Selby & Richard McRae Foundation, at Thalia Mara Hall;
  • its intimate Chamber Series at area churches and recital halls;
  • its rollicking Pops Series, at Thalia Mara Hall and Old Trace Park at Barnett Reservoir; and
  • its new “Symphony in the Community” concerts at Cade Chapel that showcase local talents and foster insightful conversations.

“Listeners can count on a fantastic concert-going experience at all of our venues,” Mann said, “and a high level of artistry in everything that we do.”

Preview the Season At-A-Glance.