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HAGERSTOWN, MD. – Music Director Elizabeth Schulze and the Maryland Symphony Orchestra have unveiled their 2016-2017 season. Fourteen concerts will be presented at the historic Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown for the symphony's 35th anniversary year.

The season features Masterworks concerts paying tribute to the core classical repertoire, music from Grammy Award winning composer Chris Brubeck, a powerful, high definition musical journey through the universe accompanying a performance of Holst’s "The Planets," a tribute to the legends of country music, familiar music from the Eagles multi-platinum album "Hotel California," and a musical celebration of Christmas that has become one of the area’s favorite holiday traditions.

The 2016-2017 Maryland Symphony Orchestra season was specifically programmed to accompany and build excitement for the unveiling of the orchestra’s vibrant new logo and rebranding campaign that was unveiled to the public on July 2 at the annual Salute to Independence concert at Antietam National Battlefield.

The 35th Anniversary Season gets underway on Saturday, September 17, and Sunday, September 18, when the Maryland Symphony Orchestra presents the first of the season’s Masterworks concerts with a special event called “Classics and Crabs,” a celebration of all things Maryland.

From Maryland crabs to Maryland microbrews to the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, this special event includes a pre-concert beer festival in the Maryland Theatre courtyard, courtesy of Flying Dog Brewery; a special Masterworks concert featuring the eclectic mix of classical crossover superstars Time for Three, and a work written especially for the them by Grammy Award winning composer and jazz musician Chris Brubeck. The orchestra will also perform Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E minor. The evening concludes with a post-concert street festival and crab feed under the stars on South Potomac Street. The Sunday, September 18 concert does not include pre or post-concert activities.

The season continues on Saturday, October 15, with “Country Legends.” Nashville performers Rachel Potter (The X Factor) and Patrick Thomas (The Voice) guest star in a tribute to the greatest performers in country music. Selections will recall famed singers and songwriters like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Faith Hill and Tennessee Ford.

On Saturday, November 12, and Sunday, November 13, international concert violinist Rachel Barton Pine will be performing as a soloist in Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No 1. Heralded as a leading interpreter of the great classical masterworks, Pine thrills audiences with her dazzling technique, lustrous tone and emotional honesty. With an infectious joy in music-making and a passion for connecting historical research to performance, Pine transforms audiences’ experiences of classical music. She has been hailed by the Washington Post as having "power and confidence that puts her in the top echelon." The orchestra will also be performing Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra.

The region’s most popular Christmas concerts, “Home for the Holidays,” will be held on Saturday December 17, and Sunday, December 18. This longtime holiday crowd-pleaser has become a tradition for many families throughout the four-state region. The orchestra is incredibly excited to welcome Tony Award nominee Christiane Noll to perform as the featured guest vocalist. Noll was nominated for “Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical” for her role in Ragtime on Broadway. She has also appeared in Broadway shows like Jekyll & Hyde, It Ain’t Nothing But the Blues, and off-Broadway in Call the Children Home, A Fine & Private Place, and Frankenstein. Noll will be joined by local choirs to offer a delightful mix of carols, seasonal favorites, and the popular sing-a-long with Father Christmas himself, Santa Claus.

The Masterworks concerts continue on February 11 and February 12 with “Romantic Rachmaninoff”, featuring pianist Andrew Staupe performing as a soloist on Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Having performed to high praise in concert halls around the country, Staupe brings his powerful and passionate performance style to the Maryland Theatre for a weekend of romantic music to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The orchestra will also perform Griffes’s Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan and Strauss’s Don Juan.

Explore the mysteries of the solar system on Saturday, March 18, and Sunday, March 19, as the Maryland Symphony Orchestra presents a full-sensory experience featuring NASA video footage to accompany Holst’s’ out-of-this-world "The Planets."  This concert will feature special guests and astronomers from the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. The orchestra will complete this cosmic themed, musical experience with performances of Howe’s "The Stars" and Brouwer’s "Pluto."

Groundbreaking sounds of classic rock will fill the Maryland Theatre on Saturday, April 8, with a “Tribute to the Eagles;” saluting one of the world's most successful and widely loved rock bands of the 1970's. Joined by rock band Jeans ‘n Classics, Elizabeth Schulze conducts the Maryland Symphony Orchestra as they capture the Eagles’ impeccable riffs and timeless vocal harmonies in all the classics, including “Hotel California,” “Desperado,” “New Kid in Town,” and “The Boys Of Summer.” Get ready to “Take It Easy,” and relive some of the greatest songs of the ’70s.

The 35th season comes to a close with “A Fifth of Beethoven” on Saturday, May 13, and Sunday, May 14. This final weekend is coupled with “Prelude to Preakness,” a special event themed around the Annual Running of the Preakness. On Saturday, concertgoers can experience the trifecta with a wine and cheese tasting festival featuring Antietam Highlands and other local wineries; a MSO Masterworks concert featuring pianist Yulia Gorenman performing Beethoven’s familiar Piano Concerto No. 5; and a special post-concert event with food and beverages on South Potomac Street. The orchestra will also perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. The Sunday, May 14 concert does not include pre or post-concert activities.

Single tickets and subscriptions are on sale now for all concerts. Single tickets may be purchased online at www.marylandsymphony.org, by phone at 301-797-4000 x101, or in person at the orchestra’s administrative offices located at 30 West Washington Street in downtown Hagerstown. Tickets for children and students to all Masterworks concerts are free and can be reserved in advance by calling the box office.

All performances are held at the historic Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown. Masterworks concerts typically begin at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.

Music Director Elizabeth Schulze provides insights into the music, musicians, and composers during “Prelude,” which is held one hour prior to every Masterworks performance. Guest artists are also scheduled to participate. The 30 minute talk is free to all ticket holders.

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