Year in Review: For the Atlanta Symphony, a year of healing, recovery and moving forwardDecember 31, 2015
By Mark Gresham
The first half of 2015 nevertheless had its high points. Those included a performance of Mahler’s “Rückert Lieder” and Symphony No. 5 in early March, led by principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles and featuring mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor; the world premiere of the concert-length oratorio Creation/Creator by Christopher Theofanidis in April, led by music director Robert Spano; and culminating with the season finale, a concert version of Camille Saint-Saëns’ opera Samson et Dalila, also performed under Spano’s baton. A recording of Theofanidis oratorio was released in September on ASO media.
By the orchestra’s summer hiatus, it was evident that the ASO had turned a financial corner, reporting that it had met and exceeded budget. Even greater optimism ensued over fundraising for the orchestra’s endowment, which as of the end of October has raised $17 million of the $25 million goal to underwrite the positions of 11 musicians to bring the total roster up to 88 roster players over the next few years.
Three new musicians have already been hired this fall to fill existing vacancies: principal contrabass Colin Corner, second horn Ernesto Tovar Torres and section contrabass Karl Fenner, who will join the orchestra in January.