(Boston) – The Handel and Haydn Society announces its 2023-24 season, the first under new Artistic Director Jonathan Cohen. Cohen is just the 15th to hold that position in Handel and Haydn Society’s 209 years and has selected an eclectic group of works for the season’s eleven concerts. The season includes Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and Handel’s Israel in Egypt as well as works from several baroque and classical composers whose works have often gone overlooked including Ignatius Sancho, Louise Farrenc, and Hildegard von Bingen.
“This season we will make the old new again as our orchestra and chorus approach every piece of music with passion, vitality, and freshness on instruments from the period as the composers intended,” said Jonathan Cohen, Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society. “The notes may have been penned by Bach, Mozart or Beethoven, but the performance is now, immediate and alive.”
The Handel and Haydn Society will welcome several acclaimed guest conductors to the stage for next season including the return of Conductor Laureate Harry Christophers, Václav Luks, Raphaël Pichon, Bernard Labadie, and Masaaki Suzuki. In addition, internationally renowned Baroque violinist Rachel Podger will perform and direct The British Masters concert in February 2024.
This season will also include a diverse group of young stars from the opera and classical world making their H+H debut including Czech pianist Lukáš Vondráček, American soprano Erin Morley, British sensation mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston, opera and jazz powerhouse countertenor John Holiday, award-winning tenor Stuart Jackson, and Bolivian bass-baritone Jose Coca Loza, who is making a name for himself performing on some of the biggest stages in Europe.
The 2023-24 Season
Jonathan Cohen will take center stage in his first concert as Artistic Director at Symphony Hall with Handel’s masterpiece Israel in Egypt on October 6 + 8, 2023. H+H’s chorus and orchestra will bring the epic tale of triumph over adversity to life on the period instruments for which this powerful music was written.
Czech conductor Václav Luks, founder and artistic director of the Prague ensemble Collegium 1704, leads the orchestra and acclaimed pianist Lukáš Vondráček in Beethoven’s dramatic Piano Concerto No. 3. The performances at Symphony Hall on October 27 + 29, 2023 will also include the H+H premiere of Louise Farrenc’s cheerful Overture No. 1 and Beethoven’s glorious 8th Symphony.
For the 170th consecutive year, H+H will celebrate the holiday season with three performances of Handel’s Messiah, conducted by Jonathan Cohen on November 24 + 25 + 26 at Symphony Hall. The centuries-old Boston tradition will include soloists Joélle Harvey, soprano, John Holiday, countertenor, Stuart Jackson, tenor, and José Coca Loza, bass-baritone.
H+H will wrap up the year with Boston’s biggest Baroque holiday party a Baroque Christmas at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall on December 14 + 17, 2023. H+H Associate Conductor Ian Watson will lead the orchestra in the H+H premiere of Telemann’s Trumpet Sonata in D Major, Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, Scarlatti’s Cantata pastorale per la Nativita do Signore Gesu Christo, Charpentier’s Noels pour les instruments and selections from J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. H+H will be joined by talented soloist Teresa Wakim, soprano, and David McFerrin, baritone.
World renowned violinist Rachel Podger directs the H+H Orchestra and Chorus in a celebration of The British Masters at NEC’S Jordan Hall February 2 + 4, 2024. Countertenor Reginald Mobley will join H+H for the collection of works of the British Baroque period include Purcell’s Suite from Gordion Knot as well as “O Solitude” and “Here the Deities Approve,” Handel’s Sonata a 5 in B-flat Major, arias from Rinaldo and The Choice of Hercules, and Concerto grosso in F Major, Op. 3, No. 4. The performance will also include a suite of arrangements by Nicola Canzano of dance and songs from a long under-recognized voice in Ignatius Sancho, a composer who was enslaved at birth yet became the first Black man to vote in a British election.
Harry Christophers returns to H+H in his first appearance as Conductor Laureate on February 23 + 25, 2024 at Symphony Hall. The performance features several H+H premieres including Hildegard von Bingen’s chants O filie Israhel and Flos campi as well as two of Raphaella Aleotti’s motets from Song of Songs: Vidi speciosam and Surge propera amica mea. Christophers has also selected Haydn’s delightful Symphony No. 49, La passione and two works by Mozart: Coronation Mass and Vesperae solennes de confessore. Soloist Joélle Harvey, soprano, Helen Charlston, mezzo-soprano, Aaron Sheehan, tenor, and Matthew Brook, bass-baritone, will join the H+H Orchestra and Chorus for the concert.
Guest conductor Raphaël Pichon and H+H take on Beethoven’s magnum opus Ninth Symphony in honor of the 200th anniversary of the 1824 Viennese premiere of the work. Pichon will deliver a fervently fresh take on the classic March 15 + 16 at Symphony Hall.
Jonathan Cohen returns for his final performances of the season on March 22 + 24 at NEC’s Jordan Hall with Bach + Telemann. The concerts will begin with two contemplative Bach cantatas No. 4 + 106 followed by a rollicking Brandenburg No. 6, before the H+H premiere of Telemann’s captivating Cantata, Du aber Daniel gehe hin.
Bach’s choral masterpiece B Minor Mass led by Masaaki Suzuki, founder and music director of the Bach Collegium Japan, will take place at Symphony Hall on April 5 + 7, 2024. From the first chords Bach takes the audience through lush harmonies and intricate orchestral writing. Combined with H+H’s trademark historically informed style and this promises to be a Bach like the audience has never heard.
H+H will perform Brahms’s “A German Requiem” at Symphony Hall, April 19 + 21, 2024. Led by Bernard Labadie, principal conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and founder of the La Chapelle de Québec chorus, the performance will include the H+H premiere of the emotionally raw Begräbnisgesang (Funeral Song) and the spiritual Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem).
Aisslinn Nosky and Ian Watson will co-direct the dazzling, inventive, and inspired Bach Brandenburg Concertos 1-6 May 2 + 3 at Sanders Theatre and May 4 at NEC’s Jordan Hall. Bach’s treasury of instrumental music has become a tradition for H+H.
Subscription packages from 3 to 11 concerts are now available with access to the best seats at great savings and may be purchased by calling 617-262.1815 or visiting www.handelandhaydn.org. Individual tickets will go on sale on August 1, 2023.
About the Handel and Haydn Society
Boston’s Grammy-winning Handel and Haydn Society is dedicated to performing Baroque and Classical music with a freshness, a vitality, and a creativity that inspires all ages. H+H has been captivating audiences for 208 consecutive seasons (the most of any performing arts organization in the United States). Today, H+H’s Orchestra and Chorus delight more than 50,000 listeners annually with a nine-week subscription series at Boston Symphony Hall and other leading venues. Through the Karen S. and George D. Levy Education Program, H+H supports seven youth choirs of singers in grades 2-12 and provides thousands of complimentary tickets to students and communities throughout Boston, ensuring the joy of music is accessible to all. H+H’s numerous free community concerts include an annual commemoration of the original 1863 Emancipation Proclamation concert on December 31. H+H has released 16 CDs on the Coro label and has toured nationally and internationally. In all these ways, H+H fulfills its mission to inspire the intellect, touch the heart, elevate the soul, and connect us with our shared humanity through transformative experiences with Baroque and Classical music.
About Jonathan Cohen
Jonathan Cohen has forged a remarkable career as a conductor, cellist and keyboardist. Well known for his passion and commitment to chamber music Jonathan is equally at home in such diverse activities as baroque opera and the classical symphonic repertoire. He is Artistic Director of Arcangelo, Music Director of Les Violons du Roy, Artistic Director of Tetbury Festival and Artistic Partner of Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. From the 23-24 season he will be Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society.