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Knoxville Symphony Orchestra unveils ‘feast for the ears’ in 2022-23 season

February 28, 2022

The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra’s 2022-23 season marks a new and exciting year filled with timeless classics, debut performances, eclectic repertoire and renowned guest artists.

Subscriptions are on sale now and can be purchased at at any time or by calling 865-291-3310 on Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Current subscribers can retain their seats if they renew by April 30. Individual tickets will be available in August 2022.

“I am incredibly excited for our new season, which will be a feast for the ears,” KSO Music Director Aram Demirjian said. “The season features an eclectic combination of familiar faces and names and introduces debuting artists and repertoire that Knoxville audiences will be hearing for the first time in our effort to continue to broaden the expectations of what one might hear or experience at an orchestra concert.

“We’re also proud to be continuing our commitment to bringing the spirit of our community into the concert hall with local artists and partners featured throughout the season.”

The season will include series that comprise classical and pops concerts. Descriptions of 2022-23 series and a list of performances are below. For a full schedule, visit

Moxley Carmichael Masterworks Series
The Moxley Carmichael Masterworks Series is the KSO’s mainstage concert series led by Demirjian on Thursday and Friday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at the Tennessee Theatre. Series subscriptions start at $109.

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 – Sept. 15-16, 2022:
Aram Demirjian, conductor; Joyce Yang, piano

KSO’s dynamic Moxley Carmichael Masterworks Series kicks off with the musical fireworks of Anna Clyne’s Masquerade and Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s “fate” symphony. Joyce Yang returns to perform Jonathan Leshnoff’s KSO co-commissioned Piano Concerto, hailed as “a soulful piano concerto [that] enthralls” (BBC Music Magazine).

Michelle Cann Plays Rachmaninoff – Oct. 13-14, 2022:
Francesco Lecce-Chong, guest conductor; Michelle Cann, piano

Michelle Cann, recipient of the 2022 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, makes her long-awaited return to the KSO and will perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s sentimental, romantic Second Piano Concerto. Guest conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong debuts in two heroic, opera-inspired works about overcoming oppression.

Service and Spirit: A Salute to Veterans – Nov. 10-11, 2022:
Aram Demirjian, conductor

The KSO honors our community’s veterans with a festive, reflective and poignant tribute to service. An all-American first half, headlined by “Lincoln Portrait” and the “Armed Forces Salute,” is followed by Serge Prokofiev’s World War II-era Fifth Symphony, which the composer described as “glorifying the grandeur of the human spirit.”

Dvořák Cello Concerto – Jan. 19-20, 2023:
Lidiya Yankovskaya, guest conductor; Oliver Herbert, cello

Rising stars Lidiya Yankovskaya and Oliver Herbert make their KSO debuts in a program of rich orchestral colors and memorable melodies.

Brahms Violin Concerto – Feb. 23-24, 2023:
Aram Demirjian, conductor; Philippe Quint, violin

World-class, Grammy Award-nominated violinist Philippe Quint returns to the KSO stage and will perform one of the pillars of the violin repertoire, Johannes Brahms’ lyrical, robust Violin Concerto in D major. And for the first time, the KSO performs William Levi Dawson’s powerful, stunning Negro Folk Symphony, inspired by melodies from traditional spirituals.

Appalachian Journeys – March 23-24, 2023:
Aram Demirjian, conductor; Rachel Grimes and Ensemble; Knoxville Choral Society

The KSO ushers in spring with two musical portraits of Appalachia, conceived nearly eight decades apart: Aaron Copland’s sentimental Appalachian Spring Suite, best known for its iconic “Variations on Simple Gifts,” and Louisville, Kentucky-native Rachel Grimes’ The Way Forth, a poignant multimedia folk opera examining the history of Southern Appalachia, focusing on accounts of people whom the historical record has overlooked. Grimes and the KSO are joined by a cast of folk musicians, actors, singers and Knoxville community partners in a program that explores who we are, where we’re going and how we tell our stories.

Mozart’s Requiem – April 20-21, 2023:
Aram Demirjian, conductor; Knoxville Choral Society

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem was the stuff of legend before it even premiered. Left incomplete at the time of Mozart’s death, its legacy has been one of mystery (often sensationalized), controversy and drama, amplified by the film Amadeus. One thing is certain: Mozart’s musical “last words” were among his most enduring, still capturing the fascination of listeners centuries later. The Knoxville Choral Society makes a long-awaited return to the Moxley Carmichael Masterworks Series.

Beethoven and The Rite of Spring – May 18-19, 2023:
Aram Demirjian, conductor; Zhenni Li, piano

A true succès de scandale at the time of its 1913 premiere, Igor Stravinsky’s paradigm-smashing Rite of Spring still sounds unshakably fresh and new, even 110 years later. It also demands a spirit of inventiveness and innovation, which the KSO lives up to with Tan Dun’s Passacaglia: The Secret of Wind and Birds, an interactive piece for orchestra and cell phones – with audience participation! Zhenni Li makes her KSO debut performing Ludwig van Beethoven’s luminous Fourth Piano Concerto.

Chamber Classics Series
The Chamber Classics Series showcases the musical bravado of the Knoxville Symphony Chamber Orchestra in four concerts on Sunday afternoons at 2:30 p.m. at the Bijou Theatre and one at the Tennessee Theatre in 2022. Series subscriptions start at $110.

Mozart and Ginastera – Sept. 25, 2022:
Aram Demirjian, conductor

The KSO Chamber Orchestra takes center stage in Alberto Ginastera’s high-voltage Variaciones concertantes, along with works by Caroline Shaw and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Classical Christmas: Messiah – Nov. 27, 2022 (Tennessee Theatre):
Aram Demirjian, conductor; Knoxville Choral Society

The KSO’s annual holiday tradition continues for another festive winter, this year with the return of Handel’s Messiah. Also included on the program is Victor Hely-Hutchinson’s delightful Carol Symphony.

Jeff Midkiff’s Mandolin – Jan. 29, 2023:
Aram Demirjian, conductor; Jeff Midkiff, mandolin

Jeff Midkiff, whose Mandolin Concerto thrilled Moxley Carmichael Masterworks audiences in 2016, returns to perform his Mandolin Quintet No. 2, alongside string orchestra works by Antonin Dvořák and Dame Ethel Smyth.

Mozart Piano Concerto No. 27 – March 5, 2023:
Aram Demirjian, conductor; Emi Kagawa, piano

KSO pianist Emi Kagawa makes her solo debut with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s impeccable Piano Concerto No. 27 followed by Franz Schubert sparkling Fifth Symphony. The overture to Il Signor Bruschino showcases Gioachino Rossini’s distinctive musical humor and wit.

Beethoven Symphony No. 8 – May 7, 2023:
Aram Demirjian, conductor; Claire Chenette and Ayca Yayman, oboe

The Chamber Classics season wraps up with a program featuring two composers you likely know (Ludwig van Beethoven and Antonio Vivaldi) and two who might be new to you (Adolphus Hailstork and Viet Cuong). Old music meets new music in this progressively rambunctious program.

Thermal Label Warehouse/Shaw Family Pops Series
The Thermal Label Warehouse/Shaw Family Pops Series features the popular music of today’s beloved artists and movies performed by the KSO at the Civic Auditorium on Saturday evenings at 8 p.m., with the opener at the Tennessee Theatre on a Friday evening. Series subscriptions start at $115.

Fire and Rain – Oct. 7, 2022 (Tennessee Theatre):
With a soundtrack created by the likes of Jim Croce, Jackson Browne, Carole King and Gordon Lightfoot, the 1970s became the pinnacle for singer-songwriters. Enjoy an evening of unforgettable 70s folk anthems, including “Time in a Bottle,” “Big Yellow Taxi” and “You’ve Got a Friend” as acclaimed Nashville duo AJ Swearingen and Jayne Kelli join the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.

Jurassic Park – Jan. 14, 2023:
In 1993, Jurassic Park transformed the movie-going experience, won three Academy Awards and became the highest-grossing film of all time. Rekindle the big screen magic as Steven Spielberg’s groundbreaking film is projected in high definition while the KSO performs John Williams’ majestic score live.

Jurassic Park – Film with Orchestra produced by Film Concerts Live!, a joint venture of IMG Artists, LLC and The Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency, Inc.

Cirque Broadway – Feb. 11, 2023:
Wildly popular Cirque de la Symphonie returns, this time to the memorable sounds of Broadway. Prepare to be dazzled as the KSO is joined on stage by aerialists and acrobats performing astonishing feats of grace, beauty and power. Showstoppers will be performed from Wicked, Cats, Chicago, West Side Story and more.

The Music of Whitney Houston – March 11, 2023:
The creative team that brought you tributes to Queen, Journey and Led Zeppelin returns with a stunning salute to American icon Whitney Houston. Broadway sensation Rashidra Scott takes center stage for an evening of Whitney’s greatest hit, including “I Will Always Love You,” “Saving All My Love,” “The Greatest Love of All” and “How Will I Know?”

ABBA: The Concert – April 15, 2023:
Calling all “Dancing Queens!” Come to the Civic Auditorium as Waterloo, the world’s foremost ABBA tribute act, joins the KSO for an evening of smash hits, including “Mamma Mia,” “Take a Chance,” “The Name of the Game” and more.

The Doo Wop Project – May 13, 2023:
If you love the classic sounds of Frankie Valli, The Drifters and the Del Vikings but also wonder what Maroon 5 would sound like if the group came up in the doo wop era, this concert is for you. Stars of Broadway smashes Jersey Boys and Motown: The Musical and the KSO take you on an unforgettable journey from street corner harmonies to today’s biggest radio hits.

Merchant & Gould Concertmaster & Friends Series
The Merchant & Gould Concertmaster & Friends Series features KSO Concertmaster William Shaub in three concerts on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. at the Knoxville Museum of Art. Series subscriptions are $56.

Carmen Fantasy – Oct. 5-6, 2022:
Perhaps the most iconic opera of all time and the one with tunes found in everything from early films to modern rom-coms, Bizet’s “Carmen” was as popular in the 19th century as it is today. Just five years after its scandalous premiere, violinist Pablo de Sarasate was writing his own “Fantasy” based on themes from Carmen. A legendary virtuoso from Spain, de Sarasate’s rendition for violin is exactly the way Shaub loves to open the Concertmaster Series season: virtuosic, irresistibly catchy and a wild ride.

The Call of the Hunt: Brahms’ Horn Trio – Jan. 25-26, 2023:
In “The Call of the Hunt,” Shaub and pianist Kevin Class explore nature and the romanticism of its sounds with KSO Principal Horn Jeffery Whaley to present Brahms’ epic “Horn Trio,” a piece with so much depth and power that at moments it sounds like a full symphony orchestra is performing at the museum.

The Late Genius: Beethoven’s Final Days – April 5-6, 2023:
Beethoven’s “Late Quartets” are legendary pieces that inspired countless composers and artists alike since their composition. They also are the most challenging string quartets ever written, performed almost exclusively by touring professional string quartets who may “live” with them side by side over time.

Q Series:
The Q Series features the KSO’s Principal String Quartet and Woodwind Quintet in six lunchtime performances on Wednesdays at 12 p.m. at the Elks Lodge. Lunch will be provided. Series subscriptions are $107.

Q Series Dates:
Sept. 28, 2022
Oct. 26, 2022
Dec. 7, 2022
Jan. 11, 2023
Feb. 8, 2023
March 29, 2023

36th Annual Clayton Holiday Concert – Dec. 16-18, 2022:
East Tennessee’s favorite holiday tradition continues as the KSO and special guests celebrate the sounds of the season.

Subscribers can add the Clayton Holiday concert to their package at a 20% discount.