Five important compositions of Florent Schmitt to be featured in the upcoming 2020-21 concert season by orchestras in Duluth, Houston, Indianapolis, London, Lucerne, Osaka, Paris, Québec City, Rochefort, St. Louis, Saratoga Springs, Strasbourg and Tokyo.

In a classical music world turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, orchestras are bravely stepping forward in the 2020-21 concert season to commemorate French composer Florent Schmitt’s 150th birthday anniversary.

Bachtrack LogoThe international Bachtrack website is in the process of uploading its global database of classical music programs for the coming season. Although it doesn’t provide a complete or comprehensive listing of every professional group’s events, the site covers nearly all of the major orchestras, opera and ballet companies around the world, making it the global “go-to” resource for information about what’s happening on the classical music calendar.

[Having one of the most robust and easy-to-use search mechanisms of any website of its kind is an added plus for anyone looking for upcoming performances by composer, composition or performer.]

The 2019-20 concert season was a particularly bountiful one for devotees of the music of the French composer Florent Schmitt, in that ten of the composer’s orchestral pieces were on tap for performance by ensembles on five continents. Unfortunately, the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 meant that a number of the performances planned after March could not go on as scheduled.

But the distressing news of the pandemic and its impact on the performing arts hasn’t deterred orchestras from moving forward with their plans for the 2020-21 season.

That season is just now coming into focus – and we see that five important orchestral compositions of Florent Schmitt will be presented by orchestras and chamber ensembles in Duluth, Houston, London, Lucerne, Osaka, Paris, Québec City, Rochefort, St. Louis, Saratoga Springs, Strasbourg and Tokyo, conducted by Alain Altinoglu, Stéphane Denève, Gustavo Dudamel, Fabien Gabel, Julien Masmondet, Dirk Meyer, Tomoya Nakahara and Scott Terrell. (The Québec concert had not been officially announced as of publication time, but the details are set and the information will be added as soon as allowed.)

Florent Schmitt Portrait Pierrette Lambert 1992

Cause for celebration: Florent Schmitt’s 150th birthday anniversary year is being commemorated by orchestral performances everywhere. (Portrait: Pierrette Lambert, 1992)

Moreover, the upcoming concert season is particularly significant in that it coincides with the 150th birthday anniversary of Florent Schmitt, thus providing an opportunity for a special commemorative focus on this composer and his artistic legacy.

Perhaps it is fitting that the schedule will feature more concert performances of La Tragédie de Salomé — Schmitt’s most famous orchestral piece — than have ever happened in any single season.  Among the presentations planned is the rarely performed 1907 original version of the ballet — scored for an orchestra of just 20 players plus offstage soprano, but twice the length of the revised version prepared by the composer three years following.

Florent Schmitt 150th Anniversary concerts Japan

A series of concerts in Japan during the 2020-21 season will commemorate the 150th birthday anniversary of Florent Schmitt.

Among the lesser known compositions being featured in the coming season is Schmitt’s exquisitely crafted Janiana Symphony for strings, dating from 1941.  This gem of a piece is a highly anticipated and very welcome addition to the concert calendar.  Plus, audiences will have the opportunity to hear a chamber orchestra version of the second movement from Schmitt’s String Quartet, composed in 1948 — one of the composer’s most complex compositions.

Listed below are details on the upcoming season’s concerts, along with web links to additional information about the performances and ticket reservations.

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June 26, 2020

Mostly Modern Festival logoSchmitt: Légende, Op. 66 (1918)

Barber: The School for Scandal Overture, Op. 5

Hindemith: Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber

Paterson: I See You

American Modern Orchestra; Scott Terrell, conductor

Wilson Poffenburger, saxophone

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August 17, 2020

BBC Symphony OrchestraSchmitt: Psaume XLVII, Op. 38 (1904)

Poulenc: Gloria

Rameau: Les Indes galantes: Suite

Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin

BBC Symphony Orchestra; Alain Altinoglu, conductor

Sally Matthews, soprano

BBC Symphony Chorus

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September 5, 2020

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra logoSchmitt: Légende, Op. 66 (1918)

Debussy: Rapsodie pour saxophone

Stravinsky: L’Oiseau de feu (complete ballet)

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

Valentine Michaud, saxophone

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October 17, 2020

Sinfonia ShizuokaSchmitt: Janiana Symphony for String Orchestra, Op. 101 (1941)

Connesson: The Ship of Ishtar

Ibert: Symphonie concertante

Roussel: Sinfonietta, Op. 52

Sinfonietta Shizuoka; Tomoya Nakahara, conductor

Yumi Yoshimura, oboe

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November 4, 2020

Sinfonia ShizuokaSchmitt: String Quartet, Op. 112: Rêve (Arranged for string orchestra – 1948/2020)

Schmitt: La Tragédie de Salomé (Original version – 1907)

Ropartz: Petite symphonie

Sinfonietta Shizuoka; Tomoya Nakahara, conductor

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November 13-14, 2020

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra logoSchmitt: La Tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50 (1907/10)

Adams: Lola Montez Does the Spider Dance

Berlioz: La Mort de Cléopâtre

Bizet: Carmen: Selections

Saint-Saëns: Samson et Dalila: Bacchanale

Richard Strauss: Salome: Dance of the Seven Veils

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra; Stéphane Denève, conductor

Gaëlle Arquez, mezzo-soprano

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November 19-20, 2020

Orchestre Philharmonique de StrasbourgSchmitt: La Tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50 (1907/10)

Ravel: La Valse

Ravel: Violin Sonata (arr. Yan Marasz)

Ravel: Tzigane

Strauss:  Salome: Dance of the Seven Veils

Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg; Fabien Gabel, conductor

Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg; Fabien Gabel, conductor

Renaud Capucon, violin

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December 3, 2020

OFJ logoSchmitt: La Tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50 (1907/10)

Soh: Salomé

Strauss:  Salome: Dance of the Seven Veils

Verdi:  La Forza del Destino: Overture + Pace, pace mio Dio!

Verdi:  Macbeth: Ballabile + Vieni d’affretta Accendere

Orchestre Français des Jeunes; Fabien Gabel, conductor

Kristine Opolais, soprano

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February 5-7, 2021

Houston Symphony logoSchmitt: La Tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50 (1907/10)

Chausson: Poème, Op. 25

Debussy: La Mer

Dutilleux: Sur le même accord

Ravel: Tzigane

Houston Symphony; Fabien Gabel, conductor

Simone Lamsma, violin

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March 12-13, 2021

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra logoSchmitt: La Tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50 (1907/10)

Stravinsky: Firebird Suite

Stravinsky: Funeral Song, Op. 5

Tomasi: Trumpet Concerto

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; Fabien Gabel, conductor

Håken Hardenberger, trumpet

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May 8, 2021

DSSO logoSchmitt: La Tragédie de Salomé, Op. 50 (1907/10)

Beethoven: The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43:  Overture

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 “Choral”

Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra; Dirk Meyer, conductor

Sarah Lawrence, Christine Christenson, Daniel Montenegro, Cory Renbarger, solo vocalists

DSSO Chorus

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May 21-21, 2021

Schmitt: La Tragédie de Salomé, Opus 50  (Original version – 1907)

Touchard: Salomé

Ensemble Les Apaches; Julien Masmondet, conductor

Marion Tassou, soprano

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More information on these upcoming concerts can be found on the Bachtrack site, or on the web pages of the various arts organizations (click or tap on the links above).

In the coming weeks, it is likely that additional concerts featuring Florent Schmitt’s music will be announced for the upcoming season. They will be added to the listing above as soon as the information is known.

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