Eugene Symphony 54th Season Reveal

Posted on April 04, 2019

Eugene Symphony’s 54th Season celebrates Creativity, Connection, and Community in a wide-ranging exploration of how music brings people closer together

EUGENE, OR (Mar 15, 2019)—On Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 5:30pm., Music Director & Conductor Francesco LecceChong will announce the Eugene Symphony’s 2019/20 season to subscribers, patrons and media in the lobby of the Hult Center for the Performing Arts.   

“Music has incredible power…it helps us celebrate, heal, and express ourselves in ways that words don’t allow,” says Lecce-Chong. “It helps us build connections, develop existing bonds, and cultivate our sense of understanding. Music transcends all boundaries and barriers, and strengthens our community. In this 54th season, we aim to illuminate the glorious process by which an individual artist’s idea, performed passionately and purposefully, can bring us closer together. It is a magical cycle, in which we are honored to play a central role. I’m so excited for what the season offers our community. It is also full of notable collaborations that celebrate many different forms of art in our hometown.” 
Highlights of the 2019/20 Season Include: 

  • Back for another season! A one-night-only showing of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, with the orchestra performing John Williams’ live soundtrack as the next chapter of the popular series unfolds on a big screen above the stage. 
  • A special performance by Broadway star Leslie Odom, Jr., best known for originating the role of Aaron Burr in the smash-hit Hamilton, to be followed by the Symphony’s annual Gala fundraising event. 
  • The community celebration, concert, and beer- and wine-tasting extravaganza SymFest returns for its fourth year, now headlined by indie rock legend Ben Folds.  
  • The nine-concert Symphonic series features familiar favorites by beloved composer such as Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Brahms, and Beethoven alongside some of today’s most vital creative voices. 
  • C3: Creativity, Connection, and Community: The Symphonic series concludes with three interlinked concerts which collectively explore how an individual’s creative spark kindles connections between people and creates a stronger sense of community. 
    • These concerts feature several notable performance collaborations, including #instaballet, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Oregon-based visual artists, and more. 
  • The Symphonic series also showcases the music of five American composers including three women and one Oregonian, as well as the Pacific Northwest Premiere of contemporary composer Matt Browne’s Symphony No. 1.  
    • The latter was co-commissioned by Lecce-Chong, and four donor households each from Eugene Symphony and Santa Rosa Symphony, as part of an ambitious four-year initiative dubbed the “First Symphony Project.” The collaboration provides four young composers their first opportunity to write in orchestral music’s purest test of creative expression. 
  • A Family Concert featuring Prokofiev’s beloved tale of heroism and teamwork, Peter and the Wolf, with accessible pricing of $10 for youth and $20 for adults. 

Collaborations & Audience Engagement:

  • Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and Oregon-based visual artists – as an anchor of the “C3” initiative, four visual artists (Anna Fidler, Jessica Lavadour, Andrew Myers, and Julia Oldham) will each create new art works interpreting a movement of Paul Hindemith’s orchestral masterpiece Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Weber. A fifth artist, JSMA’s Michael Bragg, will document the creation of these new works and craft a video to be shown in real time during the Eugene Symphony’s performance in April. 
  • #instaballet – prior to a concert, local dance troupe will crowd-source with patrons new choreography for Gabriel Fauré’s Pavane. The group will then perform it on stage with the orchestra later that evening
  • Audience and members of the public – at the March concert “C3: Creativity,” audience members will be invited to download an app onto their mobile phones which will then be activated at key moments of Chinese composer Tan Dun’s Secret of Winds and Birds. Then in May, a video of select Eugene Symphony musicians playing their instruments at notable Eugene landmarks and gathering spots will be shown in real time during the orchestra’s performance of Maurice Ravel’s Bolero. Media alerts will be sent out prior to each video shoot so that the public may observe and potentially participate. 
  • First Symphony Project – In the inaugural year of an ambitious four-year initiative, Composer-in-Residence Matt Browne will visit Eugene in October to work with students and community groups, culminating in a performance of his existing work Barnstorming Season. Then, he returns in March to continue his residency and attend the PNW premiere of his Symphony No. 1, which was commissioned by Lecce-Chong along with eight donor households between Oregon and California. The Eugene donors are: Jack & Dondeana Brinkman, Zane & Elaine Cornett, Don Gudehus, and Roger & Elaine Saydack. 
  • Mozart’s Requiem – Lecce-Chong collaborates with Dr. Sharon Paul and the Eugene Symphony Chorus to perform modern Mozart scholar Robert Levin’s highly regarded completion of the iconic composer’s final work, Requiem. 

Beloved Masterpieces and Astonishing Artists: 

  • Orchestral Genius – The 54th season features a return to many well-known and popular masterworks for the orchestra, including Peter Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 “Titan”, Camille Saint-Saëns’s Symphony No. 3 “Organ”, Johannes Brahms’s Symphony No. 2, Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 4, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, and Edward Elgar’s “Enigma” Variations. 
  • Stellar Soloists – Lecce-Chong and the Eugene Symphony also welcome a cadre of stunning solo performers to the Silva Concert Hall stage, including Bulgarian violinist Bella Hristova playing Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, identical twin sisters Christina & Michelle Naughton performing Felix Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Two Pianos, young phenom Aristo Sham playing Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Finnish star Elina Vähälä performing the Violin Concerto by her countryman Jean Sibelius, 2017 Van Cliburn Competition  bronze medalist Daniel Hsu playing Sergei Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Curtis Institute President (and Lecce-Chong’s mentor) Roberto Diáz performing Jennifer Higdon’s Grammy-winning Viola Concerto, and cellist Joshua Roman playing Richard Strauss’s setting of Don Quixote. 
  • Guest Conductors – Eugene favorite Jeffrey Kahane (who first led the Eugene Symphony in 1993 and has visited the Oregon Bach Festival numerous times) returns to perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 while conducting from the keyboard, along with a second half music by Robert Schumann and Giacchino Rossini. Also, Australian-British conductor Jessica Cottis makes her debut in a program of music by Hector Berlioz, Sergei Prokofiev, and Camille Saint-Saëns.             

Subscribing to Eugene Symphony – Costs & Benefits:

  • Full-season subscriptions can be renewed and purchased online at or through the Hult Center Ticket Office (541-682-5000) on Tues. – Fri. from 12 – 5 p.m. or Sat. from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. 
  • The renewal deadline for current full-season subscribers is Thursday, May 9. These patrons may also purchase tickets to Special Concerts with their subscription renewal. 
  • Full-season subscriptions include nine concerts at a savings of up to 15% compared to buying single tickets. Subscriptions range from $207-$504 per person, which is as low as $23 per concert.   
  • Partial-season subscriptions are available May 14 and include: 
    • Compose Your Own 5- and 3-concert packages, which start at $25 per concert.  
  •  Subscribers of all levels can exchange tickets for free and have first access to tickets for Special Concerts, among many other benefits listed in the season brochure and online. 

On-sale dates 

  • Now until May 9: Full-season renewal period. Returning or new full-season subscribers may purchase tickets to Special Concerts (Star Wars, Leslie Odom, Jr., and SymFest) with their subscription.  
  • May 14: Partial-season subscriptions available. Special Concert tickets available to these subscribers, too. 
  • July 26: Star Wars tickets available to the public (i.e. non-subscribers). 
  • August 13: Single tickets available for Symphonic series concerts, Leslie Odom, Jr., Family Concert, and SymFest.    

For questions or to schedule interviews,

Contact Marketing & Communications Director Stephanie Domurat at or 541-687-9487 x1114. 

About Francesco Lecce-Chong  A captivating presence on the podium, American conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong has garnered acclaim for his dynamic performances, commitment to innovative programming, and passion for community engagement. As Music Director & Conductor of the Eugene Symphony, Lecce-Chong follows in the path of renowned predecessors including Marin Alsop and Giancarlo Guerrero. Active as a guest conductor, he has appeared with orchestras around the world including the National Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, and Hong Kong Philharmonic.  More at 

About Eugene Symphony Now in its 53rd season, the Eugene Symphony is a nonprofit and 83-member orchestra based in Eugene, Oregon. Led by Music Director & Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong, Eugene Symphony reaches more than 50,000 adults and children annually with live music performances. Recognized as a cornerstone of the performing arts in Oregon's southern Willamette Valley, Eugene Symphony pursues its mission of enriching lives through the power of music by presenting annual classical and pops concerts, as well as music education and community engagement programs, regularly commissioning and premiering new American works, and disseminating its performances via radio broadcasts and recordings. More at