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Leonore Overture

collects the music and arts criticism of Keith Powers

Celebrity Series announces 2017-18 season. Lots of great

Celebrity Series announces 2017-18 season. Lots of great

 Yuja. Ian Douglas photograph

Yuja. Ian Douglas photograph

A Celebrity Series executive once said to me, “We have to buy off the shelf.” Looking at next season’s series line-up, you can see they weren’t limited to canned goods. 

What he meant was the Celebrity Series was at the mercy of whoever toured that season. And next season, an extraordinary line-up of soloists, orchestras, dancers and collaborators will be on the road—and stopping in Boston.

Boston audiences have been forced to rely on the Celebrity Series to bring out-of-town orchestras to the area; gone are the days when symphonies regularly made tours on their own. This upcoming season, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by Gustavo Dudamel, brings a new work by its former music director, Esa-Pekka Salonen, to Symphony Hall. Get earplugs: Varèse’s “Amériques” is also on the program. Antonio Pappano brings his Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, based in Rome, to Symphony Hall as well in October, with esteemed pianist Martha Argerich (Prokofiev 3).

Pianists stand out: Pollini (April 8), Yuja (May 11), Trifonov in a two-piano recital with Sergei Babayan (March 3), and Rafal Blechacz, a Gilmore winner, debuting in April. 

Other pianists are bringing friends: Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma perform Brahms trios in February; Evgeny Kissin sits in with the Emerson String Quartet in April; Orion Weiss teams up with violinist Benjamin Bellman in March; and, most interesting of all, Jeremy Denk partners with violinist Stefan Jackiw and the a cappella group Hudson Shad for a program that circles the music of Charles Ives (January, in Jordan). Hudson Shad sings hymns and songs that are quoted in the violin sonatas (there are four), which Denk and Jackiw will then perform.

Voice gets special attention. Tenor Lawrence Brownlee shares the Jordan Hall stage with bass Eric Owens in April; Audra McDonald comes back in April as well (Symphony Hall, of course); soprano Julia Bullock and mezzo Jamie Barton make their debuts. If you must hear Bob Dylan, Joan Osborne interprets his songs in November. Alan Cumming sings cabaret to open the season, and Ira Glass, David Sedaris, Tony Kushner (with Sarah Vowell), and Rob Kapilow say things.

Pipa virtuoso Wu Man makes an appearance with the Huayin Shadow Puppets in March, and other chamber settings include the Doric and Takács quartets, eighth blackbird, the Assad duo of guitarists, Quatuor Mosaïques, Béla Fleck with Abigail Washburn, mandolinist Chris Thile, and Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman in a recital with pianist Rohan de Silva.

Dance? Pilobolus, Grupo Corpo, Compagnie Accrorap, Circa, Company Wayne McGregor, Body Music, and, of course, Alvin Ailey—a 50th anniversary performance, March 22-25. Jazz stars include DeJohnette, McBride, Palmieri, Chucho, Redman and Wynton. 

Subscriptions start today. Single tickets, not until Sept. 11. celebrityseries.org

Quiet please. Lupu, Nelsons, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra play Mozart.

Quiet please. Lupu, Nelsons, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra play Mozart.

Uchida, Nelsons. Staccato Mozart, and tense Bruckner. Boston Symphony Orchestra, April 13, 2017

Uchida, Nelsons. Staccato Mozart, and tense Bruckner. Boston Symphony Orchestra, April 13, 2017