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93 years of musical masterpieces

The Modesto Symphony Orchestra will open its 93rd season with new Music Director Nicholas Hersh with Tchaikovsky & Copland on Oct. 13 and Oct. 14. 

The program will start with Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro then will feature pianist Alessio Bax on Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. The evening will conclude with Copland’s Symphony No. 3, which features the well-known theme from Fanfare for the Common Man. As part of the opening weekend festivities, the MSO will have an after-party in the lobby to celebrate the new season and their new Music Director Nicholas Hersh.  

“We are so excited to open our Classics Series with our new Music Director Nicholas Hersh,” said Caroline Nickel, President and CEO of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Association. “Nick immediately started to work completing the programming for our season and we are so excited to share it with the community. Everyone at the MSO is thrilled to have Nick’s artistic leadership and we can’t wait to see where we’ll go from here.” 

Hersh is frequently in demand as an arranger and orchestrator, with commissions from orchestras around the globe for adaptations of everything from classical solo and chamber music to popular songs. His orchestration of Beethoven’s Cello Sonata Op. 69 was premiered by the Philharmonie Zuidnederland in January 2022, while his symphonic arrangement of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody continues to see worldwide success as a viral YouTube hit. He also serves as arranger and editor for the James P. Johnson Orchestra Edition. 

The opening concert will feature Alessio Bax on piano. Bax catapulted to prominence with First Prize wins at both the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions, and is now a familiar face on five continents, not only as a recitalist and chamber musician, but also as a concerto soloist who has appeared with more than 150 orchestras.

Th next show in MSOs Classics Series will be Gershwin’s An American in Paris at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 and 10. Hersh will be conducting and the program will include William Dawson’s Negro Folk Symphony; D’un Matin de Printemps (Of a Spring Morning) from Lili Boulanger; and George Gershwin’s An American in Paris.

Symphonic Soundtrack is a new concert experience MSO will debut at 7:30 p.m. March 15 and 16. The performance will feature a special program curated by the MSO musicians and will include an afterparty for the whole audience.

The fourth concert in MSOs Classics Series will be Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto at 7:30 p.m. April 12 and 13. The concert will be conducted by Hersh and Tai Murray on violin. Murray has performed as guest soloist on the main stages world-wide, performing with leading ensembles such as the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Symphony Orchestra, and all of the BBC Symphony Orchestras. 

The program will include performances of Astor Piazzolla’s Tangazo; Louise Farrenc: Symphony No. 3 in G minor; Bach’s Little Fugue in G minor; and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor.

The Classics Series will close out with performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at 7:30 p.m. May 10 and 11. The show will feature the MSO Chorus directed by Daniel R. Afonso Jr.

All shows are in the Mary Stuart Rogers Theater at Gallo Center for the Arts. 

Single tickets range from $20 to $94 and students can get in for $12 with a valid student id card. Subscription packages are available. For more information visit