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Let the music ring
Modesto Symphony Orchestra opens 2021-22 season

The Modesto Symphony Orchestra will launch their 91st season in December with a fan-favorite holiday show and will be followed in the coming months by concerts highlighting the talents of the organization’s four candidates for music director and a pop series that will conclude with “Star Wars: A New Hope” concert.

“We are thrilled to present our new season and to see everyone again in-person,” said Caroline Nickel, President and CEO of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Association. “We have always been so grateful for the support of our community, but this past year really showed the importance of staying connected as a community. We were grateful to be able to stay connected through our virtual concerts last season and we are so excited to be able to safely bring the orchestra back to the stage to perform for our audiences in-person again.”

The 2021-22 season gets underway with the Holiday Pops concert at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 3 and 2 p.m. Dec. 4. The show, which will be led by Associate Conductor Ryan Murray, is an opportunity to bask in some holiday spirit as the Modesto Symphony Orchestra and Chorus perform some holiday classics. 

The Holiday Candlelight Concert at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church will be held at 8 p.m. Dec. 21. MSO Chorus Director Dr. Daniel R. Afonso Jr. once again leads the Modesto Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, plus the Opus Handbell Ensemble performing traditional Christmas hymns and carols in a special concert that has become a treasured community tradition.

The Modesto Symphony Orchestra is currently looking to hire the organization’s next musical director. After an overwhelming response that saw 200 applicants, the organization has narrowed it down to four finalists: Delta David Gier, Paul Haas, Keitaro Harada, and Dirk Meyer. The candidates will each conduct one of the Classics concerts, where they will showcase their skill, personality, and musical taste.

Opening the Classics Series at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 7 and 8, is a program lead by Music Director Candidate Delta David Gier and features cellist Francisco Vila-Haas performing Márquez’s Espejos en la Arena and the mysterious and triumphant Symphony No. 5 by Shostakovich.

The second concert in the Pops Series will be at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 11, and will feature an evening of the greatest love songs. Guest conductor Stuart Chafetz will lead the MSO in a Valentine’s themed concert, With Love from the MSO.

Music Director Candidate Keitaro Harada will lead the MSO at 7:30 p.m. on March 4 and 5. Harada’s program will feature violinist Charles Yang performing Korngold’s Concert in D Major for Violin and will conclude with the enchanting Symphony No. 4 by Yoshimatsu.

The MSO will feature pianist Marika Bournaki as she performs Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Music Director Candidate Dirk Meyer leading the Modesto Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. April 1 and 2. The program will conclude with Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C Minor.

The MSO will conclude its Classics Series at 7:30 p.m. on May 6 and 7, with a program led by Music Director Candidate Paul Haas. The program will feature Silk Road Ensemble member and Grammy Award-winner Sandeep Das as he performs Wijeratne’s Concerto for Tabla. That weekend’s program will conclude with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F Minor.

The Pops Series will close with the groundbreaking movie “Star Wars: A New Hope” in Concert lead by Associate Conductor Ryan Murray. Fans will be able to experience the full movie with the MSO performing the full score live to film at 7:30 p.m. on June 3 and 2 p.m. June 4.

The Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra will perform three concerts during the 2021-22 season. Led by MSO Conductor Wayland Whitney and Associate Conductor Ryan Murray, the MYSO is comprised of a diverse group of 120 outstanding young musicians from around the region ranging in age from 10 - 18. The MSYO consists of two ensembles, the Concert Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra, and both perform three times per season at the Gallo Center for the Arts. Concert dates for the 2019-20 Season include: 2 p.m. Nov. 13; 2 p.m. Feb. 12; and 2 p.m. May 7.

All concerts, unless otherwise stated, are held in the Mary Stuart Rogers Theater at Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto.

Subscription packages and single tickets for the MSO’s 2021-22 Season are on sale now, online, by phone, and at the Gallo Center for the Arts Ticket Office. Visit for full details.