New season includes out-of-this-world programming from ‘The Planets’ to ‘Star Wars’

The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra’s 2023-24 lineup and 88th season will showcase extraordinary artistry through impeccable programming and top-flight guest artists, including violinist Stefan Jackiw and pianist Joyce Yang.

“The KSO’s 2023-24 season is designed to do one thing above all: inspire joy and our thirst for it,” KSO Music Director Aram Demirjian said. “Whether through time-honored classics like Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony and Verdi’s Requiem or new favorites like Quinn Mason’s A Joyous Trilogy and Sarah Gibson’s to make this mountain taller, the music you will hear celebrates the possibility and potential of the human spirit in this world and beyond.”

Subscriptions are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting the KSO website or calling the KSO box office Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at 865-291-3310. Returning subscribers can retain their seats by renewing their Moxley Carmichael Masterworks Series and Chamber Classics Series subscriptions by April 22 and their Thermal Label Warehouse/Shaw Family Pops Series subscriptions by May 13. Individual tickets go on sale in August.

Moxley Carmichael Masterworks Series

The 2023-24 Moxley Carmichael Masterworks Series is the KSO’s mainstage concert series led by Demirjian on Thursday and Friday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at the Tennessee Theatre. Series subscriptions start at $128.

Pictures at an Exhibition – Sept. 21-22, 2023:

Aram Demirjian, conductor; William Leathers, trumpet


The Knoxville Symphony’s exuberant Moxley Carmichael Masterworks Series kicks off with vibrant orchestrations of art in Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Adam Schoenberg’s Grammy-nominated Picture Studies, which has been described as a “21st-century Pictures at an Exhibition.” Arutiunian’s show-stopping Trumpet Concerto features the impeccable William Leathers, whose trumpet solos have been noted for their “sparkling clarity.”


Beethoven’s “Pastoral” – Oct. 19-20, 2023:

Aram Demirjian, conductor; Stefan Jackiw, violin


Visit the European countryside in October’s stellar program. Experience the dazzling energy of the Edinburgh Festival with Clyne’s PIVOT. Bask in Scottish folk melodies with violinist Stefan Jackiw as he presents Bruch’s deeply romantic Scottish Fantasy. Stroll through the European country landscape with the lush harmonies and joyful melodies of Beethoven’s beloved “Pastoral” Symphony.


Bax Plays Rachmaninoff – Nov. 16-17, 2023:

Aram Demirjian, conductor; Alessio Bax, piano


The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra presents a program filled with boundless energy. The evening opens with works by two prodigal American composers – Leonard Bernstein with his bombastic and fantastical Overture to Candide and Charles Ives with his lyrical and sentimental Second Symphony, which can only be described as the “musical embodiment of apple pie and cider” by Demirjian. Rising star Alessio Bax makes his KSO debut with Rachmaninoff’s demanding and powerful Third Piano Concerto.


The Heavenly Life: Mahler Symphony No. 4 – Jan. 25-26, 2024:

Aram Demirjian, conductor; James Fellenbaum, conductor; Laura Strickling, soprano; Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra; Knoxville Symphony Youth Choir


The Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra takes center stage in January to celebrate its 50th anniversary with three stellar works by Jesse Montgomery, Engelbert Humperdinck and Georges Bizet. The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra rounds out this celebratory program with Mahler’s intimate and enchanting Fourth Symphony, which explores the themes of childhood and innocence.


Beethoven Violin Concerto – Feb. 22-23, 2024:

Aram Demirjian, conductor; Geneva Lewis, violin


In February the Knoxville Symphony paints a vivid landscape of jagged oceanside cliffs with Dame Ethel Smyth’s picturesque On the Cliffs of Cornwall and the brilliance of the sea with Debussy’s mystifying and brilliant La Mer. Supported by the League of American Orchestra’s Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Orchestral Commissions Program, Sarah Gibson’s latest work, to make this mountain taller, makes its Tennessee premiere. Geneva Lewis makes her KSO debut with Beethoven’s lyrical Violin Concerto.


Dvorak & Tchaikovsky – March 14-15, 2024:

Vinay Parameswaran, conductor; Thomas Mesa, cello


The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra welcomes to the stage guest conductor Vinay Parameswaran, associate conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, to present a program featuring two prominent Romantic-era composers – Tchaikovsky and Dvořák. Dvořák’s hauntingly beautiful Silent Woods and Tchaikovsky’s ornamental Rococo Variations feature cello virtuoso Thomas Mesa, who has been described as “one of the most charismatic, innovative and engaging performers of his generation.”


Cosmos Festival: The Planets – April 18-19, 2024:

Aram Demirjian, conductor; Joyce Yang, piano; Women of the Knoxville Choral Society


In April, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra celebrates the cosmos with a stellar program featuring four pieces inspired by different aspects of the celestial. Joyce Yang returns performing Jonathan Leshnoff’s KSO co-commissioned Piano Concerto, hailed as “a soulful piano concerto [that] enthralls” (BBC Music Magazine). The evening culminates with Gustav Holst’s evocative and awe-inspiring The Planets.


Cosmos Festival is aptly named for the KSO’s April Moxley Carmichael Masterworks Series and Chamber Classics Series concerts happening within five days of one another. The KSO celebrates how humans relate to their place in the universe – spiritually and physically – through specially programmed works inspired by the cosmos.


Verdi Requiem – May 16-17, 2024:

Aram Demirjian, conductor; Knoxville Choral Society; Knoxville Opera Chorus


Giuseppe Verdi’s monumental Messa da Requiem closes out the season’s Moxley Carmichael Masterworks Series. Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the premiere of Verdi’s Requiem, the KSO presents this legendary work alongside the Knoxville Choral Society and Knoxville Opera Chorus.


Chamber Classics Series

The 2023-24 Chamber Classics Series showcases the musical bravado of the Knoxville Symphony Chamber Orchestra in five concerts on Sunday afternoons at 2:30 p.m. at the Bijou Theatre. Series subscriptions start at $115.


William Shaub Plays Mozart – Sept. 17, 2023:

Aram Demirjian, conductor; William Shaub, violin


Knoxville Symphony Concertmaster William Shaub tackles Mozart’s most expansive and mature violin solo on the opening Chamber Classics Series concert. Dame Ethel Smyth’s first orchestral work, Serenade in D Major, and Jorge Variego’s BLINK bookend the program.


Classical Christmas: Messiah – Nov. 26, 2023 (Tennessee Theatre):

Aram Demirjian, conductor; Knoxville Choral Society


The Knoxville Symphony’s annual holiday tradition continues for another festive winter with Handel’s glorious Messiah! Also on the program is Victor Hely-Hutchinson’s delightful Carol Symphony.


Schubert Death and the Maiden – Jan. 21, 2024:

James Fellenbaum, conductor; Devan Jaquez, flute


Knoxville Symphony Resident Conductor James Fellenbaum leads the Knoxville Symphony Chamber Orchestra in Mahler’s orchestration of Schubert’s dramatic “Death and the Maiden.” Knoxville Symphony Principal Flute Devan Jaquez makes his Chamber Classics Series debut with Malcolm Arnold’s high-energy Flute Concerto No. 1.


Mendelssohn’s “Italian” Symphony – March 3, 2024:

Michelle Di Russo, conductor; Adam Ayers, cello; Sarah Senn, cello


Guest conductor Michelle Di Russo takes the Bijou Theatre stage to present the March installment of the Chamber Classics Series. This lighthearted Italian-centric programming includes Rossini’s delightful Overture to The Italian in Algiers, and Mendelssohn’s spirited “Italian” Symphony No. 4. Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Cellos features Knoxville Symphony Cellists Adam Ayers and Sarah Senn.


Cosmos Festival: Mozart’s Jupiter & The Golden Record – April 14, 2024:

Aram Demirjian, conductor


The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra’s Cosmos Festival kicks off with a homage to NASA’s Golden Record. The KSO brings to life three orchestral works found floating in the depths of space on NASA’s Voyager spacecraft – Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and String Quartet No. 13 and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2. Rounding out the program is Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony, whose fourth movement has been noted by Demirjian as “the closest you can get to touching heaven.”


Cosmos Festival is aptly named for the KSO’s April Moxley Carmichael Masterworks Series and Chamber Classics Series concerts happening within five days of one another. The KSO celebrates how humans relate to their place in the universe – spiritually and physically – through specially programmed works inspired by the cosmos.


Thermal Label Warehouse/Shaw Family Pops Series

The Thermal Label Warehouse/Shaw Family Pops Series features the popular music of today’s beloved artists and movies performed by the KSO on Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. at the Civic Auditorium. Series subscriptions start at $170.


Frank and the Great Ladies of Song – Oct. 6, 2023 (Tennessee Theatre):

Crooner Tony DeSare and powerhouse singer Capathia Jenkins join the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra for a tribute to Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and more. Enjoy an evening of swingin’ standards, including “The Lady is a Tramp,” “Love is Here to Stay” and “Come Fly with Me.”


Star Wars: A New Hope – Jan. 13, 2024:

Journey with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra to a galaxy far, far away and experience Star Wars: A New Hope as never before. George Lucas’ epic 1977 film will be projected on the big screen as the KSO performs John Williams’ Oscar-winning score live. A young Luke Skywalker begins to discover his destiny in the movie that started it all!


Presentation licensed by Disney Concerts. 



Go Now! Music of the Moody Blues – Feb. 10, 2024:

Moody Blues drummer Gordy Marshall and 10cc lead singer Mick Wilson lead a rock super group in a symphonic tribute to the Moody Blues. Savor an evening of classic hits, including “Nights in White Satin,” “Tuesday Afternoon” and “I’m Just a Singer (in a Rock and Roll Band).”


Chicago Nights with Jason Scheff – March 9, 2024:

Joining the legendary rock band as lead singer in 1986, Jason Scheff and his soaring vocals led Chicago to a string of chart-toppers, including a remake of “25 or 6 to 4” and “Will You Still Love Me.” Enjoy an evening of four decades of hits, including “If You Leave Me Now,” “You’re the Inspiration,” “Hard for Me to Say I’m Sorry” and more.


A Rodgers & Hammerstein Celebration – April 6, 2024:

Enjoy an “enchanted evening” of showstoppers from the greatest Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals. Talented singers straight from Broadway join the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra for unforgettable moments from Oklahoma, The King and I, South Pacific and The Sound of Music. 


The Music of Elton John with Michael Cavanaugh – May 11, 2024:

He brought you the best of the Piano Man. Now get ready to blast off with Michael Cavanaugh and music of the Rocket Man with an evening of Elton John’s greatest hits, including “Your Song,” “Bennie and the Jets” and “Tiny Dancer.”


“Michael Cavanaugh is the new voice of the American Rock and Roll Songbook.” – Billboard Magazine


37th Annual Clayton Holiday Concert – Dec. 15-17, 2023:

East Tennessee’s favorite holiday tradition continues as the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and special guests celebrate the sounds of the season.


Subscribers can add the Clayton Holiday concert to their package at a 20% discount. 


Merchant & Gould Concertmaster & Friends Series

The Merchant & Gould Concertmaster & Friends Series features KSO Concertmaster William Shaub in three concerts on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. at the Knoxville Museum of Art. Series subscriptions are $63.


Somewhere in Time – Oct. 4-5, 2023

The opening concert kicks off with the dreamy title track “Somewhere in Time” from the 1980’s romantic film Somewhere in Time, which pairs perfectly with Paul Frucht’s What a Time, a passionate and lyrical duet for violin and piano.


Heifetz and the Golden Era of Hollywood – Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2024

Take a trip back in time to the Golden Era of Hollywood with Concertmaster William Shaub as he celebrates the impeccable Jascha Heifetz, one of the greatest violinists of the mid-20th century.


Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe – April 3-4, 2024

Concertmaster William Shaub rounds out the series with a Baroque-inspired program, featuring Bach’s immensely popular and timeless Concerto for Violin and Oboe.


Q Series:

The Q Series features KSO’s String Quartets and Woodwind Quintet in six lunchtime performances on Wednesdays at 12 p.m. at the Elks Lodge. Lunch will be provided. Series subscriptions are $114.


Q Series Dates:

Sept. 27, 2023

Oct. 25, 2023

Dec. 6, 2023

Jan. 17, 2024

March 27, 2024

April 24, 2024