Boston Symphony Orchestra Celebrates Ligeti’s Centennial with the Ligeti 100 festival

By Chris Ruel

In November, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s 2023–24 season will be marked by the Ligeti 100 festival from Nov. 12 to 19, celebrating the 100th anniversary of György Ligeti’s birth.

Ligeti, a pivotal 20th-century composer, faced significant challenges, from wartime hardships to Soviet-era censorship. He gained widespread recognition, particularly for his music featured in the film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

On Nov. 13, Symphony Hall will host a free concert showcasing the Callithumpian Consort under the guidance of Stephen Drury. The performance features soprano Nina Guo, mezzo-soprano Thea Lobo, baritone Corey Gaudreau, and pianist Joseph Vasconi. Joining them will be the New England Conservatory’s [nec]shivaree ensemble and the Meraki Quartet. The program includes Ligeti’s String Quartet No. 1 and vocal ensemble pieces, Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures. The BSO’s Assistant Conductor, Samy Rachid, will lead Ligeti’s Chamber Concerto. Additionally, Ligeti’s Poéme symphonique for 100 metronomes will be performed in Symphony Hall’s Cabot-Cahners Room.

The festival culminates on Nov. 19 at the New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall. The Boston Symphony Chamber Players will launch their season with a ticketed event in tribute to Ligeti. The program features Ligeti’s Bagatelles and his 1976 two-piano piece, Monument – Self Portrait – Movement, played by Adès and Gerstein. Also, mezzo-soprano Katalin Károlyi will present the American premiere of Adès’ song cycle Növények. The evening concludes with Mozart’s String Quintet No. 3 in C, K.515.