Jahja Ling conducts the San Diego Symphony.
Jahja Ling conducts the San Diego Symphony.

The San Diego Symphony announced its 2016-2017 season on Thursday, with highlights including Music Director Jahja Ling’s farewell concerts and a festival of music by American composers.

In his final season, Ling leads the orchestra in six programs of poignant, meaningful works that have defined his symphony tenure. The season opens Oct. 14-16 with Ling conducting William Schuman’s “American Festival Overture,” Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto,” and Brahms “Symphony No. 3.”

“At the core of the 2016-17 season is a tribute to the legacy of Jahja Ling, music director of the San Diego Symphony for 13 years. His leadership of this orchestra will remain a gift for generations to come. He has chosen works that reflect his history with this orchestra, as well as new works that lead to the future,” said Martha Gilmer, chief executive officer of the symphony.

Ling will step down as music director at the end of the season and become conductor laureate.

There will be 11 guest conductors during season, notably Charles Dutoit conducting Stravinsky’s “Petrouchka” and Ravel’s “La Valse,”and Edo de Waart leading a program of John Adams and Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony.”

A January festival will feature works by more than 16 American composers, including John Adams, Steven Stucky, Andrew Norman, Morton Gould, Charles Ives and Henry Cowell. Also in January, internationally acclaimed violinist Itzhak Perlman performs the music of Hollywood, including works composed by John Williams.

In February, Chinese pianist Lang Lang plays Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 1” in his first performance with the orchestra since its debut appearance in Carnegie Hall in 2013.

Jazz @ The Jacobs returns with four concerts, and the symphony will offer a series of one-hour family concerts to introduce children to symphonic music

The complete season is listed online. Season tickets are on sale now, and the symphony is offering new packages of three, four or five concerts in addition to a full season.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.