Arts & Humanities Campus News

Atlanta Symphony returns to Athens with new music director

Nathalie Stutzmann makes her Athens debut March 26 at 3 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall with a concert titled “Bach & Friends.” (Submitted photos)

New Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Nathalie Stutzmann makes her Athens debut March 26 at 3 p.m. in Hodgson Concert Hall with a concert titled “Bach & Friends,” featuring beloved pieces by Bach, Handel and Vivaldi.

“Bach is the source of all of our music. It is crucial for any orchestra to come back to the source,” Stutzmann said. “The ‘Bach & Friends’ program shows the impact and the connection between Bach, Vivaldi and Handel—three genius musicians from one time.”

“Bach and Friends” is like a 90-minute Baroque mixtape, with familiar short pieces flowing into each other without an intermission. It is a wide window facing a key period in music history.

1685 was a banner year. Two little boys were born in Germany, about 100 miles apart. One, Bach, is among the world’s most influential composers. The other, Handel, wrote Messiah. Six hundred miles to the south, a third boy, Vivaldi, was learning the violin. Today, they dominate Western music written before the arrival of Mozart.

Each year, around the world, professional and community choirs—as well as many intrepid audience members—gather to sing George Frideric Handel’s massive oratorio written on the life of Christ. On YouTube, a single video of Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” has more than 248 million views. And, thanks to NASA’s Voyager mission, two pieces by J.S. Bach are hurtling through interstellar space at more than 38,000 mph.

This program includes excerpts from Bach’s cantatas and orchestral works, Handel’s “Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” from the opera “Solomon” and a Vivaldi concerto for four violins.

This performance is supported by The Kleiner Foundation, Libby and Van Morris, and the Trashy Book Club of Athens.

About Nathalie Stutzmann

Stutzmann is the new music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from the 2022-23 season. She has also been the principal guest conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra since 2021 and chief conductor of the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra in Norway since 2018.

Highlights as guest conductor in the next seasons include debut performances with the Munich Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and Helsinki Philharmonic. She will also return to the London Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre de Paris.

Stutzmann started her studies at a very young age in piano, bassoon, cello and studied conducting with the legendary Finnish teacher Jorma Panula. She was mentored by Seiji Ozawa and Sir Simon Rattle, who said, “Nathalie is the real thing. So much love, intensity and sheer technique. We need more conductors like her.”

Also one of today’s most esteemed contraltos, she studied the German repertoire with Hans Hotter, and she has done more than 80 recordings and received the most prestigious awards. Her last album, “Contralto,” released in January 2021, was awarded Spanish magazine Scherzo’s “Exceptional” seal, Opera Magazine’s Diamant d’Or and radio RTL’s Classique d’Or.

About the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) is in its 78th season with Stutzmann as only the fifth music director in the history of the orchestra and the only woman to ever hold the position. Stutzmann will continue the ASO’s mission of bringing new and exciting composers and guest artists to Atlanta.

The ASO is one of the leading orchestras in the United States, performing more than 150 concerts each year from the Delta Classical, Movies in Concert, Family Concert and Coca-Cola Holiday series, as well as the Atlanta Symphony Hall LIVE concerts and many community and education concerts.

In addition, the ASO performs with the 200+ voice, all-volunteer ASO Chorus, originally founded in 1970 by Robert Shaw, and currently under the direction of Norman Mackenzie. The chorus was featured on nine of the ASO’s Grammy-award winning recordings.

Three ways to get tickets

  1. Purchase tickets online at
  2. Call the Performing Arts Center box office at 706-542-4400, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  3. Visit the UGA Performing Arts Center box office, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (five-minute parking is available in the drop off circle at the Performing Arts Center for purchasing or picking up tickets.)

Ticket buyers can create a series of three performances for 20% off. Single tickets begin at $25, and UGA student tickets are just $10. Parking is free.

To learn more about all UGA Performing Arts Center events, visit