Tucson Symphony Orchestra next season will perform several works never heard on its stages including two pieces by Richard Strauss — one that calls for 23 solo strings and another that newly named conductor designate José Luis Gomez described as big and loud .
Gomez will be at the podium for both works — Strauss's "Metamorphosen" on the MasterWorks series next February and "Alpine" Symphony in the 2016-17 Classics series finale next April.
"It's 59 minutes long, non-stop, and it's a ride that will change your life," Gomez said of the "Alpine," speaking to a roomful of subscribers Thursday morning at the season unveiling event. He added that "the moment you see an orchestra this large, this strong perform it," a recording of the work will never do it justice.
Gomez will conduct four concerts next season including the Gershwin season-opening concert in September with pianist Joyce Yang and a special concert March 9, 2017, with the Romero Guitar Quartet.
Thursday's unveiling also was an introduction for most in the audience of the Venezuelan-born Spanish conductor, whose appointment was announced Wednesday. Gomez used the chance to tell the crowd that he's a fan of jazz music and rock — heavy metal is a secret passion, he confessed, noting that now that he's appointed to the TSO position he might as well let his hair down about other musical influences in his life. He grew up listening to Guns 'N Roses and segued into heavier metal, including Iron Maiden, he said.
Gomez, who is making his third appearance with the TSO this weekend, will serve as conductor designate next season and will assume the full music director's position in the 2017-18 season.
Next season's lineup also includes a special Thanksgiving holiday cine-concert — a concert centered around a movie: "Home Alone In Concert."
Most of the TSO premieres will come in the MasterWorks chamber series, which is performed at Catalina Foothills High School; the orchestra performs all of its other concerts at Tucson Music Hall downtown. Those works include Corelli's Concerto Grossi Ops. 6, Nos. 1 and 4 in October; Bach's Orchestra Suite No. 2 in B minor and Shostakovich's Chamber Symphony in January; and Mozart's Symphony No. 33 next February.
The MasterWorks concert next March also includes a world premiere of Gabriella Smith's work commissioned by the TSO; no details were listed in the season brochure.
Here's the rest of the lineup:
• "Classic Gershwin" featuring pianist Joyce Yang, Sept. 23, 25.
• "The Planets on the Big Screen" with guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen and the women of the TSO Chorus, Oct. 21, 23.
• "Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2" with pianist William Wolfram and guest conductor Andrew Grams, Nov. 11, 13.
• "All Beethoven," including Symphony No. 1 and No. 3, with James Feddeck at the podium, Dec. 2, 4.
* "Brahms Requiem," with guest vocalists Heidi Stober and Andrew Craig Brown and the TSO Chorus, conducted by Markus Huber, Jan. 20, 22.
• "Rhapsody in Blue and Billy the Kid," with pianist Conrad Tao and guest conductor James Judd, Feb. 17, 19.
• "Prokofiev and 'Pathétique'," with guest conductor David Lockington and violinist Angelo Xiang Yu, March 17, 19, 2017.
• "An Alpine Symphony," with Gomez at the podium, April 7. 9.
• "Corelli & Mozart's Symphony No. 39," with conductor Andrew Grams who also will play violin, Oct. 8, 9.
• "Fauré, Bizet & Mozart's Concertante," with guest conductor Keitaro Harada, and the husband-and-wife pair of violist Catharine Lees and violinist Timothy Lees, Nov. 5, 6.
• "Bach & Haydn in Harmony," with conductor Daniel Hege and TSO flutist Alexander Lipay, Jan. 7, 8.
• "Schubert, Mozart & Strauss: 3 Major Works," with Conductor Gomez, Feb. 4, 5.
• "Youthful Exhuberance from Mozart & Dvorák," with conductor Marcelo Lehninger, March 4, 5, 2017.
• "The Music of the Who," Oct. 29.
• The Romero Guitar Quartet, March 9, 2017 (Centennial Hall).
• "Super Diamond & the TSO Salute to Neil Diamond," Oct. 15, 16.
• John Pizzarelli and Combo, Jan. 14, 15.
• Country Legends, Feb. 11, 12.
• "Cirque Musica — Crescendo," March 11 and 12, 2017.
• "Home Alone in Concert," Nov. 26, 27.
• "Messiah," Dec. 10, 11.
• "Magic of Christmas," Dec. 17, 18.