Rogue Valley Symphony will celebrate its 50th season with five commissioned works, world-renowned soloists such as Grammy winner Peter Serkin and masterworks by famous composers.

The five commissions for the 2017-18 season were made possible by a grant from the Oregon Community Foundation’s Creative Heights Initiative.

The orchestra is also adding one more concert to its Masterworks subscription series for a total of six concerts, each given performances in Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass.

The opening series, Sept. 15-17, will feature Serkin performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor. Serkin has performed around the world with leading orchestras and such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Herbert Blomstedt, Pierre Boulez, Simon Rattle, James Levine and Christoph Eschenbach. This series also will include Gustav Mahler’s iconic Fifth Symphony.

The Oct. 6-8 concerts will feature the world premiere of "Cantus," by local composer I’lana Cotton. Cotton has written extensively for chamber and choral groups. Her commission was made possible in part by a grant from the Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy. Also on the program will be Beethoven’s Concerto for violin, cello and piano and Haydn’s Symphony No. 103. Performing the Beethoven concerto will be the Tempest Trio, composed of Ilya Kaler, violin, Amit Peled, cello, and Alon Goldstein, piano.

Nov. 10-12, violinist Bella Hristova, a 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant winner, will make a return visit to the Rogue Valley Symphony to play a violin concerto written by her husband, David Ludwig, in celebration of their marriage. The concerto was commissioned by RVS, the Vermont Symphony, Quad Cities Symphony, Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Symphony and Reno Chamber Orchestra. Hristova has performed twice before with RVS. The program also will include Hector Berlioz’s overture "Béatrice et Bénédict," based on Shakespeare’s "Much Ado About Nothing," Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5, known as the "Reformation," in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation.

For RVS's holiday concerts, Dec. 1-3, Music Director Martin Majkut will present a mostly instrumental program that will include Tchaikovsky’s "Nutcracker Suite," Mozart’s "Three German Dances," and Bach’s "Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring." Soprano Laura Portune will be featured in Glière’s Concerto for Coloratura Soprano and Mozart’s "Exsultate Jubilate." The Rogue Valley Youth Choruses, directed by Jerry Flock, will join the orchestra for Campbell’s "A Christmas Carol Fantasy."

Jan. 19-21, 2018, concerts will feature electric violinist Tracy Silverman as soloist and composer. Silverman will perform his own composition "Love Song to the Sun," commissioned by RVS, Anchorage Symphony Orchestra and Vanderbilt University Symphony. The work was written in collaboration with media artist Todd Winkler, a professor at Brown University.

Also on the program will be Leonard Bernstein’s "Fancy Free: Three Dance Variations," in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.

The Feb. 16-18, 2018, series will open with the world premiere of “Rogue Sparks,” by Baltimore-based Jonathan Leshnoff, which was commissioned solely by the Rogue Valley Symphony. The featured soloist for the concert will be Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Martinez, who will perform Falla’s "Nights in the Gardens of Spain." The concert will conclude with Rachmaninoff’s orchestral extravaganza Symphonic Dances.

The 50th anniversary season will conclude April 20-22 with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with members of  Rogue Valley Chorale and Southern Oregon Repertory Singers joining the orchestra on stage. Vocal soloists will include Melinda Whittington, soprano, Rebecca Ringle, mezzo-soprano, Brian Thorsett, tenor, and Christòpheren Nomura, baritone. The concert will open with the world premiere of local composer Ethan Gans-Morse’s "How Can You Own the Sky? A Symphonic Poem Honoring Native Wisdom," commissioned by RVS. The piece includes a poem written by Tiziana DellaRovere and Native American drumming, organized by Brent Florendo, professor of Native American studies and Native Nations Liaison at Southern Oregon University.

For more information and to order subscription tickets, call 541-708-6400 or visit rvsymphony.org. Subscription tickets for new subscribers go on sale May 15. Single tickets go on sale June 5, 2017.