March 20, 2018


Broadway, television and film star MEGAN HILTY performs with the MSO for a one-night-only concert

The STAR WARS series continues in July 2019 with
The Empire Strikes Back

ANDREAS DELFS returns to conduct The Golden Age of Hollywood and DIVA TO DIVA: From Ella to Adele

Join the MSO at the Riverside on Thanksgiving weekend for

MILWAUKEE, WIS., 03/20/2018—The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra announced plans today for the 2018.19 Pops Season. The season will include three one-night-only specials: an evening with Broadway, film, and television star Megan Hilty on November 28; Fire & Rain: Folk Anthems of the 70s with AJ Swearingen and Jayne Kelli on May 21; and the music of Michael Jackson with James Delisco on June 9. 

The MSO continues its film with orchestra series in 2018.19 with Jurassic Park, Steven Spielberg’s original sci-fi classic, projected on a giant screen as the orchestra performs John Williams’s unforgettable score live Thanksgiving weekend.

The MSO will end their season with George Lucas’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back on July 5-7, 2019. Experience the heart-pounding adventure of the classic Star Wars movie with John Williams’s iconic score performed live.

The season includes five subscription concerts: The Golden Age of Hollywood with Andreas Delfs (Nov. 2-4); Holiday Pops with Stuart Chafetz and pianist Tony DeSare (Nov. 30-Dec. 2); an in-concert version of one of Broadway’s longest-running musicals, Chicago, with conductor Rob Fisher (Feb. 1-3); Diva to Diva: From Ella to Adele with Andreas Delfs and singer Ann Hampton Callaway (Mar. 1-3); and Unforgettable: 100 Years of Nat and Natalie with Yaniv Dinur and vocalists Dee Daniels and Denzal Sinclaire (May 3-5). 

Single tickets go on sale July 30, 2018. Subscriptions on sale now. Call 414.291.7605 or visit


The Golden Age of Hollywood
November 2 & 3, 2018:  8 PM
November 4, 2018: 2:30 PM
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Andreas Delfs, conductor

Lights – Camera – POPS! Andres Delfs returns to lead the magnificent music of the silver screen. The stirring themes from more than a dozen Oscar®-winning epics such as Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, and Lawrence of Arabia.  

Holiday Pops
November 30 & December 1, 2018: 8 PM
December 2, 2018: 2:30 PM
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Stuart Chafetz, conductor
Tony DeSare, piano
Holiday Festival Chorus
Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble

It’s the most wonderful time of
the year — perfect for the whole family. This is Milwaukee’s favorite holiday musical tradition as Tony DeSare joins the Orchestra and Choir to perform classics, carols and more. Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble rings in the holiday season!

Chicago in Concert
February 1 & 2, 2019: 8 PM
February 3, 2019: 2:30 PM
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Rob Fisher, conductor

Experience the Broadway musical Chicago in concert with the Milwaukee Symphony. An unstoppable evening of hits. “All That Jazz,” “Cell Block Tango,” “Razzle Dazzle,” “Mr. Cellophane,” and so many more.

Diva to Diva: From Ella to Adele
March 1 & 2, 2019: 8 PM
March 3, 2019: 2:30 PM
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Andreas Delfs, conductor
Ann Hampton Callaway, vocalist

Singer-songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway celebrates the past century of the song and the songstress.  Etta James. Ella Fitzgerald. Carole King. Carly Simon. And Adele. All exquisitely performed by this multi-platinum Broadway star.  

Unforgettable: 100 Years of Nat and Natalie
May 3 & 4, 2019: 8 PM
May 5, 2019: 2:30 PM
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Yaniv Dinur, conductor
Dee Daniels, vocalist
Denzal Sinclaire, vocalist

The voices: so smooth, so clear, so cool. The hits: so many – “Unforgettable”, “Too Young”, “Nature Boy”, “Get Your Kicks”, “Mona Lisa” and many, many more. Denzal Sinclaire and Dee Daniels perform this tribute to Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole.


Pops Specials

Jurassic Park – Film with Orchestra
Saturday, November 24, 2018: 7:30 PM
Sunday, November 25, 2018: 2:30 PM
The Riverside Theater

Yaniv Dinur, conductor

Steven Spielberg’s Oscar®-winning adventure. See it – on a giant screen as John Williams’ soaring score is performed live by the Milwaukee Symphony. You’ve never seen it this big, never heard it so thrilling, never been so enraptured by raptors!  

An Evening with Megan Hilty
Wednesday, November 28, 2018: 7:30 PM
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Yaniv Dinur, conductor
Megan Hilty, vocalist

Broadway’s brightest light in Wicked and NBC’s Smash.  Tony-nominee for Noises Off. Now, Megan Hilty joins the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. From the biggest Broadway showstoppers, to poignant, beautiful ballads and magical music of the season, hear for yourself why Megan Hilty is counted among the great voices of our time.  

Fire & Rain: Folk Anthems of the 70s
Tuesday, May 21, 2019: 7:30pm
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Yaniv Dinur, conductor
AJ Swearingen, vocals and guitar
Jayne Kelli, vocals and guitar

Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Carole King, Cat Stevens, the list goes on. In the 1970s, the fusion of Folk and Rock music swept the nation with its powerful, socially conscious lyrics, memorable melodies, and tight vocal harmonies. Relive — or experience for the first time — the blockbuster era of these singer-songwriters with their greatest hits, including "Sundown," "You've Got a Friend," "Time in a Bottle," and many more.

The Music of Michael Jackson
Sunday, June 9, 2019: 7 PM
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

TBD, conductor
James Delisco, vocalist

A symphonic tribute to The King of Pop! The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra presents “The Music of Michael Jackson.” A live concert tribute in dance and song. From the early days of the Jackson 5 to “Thriller” and beyond, this is the very best of Michael Jackson, as only the Milwaukee Symphony can play it.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
In Concert

July 5 & 6, 2019: 7:30 PM
July 7, 2019: 2:30 PM
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Yaniv Dinur, conductor

It burst on the screen in 1980 – the sequel to Star Wars, and the second of the original trilogy. See it again with John Williams’s thrilling music performed live by the Milwaukee Symphony as this cinema classic unspools at the Marcus Center!




Stuart Chafetz, increasingly in demand with orchestras across the continent, will be on the podium in Seattle, Detroit, Naples, Phoenix, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Vancouver and many more. He previously held posts as resident conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and associate conductor of the Louisville Orchestra. As principal timpanist of the Honolulu Symphony for 20 years, Chafetz would also conduct the annual Nutcracker performances with Ballet Hawaii and principals from the American Ballet Theatre. It was during that time that Chafetz led numerous concerts with the Maui Symphony and Pops. He annually leads the Spring Ballet at the world-renowned Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. In the summers, Chafetz spends his time at the Chautauqua Institution, where he conducts the annual Fourth of July and Opera Pops.

Andreas Delfs, former music director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Staatstheater Hannover, keeps an active guest conducting schedule, including Tonkünstler-Orchester Wien, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Palm Beach Opera, Copenhagen Philharmonic, NCPA Orchestra China, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie, the Phoenix and Alabama symphonies, and National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. Some of Andreas Delfs’s most notable operatic achievements have been a production of the uncut version of Hans Werner Henze’s monumental König Hirsch for the Württemberg State Theatre and a highly acclaimed production of Ariadne auf Naxos with Washington National Opera.

Yaniv Dinur has performed with orchestras in Israel, Europe, United States, Canada, and Mexico. He is the associate conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony and the newly appointed music director of the New Bedford Symphony in Massachusetts. He is a winner of numerous conducting awards, among them the 2017 and 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Awards, 2nd Prize at the 2009 Mata International Conducting Competition in Mexico, and the Yuri Ahronovitch 1st Prize in the 2005 Aviv Conducting Competitions in Israel. He was chosen by the League of American Orchestras to be a featured conductor in the 2011 Bruno Walter Conducting Preview, and he is a recipient of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and the Zubin Mehta Scholarship Endowment. Dinur started his conducting career at the age of 19, performing with the Israel Camerata, making him the youngest conductor ever to conduct an orchestra in Israel. Since then, he has conducted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, New World Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Tallahassee Symphony, Orchestra Giovanile Italiana, Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto, Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese, Pomeriggi Musicali in Milan, Solisti di Perugia, Torino Philharmonic, Portugal Symphony Orchestra, Sofia Festival Orchestra, State Orchestra of St. Petersburg, Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM in Mexico, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa.

Rob Fisher is an internationally recognized music director, conductor and pianist, and a leading figure in American music and musical theatre. He has been a guest of virtually every major orchestra in the country as conductor or pianist. Fisher is currently represented on Broadway as the score supervisor and arranger for An American in Paris (Grammy® nomination). Additionally, he is represented as the music supervisor and arranger for Chicago: The Musical, which recently celebrated 20 years on Broadway. He was founding music director and conductor of Encores! at New York City Center until 2005, a series that earned a 2000 Tony® Award. Mr. Fisher was awarded the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Special Achievement in 1997 for his work on Encores!, and he conducted the series’ Grammy Award–winning Chicago cast album. Last season, Fisher served as music supervisor of the Tony®-winning Broadway revival of Anything Goes, and in April of 2012, he conducted a one-night gala performance of The Sound of Music at Carnegie Hall.

Guest Artists

An award-winning entertainer, James Delisco is a 5-octave countertenor who sings most of Michael Jackson's songs in their original recording keys. In addition, he also takes on the moves of MJ near perfectly adding his own signature style. Delisco honed his craft in New York City, formerly a principal in the Broadway hit Aida in the role of Mereb. He has been described by Sir Elton John as "great" and moved the late Peter Jennings to exclaim, "Man You Rock!" He also starred on Broadway in Smokey Joe's Cafe playing the role of Victor, where he replaced Tony® Award-winner Billy Porter who discovered him. He was also featured in the original Broadway hit musical Ragtime in 1998, and he played Max in Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party.

Ann Hampton Callaway is one of the leading champions of the great American Songbook, having made her mark as a singer, pianist, composer, lyricist, arranger, actress, educator, TV host, and producer. Voted recently by as "Performer of the Year," Ann is a born entertainer. Her unique singing style that blends jazz and traditional pop, making her a mainstay in concert halls, theaters and jazz clubs as well as in the recording studio, on television, and in film. She is best known for Tony®-nominated performance in the hit Broadway musical Swing! and for writing and singing the theme song to the hit TV series The Nanny. Callaway is a Platinum Award-winning writer whose songs are featured on seven of Barbra Streisand's recent CDs.

Whether accompanying herself at the piano, fronting a trio, big band or symphony, Dee Daniels’s musical career is as varied as her four-octave vocal range is thrilling. She is a unique talent who transcends musical borders when she brings her jazz styling, infused with gospel and blues flavoring, to the stage. One critic says, “Daniels’ voice has a hypnotic quality, delivering an impressive range that gives the romantic songs and verse of 50 years ago new life and raw emotion.” With the creation of her Symphony Pops programs, Great Ladies of Swing, The Soul of Ray: The Music of Ray Charles, and A Night Out With the Boys, Daniels has enjoyed sharing stages with symphony orchestras across the USA and Canada. She has toured with the Nord Netherlands Symphony Orchestra; performed Songs From Disney Movies with the Munich Radio Orchestra; recorded her Wish Me Love CD with The Metropole Orchestra of Holland; and recorded the Holiday Pops CD with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. She is the guest vocalist on the 2006 Crossover Xmas and the 2007 Crossover Xmas: The Sound Goes Big CDs recorded with the Philharmonie Baden-Baden of Germany.

Named a Rising Star Male Vocalist in Downbeat magazine, Tony DeSare has lived up to this distinction by winning critical and popular acclaim for his concert performances throughout North America and abroad. From jazz clubs to Carnegie Hall to Las Vegas headlining with Don Rickles and major symphony orchestras, DeSare has brought his fresh take on old school class around the globe. DeSare has three top ten Billboard jazz albums under his belt and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, NPR, A Prairie Home Companion, the Today Show and his music has been posted by social media celebrity juggernaut, George Takei. Notwithstanding his critically acclaimed turns as a singer/pianist, DeSare is also an accomplished award-winning composer. He not only won first place in the USA Songwriting Contest, but has written the theme song for the motion picture, My Date With Drew, along with several broadcast commercials. DeSare releases new recordings, videos of standards and new originals every few weeks on his YouTube channel, iTunes, and Spotify.

In 2004, Megan Hilty joined the Broadway company of Wicked as the “Glinda” standby. She made her Broadway debut in the fall of 2004 opposite Tony® Award-winner Idina Menzel, and assumed the role full-time in May 2005. After a year on Broadway, she continued with Wicked on tour and in the 2007-2009 Los Angeles production. While in Los Angeles, Hilty made guest appearances on many television shows, including Bones, The Closer, Desperate Housewives, and Ugly Betty, while also providing the singing voice for “Snow White” in Shrek the Third. In 2009, Hilty starred on Broadway as “Doralee” in 9 to 5: The Musical, Dolly Parton’s adaptation of the popular film. She was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical, an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Actress in a Musical, a Drama League Award, and an Ovation Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Hilty next joined the cast of NBC’s Smash as “Ivy Lynn,” an actress who is desperate to land the lead in a musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe. In 2015, Megan starred in a one-night-only performance of Bombshell and a two night presentation of Annie Get Your Gun at New York City Center. She also returned to the Broadway stage as “Brooke Ashton” in Noises Off. For her performance, she received a 2016 Tony® Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, as well as Drama Desk and Drama League Award nominations. Since Noises Off ended its run in March 2016, Megan has guest-starred on Project Runway, Difficult People, Brain Dead, and The Good Wife and has released two albums: Megan Hilty Live at the Café Carlyle and A Merry Little Christmas. She also co-starred in the feature film Rules Don’t Apply from director Warren Beatty. She maintains an active concert schedule, both with symphony orchestras throughout the United States and in solo concert at smaller venues.

Denzal Sinclaire is one of Canada’s most popular jazz vocalists and is ranked among the finest jazz singers of his generation. Sinclaire is a Juno Award (Canada’s Grammy® Award) nominee, a recipient of the 2004 National Jazz Award for “Best Album”, four-time consecutive recipient of Jazz Report Magazine Award for Male Jazz Vocalist, and 2007 Choc Jazzman Award (France).  Equally at home in the theatre, film and television arenas, Sinclaire has delighted audiences with his critically-acclaimed performance in Unforgettable, a musical based on the life and music of Nat King Cole, Tapestry: The Music of Carole King (Arts Club Theatre), and William Saroyan’s award-winning The Time of Your Life (Soul Pepper Theatre Company). His TV and film credits include appearances in the new Battlestar Gallactica TV Series (dir. Michael Rymer) and, Being Julia, starring being Annette Bening and Jeremy Irons (dir. István Szabó).

Fire & Rain is a nostalgic symphonic pops concert of the iconic folk-rock hits of the '70s. The show features the authentic and harmonic vocals of singer-songwriting duo AJ Swearingen & Jayne Kelli, highlighting some of the greatest songs from that era. Swearingen began playing guitar at 13 and started performing professionally in his late teens. His acoustic guitar finger style echoes his influences: James Taylor, Paul Simon, and Lindsay Buckingham, but his silky, soulful baritone voice is definitely his own. He also performs in Michael Krajewski's symphonic pops show, "The Sounds of Simon & Garfunkel". Kelli’s voice is both husky and sweet, tender and bluesy. When she takes the stage, she’s more down-home than diva. Kelli began writing and recording her own songs at the age of 15. Her first release garnered praise from critics, calling her “a formidable talent with elegantly poetic and emotionally charged songs.” Kelli’s song “Sweetness” was chosen as an anthem song for the domestic violence foundations, Victim Services International and Angel Wings International in 2015. Swearingen and Kelli have shared the stage with Kenny Rogers, Crystal Gayle, Livingston Taylor, John McCutcheon, Dave Mason among others. Their song “You’re Not Here with Me” off their debut album was recorded by folk icon Tom Rush and included on his album What I Know. “Give Everything Up,” also on that album, was licensed by DMX. Swearingen & Kelli’s alt-country sophomore album will be released in early 2017.

About the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is among the finest orchestras in the nation and the largest cultural institution in Wisconsin. The MSO’s musicians perform over 135 classics, pops, family, education, and community concerts each season in venues throughout the state. Since its inception in 1959, the MSO has found innovative ways to give music a home in the region, develop music appreciation and talent among area youth, and raise the national reputation of Milwaukee.

The MSO’s standard of excellence extends beyond the concert hall and into the community, reaching more than 40,000 children and their families through its Arts in Community Education (ACE) program, Youth and Teen concerts, Family Series, Meet the Music pre-concert talks, and Friday Evening post-concert talkbacks.