April 5, 2019


BEN FOLDS joins the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra to perform a one-night-only concert

Grammy and Tony award-winning artist LESLIE ODOM, JR. performs a holiday special

Hamilton’s Tony Award-winning actress RENÉE ELISE GOLDSBERRY debuts with the MSO

Ring in the holidays on Thanksgiving weekend with the MSO and HOME ALONE

The STAR WARS series continues in May 2020 with RETURN OF THE JEDI


MILWAUKEE, WIS., 04/05/2019—The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra announced plans today for the 2019.20 Pops Season. New in 2019.20, the orchestra will perform all pops concerts at the Riverside Theater at 116 W. Wisconsin Avenue. Headliners in the 2019.20 season include multi-platinum-selling composer, singer-songwriter Ben Folds; Broadway, film and television star Leslie Odom, Jr.; and Tony Award-winning actress Renée Elise Goldsberry.

Ben Folds will join the MSO on February 19 to blend his chart-topping hits with the full power of the orchestra. Hamilton star and Grammy and Tony Award-winning singer Leslie Odom, Jr. will perform a one-night-only holiday special on December 11. And Hamilton original cast member and Tony Award-winning actress Renée Elise Goldsberry joins the MSO on March 27 for a one-night-only special performing Broadway hits as well as American pop standards.

The MSO will open the Pops season in September with the music of John Williams led by Associate Conductor Yaniv Dinur. Then the orchestra will kick off the holiday season with Home Alone film with orchestra Thanksgiving weekend. And Andreas Delfs returns to lead the MSO in Holiday Pops in December.

The MSO continues its Star Wars film with orchestra cycle with Return of the Jedi in May 2020.

The season will also include tributes to Aretha Franklin – with Capthia Jenkins, Frank Sinatra – with Steve Lippia, and the Beatles. And finally, Stuart Chafetz returns to conduct the great blockbuster scores of television and film.

Subscription sales begin on April 5. Single tickets will go on sale August 5.

VIP packages to the Ben Folds concert are on sale beginning April 5, which include an “(Ask Me Anything…About Music): A Ben Folds Master Class” and a “Ben Folds Meet & Greet Experience,” both packages will include a ticket to the concert.

*All concerts will take place at the Riverside Theater


Sep 27-29, 2019

The Music of John Williams
Yaniv Dinur, conductor

For over 60 years, legendary composer John Williams has been creating the musical landscapes for our favorite films, including E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, and more. The MSO and Associate Conductor Yaniv Danur open the Pops season with an action-packed celebration of John Williams’ unforgettable Hollywood film scores.

Dec 6-8, 2019

Holiday Pops
Andreas Delfs, conductor
Rebecca Luker, vocals
Milwaukee Handbell Ensemble

Bring the whole family to Milwaukee’s musical tradition for the holidays! Tony-nominated Broadway soprano Rebecca Luker (Showboat, The Music Man, Mary Poppins) joins the MSO for Holiday Pops, a musical jubilee of your favorite carols, classics and sing-alongs, plus a handbell ensemble and other delights. This beloved event sells out every year!

Feb 7-9, 2020

Simply Swingin’ - Sinatra & Friends
Yaniv Dinur, conductor
Steve Lippia, vocals

“Come Fly with Me.” “Mack the Knife.” “Fly Me to the Moon.” If songs like these make you long to don a fedora and sip a martini, then you’re in the right place. Hear vocal sensation Steve Lippia croon the classics by icons such as Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, all backed by your favorite swingin’ band, the MSO.

Mar 20-22, 2020

Aretha: Queen of Soul
Yaniv Dinur, conductor
Capathia Jenkins, vocals
Ryan Shaw, vocals

The MSO pays loving tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, in a program including some of the star’s greatest hits. Listen for “Respect,” “Think,” “A Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools” and more of the songs Aretha made famous. Dazzling vocalists Capathia Jenkins and Ryan Shaw lend their voices to this musical celebration of an icon.

Apr 17-19, 2020

Revolution: The Beatles Symphonic Experience

The Beatles come to life in Revolution, a symphonic tribute to the Fab Four accompanied by a collection of rare photos, videos and animations displayed on the screen above the orchestra. This magical musical and visual journey includes over 25 of the Beatles’ top hits, such as “Ticket to Ride,” Penny Lane,” “All You Need is Love, “Hey Jude” and more, all performed live by guest vocalists and the MSO.

Jun 19-21, 2020

Blockbuster Scores – Music from TV & Film
Stuart Chafetz, conductor

A great soundtrack can create drama, sizzle, intrigue and romance. In this dynamic program we explore the world of blockbuster movie and TV scores, from Back to the Future to Downton Abbey to Game of Thrones and beyond. Prepare to have your hair raised, your heart melted and your spirits lifted by the power of music.


Nov 30 + Dec 1, 2019

Home Alone – Film with Live Orchestra
Yaniv Dinur, conductor
Milwaukee Symphony Chorus
Cheryl Frazes Hill, director

A true holiday favorite, this beloved comedy classic features John Williams’s charming and delightful score, performed live by the MSO. Macaulay Culkin stars as Kevin McCallister, an 8-year-old boy who is accidentally left behind when his family leaves for Christmas vacation, and who must defend his home against two bungling thieves. Hilarious and heartwarming, Home Alone is holiday fun for the entire family!

December 11, 2019

Hamilton’s Leslie Odom, Jr.: A Holiday Special 

Leslie Odom, Jr., best known as Broadway hit Hamilton’s original Aaron Burr, joins the MSO for a holiday concert with a jazz twist. In this special event, this Grammy and Tony Award-winning vocalist brings his smooth signature style to holiday classics such as “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “First Noel” and “My Favorite Things.”

February 19, 2020

Ben Folds: One Night Only

Genre-bending singer-songwriter Ben Folds blends his chart-topping hits with the full power of the MSO. Listen for the best of Ben, including “Brick,” “You Don’t Know Me,” “Luckiest,” and a movement from his Billboard chart topping piano concerto.

March 27, 2020

An Evening with Hamilton’s Renée Elise Goldsberry

Renée Elise Goldsberry took home a 2016 Tony Award for originating the role of Angelica Schuyler in Broadway’s smash hit Hamilton. Now Renée makes her MSO debut in a glittering evening of Broadway hits from shows such as The Lion King and Rent, as well as American pop standards such as “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

May 15-16, 2020

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi – Film with Live Orchestra

Yaniv Dinur, conductor

The MSO presents 1983’s Return of the Jedi, the third and final installment of the original Star Wars trilogy. Experience the complete movie — featuring Luke and Leia, Han Solo and Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, Jabba the Hutt and Darth Vader — as the orchestra performs John Williams’s landmark score live-to-film.




Stuart Chafetz is the newly appointed principal pops conductor of the Columbus Symphony. Chafetz, a conductor celebrated for his dynamic and engaging podium presence, is increasingly in demand with orchestras across the continent and this season. Chafetz will be on the podium in Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, Naples, Philly Pops, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Vancouver. He enjoys a special relationship with The Phoenix Symphony where he leads multiple programs annually. 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's led numerous Spring Ballet performances 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 music director of the New Bedford Symphony in Massachusetts. He is a winner of numerous conducting awards, among them the 2019 Georg Solti Conducting Award, 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.



Ben Folds is widely regarded as one of the major music influencers of our generation.

He’s created an enormous body of genre-bending music that includes pop albums with Ben Folds Five, multiple solo albums, and numerous collaborative records. His last album was a blend of pop songs and his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra that soared to #1 on both the Billboard classical and classical crossover charts.

For over a decade he’s performed with some of the world’s greatest symphony orchestras, and in 2017 was named as the first ever Artistic Advisor to the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center.

In addition to touring, Folds has just written his first book – “A Dream About Lightning Bugs – A Life of Music and Cheap Lessons” - described as a collection of interrelated essays and anecdotes about art, life, and music. Release is slated for July 2019.

He is also no stranger to TV and film, from scoring soundtracks to having been featured for five seasons as a judge on NBC's critically-acclaimed a capella show "The Sing Off." He has also continued to appear in cameo and recurring roles on cable and network TV shows.

An avid photographer, Folds is a member of the prestigious Sony Artisans of Imagery, completed an assignment in 2017 as a photo editor for National Geographic, and was recently featured in a mini-documentary by the Kennedy Center's Digital Project on his photographic work.

An outspoken champion for arts education and music therapy funding in our nation's public schools, in 2016 Ben held the distinction as the only artist to appear at both national political conventions advocating for arts education, and has continually served for over five years as an active member of the distinguished Artist Committee of Americans For The Arts, is on the Board of its Arts Action Fund, and is Chairman of its ArtsVote2020 campaign initiative.

Renée Elise Goldsberry received the Tony Award, Grammy Award, Drama Desk Award, and Lucille Lortel Award for her performance off and on Broadway in the musical phenomenon Hamilton. Since winning the Tony Award, she has appeared in Baz Luhrmann’s The GetDown for Netflix and shot the title role for HBO’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks opposite Oprah Winfrey.

She is currently starring in the Netflix series Altered Carbon. Prior to Hamilton, Goldsberry’s appearances on stage include her Outer Critics Circle Award-nominated performance opposite Frances McDormand in the play Good People, as well as the original stage version of The Color Purple. She made her Broadway debut in The Lion King and was the last Mimi in Rent. Her off-Broadway appearances have included several Shakespeare productions for the Public Theater’s New York Shakespeare Festival, where Hamilton originated.

Her television appearances include her recurring roles on The Good Wife, Law & Order: SVU, and The Following. She was nominated twice for a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance on One Life to Live. On film, she appeared most recently in Sisters with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and in Every Secret Thing with Diane Lane and Elizabeth Banks.

Capathia Jenkins most recently starred as Medda in the hit Disney production of Newsies on Broadway. She made her Broadway debut in The Civil War, where she created the role of Harriet Jackson. She then starred in the Off-Broadway 2000 revival of Godspell, where she wowed audiences with her stirring rendition of “Turn Back, O Man” which can still be heard on the original cast recording. She returned to Broadway in The Look of Love and was critically acclaimed for her performances of the Bacharach/David hits. Jenkins then created the roles of The Washing Machine in Caroline, Or Change and Frieda May in Martin Short-Fame Becomes Me where she sang “Stop the Show” and brought the house down every night.

An active concert artist, Jenkins has appeared with orchestras around the world including the Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony (with Marvin Hamlisch), National Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Utah Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Memphis Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Toledo Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Kansas City Symphony, San Diego Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. She was a soloist with the Festival Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. In 2011 Capathia had the great honor of performing in the Broadway Ambassadors to Cuba concert as part of the Festival De Teatro De La Habana. Jenkins was a guest soloist with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops and with the Cincinnati Pops.

Steve Lippia has headlined in highly successful, extended engagements in both Las Vegas and Atlantic City as well as the legendary Birdland Jazz Club in New York City. Lippia is a favorite of symphonies. He has performed hundreds of shows to sold-out audiences with symphony orchestras across North America, including Annapolis, Austin, Boston Philharmonic, Boston Pops, Calgary, Charlotte, Cleveland Pops, Colorado, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Edmonton, Fort Worth, Fresno, Grand Rapids, Greensboro, Hartford, Huntsville, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Irving, Mississippi, National Repertory, North Carolina, Omaha, Oregon, Peter Nero and The Philly Pops, Phoenix, Reno, Rochester, San Antonio, South Dakota, St. Louis, Stockton, Tacoma, Tallahassee, Toledo, Toronto, Tucson, Utah, Vancouver, Virginia, Winnipeg.

Rebecca Luker, one of the Broadway's most beloved leading ladies and a three-time Tony Award nominee, has a career that spans from the Broadway stage to the concert hall to the most intimate cabarets in repertoire that encompasses Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, Jeanine Tesori, and Carly Simon. In concert she has been a regular performer at Carnegie Hall: No, No, Nanette; Trouble in Tahiti; Gay Divorce; The Art of the Lyricist (Ira Gershwin Centennial Series); My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies & My Favorite Broadway: Love Songs (both on PBS); an evening to honor Aherns and Flaherty with the New York Pops, A Tribute to Billie Holiday and A Comden & Green Evening. Other concert performances include Arias and Barcarolles with the Chicago Symphony; Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Melbourne Symphony; Pardon My English, Primrose, and Babes in Arms, all at The Library of Congress; Jubilee and Music in the Air at Town Hall. With the Encores! Series at City Center: Wheres' Charley?, The Boys from Syracuse; and two concerts with Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Series honoring Arthur Schwartz and Leonard Bernstein.

Luker has performed to sold-out audiences at her critically acclaimed American Song Book Series solo concerts at the new Jazz at Lincoln Center. She has appeared with the Alabama, American, Baltimore, Birmingham, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Nashville, New Jersey, St. Louis, Chicago, Royal Stockholm, and London Symphonies (to name a few!) as well as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.

Leslie Odom, Jr. is a Grammy Award­ winner as a principal soloist on Hamilton’s Original Broadway Cast Recording, which won the 2015 award for Best Musical Theater Album.

Odom, Jr. originated the role of Burr in a sold-out run at The Public Theatre in 2015, earning a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical and a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical. Additional theatre credits include Leap of Faith on Broadway, for which he won the 2012 Astaire Award for Outstanding Male Dancer on Broadway and was nominated for a Drama League Award; the 2014 musical Venice, which also played at The Public Theater; and the Encores! Off­ Center production of Tick, Tick... Boom! which was his first time working with Hamilton creator, Lin­-Manuel Miranda.

On the small screen, Odom, Jr. is best ­known for his portrayal of Sam Strickland in the NBC musical series, Smash, and his recurring role as Reverend Curtis Scott on Law & Order: SVU. He’s also appeared in episodes of Gotham, Person of Interest, Grey’s Anatomy, House of Lies, Vanished and CSI: Miami. On the big screen he starred in the 2012 film, Red Tails, opposite Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., and David Oyelowo.

Ryan Shaw joined the cast of I Know I’ve Been Changed, written and directed by Tyler Perry (Diary of a Mad Black Woman) in 1998. Shaw came to New York with this production and performed to sold-out crowds at the Beacon Theater. After the closing of I Know I’ve Been Changed, Shaw joined the resident cast of the Motown Café on West 57th Street where he performed Detroit soul favorites by the Four Tops and Marvin Gaye. Later he found another steady gig with a group that he says played “just about anything from the Fifties and Sixties that you could dance to—Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, Stax and Motown, Dion & the Belmonts, you name it.”

In 2004 Ryan was recruited into the Fabulous Soul Shakers, a vocal group specializing in classic soul and doo-wop. Johnny Gale, the group’s guitarist, is a New York music veteran who’s worked with everyone from Hank Ballard to the Ramones. Deeply impressed by Shaw’s talent, Johnny urged his old friend Jimmy Bralower to check him out. As a percussionist and drum programmer, Jimmy was among the city’s most in-demand session players, having worked with superstars like Madonna, Peter Gabriel, and Steve Winwood. Bralower and Shaw began to collaborate on several song-writing and recording projects.

About the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director Ken-David Masur, is among the finest orchestras in the nation and the largest cultural institution in Wisconsin. 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 72 full-time professional musicians perform over 135 classics, pops, family, education, and community concerts each season in venues throughout the state. A pioneer among American orchestras, the MSO has performed world and American premieres of works by John Adams, Roberto Sierra, Phillip Glass, Geoffrey Gordon, Marc Neikrug, and Matthias Pintscher, as well as garnered national recognition as the first American orchestra to offer live recordings on iTunes. Now in its 48th season, the orchestra’s nationally syndicated radio broadcast series, the longest consecutive-running series of any U.S. orchestra, is heard annually by more than two million listeners. 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, and Family Series.