Freshman year can excite with newness, but it’s as sophomores that people tend to come into their own. Jaap van Zweden’s reign as music director of the New York Philharmonic came into clearer view on Tuesday, when the orchestra announced its 2019-20 season, its second under his baton.
There will be nods to the past, as in an exploration of Mahler’s time leading the Philharmonic in the final years of his life. There will be lots of new music, too, with Mr. van Zweden giving premieres by Philip Glass, Tania León, Nico Muhly, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Nina C. Young and Ellen Reid. And there will be experiments — as when he conducts Renée Fleming in Björk songs.
To mark the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which barred states from denying voting rights based on gender, the Philharmonic has commissioned new works by 19 female composers, eight of which will be performed next season. Besides celebrating what Deborah Borda, the orchestra’s president and chief executive officer, called a “tectonic shift in American culture,” the project sends a statement to the classical music field at a moment when female composers still struggle to be heard.
The pianist Daniil Trifonov will be the orchestra’s artist in residence. Visiting conductors will include Susanna Malkki, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gustavo Dudamel, Simone Young, Franz Welser-Möst and Valery Gergiev. And the Philharmonic’s popular film series will offer screenings of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Psycho,” “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Mary Poppins,” with the orchestra playing the scores live.
With so much on tap, what do our critics and writers want to hear?
A Philip Glass premiere, and Kelli O’Hara (Sept. 18-21)
With a little sleight of hand, Mr. van Zweden has moved the requisite start-of-season gala into early October; it’s a Beethoven program with the superstar pianist Lang Lang. But for his first subscription concerts he has chosen a somewhat bolder program: a new work by Mr. Glass; Barber’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915,” with Broadway’s own Kelli O’Hara; and selections from Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet.” ANTHONY TOMMASINI
‘Erwartung’ and ‘Bluebeard’s Castle’ (Sept. 26-28)
Splashily staged opera productions were among Alan Gilbert’s boldest innovations during his time at the Philharmonic’s helm. Mindful, perhaps, of their success, Mr. van Zweden will lead a staged double bill of two darkly brilliant early-20th-century works, directed by the Swedish stage designer Bengt Gomer using video, lighting and shadow actors. The formidable soprano Nina Stemme takes on Judith in “Bluebeard’s Castle” alongside the baritone Johannes Martin Kränzle; Katarina Karneus sings “Erwartung.” CORINNA da FONSECA-WOLLHEIM
Unsuk Chin’s sheng concerto (Oct. 18-22)
The first time I heard “Su” — Unsuk Chin’s 2009 concerto for sheng, a Chinese mouth organ — I nearly jumped out of my chair. I was using iPhone earbuds, but Ms. Chin’s imaginative exploration of timbre still packed a memorable punch. I’ve loved the work since that first encounter; it was my pick for our “5 Minutes That Will Make You Love Classical Music” feature last year. I’ll now have my first chance to hear it live, led by Ms. Malkki, with Wu Wei as soloist. SETH COLTER WALLS
Salonen conducts Salonen (Nov. 6-12)
This fascinating program offers a hint of what might have been had Mr. Salonen, who is heading to the San Francisco Symphony, become the Philharmonic’s music director instead. Between rare performances of Schoenberg’s glittering orchestral transcriptions of two works by Bach, Mr. Salonen conducts a pair of his own scores: “Castor” (in its New York premiere) and “Pollux.” The program ends with Hindemith’s great “Mathis der Maler” Symphony. ANTHONY TOMMASINI
Trifonov plays Scriabin’s concerto (Nov. 27-Dec. 3)
Mr. Trifonov has justly rocketed to New York omnipresence, and has become a fixture at the Philharmonic, including a memorable traversal of Rachmaninoff’s concertos in 2015. This year he’ll play a relative rarity: Scriabin’s Piano Concerto, a Romantic but unassuming work that will benefit from Mr. Trifonov’s subtle delicacy. (Mr. van Zweden conducts.) His residency with the orchestra will also include a Mozart classic (the Piano Concerto No. 25); a solo recital of Bach and arrangements of Bach; and the New York premiere of his Piano Quintet. ZACHARY WOOLFE
Gustavo Dudamel’s mini-residency (Jan. 15-25)
It’s not often that the Philharmonic devotes five performances to a single program. But it is handing over significant real estate to a star: Mr. Dudamel, who will lead Ives’s “The Unanswered Question,” Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony and a premiere by Esteban Benzecry. Two days after that run ends, Mr. Dudamel will be back for a program of Schubert’s Fourth Symphony and Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde.” JOSHUA BARONE
All-Commonwealth program (Jan. 30-31)
Play Elgar and I’ll be there, but this whole program has a welcome, unforced focus to it, compared to much else in the Philharmonic’s sprawling season. Call it a Commonwealth affair, with Elgar’s “Enigma Variations” and the “Four Sea Interludes” from Britten’s “Peter Grimes” framing the American premiere of the Australian composer Brett Dean’s Cello Concerto. Alban Gerhardt is the soloist; the conductor, Simone Young, was born and started her career in Sydney. DAVID ALLEN
‘Sound On’ with Joan La Barbara (Feb. 3)
Joan La Barbara is the kind of gifted, veteran New York composer the Philharmonic has often declined to notice. She’s experimentally minded, certainly, but her works contain plenty of more traditional operatic melody, too. All of which makes a commission from her — set to appear as part of the contemporary chamber music series “Sound On” alongside new works by Nicole Lizée and Paola Prestini — a potential highlight of the season. SETH COLTER WALLS
Franz Welser-Möst returns (Feb. 27-29)
Mr. Welser-Möst has not been on the Philharmonic’s podium since 2000, two years before he took charge of the Cleveland Orchestra. New York is on its third new music director since then, but he’s still going strong in Ohio, and returns with the kind of sophisticated, new-old program Cleveland audiences will recognize: Jörg Widmann’s suite of music from his 2012 opera “Babylon” — the Philharmonic’s answer to Carnegie Hall’s focus on Mr. Widmann next season — and Strauss’s “Symphonia Domestica.” ZACHARY WOOLFE
Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony (April 23-25)
It’s a work that should play to Mr. van Zweden’s strengths: Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”), a monumental exploration of mortality with moments of ferocity, tenderness, and, hopefully, transcendence. The lineup, featuring the soprano Joélle Harvey and the mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, is promising. And it will be nice to get to hear the immense work for its own sake rather than for a grand occasion: an orchestra’s return from a strike or the commemoration of a disaster. MICHAEL COOPER
John Adams conducts Olga Neuwirth (May 28-June 2)
The Berlin installment of “Hotspots” — a short festival exploring musical creation in that city, Reykjavik and New York — is exciting for including the first time the Philharmonic will play the orchestral music of Olga Neuwirth. (She’s Austrian, but, then again, the Reykjavik program features a new work by Nico Muhly, a New Yorker.) Conducting Ms. Neuwirth’s premiere will be John Adams, on a program with his “City Noir” and a suite from Prokofiev’s “The Love for Three Oranges.” JOSHUA BARONE
‘Harmonium’! (June 11-13)
More Adams rounds out the season at David Geffen Hall: his luminous choral symphony “Harmonium,” with texts by Donne and Dickinson. The Philharmonic has done it just once before, and it’s unmissable. It concludes a program that also features Ms. Snider’s premiere and Shostakovich’s sprightly Concerto for Piano (Yuja Wang, in some luxury casting), Trumpet (the orchestra’s principal, Christopher Martin) and Strings. ZACHARY WOOLFE
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