Bittersweet Symphony

Classical music fans often care who’s conducting the orchestra. This is why Phoenix Symphony’s current season featured Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald on baton for our national anthem just that one time.

Generally, over the past eight years, the stick-man (and Virginia G. Piper Music Director) has been Michael Christie, whom the Denver Post named 2010’s Musician of the Year. (It’s not that the Mile-High Club cares how lucky we are; Christie is known up yonder as a “game-changer” who “put the Colorado Music Festival on the national classical map.” Is all.)

Christie’s leaving us for the Minnesota Opera, which makes sense, considering how well he’s integrated multimedia and highly theatrical elements into our orchestra’s work. To say goodbye and perhaps sneak into his carry-on, attend Christie’s Farewell Concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street. Dvorák’s Scherzo capriccioso, Mozart’s Symphony No. 38 (Prague Symphony), and Witold Lutoslawski’s Concerto for Orchestra make up the program, continuing through Saturday, May 11.

Thu., May 9, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., May 10, 11 a.m.; Sat., May 11, 8 p.m., 2013