For Jonathon Heyward, the new music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the key word for success is community.

At a news conference last week at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Heyward addressed a small group of news media about what can be expected of his first season in the driver’s seat. A priority of that, he said, will be a focus on “programming that is relevant to the community,” both in “having familiar faces in the community on our stages” as well as “pre- and post-concert experiences that relate to the community. These are things we’re thinking about.”

Heyward was named in July as the successor to Marin Alsop, who had a 14-year tenure as the BSO’s music director and founder of BSO OrchKids. His appointment was historic, making him the orchestra’s first non-white lead in its 106-year history. Considering that Baltimore City is more than 60% Black, Heyward’s ability to engage with the broader population outside of the orchestra will be crucial.

According to a news release issued Monday that expounded on the details of Heyward’s plans, the first initiative from the conductor and the orchestra will be an expansive three-day celebration across the BSO’s Baltimore and Bethesda homes, featuring both dance and music. Another initiative — the “Hall for All” — aims to bring musical talent together across different forms and throughout Maryland to transform the Meyerhoff into a welcoming space for everyone.

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“As I get to know Baltimore, I’ll have a clearer answer on specific [non-orchestral] artists [that will be featured], but as far as that connection, it’s something that is a huge part of my tenure,” Heyward told The Banner on Wednesday. “To be able to bring the artists within the community here so they feel like they have a place here. I need to get to know those artists, though. I’ve only been here for a short amount of time and I look forward to growing and forging those connections.”

BSO conductor makes history as first non-white person to lead orchestra

In this first year of his five-year contract, Heyward will conduct seven weeks of the “Classical Series” for subscribers, and will introduce a new “Casual Conversations” format. The latter will happen on three Saturdays this season at the Meyerhoff and feature a selection from the week’s classical program, while Heyward, through conversation, will add context for new visitors.

Among its many other plans for the 2023-2024 season, the orchestra announced that the fan-favorite Fusion series, which marries classical music with contemporary genres, will return, includng Fusion’s first-ever showing at Strathmore. The BSO also named soprano vocalist Christine Georke as its new artist-in-residence.

And a new “Film with Orchestra” concert series offers the chance to subscribe to packages that include three full-length studio films shown on a large screen as the live orchestra plays the respective scores in real-time. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Back to the Future” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” are all on the docket.

That follows a similar performance of the Grammy- and Oscar-winning score of “Black Panther,” which was part of the BSO’s Black History Month programming this year — a slate that also included a Harlem Renaissance-themed jazz show and a calypso fusion performance. Though those concerts predated the BSO’s announcement of their new season, they, too, showed the institution’s focus on community and inclusive events.

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“The beautiful thing about classical music, I think, is that is can transcend any boundary. And I truly believe that, whether it’s race, age or ethnicity,” Heyward said. “My goal is, in a very short amount of time, I would love to see people of all groups in the same place to be able to realize that there’s this beautiful common ground. And we’ll get there, I have no doubt.”