Press Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 1
James Ehnes performs Korngold’s Violin Concerto and Theme from Schindler’s List
Baltimore, Md. (August 5, 2014) – Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) present Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 1 on Friday, September 26 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, September 28 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall,and Saturday, September 27 at 8 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore. The program also will feature the BSO premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral, John Williams’ heartbreaking Theme from Schindler’s List and Korngold’s lushly romantic Violin Concerto both performed by James Ehnes. Please see below for complete program details.
Throughout the 2014-2015 season, the BSO explores themes of spirituality and transcendence in eight programs. The second of these programs of the season is American composer Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral. Composed in 1999 after the loss of her younger brother Andrew Blue, the piece is a musical representation of “the place our souls carry us, the lessons we learn, and the growth we experience” after losing a loved one. “Blue,” says Higdon, “[is] like the sky…where all possibilities soar. Cathedrals…a place of thought, growth, spiritual expression…serving as a symbolic doorway into and out of this world. Writing this piece, I found myself imagining a journey through a glass cathedral in the sky.”
James Ehnes returns to the BSO to perform Korngold’s Violin Concerto, premiered in 1948 by Jascha Heifetz. Korngold became one of Hollywood’s most sought-after composers, but wished to remain true to his classical roots. This concerto combines both worlds: it is a classical showpiece filled with melodies from some of his biggest film hits, including his Academy Award winning score for Anthony Adverse, the title music from The Prince and the Pauper and Juarez, a historical epic starring Davis and Paul Muni. Ehnes will also connect with the film world for the violin-dominated theme John Williams created for Steven Spielberg’s 1993 cinematic masterpiece, Schindler’s List.
British composer Robert Simpson once called Rachmaninoff’s First Symphony "a powerful work in its own right, stemming from Borodin and Tchaikovsky, but convinced, individual, finely constructed, and achieving a genuinely tragic and heroic expression that stands far above the pathos of his later music." However, it initially received such a negative response from critics at its 1897 premiere that his career was almost derailed before it began. Now seen as an astonishing and powerful work, the piece is filled with the passion and glowing melodies that would later make Rachmaninoff famous.
Marin Alsop, conductor
Marin Alsop is an inspiring and powerful voice in the international music scene, a music director of vision and distinction who passionately believes that “music has the power to change lives.” She is recognized across the world for her innovative approach to programming and for her deep commitment to education and to the development of audiences of all ages.
Marin Alsop made history with her appointment as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO). With her inaugural concerts in September 2007, she became the first woman to head a major American orchestra. Her success as the BSO’s music director has garnered national and international attention for her innovative programming and artistry. Her success was recognized when, in 2013, her tenure was extended to the 2020-2021 season.
Alsop took up the post of principal conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra in 2012, and became music director in July 2013. There, she steers the orchestra in its artistic and creative programming, recording ventures and its education and outreach activities. She also holds the title of conductor emeritus at the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom, where she served as the principal conductor from 2002-2008.
In the summer of 2014, Maestra Alsop served her 23rd season as music director of the acclaimed Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California. In September 2013, she made history as the first female conductor of the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms in London. When Musical America named Maestra Alsop the 2009 Conductor of the Year, they commented, “[Marin Alsop] connects to the public as few conductors today can.”
Known for his virtuosity and probing musicianship, violinist James Ehnes has performed in more than 30 countries on five continents, appearing regularly in the world’s great concert halls and with many of the most celebrated orchestras and conductors. Upcoming highlights include concerts with the Royal Philharmonic, Danish National, Melbourne, Sydney, NHK, Vienna and Boston symphony orchestras, with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and recitals in Prague, London, Toronto, Fort Worth and Montreal. James also performs with the Ehnes Quartet across North America and will lead the winter and summer festivals of the Seattle Chamber Music Society, where he is the artistic director. His extensive discography of more than 30 reordings has been honored with many international awards and prizes, including a Grammy, a Gramophone and nine Juno Awards. James Ehnes plays the "Marsick" Stradivarius made in 1715. www.jamesehnes.com
COMPLETE PROGRAM DETAILS
Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 1
Friday, September 26, 2014 at 8 p.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 8 p.m. – The Music Center at Strathmore
Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 3 p.m. – JMSH
Marin Alsop, conductor
James Ehnes, violin
Jennifer Higdon: blue cathedral (BSO premiere)
Korngold: Violin Concerto
John Williams: Theme from Schindler’s List
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 1
Tickets start at $29 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is funded by an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is supported in part by funding from the Montgomery County government and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is also supported by the Citizens of Baltimore County and the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore.