Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Announces Marin Alsop's Inaugural Season as Music Director
"…the Baltimore Symphony is poised to jolt the American orchestral world."
- The New York Times (June 2006)
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) marks the beginning of an exciting new era with today's announcement of its 2007-2008 season, the inaugural season of new Music Director Marin Alsop. As a fitting testament to Maestra Alsop, an American visionary in her own right, the announcement was held this evening at the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore. Alsop's historic appointment in July 2005 as the Orchestra's 12th music director earned her the distinction of being the first female music director to lead a major U.S. orchestra. In programs featuring the music of Mahler and John Adams, September 27-30, 2007, Marin Alsop takes the helm of one of this country's most illustrious symphony orchestras, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Widely considered a music visionary and cultural ambassador both inside and outside the classical music world, Marin Alsop's first season showcases top guest artists and an extraordinary range of diverse programs. A major underpinning of the season includes performances of all nine Beethoven symphonies paired with works by 11 of today's most brilliant and admired composers. Five of the composers will conduct the BSO in performances of their own music, and all will be present to personally interact with BSO audiences. Alsop brings fresh insight to the standard repertoire conducting performances of the great masterpieces by Debussy, Dvorák, Brahms, Shostakovich, and Tchaikovsky. The 2007-2008 season also sees the BSO's first return in three years to Carnegie Hall, the Orchestra's first and highly anticipated visit to New York under the baton of Music Director Marin Alsop. During this season, the BSO also plans to record two Dvoràk symphonies for the Naxos label, the second installment of a three-disc series.
Coinciding with Maestra Alsop's inaugural season, the Baltimore Symphony's hometown venue, the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, marks its 25th anniversary in the same historic season. As an incentive to appeal to new audiences as the BSO begins a new era, while also rewarding current subscribers, the Baltimore Symphony has announced it will offer all classical and pops series' subscription seats for the entire 2007-2008 season at a special anniversary price of only $25 per ticket. This unprecedented, landmark offer is made possible through a $1 million gift from The PNC Foundation, the charitable giving arm of The PNC Financial Services Group.
Commenting on her first full season with the BSO, Marin Alsop said, "Conceptualizing this season and weaving it together was a wonderful challenge and tremendous fun. This inaugural season with the Baltimore Symphony offered me an opportunity to capitalize on the strengths and history of a terrific orchestra and set out my vision for an orchestra in the 21st century. Why not start with one of the pillars of Western art music: the nine symphonies of Beethoven? But let's present them in a new context and from the unique viewpoint of the creators of our time, whose voices are alive and relevant today. The idea of the old seen through new eyes is a major thread woven throughout the 2007-2008 season. I want people to feel a personal connection to this great music and to their wonderful orchestra.
"The $25 ticket offer for subscribers supports my philosophy that classical music should be within the financial and intellectual reach of everyone, connoisseurs and novices alike."
Marin Alsop's Inaugural Concerts, Gala Celebration Open 2007-2008 Season
Marin Alsop marks her inaugural concerts as Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra September 27-30, 2007 with programs featuring Mahler's monumental Fifth Symphony and John Adams' Fearful Symmetries. Mahler's Fifth Symphony is a signature piece for Maestra Alsop, who most recently explored the work's extraordinary emotional range to great acclaim in London. The Times (London) hailed the performance, noting "Alsop conducted a tautly controlled yet feverish, risk-taking performance in which the heady agonies and ecstasies of the outer world collided, resonated, and were at last exuberantly reconciled within the inner soul."
In an example typical of her programming, she juxtaposes the Mahler with the pulsating, modern rhythms of a giant among today's American composers, John Adams. In describing his 1988 work Fearful Symmetries, Adams said, "It mixes the weight and bravura of a big band with the glittering, synthetic sheen of techno pop (samples and synthesizer) and the facility and finesse of a symphony orchestra." The performances are scheduled to take place on Thursday, September 27, 2007 at the Music Center at Strathmore, and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 28-30, 2007 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore.
Marin Alsop will also lead the Baltimore Symphony in her first gala concert on Saturday, September 15, 2007 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The gala event, the BSO's largest annual fundraiser, celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Meyerhoff, and opens the Orchestra's doors to involve the wider community that has loyally supported its musical offerings for a quarter century. The classical program will feature a cast of hundreds, including local dancers, singers, choral groups, marching bands, drum lines and other community musicians. Further details will be announced at a later date.
$25 Subscription Seats Commemorate 25th Anniversary of Meyerhoff
Accessible Pricing Initiative Made Possible Through Partnership with PNC
On September 16, 1982, the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, made possible through the financial and administrative support of its namesake, the late Joseph Meyerhoff, celebrated opening night, instantly becoming the artistic and cultural hub of the city of Baltimore. To celebrate 25 years of breathtaking performances by the BSO and star-making debuts, the Baltimore Symphony will offer $25 subscription seats for classical and pops programming to all renewing and new subscribers. This offer, which reduces the average cost of a BSO subscription by 40%, is made possible through a $1 million gift from The PNC Foundation, the charitable giving arm of The PNC Financial Services Group. Mercantile Bankshares Corporation and its family of affiliate banks will become a part of The PNC Financial Services in early March, subject to final regulatory approval.
Commenting on the BSO's anniversary pricing offer, Edward "Ned" J. Kelly, III, Chairman, President, and CEO of Mercantile Bankshares Corporation, said "PNC is proud to be building upon Mercantile's history of commitment to the community and is pleased to announce a unique gift to underwrite this special ticket pricing. This initiative will open the BSO's diverse programs to a broader audience in this 25th year of the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. We recognize the benefits the performing arts provide in contributing to the community's social and economic vitality. PNC commends the BSO for their leadership in initiating $25 ticket pricing, an innovative approach to making classical music more accessible to all."
New BSO President & CEO Paul Meecham, who was instrumental in creating this anniversary pricing initiative, commented, "As arts administrators, we often dream about making symphony orchestras more accessible, constantly seeking ways to increase our reach to new audiences of all ages and removing barriers to understanding the symphonic art form. An extraordinary, far-sighted gift of underwriting gives us the freedom to take this dream and make it bigger and bolder. With Marin Alsop's fresh approach to classical repertoire in her inaugural season, the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall's silver anniversary, and $25 subscription seats, 2007-2008 is simply the perfect season for everyone to come experience the BSO."
(Note: All subscription seats are $25 with the exception of Family Concerts, Special Events, and Composers in Conversation. This offer does not apply to BSO at Strathmore subscriptions.)
2007-2008 Season Declared the Year of the Composer
In addition to her acclaimed interpretations of the standard repertory, Marin Alsop's commitment to living composers and new music has made her one of the most sought-after guest conductors in the world. As Music Director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music for 16 seasons, Alsop has repeatedly demonstrated her natural flair for communicating the artistic intentions of today's preeminent composers.
In a unique pairing of Beethoven symphonies with paragons of contemporary music, Maestra Alsop has programmed music by 11 of today's most distinguished composers throughout the 2007-2008 season. With a diverse international representation of composers from John Adams to Tan Dun, Thomas Adès to Joan Tower, some of today's most stimulating repertoire will be introduced to BSO audiences, on occasion under the direction of the composer's own baton. This season gives audiences uncommon access to the creative process of music and features composers conducting their own works as they imagined them, transforming them from notes on paper to reality. Conductors stepping up to the podium to lead the BSO in performances of their own works include John Adams, Tan Dun, James MacMillan, Thomas Adès, and HK Gruber.
Several programs next season have composers playing non-traditional roles as conductor, soloist, videographer and chansonnier, harkening back to the well-rounded musical lives of Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and Mendelssohn, who played an active role in the performance of their own works. In addition, BSO audiences will have the unprecedented opportunity to meet and speak with these composers in a special new program, Composers in Conversation.
Music Director Marin Alsop stated, "In framing the season, my goal was to give people the music they know and love in a new context. To our ears today, Beethoven represents some of the most familiar territory in the classical canon; however, among his contemporaries, his music sparked an unprecedented sense of revolution, and eventually, a long trail of imitators. The composers we have invited to join the BSO next season, are, in my mind, 'today's Beethovens.' Their onstage and off-stage participation throughout 2007-08 offers audiences and musicians a rare opportunity to experience a raw and deeply personal interpretation of their music."
One of the composers featured next season, Aaron Jay Kernis, described Marin Alsop as "passionately devoted to conveying to audiences the directness, meaning and richness of a remarkably wide spectrum of music of our time. She is a model of a conductor in touch with the present, who is continually shaping our view of great music through the vividness of today rather than repeating only old classics. It is through this approach that I feel that the future of orchestra music will be assured."
The following 2007-2008 programs feature contemporary composers and their music:
• Marin Alsop's inaugural concerts as the BSO's new Music Director feature Fearful Symmetries by composer John Adams (September 27-30, 2007), widely considered the "Aaron Copland of our time." As part of a two-week residency with the BSO, John Adams takes the podium the following week (October 4-6, 2007) to lead the BSO and baritone Sanford Sylvan in select repertoire, his semi-autobiographical piece My Father Knew Charles Ives, and The Wound-Dresser, a setting of Walt Whitman's poem of the same name. The Wound-Dresser will feature Sylvan, for whom the piece was originally written. Adams also conducts Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 as part of this program. This program further highlights how composers are not only inspired by their musical predecessors, but also by other artists and art forms.
• As a composer/conductor whose primary interest is in creating multicultural, multimedia programs that break boundaries between classical and non-classical, East and West, avant-garde and indigenous art forms, Oscar winner Tan Dun (for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) has led many of the world's leading orchestras. On the Explorer Series, October 11-14, 2007, the composer himself conducts The Map, a nine-movement concerto for cello, video and orchestra, featuring a series of field recordings of traditional Chinese street performers filmed by Tan Dun in Western Hunan that are woven together by live orchestral accompaniment. The work captures the musical life of three distinct Chinese ethnic minorities. The Map's solo cello line-originally composed for Yo-Yo Ma - will be performed by BSO Principal Cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn. The program also includes Shostakovich's Overture on Russian and Kirghiz Folk Themes and Borodin's Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor.
• Austrian composer HK Gruber will conduct two Symphony with a Twist™ concerts, October 19-20, 2007, featuring himself as conductor, host and chansonnier, guiding audiences through an entertaining musical portrayal of the mythical monster, Frankenstein!! The music, played by the traditional orchestra doubling on a battery of toy instruments, ranges from mock-horror to pandemonium. Saint-Saëns Danse macabre and Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 complete the Halloween-appropriate program, conducted entirely by Gruber.
• November 29 through December 1, 2007, Marin Alsop leads the BSO in a program featuring two works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis: Newly Drawn Sky and Lament and Prayer. One of today's most honored and acclaimed composers, Kernis wrote Newly Drawn Sky in 2005 as an orchestral poem in one movement inspired by the changing colors of a summer sky at dusk. Also on the program is Kernis' Lament and Prayer, written in 1995 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust and World War II. Brilliant, young violinist Timothy Fain performs the part for solo violin, where the violin and orchestra represent the cantor and congregation united in suffering and in prayer. In continuation of the Beethoven symphony cycle, Maestra Alsop also conducts the composer's "Pastoral" Symphony No. 6 as part of this program.
• Incomparable fiddler and composer Mark O'Connor joins Maestra Alsop and the BSO January 31 through February 3, 2008, in an Explorer series program featuring his American Seasons, a concerto for violin and chamber orchestra, which in the words of the composer, "celebrates the various stages of an American life at the waking of the 21st century." Brilliantly original with his revolutionary utility of the violin, O'Connor melds bluegrass, jazz and classical idioms to inject an utterly unique American personality into his music. Fitting company on this all-American program are Duke Ellington's Harlem and Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring.
• Marin Alsop conducts the BSO on February 8 and 9, 2008, in the U.S. premiere of Steven Mackey's Time Release, a visceral concerto for marimba and orchestra written for and performed by percussionist Colin Currie. Currie is one of the most prolific commissioners of music for percussion and orchestra today. The BSO takes this same program, including works by Strauss, Debussy, and Stravinsky to Carnegie Hall on February 9. In September 2005, the world premiere of Mackey's Time Release was performed by Currie, the Scottish Chamber Ensemble and Residentie Orkest, leading the Scotsman to remark that, "although the work centers primarily on the marimba, an exotic array of other instruments was also on hand to ensure the soloist was running the musical equivalent of a marathon."
• The music of Baltimore-native composer Christopher Rouse has long been championed by the Baltimore Symphony and embraced by audiences for its accessibility and skillful exploitation of color. Under the baton of Maestra Alsop, BSO Principal Flute Emily Skala will perform Rouse's five-movement Flute Concerto at both Strathmore and the Meyerhoff on March 6-9, 2008. Declared "a certifiable hit" by The Detroit Free Press, the 1993 concerto strongly reflects Rouse's Celtic heritage and features a beautiful "Elegia" as the central movement, composed in response to the senseless, brutal murder of a young British boy. This work is paired on a program with Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and Leonore Overture No. 3.
• Scottish composer James MacMillan will make his conducting debut with the Baltimore Symphony in four Explorer programs April 3-6, 2008, in two works: Stomp and Piano Concerto No. 2, the latter of which will be performed by pianist Wayne Marshall, who also makes his BSO debut. A composer/conductor with the BBC Philharmonic since 2002, MacMillan has been hailed as "a conductor of daunting ability" by The Sunday Times. His musical language is flooded with influences from his Scottish heritage, which informs the theme for the Explorer concert, "The British Isles." MacMillan will also conduct Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 on this program in a continuing investigation of Beethoven's influence on today's composers.
• John Corigliano, one of the most important and widely recognized American composers, has been a regular guest at the Baltimore Symphony over the past several seasons. Last year, the Orchestra and Marin Alsop recorded Corigliano's "Red Violin" Concerto with Joshua Bell for the Sony Classical label. This season, two Corigliano works are featured in one program April 17-19, 2008: To Music and his Piano Concerto. Written in 1967, his dramatically expressive Piano Concerto will feature guest pianist William Wolfram. In 1993, Corigliano borrowed Franz Schubert's song "An die Musik" ("To Music") as the basis of a work for double brass quintet, and later adapted it for full orchestra.
• On May 15-17, 2008, British composer, conductor and accomplished pianist, Thomas Adès will conduct the BSO and guest violinist Anthony Marwood in Adès' Violin Concerto, flanked by two Beethoven symphonies, Nos. 1 and 4. At just 35 years of age, Adès has become one of the most talked about composers on the international music scene. In addition to holding Carnegie Hall's prestigious Composer's Chair next season, he is also the youngest-ever recipient of the prestigious Grawemeyer Prize for Composition (2000). Although critics have differed in comparing him to Beethoven, Mozart, Britten, or Purcell, there is an unusual consensus among them of his originality, musicality, and importance. Adès composed the violin concerto especially for Mr. Marwood. The work was premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Disney Concert Hall.
• Closing the Baltimore Symphony's 2007-2008 concert season June 19-22, 2008, is a program featuring Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 paired with Joan Tower's Concerto for Orchestra. Conducted by Music Director Marin Alsop, the program features the Baltimore Choral Arts Society in the Beethoven. With an impressive career spanning five decades, Joan Tower has been hailed by The New Yorker "as one of the most successful woman composers of all time." She was the first composer chosen for the ambitious new "Ford Made in America" commissioning program, a collaboration of the American Symphony Orchestra League and Meet the Composer. Her Concerto for Orchestra, composed in 1991, is a "colorful and engaging piece…[in which] Tower has devised interesting and grateful musical challenges for every player" (New York Magazine).
Composers in Conversation
In keeping with its yearlong exploration of music by today's most sought-after composers, the BSO offers a unique opportunity for audiences to engage directly with all 11 composers featured throughout the 2007-2008 season. Each of the composers will share their influences and insights on his/her upcoming program in an intimate, conversational setting in a special series entitled Composers in Conversation. The programs are scheduled to take place at the Theatre Project, located across the street from the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, on the Wednesday prior to each program (Please reference season calendar for dates and complete event details.)
The BSO Begins Dvorák Cycle Recordings on Naxos
This season, the BSO embarks on a new partnership with the Naxos label to record a three-disc series including Antonin Dvorák's Symphony Nos. 5 through 9 and the Symphonic Variations with Music Director Marin Alsop. The recordings will be cut from live performances at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Naxos will release them for distribution as both CDs and online downloads. Recording sessions for Symphony No. 8 will take place January 10-13, 2008; sessions to record Symphony No. 6 are scheduled for March 27-30, 2008. Recording sessions for the other works featured in this series will be determined at a later date. Last season, after an eight-year hiatus, the BSO revived its acclaimed recording tradition with a recording of John Corigliano's Violin Concerto, "The Red Violin," for the SONY Classical label, conducted by Marin Alsop and featuring violinist Joshua Bell.
"The upcoming Naxos releases of the Dvorák Symphonies will surely return the Baltimore Symphony to their position as one of the most exciting recording orchestras in the United States," said Klaus Heymann, Chairman and Founder of Naxos. "They will also help emphasize the important role that Naxos plays in presenting American orchestras to an audience within and outside the borders of the United States. Marin is one of our most important conductors, an artist whose career we're proud to have helped develop, and without her leadership, this important step for both our label and this orchestra would not have been possible."
These recordings are the first to be made following the signing of a new groundbreaking agreement in Summer 2006 between the American Federation of Musicians and American orchestra managements. Under the terms of the Symphony, Opera or Ballet Live Recording Agreement, a partnership between the BSO musicians and management controls the licensing and costs of making recordings. This exciting new model furthers the Orchestra's commercial recording profile.
A Training Ground for the Next Generation of Conductors
Beginning in the 2007-2008 concert season, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with Music Director Marin Alsop and the Peabody Conservatory will launch a Conducting Fellows Program, a collaborative project that supports the musical and leadership development of today's young conductors. An outgrowth of the American Symphony Orchestra League's American Conducting Fellows Program (launched in 2002), the Baltimore project offers conductors in the early stages of their careers an opportunity to hone their skills before assuming a role with a professional orchestra.
"Our new BSO/Peabody conducting fellowship represents a unique partnership in the United States," remarked Peabody Director Jeffrey Sharkey. "I am so pleased to have Marin taking a leading role in educating the next generation of conductors and I am excited about her commitment to our Peabody musicians and to the entire Baltimore community. I believe the combined resources of the Peabody Conservatory and the Baltimore Symphony will create a program that will serve as a model of how best to train the music directors of tomorrow."
The BSO and Peabody Conservatory will serve as the pilot partnership team for this new mentoring model and together have designed a program that takes advantage of the two institutions' vast resources - training not only in theory, music history, and baton technique, but also a broad curriculum in subjects such as psychology, public speaking, foreign language and political science, plus practical on-the-job training, and real-time feedback from Marin Alsop, professional orchestra musicians and administrators.
Initially, one conducting fellow will be chosen annually and will be awarded the opportunity to interact with Marin Alsop, BSO staff and musicians, thereby gaining valuable exposure to the highly complex inner workings of a world-class symphony orchestra. An ambition of the program is to add a second and third fellow in successive years. In addition to the continuation of music/conducting studies at Peabody, training for the student fellows will also feature: private and group conducting sessions with Marin Alsop to include coaching on conducting technique, musical interpretation, musician relations, programming and season planning; public speaking opportunities; feedback sessions with BSO staff and musicians; and cover conducting possibilities.
The program's first fellow will be chosen and announced in Spring 2007 after a competitive audition process created by Peabody and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Additional Highlights of Marin Alsop's Inaugural Season with the BSO
For the past decade Marin Alsop has been in high demand as a guest conductor with some of the world's preeminent orchestras, most recently Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Zurich Tonhalle and in her ongoing relationships with the London Symphony and the London Philharmonic. Her recordings of the Brahms Symphony Cycle (Symphony Nos. 1, 2 and 3 to date) with the London Philharmonic have been highly acclaimed in reviews by American and U.K. critics. The bulk of her numerous international conducting engagements have emphasized Maestra Alsop's artistic command and fresh insights into the standard repertoire. The 2007-2008 season features Maestra Alsop conducting some of today's leading instrumentalists in programs that present veritable titans of the symphonic literature.
From October 25-28, 2007, Marin Alsop will conduct the BSO in Tchaikovsky's poignant Symphony No. 5 and Samuel Barber's Pulitzer Prize-winning Piano Concerto with BSO favorite, pianist Garrick Ohlsson. A remarkable interpreter of Brahms, Maestra Alsop will also conduct the composer's Tragic Overture. An acclaimed violinist and frequent collaborator with Alsop, exciting violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg takes the stage (January 10-13, 2008) for Shostakovich's virtuosic Violin Concerto No. 1 on a program paired with Dvorák's Eighth Symphony, part of the ongoing cycle of symphonies being recorded for the Naxos label.
Music Director Marin Alsop will also conduct a program, March 27-30, 2008, featuring celebrated pianist André Watts performing Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 and Dvorák's dramatic, Czech-infused Symphony No. 6, also part of the Naxos recording project. She leads the Baltimore Symphony, Baltimore Choral Arts Society, and Peabody Children's Chorus in Carl Orff's universally popular Carmina Burana (May 1-4, 2008), on a program that also includes Samuel Barber's Medea's Dance of Vengeance. Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet returns to the BSO stage, May 22-24, 2008, performing with Maestra Alsop in a program featuring two of Gershwin's works for piano: Rhapsody in Blue (original orchestration for the Paul Whiteman Band) and the Concerto in F. Also on the program is Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin.
Guests Artists and Conductors Make BSO Debuts
The BSO's 2007-2008 season will showcase four guest artists making their BSO debuts: violinist Timothy Fain performs Aaron Jay Kernis' Lament and Prayer (November 29-December 1, 2007), prominent British pianist Wayne Marshall tackles James MacMillan's Piano Concerto No. 2 (April 3-6, 2008), violinist Anthony Marwood performs a work composed especially for him, Thomas Adès' Violin Concerto (May 15-17, 2008), and Andean flute player Jessica Warren performs with South American flair in a Symphony with a Twist™ program, "The Inca Trail," led by conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya (May 30-31, 2008). Five conductors making their debuts on the BSO podium include John Adams (October 4-6, 2007), Tan Dun (October 11-14, 2007), Carolyn Kuan in a Casual Concert (November 3, 2007), and composers/conductors James MacMillan (April 3-6, 2008) and Thomas Adès (May 15-17, 2008).
BSO Welcomes Conducting Appearances By Seasoned Maestros and Rising Talent
A popular BSO guest conductor for more than two decades, Günther Herbig returns to conduct a program (November 8-11, 2007) featuring BSO Concertmaster Jonathan Carney in Sibelius' Violin Concerto along with Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture and Schubert's symphonic powerhouse, Symphony No. 9, "The Great C Major." After a highly successful first appearance with the BSO in June 2005, conductor Arild Remmereit returns to the podium November 15-18, 2007, in a program of admired works including Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto featuring BSO Associate Concertmaster Madeline Adkins, and Schumann's Symphony No. 1, "Spring." The program opens with the BSO premiere of Berwald's Tragic Overture.
In a Favorites Series program, January 25-27, 2008, Houston Symphony Music Director Hans Graf conducts a program featuring the return of rising young piano sensation Kirill Gerstein in a performance of Ravel's Concerto in G Major. Rounding out the program is Mozart's Symphony No. 34 and Mendelssohn's "Scottish" Symphony, No. 3. In his second engagement with the Baltimore Symphony since becoming the Orchestra's Music Director Emeritus, Maestro Yuri Temirkanov will conduct four performances April 24-27, 2008, in a rich musical program highlighted by 20-year-old pianist and 2006 Gilmore Young Artist Yuja Wang performing Prokofiev's First Piano Concerto. He also leads the orchestra in Richard Yardumian's Armenian Suite (which was postponed from the 2005-2006 season) and Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique.
Miguel Harth-Bedoya, a frequent BSO guest conductor, conducts two vivacious Symphony with a Twist™ concerts on May 30 and 31, 2008, featuring repertoire that traverses the South American continent, and revels in the musical traditions of Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia. The program, spotlighting Andean flute player Jessica Warren and authentic Peruvian dancers, includes music by Ginastera, Golijov and Gabriela Frank. Returning for the first time since his sensational 2004 BSO debut, the acclaimed Chief Conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Thomas Dausgaard, will lead Sibelius' epic Symphony No. 7 and the Finnish composer's sweeping tone poem, En Saga. Joining Dausgaard for these performances June 12-15, 2008, is Irish pianist Barry Douglas, who returns to perform Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3.
Twenty-nine year-old Taiwanese conductor Carolyn Kuan will make her BSO debut in a Saturday Casual Concert, October 6, 2007, leading the orchestra in Saint-Saëns' Danse macabre, Borodin's Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor, and Beethoven's light-hearted Symphony No. 8. Kuan also serves as the Assistant Conductor of the Seattle Symphony and makes regular conducting appearances at the Cabrillo Music Festival in collaboration with festival music director Marin Alsop.
Charlie Chaplin's City Lights
The BSO, under the direction of Marin Alsop, will perform an updated orchestration of the musical score to City Lights, along with a screening of Charlie Chaplin's silent film classic in an intriguing Symphony with a Twist™ program Friday, February 29, 2008 at Strathmore and Saturday, March 1, 2008 in Baltimore. Chaplin, an accomplished self-taught musician, as well as a great director, actor and filmmaker, played a variety of instruments with equal skill and facility. Having composed the soundtracks for several of his films, including City Lights, he also wrote, directed and starred in the 1931 film.
A miniature Baroque series to be held June 5-7, 2008, showcases the star talents of the BSO's own musicians, with BSO Concertmaster Jonathan Carney and Associate Concertmaster Madeline Adkins taking their turns as both violinist and leader in performances of early music masterpieces. Jonathan Carney leads featured BSO musicians in three selections from one of Bach's most well-loved works, the Brandenburg Concertos (Nos. 3, 4, and 6), along with his Double Violin Concerto performed by Carney and Assistant Concertmaster Igor Yuzefovich. BSO flutists Emily Skala and Marcia Kämper are also featured on the program. This all-Bach concert will be performed at Strathmore on June 5, and repeated at the Meyerhoff June 7.
A second Baroque program that same weekend is scheduled on the Casual Series Saturday, June 7 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Associate Concertmaster Madeline Adkins serves as violinist and leader in a mostly Vivaldi program including his Concerto for Two Horns featuring BSO Principal Horn Philip Munds and Beth Graham, Vivaldi's Concerto for Oboe in A minor featuring BSO Principal Oboe Katherine Needleman, Handel's Concerto Grosso Op. 3, No. 2, and Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in D Major.
As part of the Baltimore Symphony's total Beethoven immersion next season, Marin Alsop has summoned the experts to guide audiences in a multi-disciplinary, quasi-forensic approach to the life, times, and music of Ludwig van Beethoven. In a two-evening CSI: Beethoven series, February 27 and 28, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, the BSO will explore not just Beethoven's music, but the psychological, medical, social and political conditions that profoundly influenced his work and contributed to his genius. Joining Maestra Alsop and the Orchestra are two leading experts on Beethoven and his maladies, Dr. William Meredith from the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies in San Jose, California, and Dr. Charles Limb, a professor and specialist in otolaryngology (head and neck surgery) at Johns Hopkins Hospital. These and other experts representing the fields of medicine, history, and psychology, will also weigh in with stimulating discussion and help demystify some of the common theories surrounding Beethoven's hearing loss, his creative process, and his ultimate death.
In addition to the scientific analysis and discussion led by outside experts, over the course of two evenings, Marin Alsop will conduct the BSO in selections from each of the nine Beethoven symphonies. The two-day event features a lobby display that includes the composer's manuscripts, first editions, letters, and the now-authenticated lock of Beethoven's hair that was studied and documented for the book Beethoven's Hair. Audiences will also hear digitally modified clips of Beethoven's symphonies as they might have sounded to the composer later in life, as he spiraled into total deafness.
Return to Carnegie Hall
The Baltimore Symphony will return to Carnegie Hall for the first time in three years on Saturday, February 9, 2008, in a captivating program featuring the New York premiere of Steve Mackey's Time Release with superb Scottish percussionist, Colin Currie. Complementing this highly anticipated program, led by new Music Director Marin Alsop, are Richard Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, and Stravinsky's Firebird Suite.
Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly Leads BSO SuperPops, Holiday Spectacular
From the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip to the nostalgic appeal of classic film scores, Jack Everly and the BSO SuperPops bring the very best in symphonic pops to Maryland. In addition to leading the BSO SuperPops, Jack Everly will also once again join the BSO for its smash hit Holiday Spectacular, now in its third year.
The BSO SuperPops season opens November 1-4, 2007, when the incomparable Michael Feinstein joins Jack Everly and the Baltimore Symphony to perform classics of the Great American Songbook. Dubbed "the Ambassador of American Song," and among the most passionate performers in show business, Michael Feinstein is best known for his interpretations of works by composer Ira Gershwin.
Beatlemania comes to Baltimore November 23-25, 2007, with Classical Mystery Tour. Featuring the BSO SuperPops performing with original members of the Broadway sensation Beatlemania and conductor Martin Herman, this thrilling Beatles retrospective features the Fab Four's chart-topping tunes with original arrangements for symphony orchestra.
From January 18-21, 2008, the BSO SuperPops, Jack Everly and a cast of performers boldly go where no orchestra has gone before with Sci-Fi Spectacular. Narrated by George Takei-Mr. Sulu of Star Trek fame- the program features selections from John Williams' classics such as Superman and E.T., as well as an "out of this world" laser light show.
On Valentine's Day weekend, BSO audiences are in for a special treat when the legendary folk singer Art Garfunkel performs with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Part of the BSO SuperPops series at the Music Center at Strathmore on February 14, 2008, and a Special Event at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall February 15-16, 2008, the program features Mr. Garfunkel performing hits such as "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "Mrs. Robinson," along with works from his newest recording, Some Enchanted Evening.
Pops Goes Vegas! March 13-16, 2008, as the glitz of "Sin City" takes the stage. Jack Everly leads the BSO SuperPops and a dazzling cast of singers and dancers in a musical celebration of the biggest names on the Strip.
Known for their trademark close-harmony vocals, The Four Freshmen make a special appearance at the Music Center at Strathmore on April 10, 2008 and at the Meyerhoff April 11-13, 2008. Since their debut in the 1950s, The Four Freshmen have remained popular with hits such as "Day by Day" and "Graduation Day." This newest incarnation of the group was recently named "Vocal Group of the Year" by Down Beat magazine. Note: The Baltimore Symphony will not perform in this SuperPops program.
The 2007-2008 BSO SuperPops series comes to a close with a Chorus of Hits, May 8-11, 2008. Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly leads 200 instrumentalists and singers in the most recognizable and beloved choruses from the musical worlds of Broadway, opera and Hollywood.
Conceived of by Jack Everly, Holiday Spectacular with the BSO returns for a third year with seasonal joy for the whole family, December 14-23. Due to popular demand, the BSO has increased the number of performances from nine to 12. Dubbed "The Miracle on Cathedral Street," this year's Holiday Spectacular features Broadway actor and vocalist Mike Eldred performing with the BSO, a cast of singers and dancers, and the ever-popular Tap Dancing Santas.
Family Concerts Celebrate Storytelling Through Music
Throughout the 2007-2008 season, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will present six very special Family Concerts, each on select Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. Featuring the BSO and guest artists, each program uses classical music, as well as dance, puppetry and theatre, to weave enchanting stories the whole family will enjoy.
In addition to weekend Family Concerts, the BSO's comprehensive education program offers midweek education concerts, open rehearsals and master classes, each year reaching more than 50,000 students of all ages throughout the State of Maryland, South Eastern Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia. These education programs are made possible in part through the support of the Sylvan/Laureate Foundation, the official Education Partner of the BSO.
Musical Adventures Family Concerts
"Musical Adventures" Family Concerts inspire the youngest audiences with age-appropriate programs designed for children ages 3 to 6 and their families. Oh No, Where is Our Oboe? (November 17), an original program written and performed by members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, takes children on tour with the Orchestra. Everything is going great, until someone gets lost! Narrator Rheda Becker and dancers from Baltimore School for the Arts join the Orchestra for the timeless holiday tale The Nutcracker, featuring selections from Tchaikovsky's beloved ballet (December 8). The BSO performs Prokofiev's enchanting story Cinderella (April 12) with the help of the award-winning Bob Brown Puppets and Ms. Becker.
Classically Kids Family Concerts
Designed for children ages 7 to 12 and their families, "Classically Kids" gives children a taste of some of the very best in classical music. Landis and Company's Enchantment Theatre weaves theatre, masks, puppetry and shadow play to tell the story of The Firebird (February 16), with the BSO performing selections from Stravinsky's wondrous ballet. Children travel Around the World in Music (March 8) when the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra and the Peabody Sinfonietta perform selections from works by Beethoven, Dvorák, Copland and more. Gregory Smith takes young audiences Inside the Composer's Workshop (May 10), with an insider's look at the art of composing, giving children the musical understanding to create the perfect ending for his work.
Special Events and Presentations
In addition to the Baltimore Symphony's wide-ranging subscription concerts in Baltimore and at the Orchestra's second home, the Music Center at Strathmore, the BSO offers a variety of concerts and musical presentations throughout the season. Special events featured next season include: legendary sitar player and icon Ravi Shankar with daughter and protégée Anoushka Shankar (October 17 at the Meyerhoff); Vienna Boys' Choir (December 2 at Strathmore); Handel's Messiah led by conductor Edward Polochick with the BSO and Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale (December 7 at the Meyerhoff; December 8 at Strathmore) The orchestra also performs its annual tribute concert to Martin Luther King, Jr. in January.
BSO at Strathmore Launches New "BSO on the Go" Educational Program
Next season, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra celebrates its third full season at its second residence, the beautiful Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md. In February 2007, the BSO launched a new interactive, educational initiative, BSO on the Go, bringing BSO musicians into Montgomery County classrooms to teach specially designed music-based curricula. Designed for elementary school-aged children, the program reaches public, private and home-schooled students.
Using music as a means to explore core subject areas such as English and science, as well as behavioral concepts such as cooperation and communication, BSO on the Go expands the BSO's educational presence in southern Maryland. Currently, the program consists of six different 45-minute workshops presented by various BSO musicians, including solo violin, oboe duo, bass and percussion duo and trumpet and percussion duo. The program is available throughout Montgomery County and is completely free of charge. BSO on the Go is funded through grants from local and regional foundations, and through the efforts of the BSO at Strathmore's Symphony Society Women.
The BSO is proud to continue its successful partnership with Soulful Symphony and Composer-in-Residence and Music Director Darin Atwater. Programming details for the 2007-2008 season will be announced at a later date.
BSO Plans To Launch New Website In Fall
The Baltimore Symphony will transform its online presence with the launch of a new, cutting-edge website in September 2007, coinciding with the opening of Marin Alsop's inaugural season. The website will undergo a complete redesign to streamline the ticket purchasing process and employ the latest technological innovations for audience development. Substantial improvements will be made to the BSO's e-commerce capacity and educational and audience enrichment components, making the website a valuable resource for current information related to the Baltimore Symphony, its guest artists, and concert programs.
Marin Alsop, Music Director
Marin Alsop recently made history with her appointment as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Beginning in September 2007, she will become the first woman to head a major American orchestra, mirroring her ongoing success in the United Kingdom as principal conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony since 2002.
The first artist to win Gramophone's "Artist of the Year" award and the Royal Philharmonic Society's Conductor's Award in the same season, Alsop won the Classical Brit Award for Best Female Artist of 2005. In 2006, she was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society's BBC Radio 3 Listeners Award. Radio 3 listeners, voting for the award, called her "a breath of fresh air in the music world," "a fantastic charismatic conductor" and praised her "boundless enthusiasm." In 2005, Marin Alsop was named a MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive this most prestigious American award.
Ms. Alsop is a regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic. She is also one of the few conductors to appear every season with both the London Symphony and the London Philharmonic orchestras and has appeared as a guest conductor with many other distinguished orchestras worldwide, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Zurich Tonhalle, Orchestre de Paris, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Boston Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Tokyo Philharmonic.
In September 2006 she led the American premiere of Nicholas Maw's opera, Sophie's Choice, at the Washington National Opera. Alsop made her debut with the Opera Theater of St. Louis conducting John Adams' Nixon in China and conducted a fully staged production of Bernstein's Candide with the New York Philharmonic in 2004, which was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2005.
Ms. Alsop continues her association as Conductor Laureate of the Colorado Symphony following her highly successful 12-year tenure as Music Director; she also continues in her 16th season as Music Director of the acclaimed Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California. In addition, Ms. Alsop has held the position of Principal Guest Conductor with both the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, with whom she made numerous critically acclaimed recordings, and the City of London Sinfonia.
Highlights of Alsop's successful ongoing collaboration with Naxos Records include a Brahms symphonic cycle with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and an ongoing series of Bournemouth Symphony recordings which include Bartók's Miraculous Mandarin, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, and the symphonies of Kurt Weill. One of Alsop's first projects as Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony will be a Dvorák Symphonic cycle, also for Naxos Records. On the recent release of her performance of Brahms' Third Symphony with the LPO, the Baltimore Sun said, "Alsop seems to have moved into a higher gear…The result is glowing music-making, rich in character and atmosphere."
In 2006, Alsop was the only classical musician invited to attend the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland alongside presidents, prime ministers and CEOs of the world's most powerful companies. Marin Alsop is a native of New York City; she attended Yale University and received her Master's Degree from The Juilliard School. In 1989, her conducting career was launched when she was a prizewinner at the Leopold Stokowski International Conducting Competition in New York, and in the same year, was awarded the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize at the Tanglewood Music Center.
About the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Organized in 1916, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is internationally recognized as having achieved a preeminent place among the world's most important orchestras. Acclaimed for its uncompromising pursuit of artistic excellence, the Baltimore Symphony has attracted a devoted national and international following while maintaining deep bonds throughout the Maryland community through innovative education and community initiatives.
The BSO made music history on July 20, 2005, when it announced the appointment of Marin Alsop as its 12th music director, making her the first female conductor of a major American orchestra. She inherits an orchestra that has earned great international distinction for its interpretations of both contemporary and standard repertoire under the leadership of former music directors David Zinman (1985-1998) and Yuri Temirkanov (2000-2006).
In June 2006, the BSO collaborated with Music Director Marin Alsop and legendary violinist Joshua Bell to record John Corigliano's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, "The Red Violin." Based on the Academy Award-winning score for the film The Red Violin, the Concerto is the completion of a dramatic piece requiring technical virtuosity and deep expressiveness. Since its world premiere with the Orchestra in September 2003, this BSO co-commission has earned the distinction of being the most performed concerto composed in the last quarter century. It is the Orchestra's first major label recording project in eight years and is scheduled to release on the Sony/BMG Classical label later this year.
In addition to the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, where the orchestra has performed for nearly 25 years, the BSO is a founding partner and the resident orchestra at the new state-of-the-art, 1976-seat Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md. The Music Center at Strathmore is the result of a precedent-setting partnership between the BSO, Strathmore and the residents of Montgomery County and the State of Maryland. With the opening of Strathmore in February 2005, the BSO became the nation's only major orchestra with year-round venues in two metropolitan areas. Now in its second full season, the BSO at Strathmore presents nearly 40 concerts and special presentations annually in Montgomery County across a range of series.
2007-2008 Subscription Information
Subscriptions for the 2007-2008 season will go on sale to the general public Saturday, March 3 at 9:00 a.m., online or in person at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore. The Orchestra's current subscribers may renew their subscriptions beginning Wednesday, February 28, 2007 through the end of April. These subscribers have priority seating benefits, and will be able to renew or upgrade their seats prior to seating the general public.
The BSO offers subscriptions ranging from three to 12-concert packages, priced from $61.25 to $480 at Strathmore and from $33 to $300 at the Meyerhoff.
Subscribers at both venues enjoy a range of benefits including priority seating, unlimited ticket exchanges, free ticket replacement, discounted parking and discounts on special events through the season where applicable. Additionally, subscribers may purchase special events before they go on sale to the general public.
A ticket processing fee of $7.50 applies to all subscription orders. Current and new subscribers may view the 2007-2008 season online at www.baltimoresymphony.org or at www.bsoatstrathmore.org. Current subscribers will receive a special renewal information kit and season brochure in late March.
Single tickets for all BSO performances and special presentations go on sale in early August.
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