Marin Alsop Launches New Era With Inaugural Concerts As Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Twelfth Music Director, September 27-30
Conducting works by John Adams and Gustav Mahler, Maestra Alsop becomes first woman to head a major American symphony orchestra
September 27 opening concert to be broadcast live on XM Satellite Radio from the Music Center at Strathmore
"…the Baltimore Symphony is poised to jolt the American orchestral world."
-The New York Times, June 2006
Baltimore, Md. (July 31, 2007) - Marin Alsop will lead her inaugural concerts as the twelfth music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, September 27 at the Music Center at Strathmore and September 28-30 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The momentous occasion will mark the dawn of a new era in the orchestral world, as Maestra Alsop becomes the first female music director of a major American symphony orchestra. Internationally acclaimed for her artistic vision, dynamic musicianship and commitment to accessibility in classical music, Ms. Alsop will lead the BSO in contemporary composer John Adams' Fearful Symmetries and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5. The historic, season-opening concert will be broadcast live on XM Satellite Radio (XM Classics, Channel 110) from the Music Center at Strathmore, the BSO's second year-round home in North Bethesda, Md. See below for complete program information.
Known for her powerful conducting, fresh interpretations of the classics and commitment to contemporary music, Marin Alsop has proven herself a leader both on and off the podium. She has been hailed for efforts to develop new audiences through accessible programming as well as for her dedication to mentoring others within the field. In 2005, Ms. Alsop was the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Grant, the only conductor ever to win this most prestigious American award. Currently the principal conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom and conductor laureate of the Colorado Symphony, Ms. Alsop is an internationally sought-after guest conductor, having appeared with many of the world's most important orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw and the Orchestre de Paris.
Since her appointment in July 2005, Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra have come to the forefront of the orchestral world, announcing one innovative program after another. Under Maestra Alsop's guidance, the BSO has declared the 2007-2008 season the "Year of the Composer," a year in which 11 of the world's leading composers will join the BSO as the Orchestra performs their works alongside a complete cycle of all nine Beethoven symphonies. Initiatives designed to reach new and global audiences include electronic media endeavors such as a regular program on XM Satellite Radio and the BSO's first-ever release of a live recording on iTunes (Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, featuring the BSO and members of the Peabody Symphony Orchestra performing under Maestra Alsop in January 2007). A groundbreaking partnership with PNC has reduced the price of 2007-2008 subscriptions to just $25 per seat, allowing for an unprecedented level of accessibility which has increased new subscribers by more than 300% over the previous season.
As part of a new partnership with XM Satellite Radio, the September 27 concert will be broadcast live on XM Classics (XM 110) from the Music Center at Strathmore. Hosted by Martin Goldsmith, this program will be the first in a series of eight BSO concerts scheduled for broadcast in the 2007-2008 season. Each program will feature a complete BSO concert conducted by Maestra Alsop, interspersed with commentary about the repertoire and interviews with musicians and composers. Following the initial live broadcast, the programs will air at 9:00 p.m. ET on the first Friday of each month from January through July 2008, with encore broadcasts the following Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Indicative of her approach to the entire 2007-2008 season, Maestra Alsop pairs the new with the old, the cutting-edge with the established, for her inaugural program, which features John Adams' Fearful Symmetries and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5. EDITOR'S NOTE: John Adams will be in residence with the BSO September 26-October 6. On September 26, Mr. Adams will open the BSO's new "Composers in Conversation," an intimate lecture series offering a unique opportunity to speak with each of the 11 composers featured in the 2007-2008 season. October 4-6, Mr. Adams will lead the BSO in a program featuring his own work. Visit www.BSOmusic.org for complete program details.
Premiered in 1988 by the Orchestra of St. Luke's, John Adams' Fearful Symmetries takes its title from the 1794 William Blake poem The Tyger: "Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright/In the forests of the night/What immortal hand or eye/Dare frame thy fearful symmetry." Among the most renowned composers of our time, Adams' style is often described as Minimalist and neo-Romantic. With Fearful Symmetries, he has crafted a work which, in his own words, "is almost maddeningly symmetrical…phrases line up end to end, each articulated by blazingly obvious harmonic changes and an insistent chugging pulse." In addition to the traditional symphonic ensemble, Adams' score calls for a synthesizer, keyboard sampler, piano and quartet of saxophones, all of which contribute to a driving aural landscape the composer describes as "closely allied to pop and Minimalist rock… [Fearful Symmetries ] 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."
An acclaimed interpreter of Mahler, Marin Alsop concludes her inaugural program with the composer's monumental fifth symphony. Writing at the twilight of the Romantic period, just at the dawn of Modernism, Mahler paved the way for some of the most renowned composers of the 20th century, including Schoenberg, Shostakovich and Copland. Much of Mahler's music draws on innovative usages of tonality and structure, and often calls for non-traditional instruments such as cowbells, hammers and whips. Written in 1902 during his middle period, Symphony No. 5 is an emotionally wrought journey from anguish to ecstasy. The work opens with a mournful march for solo trumpet and orchestra, and the somber spirit continues through the first two movements until the vibrant Scherzo. Scored for harp and strings, the fourth-movement Adagietto is often considered Mahler's most famous piece of music, and is regularly performed as a stand-alone piece. From the slow, reflective Adagietto emerges a bright and vigorous finale. For these concerts, the BSO will perform the Erwin Ratz score.
Marin Alsop, conductor
Marin Alsop recently made history with her appointment as twelfth music director of the Baltimore Symphony beginning with the 2007-2008 season. She will be the first woman to head a major American orchestra, which mirrors her ongoing success in the United Kingdom as principal conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony since 2002. In summer 2005, she was named a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive this most prestigious American award. 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 (2003), Maestra Alsop recently won the Classical Brit Award for Best Female Artist of 2005. In July 2007, she was honored with a European Women of Achievement Award presented to individuals whose vision, courage and determination have made a major impact on increasing the influence of women in European affairs.
Ms. Alsop is a regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as with many distinguished orchestras worldwide. After a highly successful 12-year tenure as music director of the Colorado Symphony, Ms. Alsop continues her association as conductor laureate; she also continues as music director of the highly acclaimed Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California.
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 became a prizewinner at the Leopold Stokowski International Conducting Competition in New York, and in the same year, she was awarded the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize at the Tanglewood Music Center, where she was a pupil of Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa and Gustav Meier.
Marin Alsop made her BSO debut in May 2002 on a Symphony with a Twist™ program, and returned in December of the same year with her acclaimed jazz adaptation of Handel's Messiah, titled Too Hot to Handel. She has since conducted the Orchestra on 17 programs, appearing on all classical subscription series as well as on a family program.
About the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Founded in 1916, the Grammy Award-winning 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 BSO 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 musical history on July 20, 2005, when it announced the appointment of Marin Alsop as its next music director. 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 Orchestra and Marin Alsop collaborated with 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 disc is scheduled for release on the Sony Classics label in September 2007. During the 2006-2007 season, the Orchestra and Marin Alsop began work on a three-disc cycle of Dvo?ák works for the Naxos label.
In addition to the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, where the orchestra has performed for 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. 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.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
Favorites Series (Meyerhoff)/Classical Thursdays (Strathmore): The Maestra Begins
Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 8:00 p.m.-The Music Center at Strathmore*
Friday, September 28, 2007 at 8:00 p.m.-Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Saturday, September 29, 2007 at 8:00 p.m.-JMSH
Sunday, September 30, 2007 at 3:00 p.m. - JMSH
*The performance on Thursday, September 27 will be broadcast live from the Music Center at Strathmore on XM Satellite Radio (XM Classics, Channel 110).
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor
Adams: Fearful Symmetries
Mahler: Symphony No. 5
Special anniversary pricing for the 2007-2008 season at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall is made possible by generous underwriting from the PNC Foundation.
Subscriptions are on sale now and single tickets go on sale August 23.
Single tickets for the performance at the Music Center at Strathmore start at $21.
Unreserved seating for the performances at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall starts at $15.
For more information, contact the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or www.BSOmusic.org.