Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Performs Christopher Rouse’s Flute Concerto, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, March 6-9
Led by Marin Alsop, program features BSO Principal Flutist Emily Skala
Baltimore, Md. (February 11, 2008)—Under the baton of Maestra Marin Alsop, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will perform Baltimore-native Christopher Rouse’s Flute Concerto, featuring BSO Principal Flutist Emily Skala, March 6 at the Music Center at Strathmore and March 7-9 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Paired with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and his Leonore Overture No. 3, the program is a continuation of the BSO’s “Year of the Composer,” in which the works of 11 contemporary composers are featured alongside all nine Beethoven symphonies.
Prior to these concerts, Christopher Rouse will participate in Composers in Conversation, hosted by Marin Alsop, on Wednesday, March 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Theatre Project. In addition, as part of the BSO’s partnership with XM Satellite Radio, this concert will be broadcast nationally on XM Classics 110 on Friday, April 4 at 9:00 p.m. with an encore performance on Sunday, April 6 at 3:00 p.m. See below for complete program information.
In part a nod to his Celtic heritage, Christopher Rouse’s Flute Concerto has been hailed as “a certifiable hit” (The Detroit Free Press) and “possibly the most expressive music Rouse has written” (Fanfare). Completed in 1993, the five-movement work conjures Irish folk music, from slow, reflective movements to spirited jigs. The third movement, “Elegia,” stands as a mournful tribute to James Bulger, the young British boy brutally murdered in a London subway by a pair of 10-year-old boys in February 1993. Rouse writes that “in a world of daily horrors too numerous and enormous to comprehend en masse, it seems that only isolated, individual tragedies serve to sensitize us to the potential harm man can do to his fellow. The central movement…is a small token of remembrance for a life senselessly and cruelly snuffed out.”
Among the most recognizable and beloved works in the classical canon, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 resonates with power and conviction from its ominous four-note opening through to the majestic swells of the final movement. Of the iconic four-note motif, Beethoven offered this portrayal: “Thus Fate knocks at the door,” a description that has stayed with the work for 200 years and earned it the sobriquet “Fate.” The joyous final movement utilizes the full orchestra as impending doom is replaced with courage and ultimately triumph. The work’s dramatic, heroic struggle from darkness to light has influenced dozens of composers, from Tchaikovsky to Bruckner.
The program opens with Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, from the composer’s only opera, Fidelio. Beethoven labored over Fidelio, composing four complete and separate overtures as the opera underwent substantial revisions following its 1805 premiere. Considered near perfect in form, Leonore Overture No. 3 reflects the dramatic arch of the opera, from the main character Florestan’s imprisonment to his eventual release. Though occasionally performed as an entr’acte to Fidelio, today Leonore Overture No. 3 is most often performed as a standalone symphonic tone poem.
Marin Alsop, conductor
Hailed for her dynamic musicianship, artistic vision and commitment to accessibility in classical music, Marin Alsop made history with her appointment as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. With her inaugural concerts in September 2007, she became 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.
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 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.
Marin 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, 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.
Emily Skala, flute
Principal flutist of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since 1988, Emily Skala received her bachelor of music with honors from the Eastman School of Music in 1983. Within five years of graduation, she was already affiliated with several major American orchestras.
Emily Skala regularly appears as a soloist and recitalist throughout the United States, has performed at the National Flute Association’s annual conventions, and has performed at many of the world’s most prestigious music festivals, including those of Osaka, Edinburgh, Aspen, Hollywood Bowl, Wolf Trap and Great Woods. She joined the faculty of the Peabody Institute of Music of The Johns Hopkins University in 1989, and in 1991, she was awarded the Jean Frederic Perenoud Prize at the Second Vienna International Competition.
Her debut CD, Voices Through Time, featuring music for flute and piano by Brahms and Schubert, was released in May of 2002 by Summit Records. A July 2002 Flute Network review praised Skala’s performance, saying that “the brilliance of her playing, both in blazing technique and in interpretation, is dazzling in all respects…Most impressive, however, is her utter command of color and nuance…From the dark and somber opening to the triumphal ending, this recording represents the best in contemporary flute performance.”
Emily Skala can also be heard on many of the Baltimore Symphony’s recordings, include those on the Telarc, Sony, Decca/Argo and RCA labels.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
Composers in Conversation: Christopher Rouse
Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.—Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St., Baltimore
Tickets are $10 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000, 877.BSO.1444 or BSOmusic.org.
Favorites Series (Baltimore)/Classical Thursdays (Strathmore): Beethoven’s Fifth
Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.—The Music Center at Strathmore
Friday, March 7, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.—JMSH
Sunday, March 9, 2008 at 3:00 p.m.—JMSH
This program will be broadcast on XM Satellite Radio (XM Classics 110) on Friday, April 4, 2008 at 9:00 p.m., with an encore broadcast on Sunday, April 6, 2008 at 3:00 p.m.
Marin Alsop, conductor
Emily Skala, flute
Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3
Christopher Rouse: Flute Concerto
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5
Special anniversary pricing at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall is made possible by generous underwriting from the PNC Foundation.
Tickets for this program range from $15 to $84 (Strathmore: $21 to $84; Baltimore: $15 to $78), and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000, 877.BSO.1444 or BSOmusic.org.