Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Celebrates Season’s Finale with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, June 19-22
Featuring Joan Tower’s Concerto for Orchestra, program concludes the BSO’s “Year of the Composer”
Baltimore, Md. (May 28, 2008)—Maestra Marin Alsop will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, “Choral,” June 19 at the Music Center at Strathmore and June 20-22 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. These concerts will feature soprano Oksana Krovytska, mezzo-soprano Susan Platts, tenor Richard Clement and bass Kevin Deas. Paired with Joan Tower’s Concerto for Orchestra, this program will conclude the 2007-2008 season and the BSO’s “Year of the Composer,” in which the works of 11 contemporary composers have been featured alongside all nine Beethoven symphonies. This program also concludes Marin Alsop’s first full season as music director of the BSO.
Like Maestra Alsop, Joan Tower is among the leading women in classical music today. As the first woman ever to receive the Grawemeyer Award in Composition (1990, Silver Ladders), Tower is known for her intricate and fast rhythms. She credits her childhood spent in Latin America as the inspiration for her rhythms and use of percussion. Prior to these concerts, Tower will participate in Composers in Conversation, hosted by Maestra Alsop, on Wednesday, June 18 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, June 27 at 9:00 p.m. with an encore performance Sunday, June 29 at 3:00 p.m. See below for complete program information.
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is among the most recognizable works in the classical canon. At its legendary premiere in 1824, Beethoven had to be physically turned around to face the audience. Due to his complete deafness, he could not hear their applause. The symphony was history in the making, as it was the first to feature a full chorus with a symphony orchestra. Beethoven was fond of Friedrich Schiller’s poetry and felt his “Ode to Joy” and was well suited felt the Ninth Symphony chorus. The poem defines joy as a state in which “all men are made brothers.” With its uplifting lyrics and its universal recognition, the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony has been used to mark historic events, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, and now serves as the European Union’s anthem.
Inspired by Beethoven’s compositional technique of expanding a small theme into a full symphony, Joan Tower centered her Concerto for Orchestra around a quick scale pattern first heard in the flutes. By contrasting large, alternating chords and small, fast motives, the concerto propels forward at a quick, grand pace. “Creating high-energy music is one my special talents,” Joan Tower has said. “I like to see just how high I can push a work’s energy level without making it chaotic or incoherent.” Although a concerto usually features a solo instrument accompanied by a full orchestra, the less-often composed concerto for orchestra features several individual instruments or sections of the orchestra.
This program concludes Maestra Alsop’s first full season as Music Director of the BSO. In the 2007-2008 season, Alsop made her Carnegie Hall debut, brought contemporary composers to the forefront in Baltimore with “Composers in Conversation,” began hosting the podcast “Clueless About Classical,” brought the BSO to XM Satellite Radio, initiated the BSO-Peabody Conducting Fellowship, planned the launch of OrchKids and released the first of three Dvorák recordings with the BSO on the Naxos label.
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, The 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.
Joan Tower, composer
Even as she prepares for her 70th birthday in September 2008, Joan Tower is looking forward as much as she is looking back on a career that already spans over five decades. Hailed as “one of the most successful woman composers of all time” in The New Yorker magazine, Ms. Tower was the first woman ever to receive the Grawemeyer Award in Composition in 1990. She was inducted in 1998 into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters, and into the Academy of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University in the fall of 2004.
Ms. Tower is the first composer chosen for the ambitious new Ford Made in America commissioning program, a collaboration of the League of American Orchestras and Meet the Composer. Made in America went on for performances by orchestras in every state in the Union during the 2005-2007 seasons. Ms. Tower is also a conductor, have led the American Symphony, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, the Scotia Festival Orchestra, the Anchorage Symphony and the Kalisto Chamber Orchestra.
Since 1972, Tower has taught at Bard College, where she is a professor of music. She has served as composer-in-residence with the Orchestra of St. Luke's since 1997 and at the Deer Valley Festival in Utah since 1998, a title she also held for eight years at the Yale/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Other accolades include the 1998 Delaware Symphony's Alfred I. DuPont Award for Distinguished American Composer, the 2002 Annual Composer's Award from the Lancaster Symphony, and an Honorary Degree from the New England Conservatory (2006).
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
Composers in Conversation: Joan Tower
Wednesday, June 18, 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 Ninth
Thursday, June 19, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.—The Music Center at Strathmore*
Friday, June 20, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Saturday, June 21, 2008 at 8:00 p.m.—JMSH
Sunday, June 22, 2008 at 3:00 p.m.—JMSH
* Music Notes LIVE! is a free pre-concert lecture at the Music Center at Strathmore, hosted by WETA's David Ginder. The program begins at 7:00 p.m. and is free to ticket holders.
This program will be broadcast on XM Satellite Radio (XM Classics 110) on Friday, June 27, 2008 at 9:00 p.m., with an encore broadcast on Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 3:00 p.m.
Marin Alsop, conductor
Baltimore Choral Arts Society
Oksana Krovytska, soprano
Susan Platts, mezzo-soprano
Richard Clement, tenor
Kevin Deas, bass
Joan Tower- Concerto for Orchestra
Beethoven- Symphony No. 9, "Choral"
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.