BSO LAUNCHES NEW “OFF THE CUFF” SERIES Featuring Music Director Marin Alsop in Engaging Talk-Conduct Format, Saturday, November 22
Standard Friday and Sunday programs feature program of Bach, Rouse and Tchaikovsky
Baltimore, Md. (November 12, 2008) — Capitalizing on her gift for demystifying classical music in an accessible way, Music Director Marin Alsop will inaugurate a new four-concert series for Baltimore audiences on Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 7 p.m. with the first program of “Off the Cuff.” With Maestra Alsop playing both conductor and host, the new Saturday night series will offer a 60- to 90-minute program that takes an in-depth look at masterpieces of the symphonic repertoire. Editor’s note: “Off the Cuff” concerts start an hour earlier than most BSO performances. The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. and ends before 8:30 p.m. See below for complete program information.
Each program begins with lively commentary from stage, combined with musical examples performed by the BSO, and concludes with the work performed in its entirety. In her inimitable style, Maestra Alsop will share stories about the individual composers and their lives, and provide guidance in listening for the unique complexities and composer’s voice in each work. Alsop leads three of the four performances, and the Toronto Symphony’s dynamic music director Peter Oundjian leads a fourth in February. Personally selected by Maestra Alsop, the repertoire for the new series includes: Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony, No. 6 (November 22); Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 (January 10); Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations hosted by conductor Peter Oundjian (February 28); and Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3 (April 18.)
This first “Off the Cuff” concert focuses on Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s last and greatest symphony, Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique,” a work that allegedly served as a harbinger of death for the composer who succumbed later that year (1893) to cholera, only eight days after “Pathetique’s” premiere in St. Petersburg. Marin Alsop will discuss various opinions about the non-musical inspiration for this work and explore how the emotional ups and downs of this work define the composer’s mental state at the time of composition.
On Friday, November 21 at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, November 23 at 3:00 p.m., Marin Alsop will lead the BSO in an expanded program including the Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique,” J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and the East Coast premiere of Concerto for Orchestra by Baltimore composer Christopher Rouse. J.S. Bach scholar Malcolm Boyd describes Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos as “the composer at his most cheerful and invigorating, and they are blessed with a tunefulness and rhythmic vitality which he rarely surpassed." The lively Concerto No. 3 features nine string players—three violins, three violas and three cellos—all of whom become soloists in their turn, over a continuo bass in a remarkably rich and complex string texture.
Originally premiered at Marin Alsop’s Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California, the Baltimore Symphony will perform the East Coast premiere of Baltimore-native Christopher Rouse’s Concerto for Orchestra on November 21 and 23. The piece is the product of a long association with between Rouse, Maestra Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony. “As is typically the case with this genre, it is the members of the orchestra who are the soloists,” explains Rouse. “Each is given passages requiring everything from singing lyricism to challenging virtuosity, and this work is essentially ‘about’ allowing each player a chance to shine.”
About the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) 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 Maryland through innovative education and community outreach initiatives.
The BSO made musical history at the start of the 2007-2008 season, when Maestra Marin Alsop led her inaugural concerts as the Orchestra’s 12th music director, making her the first woman to head a major American orchestra. The BSO flourishes under the dedicated leadership of new Board Chairman Michael Bronfein and President and CEO Paul Meecham. Joining Maestra Alsop on the BSO conductor roster are Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly, noted for his creative pops programming, and BSO Music Director Emeritus Yuri Temirkanov, who led the BSO from 1999 to 2006 and is regarded on every continent as one of the most talented conductors of his generation.
Marin Alsop, conductor
Hailed as one of the world’s leading conductors for her 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. She also holds the title of Conductor Emeritus at Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom, where she served as the Principal Conductor from 2002-2008.
In 2005, Maestra was named a MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive this prestigious award. In 2007, she was honored with a European Women of Achievement Award and in 2008 she was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Maestra Alsop is a regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic. She also appears frequently as a guest conductor 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 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California.
Christopher Rouse, composer
Christopher Rouse is one of America's most prominent composers of orchestral music. His works have won a Pulitzer Prize (for his Trombone Concerto) and a Grammy Award (for Concert de Gaudí), as well as election to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters. Rouse has created a body of work perhaps unequalled in its emotional intensity. The New York Times has called it "some of the most anguished, most memorable music around." The Baltimore Sun has written: "When the music history of the late 20th century is written, I suspect the explosive and passionate music of Rouse will loom large." Born in Baltimore in 1949, Rouse developed an early interest in both classical and popular music. He graduated from Oberlin Conservatory and Cornell University.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony Pathétique
Friday, November 21, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. — The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
*Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. – JMSH
Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 3:00 p.m. — JMSH
J.S. Bach—Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major, BMV 1048
Christopher Rouse—Concert for Orchestra
Tchaikovsky—Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, opus 74, “Pathétique”
*Saturday’s “Off the Cuff” program features only Tchaikovsky.
Tickets for these concerts range from $25 to $80, and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444 or 410.783.8000, or www.BSOmusic.org.