BALTIMORE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND MARIN ALSOP ANNOUNCE 2009-2010 SEASON
Season-long Theme Fosters Self-Exploration of Musical Roots and Region's Ethnic Diversity
BSO Goes "Under the Big Top" for Four-Week Circus Festival in March
Subscription Seats Offered from $25 for Third Consecutive Season with No Price Increases
Guest Artist Highlights Include Pianist André Watts, Violinists Itzhak Perlman and Gil Shaham, Soprano Jessye Norman in Ask Your Mama! and Soprano Kathleen Battle
Prominent Guest Conductors Robert Spano, Nicholas McGegan, Juanjo Mena, Jirí Belohlávek and Louis Langrée Take the Podium; BSO Artist Debuts Include Harmonia, Time for Three and Pianist Simone Dinnerstein
Pianist Lang Lang Performs Season-Opening Gala Concert September 12
Marin Alsop Continues Second Year of New Hit Series, Off the Cuff
Season Features Three BSO Co-Commissions: A World Premiere from Baltimore Native Jonathan Leshnoff, U.S. Premiere of a Percussion Concerto by Einojuhani Rautavaara and an East Coast Premiere by Dave Brubeck
15-Year-Old Ilyich Rivas Selected for Second BSO-Peabody Conducting Fellowship and Mei-Ann Chen selected as League of American Orchestra's Conducting Fellow
BSO Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly Brings Hollywood Glitz to BSO SuperPops Season
(Baltimore, Md.) March 17, 2009- The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Marin Alsop announced today the Orchestra's 2009-2010 season, the third full season under the direction of Maestra Alsop. The 2009-2010 season is a pastiche of musical influences from around the world and from within local communities. In this dramatic season, the concert programs are generated by Marin Alsop's mission to encourage audiences to explore their own musical roots and pay tribute to the diverse heritages found in the Baltimore-Washington area. From a U.S. premiere from Finland, to a discovery of traditional Eastern European music; from a program called España that dances with rhythmic intensity, to an evening with soprano Kathleen Battle that captures the spiritual roots of the African-American experience—the upcoming season is devoted to drawing cultural connections beyond the context of the concert hall.
"I've always been fascinated by what musical elements draw us to a specific composer or music from a specific era or region," comments Marin Alsop. "Clearly there are musical idioms—nationalistic, cultural and generational—that truly resonate with a listener and often that association is because the music is reflective of our own cultural lineage. A particularly Bohemian-sounding passage of music from a Dvorák symphony to a jazz riff that emerges in Gershwin's music-this epitomizes for me the cultural soul contained within so much of the symphonic repertoire. This season, the BSO will celebrate the diverse range of ethnicities found in our programs and in our communities. Our 'roots-inspired' theme will infuse every aspect of the 2009-2010 season, on stage and off."
A Multitude of Special Guest Artists, Familiar Faces
Throughout the season, the BSO is joined by a fleet of distinguished guest conductors including Juanjo Mena, Robert Spano, Ji?í B?lohlávek and Louis Langrée and the conducting debuts of Nicholas McGegan and Hannu Lintu. Special guest presentations next season include a February 18-21 program featuring world-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman as conductor and leader performing alongside Principal Oboe Katherine Needleman; a brand-new performance (February 4-6) of Ask Your Mama! featuring legendary soprano Jessye Norman and Philadelphia-based The Roots in a work by Laura Karpman; and an evening of spirituals with soprano Kathleen Battle (May 27 & 29).
Guest artists performing with the BSO during the 2009-2010 season include pianists Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Garrick Ohlsson, Robert Levin, André Watts, Louis Lortie and the subscription debut of Simone Dinnerstein. Also featured next season is the return of violinists James Ehnes, Gil Shaham, and Leila Josefowicz, BSO principals, percussionist Colin Currie and the subscription debuts of the string trio Time for Three and Harmonia.
Affordable Ticket Prices Remain
Since the 2007-2008 season, the Baltimore Symphony has offered $25 subscription seats to its Baltimore patrons, making the BSO one of the most affordable entertainment options in the area. Based on the overwhelming success of this new pricing model and in recognition of the challenging economy, the Orchestra has announced it will freeze ticket prices at both the Meyerhoff and the Music Center at Strathmore for the 2009-2010 season. For the second season, subscription seats throughout more than 70% of the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall will be priced at $25; a majority of premium orchestra level and box seats, or one quarter of capacity, will be available for $50. Also available this season at both venues is a Flex Payment Plan that provides subscribers the exclusive privilege to pay for their subscription packages in two installments by June 15.
BSO President and CEO Paul Meecham remarked, "In an effort to acknowledge the state of the economy and its impact on ticket buyers, the BSO is promising flat ticket prices for our subscribers. What strikes me about this season is that there are more top-shelf artists than ever before—Itzhak Perlman, Jessye Norman, Garrick Ohlsson, André Watts, Lang Lang and Leila Josefowicz, to name a few. The 2009-2010 season is indisputably a star-packed one. I am confident our ticket buyers will be delighted not only with the caliber of artists and programs we will present, but also with the continuing affordability of the BSO concert experience."
BSO Hosts Four-Week Circus Festival in March 2010
In March, the BSO will launch a four-week Circus Festival, "BSO Under the Big Top," featuring a SuperPops program led by Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly and three classical subscription programs conducted by musical ringmaster Marin Alsop. The concert hall will be transformed into a three-ring circus and feature repertoire that incorporates the musical styles and themes inspired by the circus tradition. "Music has always been central to the circus, and over the centuries, as different cultures have made the circus their own, we've seen the development of new musical styles," said Marin Alsop.
Conductor Jack Everly opens the "BSO Under the Big Top" Festival with a March 4-7 SuperPops program of music, magic and comedy featuring quick-change artists David and Dania and the comedic act of Les Arnold and Dazzle. The second week (March 11-14) brings the return of the popular Cirque de la Symphonie who will choreograph their breathtaking feats to music conducted by conductor Marin Alsop, including Copland's Billy the Kid, Poulenc's Les Biches Suite and Erik Satie's Parade.
John Corigliano's Third Symphony, subtitled "Circus Maximus," is the main event on the third program (March 18-21). Calling for multiple wind ensembles and defined by the composer himself as "a frenzy of overstatement," "Circus Maximus" features the BSO woodwinds, brass and percussion sections and special guests, The U.S. Army Band's "Pershing's Own." Also on this program are David T. Little's Screamer and Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf. As the culminating event of the BSO's circus-themed celebration, the fourth week (in Baltimore only) features concert presentations of two 20th-century American operas, Samuel Barber's A Hand of Bridge and George Gershwin's groundbreaking Blue Monday, which laid the foundation for Porgy and Bess. Both operas will feature vocalists from the Washington National Opera's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists Program. Also on this program, Baltimore School for the Arts dancers will perform to Stravinsky's disarming neoclassical ballet, Pulcinella.
Itzhak Perlman, Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle Headline Special Concerts
The BSO will offer three special guest presentations at both venues in the 2009-2010, all major artistic highlights featuring phenomenal soloists Jessye Norman, Itzhak Perlman and Kathleen Battle.
On February 4-6, famed soprano Jessye Norman performs Ask Your Mama!, a brand new multi-media work by four-time Emmy Award-winning composer Laura Karpman, inspired by the texts of African-American poet Langston Hughes. The score, based on Hughes' 1961 epic 12-poem cycle, "Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz," incorporates orchestral music, sample quotations, spoken word, technology and film, and features the sensational Philadelphia-based hip-hop group, The Roots. (Editor's Note: Ask Your Mama! premiered at Carnegie Hall on March 16, 2009 as part of HONOR! A CELEBRATION OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURAL LEGACY.) Jessye Norman is "one of those once-in-a-generation singers who is not simply following in the footsteps of others, but is staking out her own niche in the history of singing" (The New York Times). Ms. Karpman's music complements Hughes' work which focuses on the African-American experience, music and culture, with a vivid mix of jazz, gospel, hip-hop and orchestral music. The many components of the work stem from the encompassing vision of Hughes, whose voice-in a rarely heard archival recording reciting his own work-is interspersed throughout the music.
In three concerts from February 18-21, Itzhak Perlman will perform as conductor and violinist in a special program showcasing three centuries of music. Perlman and BSO principal oboist Katherine Needleman team up to perform J.S. Bach's Concerto for Violin and Oboe. Perlman also leads the Orchestra in Tchaikovsky's lyrical Serenade for Strings and Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.
On May 27 (Strathmore) and May 29 (Baltimore), acclaimed soprano and former opera star Kathleen Battle sings a new program celebrating the roots of African-American music and freedom via the Underground Railroad. Featuring favorites, spirituals and hymns, this program brims with history, faith and meaning and is expressed by one of the most moving voices of our time.
Pianist Lang Lang Performs at Season-Opening Gala Concert
Pianist Lang Lang returns to perform as guest soloist with the BSO for its season-opening Gala Concert on Saturday, September 12 at 8:30 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, the Orchestra's largest fundraising benefit of the season. Conducted by Maestra Alsop, the special gala performance will feature the world-famous pianist, who made his American symphony debut with the BSO in 1998 and his Carnegie Hall debut in 2001, performing Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1. "Lang Lang is a consummate performer of our time. Music energizes and invigorates him—something that I believe is palpable in his performances," said Marin Alsop. In keeping with her vision of making the BSO a central part of the community, Maestra Alsop will once again incorporate performances by a cast of local performers. In addition to event tickets available to BSO donors, gala concert tickets are first available to 2009-2010 subscribers for $50 and $75 and will be on sale to the general public beginning in August.
Subscription Season Highlights
Week after week, the BSO's 2009-2010 season will feature an impressive array of today's best instrumentalists and guest conductors. In keeping with the BSO's longstanding commitment to championing the music of contemporary composers, this season includes three new works: Starburst, a world premiere and BSO co-commission by Baltimore composer Jonathan Leshnoff; Incantations, a U.S. premiere and a BSO co-commission from 80-year-old Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, whose late style combines "modernism with mystical romanticism"; and Ansel Adams: America, an East Coast premiere and multi-media celebration of the evocative nature photographer Ansel Adams composed by legendary American jazz pianist Dave Brubeck and composed by his son, Chris Brubeck. Special guests Harmonia, a traditional Eastern European folk group, will also be featured in a week-long residency in early October involving projects with the orchestra and city schools.
Season Opening Program
Music Director Marin Alsop kicks off the new season September 24-26 with a groundbreaking work, Concerto 4-3, by Philadelphia-based composer Jennifer Higdon, featuring the young, dynamic string trio Time for Three in its BSO subscription debut. The Curtis Institute-trained musicians, comprised of two violinists and one double bass, have built a reputation for transcending musical genres and creating different musical dialects, including bluegrass, Hungarian gypsy, jazz and improvisation. Sir Simon Rattle, conductor of the Berlin Philhamornic raved, "Three benevolent monsters, monsters of ability and technique surely. But also conveyers of an infectious joy that I find both touching and moving. I would recommend them…for anyone looking to see how all types of American music can develop, when life and passion such as this are breathed into it." The program opens with a selection of Johannes Brahms' Hungarian Dances and concludes with Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4.
• The second subscription program of the season (October 1-4) brings the return of Grammy Award-winning violinist James Ehnes, who will perform Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto under the direction of Marin Alsop. Continuing the season-long acknowledgement of music's cultural influences, the program celebrates our Eastern European influences and welcomes special guests Harmonia, a musical folk group devoted to performing and maintaining the authenticity of traditional Eastern European music ranging from the Danube to The Carpathians. Bartók's towering Concerto for Orchestra completes the concert and serves to spotlight the virtuosity of several instrumental sections within the orchestra.
• A fast-rising star among concert pianists, American pianist Simone Dinnerstein makes her Baltimore Symphony debut October 22-25 under the direction of guest conductor Louis Langrée performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23. Dinnerstein, who generated international attention with an auspicious debut at Carnegie Hall in 2006, has been identified by the New York Times as "an utterly distinctive voice." The program also features two Classical-era symphonies, Haydn's Symphony No. 44, "Funeral," and Beethoven's Fourth Symphony.
• Atlanta Symphony Music Director Robert Spano returns to conduct the BSO October 29-31 in a program with violinist Leila Josefowicz who will perform John Adams' Violin Concerto. The remainder of the concert is devoted to seminal works in the Russian repertoire: Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade and one of Stravinsky's best known works, The Firebird Suite, the storyline for which is steeped in Russian folklore.
• Conductor Marin Alsop leads a program of Mozart and Mahler November 5-8. The performances feature Mozart's well-loved Eine kleine Nachtmusik and continues the BSO's ongoing presentation of the Mahler symphony cycle with a performance of his Fourth Symphony, inspired by the collection of German folk poems, Des Knaben Wunderhorn.
• After sold-out programs featuring French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Marin Alsop in May 2008, the two musicians collaborate once again for two subscription weeks, November 12-15 and November 19-21. The first week features Thibaudet in an all-Gershwin program performing the composer's classic Rhapsody in Blue, Concerto in F and "I Got Rhythm" Variations, all of which were created for Paul Whiteman's big band, considered the most prominent jazz band of the 1920s. Thibaudet returns to the BSO the following weekend to perform Franz Liszt's virtuosic Totentanz or "Dance of Death" for piano and orchestra under the direction of Marin Alsop. That program also includes Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique and Michael Daugherty's "Red Cape Tango" from Metropolis Symphony.
• BBC Symphony Orchestra's Chief Conductor Jirí Belohlávek returns to the BSO podium after a nearly 24-year absence to explore heroes in music. The January 21-24 performances feature accomplished pianist Garrick Ohlsson as heroic soloist performing Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto. The Czech-themed program also features Dvorák's overture tone poem, Othello and Janácek's rhapsody for orchestra, Taras Bulba.
• The BSO revels in "Pictures of Music" (February 11-13), a program led by Marin Alsop which features relationships between the visual arts and musical genius. In the East Coast premiere (and BSO co-commission) of Ansel Adams: America, legendary American jazz pianist Dave Brubeck and his son, composer Chris Brubeck, create a multi-media celebration of the evocative nature photographer, Ansel Adams. The work combines the symphony orchestra with projections of stunning photography of the American West. The program continues with Hindemith's ode to 16th-century Mathis Grünewald, Mathis der Maler, and Ravel's consummate orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.
• Conductor Nicholas McGegan makes his BSO conducting debut February 25-27 partnering with pianist Robert Levin in a well-rounded program including Mozart's Overture to The Marriage of Figaro and Symphony No. 41, "Jupiter." In addition to performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1, Levin will present his own classically inspired improvisations on the piano, as Beethoven may have done for his own contemporaries.
• Talented Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu makes his BSO conducting debut in a striking Finnish program April 8-11, collaborating with Scottish percussionist Colin Currie. Currie will perform Incantations, a new percussion concerto by renowned 80-year-old Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, acclaimed as the creative heir to Sibelius. The BSO's performance of Incantations, a BSO co-commission with London Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Tampere Philharmonic Orchestras, marks the work's U.S. premiere. Completing the Finnish theme, Sibelius' nationalistic tableaux, Finlandia, opens the program. The concert closes with Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.
• Audience favorite Juanjo Mena conducts a spirited program of favorites by Spanish composers, including a violin concerto by the blind composer Joaquín Rodrigo, featuring BSO concertmaster Jonathan Carney and energetic dances from Falla's ballet The Three-Cornered Hat, April 15-18.
• Acclaimed violinist Gil Shaham makes a return visit to the BSO under the direction of Marin Alsop April 29-May 1. Shaham is the soloist in a Russian-themed program featuring a performance of Stravinsky's Violin Concerto. The program also includes Rachmaninoff's powerfully melodic Symphony No. 2 and the world premiere of a new work by the Baltimore-based composer of Russian heritage, Jonathan Leshnoff, entitled Starburst. This marks the first time that the BSO will perform a work by Leshnoff.
• BSO principal musicians Jonathan Carney, Steven Barta, Phillip Kolker and Ilya Finkelshteyn take center stage as soloists, joining forces with the director of Peabody Institute, pianist Jeffrey Sharkey, May 7-9. The program includes Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony No. 8, Beethoven's Triple Concerto and Strauss' Duett-Concertino.
• On May 13-15, acclaimed Canadian pianist Louis Lortie performs under the baton of popular BSO guest conductor Juanjo Mena, in a Romantic program featuring Schumann's Piano Concerto, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the composer's birth. Also on this program is Strauss' Don Juan and Brahms' Third Symphony.
• Celebrated pianist André Watts joins conductor Marin Alsop for concerts on June 3-6 featuring Watts performing Beethoven's majestic Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor." On this program, Alsop also leads performances of Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings and Bartók's colorful Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste, a work characterized by dynamic Hungarian folk rhythms and orchestral virtuosity.
• The 2009-2010 comes to a dramatic close June 10-13 with Brahms' choral masterpiece, A German Requiem, featuring the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Morgan State University Choir, soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme and baritone Stephen Powell. Led by Music Director Marin Alsop, the orchestra also performs Samuel Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915, which portrays an idyllic summer evening with folk-like music based on texts written by poet and author James Agee.
Popular New Series, Off the Cuff, Continues in Second Season
The BSO's popular new four-concert Saturday night series in Baltimore, Off the Cuff, will return for a second season in 2009-2010. In this series that capitalizes on Music Director Marin Alsop's gift for demystifying classical music in an accessible way, she offers concertgoers a new level of appreciation for masterpieces of the symphonic repertoire. In each of the four programs, the conductor explores the featured masterpiece in a candid and engaging dialogue with the audiences that is illuminated by orchestral excerpts and musical examples performed by the BSO. Each performance culminates with the featured work performed in its entirety and an interactive Q&A session. The programs start at 7:00 p.m. and run 60 to 90 minutes without intermission, designed to enable audience members to dine out afterwards in the Mount Vernon/Cultural District area.
The 2009-2010 Off the Cuff series begins October 31 with a visit from Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano, who will conduct Rimsky-Korsakov's rhapsodic Scheherazade and guide audiences in a discovery of one of the best stories of all time, based on Tales from 1001 Nights. On February 13, Marin Alsop leads the Orchestra in a brand new commission of Ansel Adams: America, a work by Dave and Chris Brubeck, paired on the program with Mussorgsky's well-known embodiment of musical painting, Pictures at an Exhibition. Igor Stravinsky's 1920 neo-classical ballet score Pulcinella will be presented by Marin Alsop and the BSO on March 27, joined by Baltimore School for the Arts Dancers and talented vocalists from the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. Concluding next season's Off the Cuff series is a program featuring Sergei Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 in which Marin Alsop explores the mesmerizing melodies and the structural nuances that have made this symphony one of the most popular in the repertoire.
Jack Everly Brings the Glitz of Hollywood to SuperPops Season
Jack Everly brings the glitz of Hollywood to the Baltimore Symphony in his seventh season as Principal Pops Conductor. From epic scores of the silver screen to a blast-from-the-past ABBA tribute or jiving hits from Motown to magic and the circus, the 2009-2010 BSO SuperPops season has something for everyone and is not to be missed!
Jack Everly joins forces with Baltimore Choral Arts Society to kick off the SuperPops Series with Hollywood Sings, October 8-11, featuring memorable music from epic films, including Lawrence of Arabia, Ben-Hur, Star Wars, Gone with the Wind and Titanic. Film score legend John Williams also gets his due, with a special tribute medley of his famous movie themes.
Strathmore patrons will get a special treat when The Duke Ellington Orchestra comes to town November 5, led by the grandson of the late composer, Paul Mercer Ellington. This audience favorite is known for their timeless renditions of legendary jazz standards like "Satin Doll," "Take a Train" and "Lush Life." Please note that the BSO will not perform on this program.
Audiences will relive the catchy tunes of hit 70s band, ABBA, November 27-29. Thanks to Mamma Mia!, the Broadway show and star-studded movie that has helped keep this band in vogue, new generations continue to experience the larger-than-life phenomenon of ABBA. Fans of all ages will groove in their seats to favorites like "Dancing Queen," "Mamma Mia," "Take a Chance on Me" and more. Please note that the BSO will not perform on this program.
Jack Everly and BSO SuperPops welcome internationally acclaimed Broadway star Linda Eder for a special tribute to the legendary Judy Garland, January 28-31. Audiences can relive the emotion of Garland's voice with favorites like "By Myself," "The Trolley Song" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
The intrigue of the Circus Festival continues with Mysterioso: Music, Magic, Mayhem & Mirth, March 4-7. Quick-change artists David and Dania will mystify audiences with lightening-fast costume changes, while the comedic magic of Les Arnold and Dazzle combines classical music favorites with impossible magic feats.
Talented singing group, Spectrum, brings the hits of Motown and R&B, enhanced by full orchestrations, to the concert stage, April 22-25. Combined with high-energy choreography and snazzy costumes, Spectrum's crowd-pleasing favorites are not to be missed.
The 2009-2010 BSO SuperPops season closes with a dose of Americana, May 20-23: an evening of music by songwriter Irving Berlin, featuring Broadway star Ashley Brown and singer and pianist Tony DeSare. The pair will perform Berlin's beloved hits, such as "Cheek to Cheek," "Blue Skies" and "How Deep Is the Ocean."
Holiday Spectacular Returns with Sax Appeal
Created by Jack Everly, the BSO's Holiday Spectacular returns for a fifth year, December 18-23, 2009, hosted by Tony-nominated vocalist and Platinum Award winning composer, Ann Hampton Callaway and Capitol Quartet. Best known for writing and singing the theme song to the hit TV series, "The Nanny," Ms. Callaway's warmth, onstage wit and uncanny knack for improvisation will keep audience members on the edge of their seats. The Capitol Quartet is a group of saxophonists that bring more than technically proficient "chops." According to San Antonio Express-News, they bring the "sax appeal": "Funny guys and fine musicians-a delightful way to begin a new year." The program also features perennial favorites, the Baltimore School for the Arts dancers and Holiday Spectacular chorus.
The BSO's Holiday celebration also includes the annual concert of Handel's Messiah with the Concert Artists of Baltimore, under the direction of Edward Polochick on December 4. Back by popular demand is "the jazziest, most soulful reinterpretation of Handel's Messiah you'll ever hear" (New York Post), Too Hot to Handel: The Gospel Messiah, December 10-12.
Education & Outreach
The BSO, under Maestra Marin Alsop, demonstrates a strong interest in increasing its investment in youth throughout the State of Maryland. The BSO is committed to preserving classical music and the symphonic art form for the next generation and making the Baltimore Symphony a relevant, inclusive, and valued contributor to the community. In the 2009-2010 season, the BSO is pleased to continue popular signature programs such as Midweek Education Concerts, Family Concert Series and the Legg Mason Open Rehearsals, which serve more than 60,000 youth each year from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Education programs and community engagement initiatives are expanding under Maestra Alsop's leadership. In response to this growth, the BSO announced a new, interactive and informative website, BSOKids.com, offering an aesthetically pleasing look, an easy to use navigation system and the option to purchase tickets to BSO Midweek Concerts. Future cyber-innovations include building interactive elements to engage youth in learning about music. The BSO has also added a new position—the Senior Director of Education and Community Engagement—to guide the development of and oversee all educational programming. All of these efforts reflect the BSO's commitment to creating life-long learning experiences for the region's youth.
Family Concert Series
Throughout the 2009-2010 season, the BSO will present four Family Concerts, each on select Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. Featuring the BSO and guest artists, these programs are recommended for children ages 4 and up and their families and use classical music, dance, puppetry and theatre to weave enchanting stories.
Back by popular demand, the BSO Family Fun Zone enhances all Saturday morning Family Concerts with several age-appropriate pre-concert activities. Beginning at 10:00 a.m., families are invited to the Meyerhoff lobby to experience Port Discovery Children's Museum's Rhythm Tree, the Maryland Zoo's ZOOmobile, an instrument petting zoo and face painting.
Children can take a ride on Chris Van Alsburg's The Polar Express, December 5. Featuring The Peabody Children's Chorus, children will feel like part of the adventure, as images from this timeless tale are projected on a screen above the orchestra. The finale invites the audience to join in for a holiday sing-a-long. The Enchantment Theater Company and the BSO combine music and theater to tell the 1,001 tales of Rimsky-Korsakov's exotic Scheherazade, March 6. On January 30, Classical Kids Live! helps children journey back through time with W.A. Mozart's son, Karl, to learn about the great composer's childhood and music. Beloved narrator Rheda Becker closes the 2009-2010 Family Concert series on April 24 with Saint-Saëns' classic Carnival of Animals. The Bob Brown Puppets help bring to life this engaging musical menagerie.
The Baltimore Symphony announces that OrchKids—its after-school music education and life enrichment serving youth in West Baltimore—will expand in the 2009-2010 school year to include pre-K thru 2nd grade students. The OrchKids' pilot year has been hugely successful, providing more than 30 first-grade students with instruments, opportunities to meet BSO guest artists and numerous field trips to concerts and events. The program has also garnered international media attention and widespread community support.
BSO at Strathmore Education & Outreach
Education programs at the BSO at Strathmore are also thriving. Designed to take music education beyond the auditorium to provide an interactive classroom experience, BSO on the Go continues to grow and is projected to serve 2,000 students in the 2009-2010 school year. This outreach program places small groups of musicians from the Orchestra into the elementary schools (private and public) of Montgomery County at no cost to the schools or the students. BSO on the Go brings a highly interactive classroom experience to students in a relaxed and informal setting. Now in its third year, Theme & Variations is an additional multi-visit residency component of the BSO on the Go program. For the 2009-2010 academic year, the BSO at Strathmore announces eight residencies (i.e., 16 visits) targeted at both fourth and fifth graders. Geared to students with a year of recorder-playing experience, these residencies provide two annual opportunities for students to collaborate with members of the Orchestra's double-reed woodwind section.
"I believe that a great orchestra engages the community both inside and outside of the concert hall," says Marin Alsop. "It has been my privilege to work with BSO musicians who each have a heart to reach out through music. BSO on the Go represents a key element in our educational outreach to the residents of Montgomery County."
BSO at Strathmore values the dynamic synergy the Strathmore arts campus affords. Campus partners Maryland Classical Youth Orchestra and the Levine School and BSO musicians will collaborate for masterclasses for young musicians.
BSO-Peabody Conducting Fellow
Ilyich Rivas, 15, a talented young Venezuelan-born conductor will be the second recipient of the BSO-Peabody Conducting Fellowship, a two-year program designed to support the musical and leadership development of today's young conductors. Beginning in September 2009, the fellowship program entitles the recipient to a two-year, full tuition scholarship to the Peabody Institute and Johns Hopkins University. Born in 1993, Mr. Rivas has been studying conducting with his father Alejandro Rivas (also a Venezuelan conductor who is currently music director at Metro State Symphony Orchestra in Denver) since the age of six.
Mr. Rivas was selected this year as one of seven participants from around the world to participate in the prestigious Cabrillo Festival Conductors Workshop in California with Marin Alsop and Gustav Meier. At 15, he has already served as guest conductor with several major orchestras, including the Orquesta Simon Bolivar del Tachira of his native Venezuela. Also a concert pianist, he was recently awarded first place in the Yamaha and Kawai Piano Competitions in Colorado, featured at the 2008 Metropolitan State College of Denver Piano Celebration and at the Universidad del Tachira in San Cristobal, Venezuela. Mr. Rivas is currently in eleventh grade at the Denver School of the Arts where he is a piano major and assistant conductor of the school's chamber orchestra.
Music Director Marin Alsop, who actively shapes the program agenda, remarked, "Ilyich has such a natural ability that cannot be taught. He innately feels the music and that resonates with audiences when he conducts. I look forward to working with him."
"It's not often that I am privileged to attend as extraordinary an event as Ilyich Rivas's audition with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra," says Jeffery Sharkey, Director of the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University. "Ilyich demonstrates rare talent for such a young man, and great maturity and potential as a conductor. The unique Peabody-BSO collaboration is one of the most exciting platforms in America for training the next generation of conductors. We look forward to welcoming him to Peabody and to our continuing work with Marin Alsop and the BSO."
About the BSO-Peabody Conducting Fellowship Program
Beginning in the 2007-2008 season, the BSO with Music Director Marin Alsop and the Peabody Institute with Gustav Meier, in partnership with the League of American Orchestras, launched its Conducting Fellows Program, a collaborative endeavor modeled after the League's American Conducting Fellows Program, established in 2002. This marked the first partnership of its kind in the country between a conservatory and a symphony orchestra. The Baltimore partnership is a unique two-year program designed to provide exceptionally talented conductors in the early stages of their careers an opportunity to hone their skills before assuming a role with a professional orchestra. In conjunction with the initial partnership team, the BSO and the Peabody Institute, the League has played an important guiding role in helping the two institutions develop a comprehensive program agenda and curriculum, and also assisted with evaluations of the program during the pilot period. Benefits of the conducting fellowship include continuous on-site training with the BSO and academic studies at Peabody and Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. Gustav Meier, head of the conducting faculty at Peabody, will serve as the fellowship's primary academic instructor. At the end of the two-year program, which begins in September 2009 and concludes in August 2011, Mr. Rivas will receive a post-graduate Artist's Diploma in Conducting from the Peabody Institute.
BSO announces League of American Orchestra's Conducting Fellow, Mei-Ann Chen
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra welcomes Mei-Ann Chen as Assistant Conductor and League of American Orchestras Conducting Fellow. Born in Taiwan, Mei-Ann Chen has lived in the United States since 1989. Ms. Chen's most recent engagement was as assistant conductor of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Robert Spano. This young conductor received the Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship (TCCF) in 2007, which provided the opportunity to appear jointly with Marin Alsop and Stefan Sanderling in subscription concerts with the Baltimore, Colorado and Florida Symphony Orchestras. Founded by Marin Alsop in 2002, the TCCF is a unique opportunity for young women conductors to immerse themselves in the art and business of performing classical music under the leadership of Marin Alsop.
"I have felt a great chemistry develop during my first two engagements with the BSO and look forward to continuing this collaboration," says Mei-Ann Chen. "In addition, I look forward to being mentored by Marin Alsop and learning from her leadership."
The first woman to win the Malko International Conductors Competition (2005), Ms. Chen served as assistant conductor of the Oregon Symphony from 2003 to 2005 and in 2002, she was unanimously selected as music director of the Portland Youth Philharmonic in Oregon, the oldest of its kind and the model for many of the youth orchestras in the United States. During her five-year tenure with the orchestra, she led its sold-out debut in Carnegie Hall, received an ASCAP award for innovative programming, established new partnerships with Oregon Symphony and Chamber Music Northwest and developed new and unique musicianship programs for the Orchestra's members. She was honored with a Sunburst Award from Young Audiences for her contribution to music education.
About the League of American Orchestras' American Conducting Fellows Program
A national conductor-training program developed and managed by the League of American Orchestras, the League's American Conducting Fellows program supports the musical and leadership development of exceptional talented conductors in the early stages of their professional careers. Aiming to improve the qualifications of American conductors to assume leadership roles as music directors of American orchestras, the program is funded by major grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Naxos Music Library Offered Free to Subscribers
Continuing the Orchestra's ongoing relationship with the classical record label Naxos, the BSO will offer all 2009-2010 subscribers a FREE online subscription to the Naxos Music Library. By subscribing to the BSO, these patrons will gain exclusive online access to the world's largest collection of streaming classical music. Naxos Music Library is a streaming audio music resource that features more than 400,000 tracks, powerful tools to stimulate music education and research, the daily addition of new releases and remote access. This subscriber benefit has an estimated value of $300 per person and is completely free to all patrons with a BSO subscription and a valid email address.
Watch Marin Alsop Preview the Season
For an interactive preview of the season featuring Marin Alsop, click here to access a webumentary highlighting the just-announced 2009-2010 concert season.