Marin Alsop Leads Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, April 3-5
Maestra Alsop to give pre-concert lectures for Friday and Sunday performances; Mezzo-Soprano Sasha Cooke performs in Bernstein’s Opening Prayer
Baltimore, Md. (March 9, 2009)– Marin Alsop will conduct the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Mahler’s Ninth Symphony and Bernstein’s Opening Prayer, featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, on Friday, April 3 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 5 at 3:00 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and on Saturday, April 4 at 8:00 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. This program concludes the BSO’s 2008-2009 season focus on Leonard Bernstein and Gustav Mahler. Please see below for complete program information.
Mahler’s Ninth Symphony premiered in Vienna of June 1912 and was immediately praised by fellow composer Alan Berg, who believed the work to be an expression of an exceptional fondness for this earth. The symphony is comprised of several movements, each expressing a different sentiment, culminating in Mahler’s moving Adagio finale. As music director of the New York Philharmonic, Bernstein prompted a “Mahler revival” in America and abroad in the 1960s. Leonard Bernstein suggested that certain rhythms within the symphony reflect the irregular heartbeat Mahler was so conscious of whenever he exerted himself.
Leonard Bernstein’s Opening Prayer was originally composed for a gala concert for Carnegie Hall, celebrating its 1986 reopening after an extensive renovation project. Eventually he added Opening Prayer as a closing movement to the Concerto for Orchestra he was creating to celebrate the Israel Philharmonic’s 50th anniversary. In addition to the many instruments featured in Mr. Bernstein’s work, there is a solo performance by mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, who slowly sings in Hebrew the words of the Benediction.
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 the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom, where she served as the principal conductor from 2002-2008 and is music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California.
In 2005, Ms. Alsop 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, in 2008 she was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2009 Musical America named her “Conductor of the Year.”
A regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ms. Alsop appears frequently as a guest conductor with the most distinguished orchestras around the world. In addition to her performance activities, she is also an active recording artist with award-winning cycles of Brahms and Barber orchestral works. She is currently recording the Dvorak symphonies with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her master’s degree from The Juilliard School. In 1989, her conducting career was launched when she won the Leopold Stokowski International Conducting Competition in New York.
Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano
Among her exciting appearances this season, Sasha Cooke sang at the Metropolitan Opera in the role of Kitty Oppenheimer in the New York premiere of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic, and the same role with English National Opera in her European debut. Ms. Cooke sang Handel’s Messiah with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and with the Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall. On April 14, Ms. Cooke will appear in the Young Concert Artists (YCA) Gala Irene Diamond Concert at Lincoln Center, performing Elgar’s Sea Pictures with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s under Giancarlo Guerrero. In the summer of 2008, Ms. Cooke appeared as Olga in Tchaikovsky’s Evgeny Onegin with the Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv and participated in the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont.
Ms. Cooke gives song recitals this season at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, The Embassy Series, Merkin Concert Hall in New York City, Fortas Chamber Music Series at the Kennedy Center and with the New York Festival of Song. Ms. Cooke premieres Andrew Norman’s “Lullaby” at Merkin Hall and at the Kennedy Center as part of YCA’s Composers Concerts.
Ms. Cooke won first prize in the 2007 YCA International Auditions and holds the Lindemann Vocal Chair of YCA. Ms. Cooke made her Washington, D.C. debut in the YCA Series at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater in September 2007 and her New York debut at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in October 2007. Ms. Cooke is a member of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera. At the YCA International Auditions, Ms. Cooke was also honored with the Rhoda Walker Teagle Prize, which sponsored her New York debut; the Fergus First Prize; the Swiss Global Artistic Foundation Award; and the Embassy Series Concert Prize.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
Classical Concert Series: Mahler’s Ninth Symphony
Friday, April 3, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)*
Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. – Music Center at Strathmore
Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. – JMSH*
Marin Alsop, conductor
Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano
Bernstein: Opening Prayer ‡
Mahler: Ninth Symphony
*Join Music Director Marin Alsop in the concert hall for a pre-concert lecture at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. The 30-minute lecture will focus on Mahler’s Ninth Symphony.
‡ Denotes a BSO premiere
Tickets for these concerts range from $20 to $60, and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444 or 410.783.8000 or www.BSOmusic.org.