Christopher O’Riley joins the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Symphony with a Twist™: Romeo and Radiohead, April 24-25
Program to be performed without the Twist as part of Classical Concert Series, April 23
Baltimore, Md. (April 6, 2009) – Guest conductor James Gaffigan will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on Friday, April 24, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore and on Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Symphony with a Twist™: Romeo and Radiohead. The concert will feature selections from Sergei Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet, Bernstein’s On the Town, Mozart’s Ballet Music from Idomeneo and Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, to be performed by pianist Christopher O’Riley. O’Riley will also perform his critically acclaimed transcriptions from the alternative rock band, Radiohead. The same programming will be performed as part of the Classical Concert Series, without the Radiohead twist, on Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Please see below for complete program information.
The host of National Public Radio’s From the Top, pianist Christopher O’Riley is listened to and enjoyed by classical and rock ‘n’ roll fans alike. O’Riley will perform Maurice Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand, commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein in 1929, an Austrian pianist who developed a formidable technique with his left hand after losing his right arm in World War II. One of Ravel’s two piano concertos, this concerto is said to display the darker side of the composer’s genius. O’Riley will follow the concerto with his critically acclaimed Radiohead transcriptions for solo piano, described by The New York Times as representing “the thrashing intensity of a rock band…with wildly dissonant chords and densely knitted textures…” The antithesis of ballet music, O’Riley’s take on the tunes will bring the completely unexpected to the program, the intent of the Symphony with a Twist™ series, which after seven years, comes to an end with these concerts.
Sergei Prokofiev’s symphonic interpretation of Romeo and Juliet, though initially met with skepticism, has become one of the jewels of the classical ballet repertoire and brings the romance of spring to the orchestra. Maestro Gaffigan has chosen six selections, arranged to tell the romantic tragedy in chronological order. Selections include “Montagues and Capulets,” “Masks,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Tybalt’s Death,” “Romeo at Juliet’s Grave” and “The Death of Juliet.” Each piece musically represents the drama of Shakespeare’s greatest love story. Also featured in the program is Mozart’s Idomeneo, composed in 1781 as part of a grand opera seria to open the Lenten concert season at the Bavarian court opera house in Salzburg. Based on Homer’s romantic tale of King Idomeneus of Crete, Idomeneo is considered one of Mozart's richest and most beautiful scores.
Written in collaboration with friends Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Leonard Bernstein’s romantic comedy On the Town tells a light-hearted story about three sailors on 24-hours' shore leave in New York City during World War II. The three movements to be performed by the BSO include “Lonely Town: Pas de Deux,” “Times Square: 1944,” and the show's most famous song, “New York, New York.”
James Gaffigan, conductor
James Gaffigan was appointed to associate conductor of the San Francisco Symphony in September 2006. In that role, he leads the orchestra in concerts throughout the season, serves as the artistic director of the Summer in the City series and assists Michael Tilson Thomas. From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Gaffigan was assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, where his responsibilities included assisting music director Franz Welser-Moest throughout the season, conducting subscription concerts at Severance Hall and the Blossom Music Festival and serving as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra.
Mr. Gaffigan has appeared with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, the Toronto, New World, Indianapolis, Pacific, Columbus, Utah, Charlotte and San Antonio symphonies and the New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concert. He is also the music director of CityMusic Cleveland, a chamber orchestra in Cleveland which presents free concerts throughout the city. In June 2008, he received the League of American Orchestras’ Helen M. Thompson Award for his work with CityMusic.
Christopher O'Riley, pianist
From his groundbreaking transcriptions of Radiohead, Elliott Smith and Nick Drake, to his powerful interpretations of classic and contemporary repertoire, pianist Christopher O'Riley has redefined the possibilities of classical music. He hosts one of the most popular public radio shows on the air today, National Public Radio's From the Top, now in its second season.
His first recording of Radiohead transcriptions, True Love Waits, received four stars from Rolling Stone and was as critically acclaimed as it was commercially successful. His second set of music from the British alt-pop outfit, Hold Me to This: Christopher O'Riley Plays the Music of Radiohead, was released to a similarly enthusiastic response. In April 2006, he released his third set of transcriptions, Home to Oblivion: An Elliott Smith Tribute. His most recent recording, released in April 2007 and entitled Second Grace: The Music of Nick Drake, is a disc of transcriptions of the music by the British folk singer.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
Symphony with a Twist: Romeo and Radiohead
Friday, April 24, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. – Music Center at Strathmore
Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Lobby opens at 6:30 p.m. for tapas and cocktails.
James Gaffigan, conductor
Christopher O’Riley, pianist
Mozart: Ballet Music from Idomeneo
Ravel: Piano Concerto for the Left Hand
Christopher O’Riley: Radiohead transcriptions
Bernstein: Three Dance Episodes from On the Town
Prokofiev: Selections from Romeo and Juliet
Classical Concert Series: Romeo and Juliet
Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall*
*This program is part of the Classical Concert Series and will not feature the Radiohead piano transcriptions.
Tickets for these concerts range from $20 to $80, and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or www.BSOmusic.org.