Audience Favorite Juanjo Mena Leads Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Nielsen’s “The Inextinguishable,” April 15, 17 & 18
Program also features Concertmaster Jonathan Carney in Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Estío
Baltimore, Md. (March 9, 2010) – Spanish conductor Juanjo Mena and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will present Music with Mena on Thursday, April 15 at 8 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore and Saturday, April 17 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 18 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The program includes Joaquín Rodrigo’s violin concerto Concierto de Estío, featuring BSO Concertmaster Jonathan Carney. The Orchestra will also perform Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, “The Inextinguishable,” as well as the colorful Suite III from Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances. Please see below for complete concert details.
Blind since the age of 3, Spanish composer and pianist Joaquín Rodrigo is one of the most popular and extraordinary composers of the 20th century, writing all of his compositions in Braille. The stifling heat and humidity of European summers inspired his Concierto de Estío (Summer Concerto). While Rodrigo meticulously composed this violin concerto to be a relaxing experience for the orchestra, the rapid tempo and technical scoring is quite demanding of the soloist.
Arranged solely for strings, Italian composer Ottorino Respighi’s Suite III from Ancient Airs and Dances is drawn from melodies found in 16th-century lute tablatures and 17th-century guitar pieces. The amiable sound of the first movement’s pizzicato cellos quickly subsides while the mournful tones of the violas interject with melodies of love. The third movement concludes the piece by building upon the somber harmony with sounds of the low strings and flavorful tones of the guitar.
Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, “The Inextinguishable” illustrates the effects of natural disasters on nature, conveyed by a harsh and aggressive battle between the clarinets and violins. As the work grows calmer through the horns and woodwinds, the victory of life over destruction is achieved. Nielsen was conveying the idea that even if all life was destroyed, it would soon return to develop and prosper, making it inextinguishable.
Juanjo Mena, conductor
Principal guest conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra (Norway) and chief guest conductor at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, Juanjo Mena is one of the most distinguished and dynamic conductors of his generation. Born in Spain, he has appeared with most of the principal symphony and chamber orchestras of his native country.
Since Mr. Mena’s highly successful North American debut in 2004 with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, his presence here has steadily increased. Among his most recent and upcoming debuts are the Atlanta, Colorado, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Oregon and Philadelphia symphony orchestras.
Worldwide, Mr. Mena has appeared with the BBC Philharmonic, Bern Symphony, Bucharest Philharmonic, Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orquesta Filarmónica de Santiago, Orquestra Sinfônica de São Paulo, Oslo Philharmonic, RAI Symphony Orchestra, RSO/Berlin and the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra. Festival appearances include Grant Park (Chicago), La Folle Journée (Nantes), White Nights Festival (St. Petersburg) and numerous festivals with the Bilbao Symphony.
He has recorded extensively for the Basque Radio, Basque Television (EITB), European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Spanish National Radio (RNE), and the Spanish National Television (RTVE). He has also recorded a complete symphony collection of Basque music with the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra for Naxos International. Mr. Mena has also served as music director of the Bilbao Symphony, artistic director of the Jesús Guridi Chamber Orchestra and associate conductor of the Euskadi Symphony Orchestra in Spain.
Jonathan Carney, violin
BSO Concertmaster Jonathan Carney is in his eighth season with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra after spending 12 seasons in the same position with London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Born in New Jersey, Mr. Carney hails from a musical family with all six members having graduated from The Juilliard School. After completing his studies with Ivan Galamian and Christine Dethier, he was awarded a Leverhulme Fellowship to continue his studies in London at the Royal College of Music.
After enjoying critically acclaimed international tours as both concertmaster and soloist with numerous ensembles, Mr. Carney was invited by Vladimir Ashkenazy to become concertmaster of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1991. He was also appointed concertmaster of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in 1994 and the Basque National Orchestra in 1996. Recent solo performances have included concertos by Bruch, Korngold, Khatchaturian, Sibelius, Nielsen, Brahms’ Double Concerto and Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending, which was featured as a live BBC broadcast from London's Barbican Hall. He has made a number of recordings, including concertos by Mozart, Vivaldi and Nielsen, sonatas by Brahms, Beethoven and Franck and a disc of virtuoso works of by Sarasate and Kreisler with his mother Gloria Carney as pianist. New releases include Beethoven’s “Archduke” and “Ghost” trios, the cello quintet of Schubert and a Dvorák disc with the Terzetto and four Romantic pieces for violin.
Mr. Carney currently serves as artistic advisor for the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras. He is also an artist in residence at the Baltimore School for the Arts and serves on its board of directors.
COMPLETE CONCERT DETAILS
Classical Concert: Music with Mena
Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. - The Music Center at Strathmore*
Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 3:00 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Juanjo Mena, conductor
Jonathan Carney, violin
Rodrigo: Concierto de estío ‡
Respighi: Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite III
Nielsen: Symphony No. 4, "The Inextinguishable"
* 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.
‡ Denotes a BSO
Tickets for these performances range from $25 to $85 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.