BSO Celebrates 200th Anniversary of Robert Schumann's Birth with All-Schumann Program, May 12 & 15
Program to include Mahler's arrangements of Schumann's First Symphony and Manfred Overture
Baltimore, Md. (April 12, 2011) - Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) Music Director Marin Alsop will lead the BSO in an all-Schumann concert to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his birth on Thursday, May 12 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 15 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The works to be performed include Mahler's arrangements of Schumann's Symphony No. 1, "Spring" and Manfred Overture. Also on the program will be Schumann's Symphony No. 2. Please see below for complete program details.
Schumann composed his first symphony in 1841, following his recent blissful and long-awaited marriage to the talented piano virtuoso Clara Wieck. His bride reported that it was the poetry of Schumann's friend Adolph Bottger, about a lover longing for spring, which inspired the work's opening fanfare, earning it the nickname "Spring." The BSO will perform Gustav Mahler's arrangement of Schumann's First Symphony. A genius at composing lieder, Schumann's ability as an orchestrator was not as finely developed. Mahler's efforts to lighten the work's texture to create greater clarity and numerous adjustments to the dynamic markings throughout help the work's melodies soar.
Unlike his optimistic 'Spring Symphony,' Schumann's Second Symphony in C major was composed in his darkest days after his worst mental breakdown, which limited his creative capacity as a composer. After recovering from his mental illness temporarily, he went into one of his most manic creative periods, composing his piano concerto in A minor and his Second Symphony. It is remarkable that, in the face of adversity, Schumann was able to complete this work successfully. The symphony is a psychological journey from dark to light, reflecting Schumann's struggle with his mental illness to recovery, from the slow and somber opening to the fanfare and triumphant finale expressing his recovery.
Tormented throughout his life by his insanity and struggle as an artist, Schumann found much in common with the character of Manfred, the protagonist in Lord Byron's epic poem Manfred, who inspired his final orchestral work. The poem tells the tale of a tormented antihero who flees to the peaks of the Alps to seek solace from a mysterious crime, but finds no peace and is instead tortured by the spirits and demons. He eventually finds peace only in death. The story of Manfred is a true embodiment of the Romantic ideals that Schumann subscribed to and drew parallels with his own life.
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 emerita 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. At the start of the 2012 season, she will also take up the post of Chief Conductor of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP).
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, Barber and Dvořák.
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 Koussevitzky Conducting Prize at Tanglewood where she studied with Leonard Bernstein.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
BSO Classical Concert: Robert Schumann - A Romantic Original
Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 8 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 3 p.m.—Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Marin Alsop, conductor
Schumann (arr. Mahler): Manfred Overture ‡
Schumann (arr. Mahler): Symphony No. 1, "Spring" ‡
Schumann: Symphony No. 2
‡ Denotes a BSO premiere
Tickets range from $28 to $88. Tickets are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.