Marin Alsop Leads the BSO in Season-Opening Program, Mahler's Second Symphony, "Resurrection,"
Concert also features Baltimore Choral Arts Society
Baltimore, Md. (August 3, 2011) - Led by Music Director Marin Alsop, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will open the 2011-2012 subscription season with Mahler's thunderous five-part masterpiece on Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 8 p.m. and Friday, September 16, 2011 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 8 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore. Mahler's Second Symphony is one of his most personal works, embodying the composer's belief in the beauty of the afterlife and resurrection. The performance will feature the BSO debut of soprano Layla Claire, alongside mezzo-soprano Susan Platts and The Baltimore Choral Arts Society, directed by Tom Hall. See below for complete program details.
Throughout his lifetime, Mahler was plagued by tragedies-his parents' unhappy marriage and the death and illnesses among his 11 siblings. These heartbreaking experiences are woven into his second symphony, which exhibits his obsession with death and the afterlife. The symphony begins with a funeral march, which originally was a symphonic poem, Todtenfeier ("Funeral Rites"), celebrating the death of a hero. He later added four more movements, concluding with a portrayal of Judgment Day. The uplifting final movement culminates in a tremendous outpouring of voices celebrating hope and redemption.
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." In November 2010, she was inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame. In February 2011, Marin Alsop was named the music director of the Orquestra Sinfônica do estado de São Paulo (OSESP), or the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, effective for the 2012-13 season. Ms. Alsop was named to Guardian's Top 100 Women list in March 2011. This spring Marin Alsop was named an Artist in Residence at the Southbank Centre in London, England.
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.
Layla Claire, soprano
Soprano Layla Claire's "penetrating purity" (The New York Times) combined with "emotive force and a poised sensitivity" (Palm Beach Daily News) has quickly made her a sought-after artist on the world's preeminent operatic, symphonic and recital stages. Of her February 2011 performances as Marenka in Smetana's The Bartered Bride under the baton of James Levine the Associated Press noted, "With big, expressive eyes, her long red hair commanding attention, she displayed an exciting, bright tone and shimmering piano notes… thrilling."
Praised for thoughtful characterizations and exquisite musicality, Layla Claire's interpretations of Mozart's heroines have garnered accolades throughout North America and Europe. She was hailed as "the quintessential Susanna" for her 2009 performances of Le Nozze di Figaro at Palm Beach Opera and with James Levine and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra she performed the roles of Fiordiligi (2007) and Donna Anna (2009) to great acclaim. With the Curtis Opera Theatre she sang the roles of Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro. In 2010 she appeared with the Académie d'Aix-en-Provence where she was awarded the Prix des amis d'Aix-en-Provence for best Mozart performance.
Following July 2011 performances of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis and Symphony No. 9 under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the Festival de Lanaudière and four concerts as a featured artist in the Met's Summer Recital Series, Layla Claire can be heard at the Tanglewood and Manchester Music Festivals before beginning a robust fall schedule. In October, she makes her New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall, just one of many significant firsts in the 2011-12 season including debuts with the Dallas, Toronto, Baltimore and Kansas City Symphonies as well as the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.
In July 2010, Layla Claire made her Boston Symphony debut, on the opening night of the Tanglewood Music Festival conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, with Mahler's Symphony No. 2, a performance she reprised to begin the 2010-11 season with the Boston Symphony and James Levine. Chicago Classical Review noted, of her August 2010 performances of Dvořák's Requiem at The Grant Park Music Festival, "she possesses a rich, luminous instrument and her sensitive, expressive singing consistently illuminated the text, with supremely affecting vocalism." Layla made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Tebaldo in Nicholas Hytner's production of Verdi's Don Carlo conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and repeated the role under the baton of Fabio Luisi on the Met's tour of Japan in the spring of 2011. February 2011 marked her role debut as Michaela in Bizet's Carmen with The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nader Abbassi.
Susan Platts, mezzo-soprano
British-born Canadian mezzo-soprano Susan Platts brings a uniquely rich and wide-ranging voice to the concert and recital repertoire for alto and mezzo-soprano. In May of 2004, as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, world-renowned soprano Jessye Norman chose Ms. Platts from 26 candidates worldwide to be her protégée. Since then, she has had the honor of mentoring with Ms. Norman.
With the generous support of Rolex, Susan recently commissioned a new work for mezzo-soprano and orchestra from renowned Canadian composer Marjan Mozetich. Under the Watchful Sky comprises of three songs that use ancient Chinese texts from Shi Jing (The Book of Songs) that explore the universal passions and tribulations of human kind.
During past seasons, Ms. Platts has performed at Teatro alla Scala, Teatro di San Carlo, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center as well as performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, CBC Radio Orchestra, L'Orchestre de Paris, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy, American Symphony Orchestra, Oregon Bach Festival, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony. She has collaborated with many conductors including Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Roberto Abbado, Sir Andrew Davis, Christoph Eschenbach, Jane Glover, Jeffery Kahane, Kent Nagano, Peter Oundjian, Itzhak Perlman, Helmuth Rilling, Bramwell Tovey, Osmo Vänska, and Pinchas Zuckerman.
The Baltimore Choral Arts Society
The Baltimore Choral Arts Society, now in its 46th season, is one of Maryland's premier cultural institutions. The Symphonic Chorus, Full Chorus, Orchestra, and Chamber Chorus perform throughout the mid-Atlantic region, as well as in Washington, D.C., New York, and in Europe.
For the past 15 years, WMAR Television, the ABC network affiliate in Maryland, has featured Choral Arts in an hour-long special, 'Christmas with Choral Arts," which won an Emmy Award in 2006. Mr. Hall and the chorus were also featured in a PBS documentary called "Jews and Christians: A Journey of Faith," broadcast nationwide, and on National Public Radio in 2001. On local radio, Mr. Hall is the host of "Choral Arts Classics," a monthly program on WYPR that features the Choral Arts Chorus and Orchestra, and he is the Culture Editor on WYPR's "Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast."
Choral Arts has appeared with the National Symphony, and has made regular appearances with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Acclaimed artists collaborating with Choral Arts have included Chanticleer, Dave Brubeck, the King's Singers, Peter Schickele, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Anonymous 4, and others. Tom Hall's innovative programs often feature both choral and orchestral music, stage and theater works.
Tom Hall, director
Tom Hall is one of the most highly regarded performers in choral music today. Appointed Music Director in 1982, Mr. Hall has added more than 100 new works to the BCAS repertoire, and he has premiered works by contemporary composers including Peter Schickele, Libby Larsen, Robert Sirota, James Lee, III, Rosephanye Dunn Powell, and many other internationally acclaimed composers.
In addition to his position with BCAS, Mr. Hall is active as a guest conductor in the United States and in Europe including appearances with the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, the Berkshire Choral Festival, Musica Sacra in New York, and Britten Sinfonia in Canterbury, England. His 2005 concert with Orchestre de Chambre de Paris was broadcast on French television. Mr. Hall has prepared choruses for Leonard Bernstein, Robert Shaw, Helmuth Rilling, and others, and he served for ten years as the Chorus Master of the Baltimore Opera Company.
COMPLETE PROGRAM DETAILS
BSO Classical Concert: Mahler's Resurrection
Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 8 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Friday, September 16, 2011 at 8 p.m. -JMSH
Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 8 p.m. - Music Center at Strathmore
Marin Alsop, conductor
Layla Claire, soprano
Susan Platts, mezzo-soprano
Baltimore Choral Arts Society
Tom Hall, director
Mahler: Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection"
Single tickets go on sale on August 8th and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.