The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Presents An All-American Program, November 10 & 13
Baritone William Sharp to perform Copland's "Old American Songs"
Baltimore, Md. (October 12, 2011) - An avid champion of American music, Music Director Marin Alsop leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a night of American classics on Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, November 13 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. In this concert, baritone William Sharp - whose performances have been credited as "insightful" by the Baltimore Sun - returns to the Meyerhoff to perform Copland's Old American Songs. The program will also include Edward Collins' Tragic Overture and Gershwin's An American in Paris. See below for complete program details.
Copland, a pioneer in modern American music, is famous for his distinctive and highly appealing "American" sound, emerging through the simple melodies of Appalachian Spring and the Old American Songs. And although his music is identified with the rural U.S. and the American west, Copland grew up in New York and never in his lifetime did he take up the call of western expansion. Nonetheless, Appalachian Spring vividly portrays the American frontier through such elements as sparseness and simplicity, plain harmonies and open intervals, and fiddle rhythms and Shaker dance tunes. In addition, the BSO and critically acclaimed soloist William Sharp will be performing the orchestrated arrangements of Old American Songs, including folk tunes such as Simple Gifts, At the River and Ching-a-Ring Chaw.
Also on the program, Marin Alsop introduces the romantic sounds of the early 20th-century composer Edward Collins. Perhaps one of the lesser-known American composers, during the span of his career he produced ten major orchestral works, including the Tragic Overture.
The concert ends in sassy style and infectious jazz rhythms with the orchestral showpiece An American in Paris, by the quintessential All-American composer George Gershwin. In speaking of the piece, Gershwin offered advice for audience members saying, "My purpose here is to portray the impressions of an American visitor in Paris as he strolls around the city….The rhapsody is programmatic only in a general, impressionistic way, so that the listener can read into the music such episodes as his imagination pictures for him."
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 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.
William Sharp, baritone
Baritone William Sharp is a consummate artist possessing the rare combination of vocal beauty, sensitivity and charisma. Praised by The New York Times as a "sensitive and subtle singer" who is able to evoke "the special character of every song that he sings," Mr. Sharp has earned a reputation as a singer of great versatility and continues to garner critical acclaim for his work in concerts, recitals, operas and recordings.
In the 2010-11 season, William Sharp created the role of Cosimo in the world premiere of John Musto's The Inspector with Wolf Trap Opera. Last season Mr. Sharp returned to New York Festival of Song in a concert titled "Where We Came From." Recent past highlights include "A Bernstein & Bolcom Celebration", also with New York Festival of Song; Bach Cantata 21, Mass in B Minor, and Paulus' A Dream of Time in a return to the Bethlehem Bach Festival; an appearance with Boston Early Music Festival in the modern world premiere of Graupner's Antiochus und Stratonica; return engagements to Caramoor, singing Schumann's Liederkreis with pianist Vladimir Feltsman, to New York Festival of Song in a program called "No Song is Safe from Us", and to the Bethlehem Bach Festival in St. Matthew Passion, Cantatas 198 and 74, also Mass in B Minor (with the Washington Bach Consort and Cathedral Choral Society, as well); singing as soloist in St. Matthew Passion with Music of the Baroque; and as soloist at the Washington National Cathedral in Handel's Messiah and Bach's St. John Passion. In Germany, with Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, he performed Scott Wheeler's The Palace at Four A. M.
Mr. Sharp's other highlights include appearances as soloist with the National Philharmonic in Brahms's Requiem, with the New York Festival of Song in "Godmothers of Song," with the Cathedral Choral Society in Britten's War Requiem, with the Bethlehem Bach Festival in various cantatas and Bach's Christmas Oratorio, programs of Schubert songs and works by John Musto at the Caramoor Festival, the world premiere of Anthony Brandt's The Birth of Something in a return to Da Camera Society of Houston, Bach's St. John Passion with the Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival, return engagements at Tafelmusik, and a special presentation with the Vocal Arts Society at the Smithsonian Institute.
COMPLETE PROGRAM DETAILS
BSO Classical Concert: Essentially American
Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 8 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 3 p.m. - JMSH
Marin Alsop, conductor
William Sharp, baritone
Copland: Appalachian Spring
Copland: Old American Songs
Collins: Tragic Overture
Gershwin: An American in Paris
Tickets range from $28 to $61 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.