A quintet of the orchestra’s acclaimed brass players kicks off a musical journey with music of the Renaissance. Then, Amos Yang delves into the baroque with the last of Johann Sebastian Bach’s iconic Cello Suites. Heading into the 1950s, Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story gets the brass treatment, while celebrated violinist Leila Josefowicz brings you into the 21st century with an excerpt from Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Lachen Verlernt (Laughing Unlearnt), a modern work in the form of a chaconne that neatly lends a nod back to Bach.
Milana Elise Reiche and Rebecca Corruccini play Jean-Marie Leclair’s elegant Sonata in E Minor for Two Violins. A leading musical light in mid-18th-century Paris, Leclair’s fame today rests on virtuoso works for his own instrument: the violin. Beethoven’s music inhabits the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, and nowhere is his temperament more apparent than in the turbulent “Appassionata” piano sonata. Acclaimed American pianist Orion Weiss explores Beethoven’s dark night of the soul.
Music Director Alasdair Neale opens the season with a surprise twist. Assistant Concertmaster Juliana Athayde and guest artist Orion Weiss follow with Massenet’s famous Meditation from his opera Thaïs. Once a humble tune to cover a scene change, it has become one of classical music’s most captivating episodes. Also on the menu, noted gourmet and virtuoso William VerMeulen leads a quartet of horn players in excerpts from Bizet’s endlessly tuneful Carmen. And finally, the orchestra will raise the roof with the triumphant finale of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
Author and Beethoven biographer Jan Swafford will present an introduction to Beethoven for this summer's 250th celebration of his birth. Among many things, the lecture will explore the parallels between the Napoleonic Wars and their impact on Beethoven’s creations, and how it parallels with today's upheaval with COVID-19.