On Thursday, October 8 and Saturday, October 10, at 8:00p, and Sunday, October 11, at 3:00p at Atlanta Symphony Hall, Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles leads a program that opens with Anton Webern’s orchestration of Franz Schubert’s Six German Dances. Christina Smith and Elisabeth Remy Johnson are the soloists in Mozart’s Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra. The second half of the program begins with Claude Debussy’s Prelude to “The Afternoon of a Faun”. The concert ends with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8. The program will also be repeated at Kennesaw State University on Friday, October 10, at 8:00p.
On Thursday, October 1, and Saturday, October 3, at 8:00p, at Atlanta Symphony Hall, Music Director Robert Spano leads a program that opens with the Concerto for Orchestra, by “Atlanta School” composer Jennifer Higdon. Jonathan Biss is the soloist in the Piano Concerto No. 5, the “Emperor,” by Ludwig van Beethoven. The “Casual Fridays” concert of Friday, October 2, at 6:30p, performed without intermission, features the first movement of the Higdon Concerto for Orchestra, and the complete Beethoven “Emperor” Concerto.
The “Inside the Music” pre-concert talk, free to all concert ticketholders, takes place on the stage of Symphony Hall on Thursday, October 1, at 7:00p, one hour prior to the concert. Jennifer Higdon will be my special guest.
On Thursday, September 24 and Saturday, September 26, at 8:00p at Atlanta Symphony Hall, Music Director Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra perform concerts that open with the Atlanta Symphony premiere of Spices, Perfumes, Toxins!, by contemporary Israeli composer Avner Dorman. Percussionists Thomas Sherwood and Charles Settle are the soloists. The second half of the program features the great Symphony No. 5 by Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
On Thursday, June 4, at 8:00p, and Saturday, June 6, at 7:30p at Atlanta Symphony Hall, the ASO concludes its 2014-15 classical subscription season with complete performances of Camille Saint-Saëns’s biblical opera, Samson and Delilah. Music Director Robert Spano leads the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and a cast of international opera stars.
On Thursday, May 28, at 8:00p, and Saturday, May 30, at 7:30p at Atlanta Symphony Hall, Music Director Robert Spano leads a program that opens with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra premiere of Jean Sibelius’s brief tone poem, The Bard. Yefim Bronfman is the soloist in the Piano Concerto No. 4 by Ludwig van Beethoven. The program concludes with Scheherazade, by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
On Thursday, May 14, at 8:00p, and Saturday, May 16, at 7:30 at Atlanta Symphony Hall, guest conductor Roberto Abbado returns to conduct a program that opens with the Roman Carnival Overture, by Hector Berlioz. Sergei Krylov is the soloist in the Atlanta Symphony premiere of Nicolo Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 5. The second half of the program features Luciano Berio’s arrangement of Luigi Boccherini’s “Nighttime Retreat in Madrid.” The concert concludes with the Symphony No. 4, the “Italian” Symphony, by Felix Mendelssohn.
On Thursday, May 7, at 8:00p, and Saturday, May 9, at 7:30p at Atlanta Symphony Hall, composer John Adams is the guest conductor in a program that opens with The Enchanted Lake, by Anatoli Liadov. The first half concludes with The Pines of Rome, by Ottorino Respighi (pictured). On the second half of the concert, Leila Josefowicz is the soloist in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra premiere of Mr. Adams’s Scheherazade.2, Dramatic Symphony for Violin and Orchestra.
On Thursday, April 30, at 8:00p, and Saturday, May 2, at 7:30p at Atlanta Symphony Hall, Music Director Robert Spano leads a concert that opens with the world premiere of Imaginary Numbers, by Atlanta School Composer Michael Gandolfi. Soloists are Atlanta Symphony Principals Elisabeth Koch Tiscione, Laura Ardan, Keith Buncke, and Brice Andrus. The first half of the program ends with the Suite from Igor Stravinsky’s ballet, The Firebird. Jean-Yves Thibaudet is the soloist in Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G. The program concludes with George Gershwin’s An American in Paris. The First Fridays concert, performed without intermission, takes place on Friday, May 1, at 6:30p, and includes the Stravinsky, Ravel and Gershwin works.
On Thursday, April 23, at 8:00p, and Saturday, April 25, at 7:30p at Symphony Hall, Music Director Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus are joined by international vocal soloists for the world premiere of Creation/Creator, by Atlanta School composer Christopher Theofanidis.
Because of its shared title, subject matter, and performing forces (vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra), Christopher Theofanidis’s Creation/Creator inspires comparison to Franz Joseph Haydn’s oratorio masterpiece, Die Schöpfung (1798). Both the Haydn and Theofanidis works explore and celebrate the miracle of the creation of this Earth, and the life that walks upon it. Haydn confessed that while composing The Creation, he experienced a remarkable spiritual transformation: “I was never so religious as during the composition of ‘The Creation.’ Daily I fell on my knees and asked God for strength.” But another transformation manifested itself as well. Haydn was at the height of his artistic maturity and powers when he composed The Creation, and that experience and mastery inform each and every bar of the oratorio. It is clear that in his musical celebration of the divine act of Creation, Haydn also celebrated the miracle of his (and by extension, man’s) ability to act as a creative force.
During the course of Christopher Theofanidis’s Creation/Creator, the implied subtext in Haydn’s The Creation emerges as an explicit parallel subject. And although more than two centuries of time, and development of musical styles, separate the two compositions, the affinity between them and their creators is clear. In addition to the technical brilliance that abounds throughout, both works radiate an optimism and joy for life, typical of these composers’ works in general. And as with Haydn, Christopher Theofanidis has the gift to recognize and express humor, even when portraying the divine. As with Haydn’s masterpiece, Creation/Creator proves the ideal embodiment of Baudelaire’s philosophy, expressed in An Angel in the Marble: “Look, genius is no more than our childhood recaptured at will but equipped with the maturity of physical means and analytical mind to bring order to the sum of experience.”
Please join us at Symphony Hall on Thursday, April 23, at 8:00p, and Saturday, April 25, at 7:30p to celebrate a remarkable new work by one of our most treasured colleagues.