Christopher Theofanidis: Creation/Creator

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.

-Ken Meltzer

April 9, 11 & 12 Podcast


On Thursday, April 9, at 8:00p, Saturday, April 11, at 7:30p, and Sunday, April 12, at 2:00p at Atlanta Symphony Hall, guest conductor Lionel Bringuier leads a program that opens with the Overture to Carl Maria von Weber’s opera, Der Freischütz. Emanuel Ax is the soloist in the Piano Concerto No. 14 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The program concludes with the Symphony No. 4, by Robert Schumann.

March 12 & 14 Podcast


On Thursday March 12, at 8:00p, and Saturday, March 14, at 7:30p at Atlanta Symphony Hall, Guest conductor John Storgårds leads a program that opens with Carl Nielsen’s Rhapsodic Overture: A Fantasy Journey to the Faroe Islands. Ingrid Fliter is the soloist in the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Frédéric Chopin. The program concludes with the Symphony No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninov.

ASO: February 19&21 Podcast


On Thursday, February 19, at 8:00p, and Saturday, February 21, at 7:30p at Symphony Hall, Music Director Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra perform a concert that opens with Felix Mendelssohn’s Overture to Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Midori is the soloist in the Violin Concerto by Robert Schumann. The second half of the program features works by Richard Wagner: the Prelude and Good Friday Spell from “Parsifal,” and the Prelude to Act I of “The Mastersingers of Nuremberg.”

ASO: March 5&6 Podcast


On Thursday, March 5, at 8:00p and Friday, March 6, at 6:30p at Symphony Hall, Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles leads a program that features Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. For the March 5 concert, mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor joins Maestro Runnicles and the ASO for Mahler’s five songs for voice and orchestra, settings of poems by Friedrich Rückert.