Thursday, February 12, 2009

Haydn's The Creation to be performed by Atlanta's Symphony Orchestra

Robert Spano Music Director Robert Spano (pictured) will lead the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus in an ASO Theater of a Concert presentation of Haydn's The Creation. Set designer Anne Patterson and Projection Designer Adam Larsen, whose work has enhanced the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's performances of St. John Passion and Gorecki's Third Symphony, return to design Joseph Haydn's The Creation in Atlanta Symphony Hall on February 26 and 28, 2008 at 8:00 pm. Soloists include soprano Janice Chandler, tenor Thomas Cooley, and bass Derrick Parker.

Haydn's vivid portrait of the seven days of creation as described in the Book of Genesis is part of the ASO's Theater of a Concert initiative to explore different formats, settings, and enhancements of the musical performance experience. "Inherently, concerts are theatrical because they take place on a stage. Certain repertoire further invites theatrical treatment affording us an opportunity to enhance the concert experience in powerful ways," said Music Director Robert Spano. "That's the philosophy behind the ASO Theater of a Concert."

To create a concert experience, various visual elements have been brought into the concert hall. In past seasons, this has included film and projected images synchronized with the music, lighting effects, art installations, and semi-staged performances of operas creating a marriage of the auditory and the visual, allowing concertgoers to connect with the music on multiple levels. For The Creation, Anne Patterson and Adam Larsen have designed a production that will incorporate a large screen with projected images that invoke natural and conceptual representations of the beginning of time. Triangles, made of reflective materials, will be suspended above the soloists and the chamber chorus, who will be elevated on risers positioned at abstract angles surrounding the Orchestra.

Mr. Spano has conducted the great orchestras of North America, including those in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Overseas he has led the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra FilarMonica Della Scala, Czech Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Sinfonie Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic and Tonhalle Orchester. He has conducted the Chicago, Houston, Santa Fe, Royal Opera at Covent Garden and Welsh National Operas. In August 2005 he conducted Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen at Seattle Opera, and returns for the cycle in 2009. With a discography of nine critically acclaimed recordings for Telarc and Deutsche Grammophon made over six years, Robert Spano has garnered six Grammy® Awards.

Acclaimed for the beauty, precision and expressive qualities of its singing, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chamber Chorus has been an important part of the orchestra's programming since its founding by the late Robert Shaw. The Chamber Chorus, which debuted on Dec. 14, 1967, is composed of 40-60 volunteers selected by audition from the ranks of the ASO Chorus, who meet for extra rehearsals and perform with the ASO each season. The Chamber Chorus performs music of the Baroque and Classical eras, as well as works by modern masters such as Golijov, Tavener, Pärt, Paulus, Poulenc and Britten. Highlights of the ASO Chamber Chorus's history include a residency with the ASO and Robert Spano for California's Ojai Festival, participation with the ASO in Telarc recordings of masterworks by Bach, Golijov, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Vivaldi and a 2005 a cappella recording that features the Vaughan Williams Mass under Norman Mackenzie, an appearance on national television in 1987 performing Handel's Messiah with Robert Shaw, and several Carnegie Hall appearances, which include performances of the B-Minor Mass, the Matthew and John Passions of Bach, the Rachmaninoff Vespers and the Mozart/Levin Requiem.

Norman Mackenzie has been Director of Choruses since 1999, following the death of the legendary Robert Shaw, who founded the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Chorus. Mr. Mackenzie had worked closely with Mr. Shaw for 14 years and is building and creating anew upon the foundation that is the Robert Shaw Chorus. Under Mr. Mackenzie, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus has won two Grammy® Awards for Vaughan Williams's A Sea Symphony and the Berlioz Requiem, and conducted the ASO Chamber Chorus in its own Telarc recording.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, now in its 64th season, is considered one of America's leading orchestras, known for the excellence of its live performances, presentations, renowned choruses, and its impressive list of Grammy® Award-winning recordings. The leading cultural organization in the Southeast, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra serves as the cornerstone for artistic development and music education in the region. The Orchestra is commitmented to nurturing and championing contemporary music through multi-year partnerships with living American composers. Since the beginning of his tenure, Mr. Spano and the ASO have performed nearly 100 contemporary works (composed since 1950), including seven ASO-commissioned world premieres, two additional world premieres, and one U.S. premiere.

Last year, the Atlanta Symphony celebrated a 30-year relationship with Telarc, one of the few American orchestras to have a continuing association with a major record label. During that time, the Orchestra has recorded more than 100 albums and its recordings have won 26 Grammy® Awards. Combined, Mr. Spano and Mr. Runnicles have recorded 16 albums (including four ASO commissions), and released 11 albums to date (nine on Telarc, two on Deutsche Grammophon), which have won eight Grammy Awards - including Atlanta School composers Jennifer Higdon's City Scape, Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar, and Christopher Theofanidis' The Here and Now - in categories including Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance, Best Choral Performance, and Best Opera Performance. In July 2008, Telarc released the ASO's recording of Puccini's La Bohème, the first American recording of the opera since 1956. The ASO Chorus has earned nine Grammy® Awards for Best Choral Performance, most recently for the Berlioz Requiem in 2005.

This concert is part of the Delta Classical Concert Series. Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's special artistic initiatives surrounding The Atlanta School of Composers, ASO Theater of a Concert, recordings and commissions are generously funded in part by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Single tickets for these performances are $16 to $73. All single tickets for the 2008-09 season will be available online at atlantasymphony.org or by calling (404) 733-5000. Tickets may also be purchased at the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office located in the Woodruff Arts Center at 15th and Peachtree Streets. Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 10am to 8pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 12pm to 8pm.

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