Thursday, February 19, 2009

Marin Alsop Leads Baltimore Symphony in Dvorak's Symphony No. 7

Young Czech pianist Lukáš Vondráček makes Baltimore Symphony Orchestra debut

Baltimore, Md. (February 19, 2009)— Marin Alsop (pictured) will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7 on March 19 and 20 at 8:00 p.m. and March 22 at 3:00 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and March 21 at 8:00 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore. The program also includes Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1, featuring young Czech pianist Lukáš Vondráček and Dvořák’s lively Scherzo Capriccioso.

Music commentators rank Symphony No. 7 among Dvořák’s best works and perhaps even among the greatest pieces in the symphonic repertoire. It displays the dark defiance of the Czech underdog, especially in the wild rhythms of the third-movement’s scherzo, imitative of the Czech furiant dance. Maestra Marin Alsop explains, “The third movement has this energy and drive that is almost demonic—like a dance that is coming off the rails.” On the heels of Marin Alsop and the BSO’s successful release of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 on the Naxos label, this piece will also be recorded for release at a later date as part of that cycle.

Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 makes no secret of declaring the composer’s predilection for the piano above all other instruments. The piece moves seamlessly from the bold opening idea, to one of Chopin’s most celebrated nocturnes and concludes with a lively Polish folkdance known as the krakowiak. Czech pianist Lukáš Vondráček makes his BSO debut. Alsop comments, “For me, it’s very important to introduce audiences to young talent. I am thrilled to collaborate with young Czech pianist Lukáš Vondráček. He has fabulous technique and emotion, which is what one needs for Chopin’s First Piano Concerto.”

Rounding out the program, Dvořák’s sprightly Scherzo capriccioso—or “capricious joke”—is a lively duel between aggressive, rhythmically punchy ideas and smoothly lyrical ones, comprising one of Dvorak’s most playful masterpieces.

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, which mirrored her ongoing success in the United Kingdom, where she served as the principal conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony from 2002‐2008 and now holds the title of conductor emeritus. In 2005, Marin 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. Maestra Alsop is a regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic. She also appears frequently as a guest conductor with many distinguished orchestras worldwide. After a highly successful 12‐year tenure as music director of the Colorado Symphony, Ms. Alsop continues her association as conductor laureate. She also continues as music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California. Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her master’s degree from The Juilliard School. In 1989, her conducting career was launched when she became a prizewinner at the Leopold Stokowski International Conducting Competition.

Lukáš Vondráček, piano
Lukáš Vondráček made his debut with the Czech Philharmonic under Vladimir Ashkenazy in May 2002 with concerts in Prague and Italy, and has since appeared frequently with the orchestra. Engagements have included a major U.S. tour, concerts in Cologne, Vienna, Lucerne and recently a performance in Birmingham.

Mr. Vondráček gave his first public performance at the age of 4. In the intervening years, he performed many recitals and concerto performances throughout his home country of the Czech Republic, as well as abroad. The natural and assured musicality which has developed over those years, alongside a remarkable technical ability, mark him out as a gifted and mature musician, well on the way to building the foundations of a major career. Having spent time studying at the Academy of Music in Katowice and at the Vienna Hochschule, Mr. Vondrácek is now continuing his studies at the University in his native Ostrava. He has performed in various piano festivals, including the Gilmore Festival, the Ravinia Rising Stars Series, the New York and London International Piano series, Festival La Roque d’Anthéron and ‘The Next Generation’ Festival.

COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
Classical Concert Series: Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7
Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. —Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Friday, March 20, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. —Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. —The Music Center at Strathmore
Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

Marin Alsop, conductor
Lukáš Vondráček, piano
Dvořák: Scherzo capriccioso
Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1
Dvořák: Symphony No. 7

Tickets for these concerts range from $20 to $85, and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.

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