Marin Alsop Leads Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, April 3-5

Maestra Alsop to give pre-concert lectures for Friday and Sunday performances;
Mezzo-Soprano Sasha Cooke performs in Bernstein’s
Opening Prayer

Baltimore, Md. (March 9, 2009) – Marin Alsop will conduct the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Mahler’s Ninth Symphony and Bernstein’s Opening Prayer, featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke (pictured), on Friday, April 3 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 5 at 3:00 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and on Saturday, April 4 at 8:00 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. This program concludes the BSO’s 2008-2009 season focus on Leonard Bernstein and Gustav Mahler.

Mahler’s Ninth Symphony premiered in Vienna of June 1912 and was immediately praised by fellow composer Alan Berg, who believed the work to be an expression of an exceptional fondness for this earth. The symphony is comprised of several movements, each expressing a different sentiment, culminating in Mahler’s moving Adagio finale. As music director of the New York Philharmonic, Bernstein prompted a “Mahler revival” in America and abroad in the 1960s. Leonard Bernstein suggested that certain rhythms within the symphony reflect the irregular heartbeat Mahler was so conscious of whenever he exerted himself.

Leonard Bernstein’s Opening Prayer was originally composed for a gala concert for Carnegie Hall, celebrating its 1986 reopening after an extensive renovation project. Eventually he added Opening Prayer as a closing movement to the Concerto for Orchestra he was creating to celebrate the Israel Philharmonic’s 50th anniversary. In addition to the many instruments featured in Mr. Bernstein’s work, there is a solo performance by mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, who slowly sings in Hebrew the words of the Benediction.

Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano Among her exciting appearances this season, Sasha Cooke sang at the Metropolitan Opera in the role of Kitty Oppenheimer in the New York premiere of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic, and the same role with English National Opera in her European debut. Ms. Cooke sang Handel’s Messiah with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and with the Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall. On April 14, Ms. Cooke will appear in the Young Concert Artists (YCA) Gala Irene Diamond Concert at Lincoln Center, performing Elgar’s Sea Pictures with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s under Giancarlo Guerrero. In the summer of 2008, Ms. Cooke appeared as Olga in Tchaikovsky’s Evgeny Onegin with the Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv and participated in the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. Ms. Cooke gives song recitals this season at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, The Embassy Series, Merkin Concert Hall in New York City, Fortas Chamber Music Series at the Kennedy Center and with the New York Festival of Song. Ms. Cooke premieres Andrew Norman’s “Lullaby” at Merkin Hall and at the Kennedy Center as part of YCA’s Composers Concerts. Ms. Cooke won first prize in the 2007 YCA International Auditions and holds the Lindemann Vocal Chair of YCA. Ms. Cooke made her Washington, D.C. debut in the YCA Series at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater in September 2007 and her New York debut at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in October 2007. Ms. Cooke is a member of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera. At the YCA International Auditions, Ms. Cooke was also honored with the Rhoda Walker Teagle Prize, which sponsored her New York debut; the Fergus First Prize; the Swiss Global Artistic Foundation Award; and the Embassy Series Concert Prize.

COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION:
Classical Concert Series: Mahler’s Ninth Symphony

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. – Music Center at Strathmore
Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

Marin Alsop, conductor
Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano

Bernstein: Opening Prayer
Mahler: Ninth Symphony

*Join Music Director Marin Alsop in the concert hall for a pre-concert lecture at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. The 30-minute lecture will focus on Mahler’s Ninth Symphony.

Tickets for these concerts range from $20 to $60, and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444 or 410.783.8000 or www.BSOmusic.org.

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