Christopher O'Riley joins the Baltimore Symphony in Romeo & Radiohead

Guest conductor James Gaffigan will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on Friday, April 24, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore and on Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Symphony with a Twist™: Romeo and Radiohead. The concert will feature selections from Sergei Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet, Bernstein’s On the Town, Mozart’s Ballet Music from Idomeneo and Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, to be performed by pianist Christopher O’Riley (pictured). O’Riley will also perform his critically acclaimed transcriptions from the alternative rock band, Radiohead. The same programming will be performed as part of the Classical Concert Series, without the Radiohead twist, on Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

The host of National Public Radio’s From the Top, pianist Christopher O’Riley is listened to and enjoyed by classical and rock ‘n’ roll fans alike. O’Riley will perform Maurice Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand, commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein in 1929, an Austrian pianist who developed a formidable technique with his left hand after losing his right arm in World War II. One of Ravel’s two piano concertos, this concerto is said to display the darker side of the composer’s genius. O’Riley will follow the concerto with his critically acclaimed Radiohead transcriptions for solo piano, described by The New York Times as representing “the thrashing intensity of a rock band…with wildly dissonant chords and densely knitted textures…” The antithesis of ballet music, O’Riley’s take on the tunes will bring the completely unexpected to the program, the intent of the Symphony with a Twist™ series, which after seven years, comes to an end with these concerts.

Sergei Prokofiev’s symphonic interpretation of Romeo and Juliet, though initially met with skepticism, has become one of the jewels of the classical ballet repertoire and brings the romance of spring to the orchestra. Maestro Gaffigan has chosen six selections, arranged to tell the romantic tragedy in chronological order. Selections include “Montagues and Capulets,” “Masks,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Tybalt’s Death,” “Romeo at Juliet’s Grave” and “The Death of Juliet.” Each piece musically represents the drama of Shakespeare’s greatest love story. Also featured in the program is Mozart’s Idomeneo, composed in 1781 as part of a grand opera seria to open the Lenten concert season at the Bavarian court opera house in Salzburg. Based on Homer’s romantic tale of King Idomeneus of Crete, Idomeneo is considered one of Mozart's richest and most beautiful scores.

Written in collaboration with friends Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Leonard Bernstein’s romantic comedy On the Town tells a light-hearted story about three sailors on 24-hours' shore leave in New York City during World War II. The three movements to be performed by the BSO include “Lonely Town: Pas de Deux,” “Times Square: 1944,” and the show's most famous song, “New York, New York.”

Symphony with a Twist: Romeo and Radiohead
Friday, April 24, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. – Music Center at Strathmore
Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Lobby opens at 6:30 p.m. for tapas and cocktails

Classical Concert Series: Romeo and Juliet
Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

James Gaffigan, conductor
Christopher O’Riley, pianist

Mozart: Ballet Music from Idomeneo
Ravel: Piano Concerto for the Left Hand
Christopher O’Riley: Radiohead transcriptions
Bernstein: Three Dance Episodes from On the Town
Prokofiev: Selections from Romeo and Juliet

Tickets for these concerts range from $20 to $80, and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or


Popular posts from this blog

The Art of String Quartets by Brian Ferneyhough

The Role of Music in Opera