Robert Spano Leads Baltimore Symphony and Leila Josefowicz in John Adams’ Violin Concerto, October 29-31
Robert Spano leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in John Adams’ Violin Concerto featuring Leila Josefowicz on Thursday, October 29 at 8:00 p.m. and Friday, October 30, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Thursday and Friday’s performances will also include Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade and Stravinsky’s 1919 Suite from The Firebird. Saturday’s Casual Concert Series on Saturday, October 31 at 11 a.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall will only include Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite and John Adams’ Violin Concerto. The BSO will present an Off the Cuff performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade on Saturday, October 31 at 7:00 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
Composed just over a decade ago in 1993, John Adams wrote what is now one of the most frequently performed of all contemporary concertos—his Violin Concerto. Featured in this demanding work is Leila Josefowicz, whose “mesmerizing performances became a model for how a serious, new instrumental work could indeed achieve repertoire status” (John Adams). In order to be heard above the orchestra, Adams scored the violin playing almost constantly throughout the Concerto’s three movements. The finale is inspired by the composer’s studies of Indian music.
Popularized by its appearance in the Disney film Fantasia, the 1919 Suite from The Firebird is one of Igor Stravinsky’s most recognized works. The original piece, Stravinsky’s first major commission, was completed in 1910 as a 45-minute ballet for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, with Stravinsky composing shorter orchestral suites after the ballet’s success. Like Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinksy’s orchestration is rich and sumptuous, providing a dazzling backdrop for the Russian folktale of The Firebird.
Scheherazade is an orchestral piece based on episodes from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights). Influence of the Orient is clear through the exotic melodies that represent the characters of Sultan and Sultana Scheherazade. The four movement piece was composed in 1888 and demonstrates Rimsky-Korsakov’s talent for lush orchestration. The Off the Cuff performance will include insights by Robert Spano of certain excerpts followed by a complete performance of the piece.
Robert Spano, conductor Robert Spano is among the most innovative and imaginative conductors of his generation. Now in his ninth season as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, he has enriched its repertoire and elevated it to greater prominence. He has conducted the major orchestras of North America, including those in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Among the orchestras he has led internationally are the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Czech Philharmonic, Berlin Radio Sinfonie Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and New Japan Philharmonic. Mr. Spano has appeared with the opera companies of Chicago, Seattle, Houston and Santa Fe, and at the Royal Opera at Covent Garden and Welsh National Opera.
Musical America’s 2008 “Conductor of the Year,” Mr. Spano was music director of the Ojai Festival in 2006, director of the Festival of Contemporary Music at the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Music Center in 2003 and 2004, where he was also head of the Conducting Fellowship Program from 1998-2002 and was music director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic from 1996-2004. He is on the faculty of Oberlin Conservatory and has received honorary doctorates from Bowling Green State University, the Curtis Institute of Music and Emory University.
Leila Josefowicz, violin Leila Josefowicz came to national attention in 1994 when she made her Carnegie Hall debut with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and has since appeared with many of the world's most prestigious orchestras and eminent conductors. During the 2008-2009 season, Ms. Josefowicz premiered concertos written for her by Esa-Pekka Salonen with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Steve Mackey with the St. Louis Symphony and Thomas Adès’ violin concerto Concentric Paths with The Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco and Seattle symphonies. In October 2009, she premiered another concerto written for her by Colin Matthews with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In recognition of her passionate advocacy and genuine commitment to the music of today, Ms. Josefowicz was awarded a 2008 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.
Recent appearances included performances with the New York Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston and Cincinnati symphonies; a performance of John Adams' Violin Concerto in Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra; and recitals in San Francisco, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. During her 2009-2010 season, Ms. Josefowicz returns to the Cleveland Orchestra and Toronto Symphony, to play first performances of the Adès concerto, as well as to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra and the National, Atlanta, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Utah and Colorado symphonies.
A recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1994 as well as a 2007 United States Artists Cummings Fellowship, Ms. Josefowicz is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where she studied with Jaime Laredo and Jascha Brodsky.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
Classical Concert Series: Symphonic Fairytales
Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Friday, October 30, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. – JMSH
Robert Spano, conductor
Leila Josefowicz, violin
John Adams: Violin Concerto
Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite