For her first Annapolis Symphony Orchestra solo appearance, violinist Brynn Albanese decided to let the conductor pick the music. And shecouldn't be more pleased.
As a result of Gisele Ben-Dor's programming, the 23-year-old concertmaster of the ASO will be performing a pair of solo works that run the gamut of emotions and styles tonight and tomorrow night at Maryland Hall.
She will play the dramatic, snappy "Winter" concerto from Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" and Ralph Vaughan Williams' "The Lark Ascending," a miniature tone poem depicting a bird in flight.
"I'm very excited about the concert," the violinist said. "I love this music, and I'm happy to be playing it in Annapolis. I enjoy the orchestra. And I've always felt an interest and support from our audiences."
Her audience will be just that much more interested and supportive this weekend because it will include her parents, who are coming in from LosAngeles for the occasion.
Vivaldi's seasonal run of four concertos for violin and chamber orchestra is about as "boffo box office" as classical music gets. There are 49 versions of "The Four Seasons" at Tower Records; a few are scored for flute, brass quintet, and the Japanese Koto!
"I know it's frequently played," said Albanese, who performed all four in her native California when she was 18. "But I'm going to try to make my own statement with it by conveying the intensecoldness of the winter scenes."
The beautiful "Lark Ascending" isthe antithesis of a flashy virtuoso concerto.
"The violin doesn'tdominate here," Albanese explained. "It's a beautifully orchestrated, visual piece that can create a feeling of magic. I'll be working toplay it as convincingly as possible.
"I just hope it doesn't descend," she laughed.
This weekend's concerts, which will also feature Mozart's overture to "Don Giovanni," Stravinsky's Suite for Small Orchestra and Haydn's exuberant "Miracle" Symphony, have generated media excitement in Baltimore for reasons of both artistry and gender.
When was the last time an orchestra was conducted, managed, and ledfrom the concertmaster's chair by women? And when the concertmaster becomes the soloist, that's four of a kind.