An old friend visits the Annapolis Symphony at Maryland Hall this weekend.
Ruben Gonzalez, distinguished co-concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor and composer in his own right, comes to town to play the Beethoven Violin Concerto under Gisele Ben-Dor's baton, and to conduct a brief suite from his symphony "Dionisias and Lone Wolf."
Mr. Gonzalez has appeared with the symphony twice before, soloing in the concertos of Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky.
Ms. Ben-Dor, the orchestra's music director, will round out the concerts Friday and Saturday with the splashy "Pictures at an Exhibition," composed by Modest Mussorgsky and orchestrated so colorfully by Maurice Ravel.
Mr. Gonzalez tells us that "Dionisias," a musical interpretation of themes derived from Herman Hesse's novel "Steppenwolf," is a commentary on ambivalence about conformity and individuality.
It is an eclectic piece, with blues, tango and other dance forms making cross-cultural appearances in the work's four movements.
In "Dionisias," Mr. Gonzalez collaborates with Mariano Krauz, the first oboist of the Buenos Aires Philharmonic, and singer/pianist Susana Mendelievich, both of whom will be at Maryland Hall for these performances.
Mr. Krauz will play the work's oboe solos, and Ms. Mendelievich will perform vocal introductions to the movements.
"Collaboration has been a fantastic experience," Mr. Gonzalez said Tuesday during a rehearsal break. "At the end, you don't know who wrote what. Each of us has something the others need."
As for the Beethoven concerto, "What needs be said?" he asked. my favorite concerto and it's always a pleasure to come back to it, especially with a conductor as sympathetic as Gisele."
The concerts are scheduled at 8 p.m. Call 263-0907 for ticket information.