Concert dedicated to memory of Watkins Annapolis Symphony to honor conductor with works by Bach, Mozart

March 26, 1998|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The fate of the Annapolis Symphony's Chamber Orchestra Series, which began this concert season on such a high note in September was tragically thrown into doubt when Sara Watkins, the ASO's resident conductor, died of an aneurysm a few weeks after the first concert.

But the series has survived, and, appropriately, the ASO has dedicated the season's second and final Chamber Orchestra concert to the memory of Watkins, the charismatic oboist turned conductor.

The orchestra will take the Maryland Hall stage at 8 p.m. Saturday under the direction of Markand Thakar, an assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic and associate conductor of the Colorado Symphony.

The program will include Mozart's jaunty little Divertimento for strings, K. 136, Bach's Double Concerto for Violin and Oboe, and the chamber version of Aaron Copland's beloved "Appalachian Spring."

Thakar also will conduct Samuel Barber's hauntingly beautiful "Adagio for Strings," which Watkins, who was 52, presented so beautifully in September.

Soloing in the Bach Concerto will be ASO concertmaster Philip Spletzer and the orchestra's new principal oboist, Fatma Daglar, who made such a favorable impression with her gorgeous obbligato playing in Bach's cantata "Ich Habe Genug" under Watkins' baton last fall. Daglar was Watkins' student at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, so Saturday's tribute will be deeply personal.

It seems especially fitting that the music chosen for Saturday's performance is anything but mournful and lugubrious, for Sara Watkins was a joyous person if ever there was one. True, the Barber "Adagio" is the soul of introspection, but the Mozart Divertimento unfolds with vivacity and verve, while "Appalachian Spring" is attuned to the spirit of optimism.

This music will eulogize Sara Watkins in ways that words cannot.

Tickets to this memorial concert may be reserved by calling 410-263-0907.

Pub Date: 3/26/98

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