Violinist to take podium for ASO

Concert: Philip Spletzer, an experienced orchestral musician, will make his conducting debut at the Camerata Concert tomorrow.


Arundel Live

March 30, 2000|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

You wouldn't think a whole new career path could be discovered by a person moving all of five feet forward, but that's what will happen to Philip Spletzer at the Camerata Concert offered by the Annapolis Symphony tomorrow evening.

Spletzer, 33, who has spent the past five seasons in the concertmaster's chair of the orchestra's first violin section, will ascend the Maryland Hall podium at 8 p.m. to conduct a reduced-sized ASO in works by Bach, Vivaldi, Bartok and Joseph Suk.

Not only will this be his first directorial stint in Annapolis, it will be his conducting debut. "I've directed before while playing the violin," he says, "but never with a baton in my hand, and never in a public place. I'm really excited. We had our first rehearsal the other night, and I didn't fall down, and no one laughed at me."

A Long Island, N.Y., native and a graduate of Manhattan School of Music and the University of Akron in Ohio, Spletzer is an experienced orchestral musician who has played extensively in ensembles such as the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas' New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Fla. He is also a veteran of music theater pit orchestras on Broadway and international tours.

In addition, Spletzer leaves his Baltimore home several times each year to serve as concertmaster of the Key West Symphony in Florida.

But even for an experienced player, tomorrow night's move is anything but an incremental step. "I'll be responsible for covering the full scope of the music," he says, "instead of what I'm usually in charge of as concertmaster. But I really wanted to try it. I expressed an interest about a year ago, and I couldn't be happier that the orchestra said yes."

At the outset, Spletzer will lead with his fiddle as fellow ASO violinist Tamara Seymour joins him for Antonio Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Violins.

Next, pianist Igal Kesselman joins the orchestra for Bach's First Concerto in D minor. Local music aficionados might remember Kesselman as one of the primary accompanists at the Daniel Heifetz Institute, the summer music school convened in Annapolis the past two years.

Bartok's zesty, gypsylike Romanian Dances are on the bill, with Joseph Suk's lovely "Serenade for Strings" with its many changes of tempo.

It's quite a program for a rookie, and Spletzer relishes the challenge. "But believe me," he says, "it's nice to be doing it in front of a lot of my friends in the orchestra."

Tickets: 410-269-1132.

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