Peabody tunes up for concert season


Music Column

July 09, 2002|By Tim Smith | Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC

The 2002-2003 season already looked enticing before the Peabody Conservatory of Music's concert season was announced. Now it's even more so.

The big news starts with a follow-up to last April's program featuring Wagnerian star and former Peabody student James Morris. On that occasion, the bass sang "Wotan's Farewell" from Act 3 of Wagner's Die Walkure; next May, he'll join conductor Hajime Teri Murai and the Peabody Symphony Orchestra for all of Act 3.

Also appearing in this concert at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall will be soprano Christine Brewer as Brunnhilde and Christine Kavanaugh Miller as Sieglinde. This will be the biggest dose of Die Walkure in town since the Baltimore Opera staged it in 1984 - with Morris singing his first Wotan, which soon became his signature role.

FOR THE RECORD - In Tuesday's Today section, the classical music column gave an incorrect date for a free performance in the River Concert Series presented by St. Mary's College. The program, called "The Spirit of America," will be at 7 p.m. tomorrow on the Townhouse Green of St. Mary's College in St. Mary's City. The Sun regrets the error.

This won't be Peabody's only notable operatic activity next season. Back at the school's home base on Mount Vernon Square, Peabody Opera Theatre will offer two great comic works, neither over-performed - Britten's Albert Herring in November, Bernstein's Candide in March. Equally off-the-beaten-path is Monteverdi's Orfeo, slated for March at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

One of country's finest pianists, Richard Goode, will give a recital in October.

Among Peabody faculty artists featured on the concert series are cellist Michael Kannen (who succeeds Earl Carlyss in the Sidney Friedberg Chair of Chamber Music), clarinetist Edward Palanker, sopranos Deidra Palmour and Lori Hultgren, baritone Steven Rainbolt and the Peabody Trio.

Peabody's student orchestras will be busy. In addition to that burst of Wagner, repertoire includes symphonies by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mahler and Hindemith; concertos by Nielsen and Rachmaninoff; assorted works by Berlioz, Holst, Michael Torke and others.

The Peabody Symphony's contribution to the citywide Vivat! St. Petersburg festival will be a program led by Leon Fleisher that includes Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2, and Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2. The soloist in the latter will be new Peabody faculty member Alexander Shtarkman, a prize winner at the Van Cliburn, Busoni and Tchaikovsky piano competitions.

Peabody choruses will sing works by Handel and Mozart; wind and percussion ensembles will explore lots of decidedly contemporary fare. And there's much more in the lineup, from Renaissance repertoire to modern organ works.

For more information, call 410-659-8100, ext. 2.

Gala concert opener

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra will start its 42nd season a little early, with a gala concert on Aug. 27 featuring one of the brightest lights on the music scene, violinist Hilary Hahn. She'll play a solo concerto by Bach and be joined by Margaret Batjer, concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, in Bach's Double Concerto.

Music director Leslie B. Dunner has chosen colorful works for string orchestra by Elgar, Grieg and Turina to complete the program.

The ASO's regular subscription series begins in September with Dunner conducting an overture by Wagner, a cello concerto by Haydn (with soloist Daniel Lee) and excerpts from Prokofiev's ballet Romeo and Juliet. In November, guest conductor Arthur Post will lead the ensemble in works by Dukas, Franck and Chopin (Piano Concerto No. 1 with Brian Ganz).

Dunner will return in January for a concert showcasing two of the ASO's principal players. An all-American lineup is slated for February, including vocal works by Copland, Gershwin and Previn; soprano Kishna Davis and baritone Kevin Deas will be the soloists. The series closes in May with Dunner conducting Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto (with Liang Chai) and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.

There will also be pops and family events during the ASO season, which will be presented at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis. For more information, call 410-263-0907.

Patriotism at festival

If you're still in a Fourth of July mood, consider a jaunt down-state to the popular River Concert Series, which will be celebrating with a program called "The Spirit of America."

There will be the premiere of And the Presidents Said ... , a work blending narration and music. The words are by presidents, from Kennedy to Clinton, selected by historian Michael Beschloss and Washington Post vice president at-large Ben Bradlee. The score is by a noted American composer with the singularly appropriate name William Thomas McKinley.

Bradlee will narrate, with Jeffrey Silberschlag conducting the Chesapeake Orchestra. The concert also includes music by David Froom, a professor at St. Mary's College of Maryland (which presents the annual River Concert Series), and the premiere of an audience-participation piece called The Spirit of America by Baltimore-based Vivian Adelburg Rudlow.

And there will be an encore of one of the festival's most popular offerings - a 1995 work by the late, great Morton Gould for orchestra and fire equipment called Hosedown (A Firefighter Fable for Young Audiences). The Southern Maryland Fire Department will participate.

The outdoor concert is at 7 p.m. tomorrow on the Townhouse Green of St. Mary's College in St. Mary's City. Admission is free. Bring chairs or blankets. The grounds open at 5 p.m. Call 240-895-4380 or visit

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