ASO to celebrate its 44th season

Preview

April 08, 2004|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra will celebrate its 44th anniversary in the 2004-2005 season, which is being billed as a "Season of Discovery" at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.

That's as good a name as any, because the season should yield not only the winner of the local orchestra's two-year search for a conductor to succeed the departed Leslie B. Dunner, but also an inventively programmed repertoire not usually found on business-as-usual concert programs.

The season's first visitor is Spanish conductor Jose-Luis Novo, a former assistant with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra who was appointed conductor of the Binghamton Philharmonic in New York last year.

Novo has been entrusted with a September program full of gypsy flair and dominated by Manuel de Falla's sultry, Flamenco-inspired El Amor Brujo, Maurice Ravel's knucklebusting Tzigane for violin and orchestra and Zoltan Kodaly's Peacock Variations, a colorful, anti-fascist work based on a Hungarian folk theme.

Providing the pyrotechnics on the violin will be Elissa Lee Koljonen, a young musician whose list of solo engagements includes appearances with the front-line orchestras of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Baltimore.

David Itkin, conductor of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra for the past 11 seasons, comes to Maryland Hall in October for a diverse program of favorites (Mozart's Cosi fan tutte overture and Johannes Brahms' 4th Symphony) and the dashing Piano Concerto of Armenia's Aram Khachaturian, a once-popular work from the late 1930s that has been wanting for attention in recent years.

It will get that attention from Italian pianist Fabio Bidini, who makes his ASO debut. Jonathan McPhee, music director of the Boston Ballet Orchestra, comes to the capital city for the luminous Helios Overture by Denmark's greatest composer, Carl Nielsen (1865-1931), Leonard Bernstein's Serenade, a de facto concerto for the violin inspired by the writings of Plato, and Beethoven's celestial 4th Symphony.

Violinist Tai Murray, who is scheduled to perform Serenade with the world-class Chicago Symphony Orchestra next season, joins McPhee on the Maryland Hall stage in November.

The final entrant in the conductor's derby will be Robert Moody, associate conductor of Arizona's Phoenix Symphony for the past six seasons, who will appear in January leading works by Mexico's Arturo Marquez and Russia's Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Moody is no stranger to local audiences, having led ASO holiday and pops concerts in 2002 and this year.

The orchestra's voyage of discovery reaches port in May of next year with a concert to be led by its new conductor.

Antonin Dvorak's New World Symphony will be the season's valedictory work.

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