ASO season brings new conductor, guest artists

Music: Jose-Luis Novo will lead the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra in works by Haydn, Tchaikovsky and Mozart.

April 13, 2005|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra will mark its 45th season in Maryland's capital with a new conductor and a generous supply of symphonic masterworks.

The orchestra's recently released schedule for the 2005-2006 season charts a path to the core of symphonic repertoire, and includes appearances by artists such as pianist Orion Weiss, a 2002 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, and 16-year-old violin prodigy Rachel Lee.

New music director Jose-Luis Novo, a violinist-turned-conductor from Spain, comes to the ASO by way of Yale University, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the University of Cincinnati. Novo, 37, will conduct four of the season's five subscription weekends, ceding the podium in March to Daniel Hege, director of the Syracuse Symphony, for two programs.

September's season opener will include Haydn's joyous, surpassingly elegant Surprise, and the lushly appointed Second Symphony of Jean Sibelius, with its ringing trumpet calls and Tchaikovsky-like climaxes.

Peter Ilyich's brand of Slavic romanticism comes to the fore in November with his brooding Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, the inimitable Pathetique.

The soul of Mother Russia speaks with more than one voice, which Hege will demonstrate when he brings Rachmaninoff's infrequently performed Third Symphony to Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.

In January, Mozart's majestic final symphony, Jupiter, culminates an all-Mozart program offered in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth.

Novo's first season in Annapolis will end next May with the most auspicious symphonic occasion of all: Beethoven's monumental Ninth Symphony, which will unite Annapolis' two most formidable performing arts organizations: the ASO and J. Ernest Green's Annapolis Chorale.

Pianist Weiss - no stranger to local audiences by virtue of his appearances with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on the Naval Academy's Distinguished Artists Series - plays Liszt's First Piano Concerto in November. Violinist Lee joins Hege for Lalo's sultry Symphonie Espagnole on March 24 and 25.

The season's other soloist is one of the ASO's finest: principal flutist Kim Valerio, who plays Mozart's G-major Concerto at the orchestra's January birthday party for Salzburg's eternal wunderkind.

Rounding out the 2005-06 season are works by Michael Abels and Jennifer Higdon, two of today's most accessible young composers, and overtures by Mozart, Verdi and Barber.

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