Blockbuster of a season

ASO: Surprises lie ahead in Jose-Luis Novo's first full season conducting the Annapolis Symphony.


Arundel Live

Arts and entertainment in Anne Arundel County

August 05, 2005|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The coming concert season will be the Annapolis Symphony's 45th anniversary year, as well as its first full season under the baton of its new music director, Jose-Luis Novo, the Spanish maestro chosen by the orchestra's search committee last spring after a two-year search.

In his inaugural season, Novo will be on the Maryland Hall podium for four of the five pairs of subscription concerts, with a program of Samuel Barber, Edouard Lalo and Sergei Rachmaninoff conducted in March by Daniel Hege, conductor of the Syracuse Symphony. He spent several seasons as David Zinman's assistant with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

The two conductors will preside over a season of repertoire drawn from the core of the orchestral canon and leavened by works by Michael Abels and Jennifer Higdon, who are among the most accessible and popular contemporary composers.

A new, as-yet-untitled work by Abels will begin the season next month, with Higdon's blue cathedral, an evocative, spiritually charged 11-minute work dedicated to the composer's deceased brother, helping to bring the year to a close in May.

For symphony lovers among us, the 2005-2006 season promises one blockbuster after another.

Next month, we will be treated to the high spirits and cheeky charm of Franz Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 94 subtitled the Surprise, and the Nordic grandeur of Jean Sibelius' ringing (and wringing) 2nd Symphony.

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's sad and noble valedictory symphony, his Pathetique, is the centerpiece of the November concerts, with the infrequently performed 3rd Symphony of Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky's Slavic descendant, anchoring Hege's concert next March.

In between, grace, energy and lyricism will fill Maryland Hall in equal measure courtesy of the Jupiter Symphony, which caps off January's all-Mozart program offered in celebration of the great composer's 250th birthday.

The coming season concludes with the most storied symphony of all: Ludwig van Beethoven's monumental 9th Symphony, performed in tandem with J. Ernest Green's Annapolis Chorale, with soprano Kishna Davis, mezzo Jane Dutton, tenor Dinyar Vania, and baritone Kenneth Overton doing the solo honors.

Concerto soloists will be fewer this year than in past seasons, with Orion Weiss, a 2002 recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, performing Franz Liszt's dashing E-flat Piano Concerto in November and 16-year-old prodigy Rachel Lee playing Lalo's sultry Symphonie Espagnole next March.

The soloist for the Mozart celebration will be Kimberly Valerio, who has raised the ASO's artistic profile drastically since being named to the principal flutist's chair by former music director Leslie Dunner a few seasons back. She will perform the sparkling G-major Flute Concerto, a perfect vehicle for the elegance and verve her sound has added to the orchestral mix.

Add in the splendor of Mozart's Ballet Music from his opera Idomeneo, plus glorious overtures by Verdi, Mozart and Barber, and you have a season well worth your time, money, and interest.

All Annapolis Symphony Orchestra subscription concerts take place at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase St. in Annapolis. Each performance begins at 8 p.m. For subscription information, call the ASO at 410-263-0907.

Concert season

Annapolis Symphony 2005-2006 subscription concert season:

September 23-24, 2005 Jose-Luis Novo, conductor

ABELS: World Premiere HAYDN: Symphony No. 94, Surprise SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 2

November 18-19, 2005 Jose-Luis Novo, conductor Orion Weiss, piano

VERDI: Overture to La Forza del Destino LISZT: Piano Concerto No. 1 TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 6, Pathetique

January 27-28, 2006 Jose-Luis Novo, conductor Kimberly Valerio, flute

MOZART: Ballet Music from Idomeneo MOZART: Flute Concerto No. 1 MOZART: Overture to Don Giovanni MOZART: Symphony No. 41, Jupiter

March 24-25, 2006 Daniel Hege, guest conductor Rachel Lee, violin

BARBER: Overture to The School for Scandal LALO: Symphonie Espagnole RACHMANINOFF: Symphony No. 3

May 5-6, 2006 Jose Luis-Novo, conductor Annapolis Chorale and vocal soloists

MOZART: Overture to The Magic Flute HIGDON: blue cathedral BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9, Choral

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