Mark your calendars: ASO prepares for its 46th season

July 14, 2006|By MARY JOHNSON | MARY JOHNSON,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

As the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra prepares for its 46th season, President Lee Streeby said the orchestra hopes to build on its successes under first-year conductor Jose-Luis Novo.

"The sound of the orchestra has gotten much richer in Maestro Jose Luis Novo's first year on the podium, and the bar will continue to rise with the new season," Streeby said, adding that "the bar is also raised on the caliber of soloists next year."

"Leon Fleisher's return is probably the biggest highlight, but audiences won't want to miss any of the other four either," Streeby said.

In an e-mail, Novo said, "I am extremely excited about our upcoming season not only because we have gathered an outstanding and diverse roster of guest artists but also because we have selected an exquisite repertoire in a creative and original way. Our audience will be able to witness a cumulative energy over the course of the season, building up to the season finale in which we will undertake some of the most brilliant orchestral repertoire ever written."

On Sept. 15-16, the season opens with the return of Fleisher, music director emeritus, who conducted the orchestra for 12 seasons from 1970 to 1982.

Having suffered from the neurological affliction focal dystonia for nearly 40 years, Fleisher, a concert pianist, was forced to restrict his playing to the left hand until recently when he resumed playing with both hands. He will play Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, at the September concert; the program will also include Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10 in honor of the composer's birthday centennial.

A "Rhythm and Rhyme" concert Nov. 17-18 will feature Bulgarian-born percussion soloist Svet Stoyanov, who performed at the opening of Carnegie Hall's newest space, Zankel Hall, and at Lincoln Center. Stoyanov will offer Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra by contemporary American composer Joseph Schwantner, recipient of a Grammy Award and Pulitzer Prize for earlier compositions.

Schwantner's Concerto was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for its 150th anniversary. Also on the program will be Ravel's Mother Goose Suite and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade.

The celebration of Valentine's Day will extend to Feb. 16-17, when Novo will lead the orchestra in an "All About Love" program to feature American baritone Christopheren Nomura in songs about love kindled and unrequited with Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer and Ravel's Don Quichotte a Dulcinee.

The program will include Wagner's Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde and Bernstein's West Side Story Symphonic Dances.

Violist Roberto Diaz, president and chief executive officer of the Curtis Institute of Music, will perform Bartok's Viola Concerto on March 16-17 with the ASO. Other works include Richard Strauss' Metamorphosen for Strings and Brahms' Symphony No. 2.

The Brahms work will be repeated March 24, Streeby said, "when we'll have the opportunity to take the Brahms Second Symphony to Strathmore Hall as part of a special Maryland Day program there."

The classical season closes May 4-5 with the return of violinist Jennifer Koh, who first brought her fine 1727 Stradivarius and her virtuoso talents to enchant Annapolis Symphony audiences in October 1999. Since then, critical praise has been lavished on her recitals at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and Italy's Spoleto Festival. Koh returns to the ASO to play Sibelius' Violin Concerto.

Also included on this program are Revueltas' Sensemaya, Richard Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, and Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis.

The Pops series includes the annual Holiday Pops concert Dec. 16 and a Spring Pops "Viva Italia" concert April 6 featuring soprano Eun-Hee Kim and tenor Daniel Snyder. The Family Concert titled "Symphony in Space" will be performed Feb. 3. All concerts - including the Pops and Family Concerts - will be conducted by Novo. Also next season, musicologist Rachel Franklin will offer her popular informative preconcert lectures.

For subscription information call the ASO box office at 410-263-0907 or visit the Web site at www.annapolissymphony.org

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