Concert Artists of Baltimore

Program showcases music of Ellen Zwilich

  • Composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilch's music will be featured in Saturday's performance by Concert Artists of Baltimore.
Composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilch's music will be featured… (Jennifer Wada Communications,…)
November 18, 2010|By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun

Since 1987, Concert Artists of Baltimore has enlivened the music scene with a distinctive mix of repertoire, since the organization consists of both a professional chorus and chamber orchestra. Saturday's lineup is typically diverse and intriguing.

"I thought I would do a kind of telescope thing, but looking backwards from now to Mozart, the granddaddy of us all," said Edward Polochick, Concert Artists' founding artistic director.

To start, there will be a work by one of America's finest contemporary composers, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for music (in 1983). At 71, she is as productive as ever, but you might not know that around here. Zwilich has received little attention locally in recent years, so this concert becomes all the more notable.

Polochick chose the composer's " Prologue and Variations" for string orchestra, a darkly lyrical piece from 1984.

"Ellen has her own voice," he said. "A lot of her music is too large for us, but this one fits well. It's a fabulous piece, so well-written for the strings and quite beautifully constructed — at the first rehearsal, the players jumped on it. I think it will be appealing even to first-time listeners."

Staying with American fare, Polochick will then turn back the clock to the 1950s for works featuring chorus — selections from the rarely heard incidental music Leonard Bernstein wrote to Jean Anouilh's play "The Lark," and Randall Thompson's once very popular "Frostiana."

The program will close with a stop in the 18th century for Mozart's C minor Piano Concerto with soloist Liudmila Georgievskaya, winner of the 2009 Liszt/Garrison International Piano Competition in Baltimore.

Concert Artists will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at Gordon Center for Performing Arts, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave., Owings Mills. $22 to $35. Call 410-625-3525 or go to cabalto.org.

—Tim Smith

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