Music Director Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) announce the Orchestra’s 2013-2014 season, its seventh under the direction of Maestra Alsop.
Music: Bringing Solace and Hope after Tragedy
Music’s role as a balm for the afflicted is timeless. When tragedy strikes, music helps people mourn, honor the dead and find hope again. Three works during the season were specifically written in response to tragic events. The centerpiece of the 2013-2014 season is Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem on November 14-16, composed to mark the rebirth of Coventry Cathedral, whose ruin was a symbol of the physical and spiritual destruction wrought by the Second World War. These performances celebrate the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth on November 22, 1913. On June 5-8, 2014, the BSO pairs John Adams’ deeply affecting tribute to the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, On the Transmigration of Souls, with Beethoven’s uplifting Ninth Symphony, with its call for joy to unite all people in universal brotherhood. And on October 18-20, 2013, guest conductor Arild Remmereit introduces the music of Karen Tanaka with Water of Life, a musical response to the devastating 2011 tsunami in her native Japan.
Britten’s War Requiem
The 20th-century English composer Benjamin Britten knew music’s restorative power well. An outspoken pacifist, Britten’s harrowing, poignant War Requiem was commissioned to consecrate the Coventry Cathedral, which had been destroyed by a Nazi bomb in 1940 during World War II. Its text weaves the traditional Requiem liturgy with poetry by Wilfred Owen, a British soldier killed in battle in the First World War. Britten scored the music of this weighty work for a large orchestra plus an additional chamber orchestra and two choirs. Marin Alsop leads the BSO and soprano Tamara Wilson, tenor Nicolas Phan, baritone Ryan McKinny, the University of Maryland Concert Choir and the Peabody Children’s Chorus in this large-scale masterpiece November 14-16.
“Music has the power to express the inexpressible. Some of my most memorable performing experiences have been in the wake of tragedy. When people are hurting and need comfort, music can be that refuge and can offer a glimmer of hope and solace,” said Music Director Marin Alsop. “Britten’s War Requiem premiered in the Coventry Cathedral in 1962 to christen a building that had to literally rise out of the ashes and be rebuilt. The World War II victims’ metaphorical ascent out of the ashes as they rebuilt their lives and remembered the many they lost is no less significant. This masterpiece is filled with inspiring moments, especially when the multitudes assembled onstage are playing and singing at full volume. But this complex work also has many tender and mournful moments that truly connect us, reminding us of what we share as members of the human race.”
John Adams’ On the Transmigration of Souls and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony
To close the 2013-2014 classical subscription season on June 5-8, Marin Alsop leads the BSO in John Adams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning On the Transmigration of Souls and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
John Adams’ On the Transmigration of Souls was premiered in September 2002 by the New York Philharmonic to an audience personally affected and still keenly grieving the lives lost in the 9/11 attacks just one year prior. The composer described the work as a “memory space,” where a listener can “go and be alone with your thoughts and emotions.” Its text is drawn not from notable poets or religious texts, but rather the simple phrases scrawled on the posters that adorned Ground Zero, written by those left behind. “Transmigration”—or movement from one place to another—is intended to describe the movement of souls to their final resting place, but also to describe and stimulate an inner transformation in all who would hear this work.
The influence of Beethoven’s monumental Ninth Symphony is immeasurable. As the first symphony to include full chorus and orchestra, Beethoven’s Ninth brought the genre to a magnitude that had never been previously conceived, thereby radically changing the future of orchestral repertoire. With its uplifting text and call for universal brotherhood, the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony has been used to mark historic events, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, and now serves as the European Union’s anthem. The symphony was inspired by the writing of Friedrich Schiller, who, in his poem An die Freude or “Ode to Joy,” states that joy is found when “all men are made brothers.”
Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, “Age of Anxiety”
Among the leading interpreters of Leonard Bernstein’s works, Marin Alsop has led the BSO in several critically acclaimed performances of the popular composer/conductor’s music during her tenure. Reported The Washington Post of the BSO’s 2012 performance of Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3, “Kaddish,” “Marin Alsop studied with Leonard Bernstein. This could be dismissed as a mere PR bullet point, a seal of approval, an item on the checklist of her distinctions. Or so at least you might think, until you hear her conduct Bernstein’s music. …[Alsop’s] got Bernstein under her skin.” The BSO’s 2008 performance of Bernstein’s large-scale Mass was no less riveting, prompting The New York Times to rave, “…how [Bernstein] would have loved seeing his ‘Mass’ touch so many people…” In the 2013-2014 season, Marin Alsop leads another work by Bernstein, his Symphony No. 2, “Age of Anxiety” (September 26-28), a major piano concerto in all but name.
Commissioned by Bernstein’s longtime mentor Serge Koussevitzky, the work is based on W.H. Auden’s Pulitzer Prize-winning poem, “The Age of Anxiety,” published in 1947. Auden’s message of one man’s quest for faith in an increasingly faithless world was a theme that Bernstein felt deeply. The Symphony’s form mirrors that of Auden’s text: six subsections, divided into two parts performed without a break; Bernstein scored the work for solo piano and orchestra. Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra premiered the work in 1949 with the composer himself at the piano. For the BSO’s performance, French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet will return to the BSO as soloist.
“Bernstein’s struggle to reconcile the tenants of his faith with the devastation of war is in full display in this dramatic work,” said Maestra Alsop. “Every composition for Bernstein was a personal search for answers. His second symphony, inspired by the epic poem by W.H. Auden, ‘Age of Anxiety,’ is Bernstein’s musical quest for faith in the aftermath of the Second World War’s horrors. For Bernstein, hope was never lost and was always worth pursuing.”
Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
In the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s recent tradition of theatrical productions such as Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher, the BSO brings to the stage Mendelssohn’s sprightly A Midsummer Night’s Dream on May 29 through June 1, 2014, led by Maestra Alsop. This semi-staged adaptation of Shakespeare’s original text is by The Juilliard School’s Edward Berkeley, who also serves as the director. The classic tale chronicles the misadventures of four, young Athenian lovers, a group of bumbling amateur actors and the mischievous fairies that control them. The dialogue is interspersed with Mendelssohn’s well-loved incidental music, such as the famous “Wedding March” that has become a staple in modern weddings. A women’s chorus from the Baltimore Choral Arts Society joins the BSO for this program, along with a cast of talented actors to be announced at a later date.
BSO at the Movies
In the 2012-2013 season, the BSO brought audiences live screenings of some of the best films ever produced, including West Side Story, Alexander Nevsky and Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times. The concert hall becomes the movie theater once again with screenings of three more film classics: Casablanca and Charlie Chaplin’s The Idle Class and The Kid.
Following the successes of the BSO’s presentations in previous seasons of The Gold Rush and City Lights, the BSO pays tribute to legendary actor, director and composer Charlie Chaplin with screenings of The Idle Class and The Kid (January 30 through February 1, 2014). Produced in 1921, The Kid was Chaplin’s first full-length movie, for which he served as writer, producer and director. This “dramedy” combined the physical antics for which Chaplin is known with a dramatic plot: Chaplin’s character, The Little Tramp, becomes the unlikely adoptive father of an abandoned baby. Also from 1921, Chaplin’s 30-minute featurette The Idle Class, which follows The Little Tramp on vacation, opens the double-bill. As usual, he gets into trouble, this time for stealing golf balls and being mistaken for a wealthy woman’s alcoholic husband. On the surface, the film is an entertaining comedy, yet its deeper message conveys contempt for the ruling elite.
Immediately following the close of the subscription season, Emil de Cou leads the BSO in performances (June 12-14, 2014) of the 1942 romantic drama Casablanca. This wartime film chronicles one man’s (Humphrey Bogart) decision between being with the woman (Ingrid Bergman) he loves or aiding her escape with her husband from the Moroccan city of Casablanca to lead a resistance against the Nazis. Its enduring musical score by Max Steiner, whose compositional credits include the music for Gone with the Wind, features well-known ballads like “As Time Goes By,” “Perfidia” and “It Had to Be You.”
A High-Definition Voyage into Space with Holst’s The Planets
Marin Alsop will lead the BSO on an odyssey into space with a performance of Holst’s The Planets (November 7-10), paired with high-definition projections of images from space. Once an unassuming music teacher, Gustav Holst was catapulted into fame following the 1916 premiere of The Planets. Each of the seven tone poems that comprise this suite conveys the mood of the astrological sign associated with that planet. For example, it opens with a thunderous Scherzo movement intended to depict Mars, The Bringer of War. In contrast, in the final movement, Neptune, The Mystic, the orchestra’s hushed tones and the addition of a wordless chorus of women’s voices from the Baltimore Choral Arts Society creates The Planets’ haunting exit.
Music of Our Time
Next season, the BSO will premiere works by two American composers: John Adams and Jonathan Leshnoff.
John Adams’ imprint on contemporary music is indelible. Among the world’s leading classical composers, Adams is credited as one of the key influencers who shifted modern musical aesthetics away from academic modernism and toward a more expansive, expressive style. The BSO co-commissioned (with Sydney, St. Louis and São Paulo symphony orchestras) his Saxophone Concerto, to be performed September 20-22. The work’s United States premiere will feature saxophonist Tim McAllister, who makes his BSO debut. As the soprano saxophonist in the esteemed ensemble PRIZM, McAllister’s 2009 performance in the premiere of another of Adams’ works—City Noir, performed with Los Angeles Philharmonic—was described as “volcanic,” “flamboyant,” and performed with “wonderful grace.”
Jonathan Leshnoff is a Baltimore-based composer whose influence is far broader than the city he calls home. The BSO’s world premiere in 2010 of Leshnoff’s Starburst was described by The Baltimore Sun as “a curtain-raiser in the best sense of the word, full of energy and anticipation.” Marin Alsop leads the BSO in the world premiere of Leshnoff’s Guitar Concerto (January 9-12, 2014), a work written for another Baltimore-resident, internationally renowned guitarist, Manuel Barrueco. The work promises to dazzle with propulsive rhythms, a hauntingly slow and ethereal second movement, and a dance-like finale.
Off the Cuff
Marin Alsop’s dry wit and encyclopedic knowledge of classical repertoire have been the winning combination behind the popular Off the Cuff series. Now in its sixth season at the Meyerhoff and fourth at Strathmore, fixed subscriptions to this series have grown by 30% at the Meyerhoff and 52% at The Music Center at Strathmore. The Off the Cuff series—with its unique, shorter concert format, generally featuring one masterwork–has attracted a devoted following of classical music aficionados and newcomers alike. These audiences share a desire to delve deeper into the themes and meanings of major works and the lives of the composers who wrote them.
On November 8-9, Marin Alsop and the BSO take audiences on a journey through space with Gustav Holst’s The Planets. The programmatic music is illuminated by high definition images from the galaxy projected on a screen above the stage. On January 10-11, 2014 Maestra Alsop leads the BSO in Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” inspired by the scenes the Czech composer saw during his first trip to America in 1892. Known for the skillful way he wove the folk songs of his homeland into his symphonies, Maestra Alsop will uncover the American tunes—like “Three Blind Mice” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”—that pop up in Dvořák’s final symphony.
An Off the Cuff season highlight is CSI: Mozart on February 28 and March 1. Building on the successes of BSO-produced symphonic plays presented in prior seasons, including CSI: Beethoven, Analyze This: Mahler and Freud, and Wagner: A Composer Fit for a King, the BSO will once again employ the talents of playwright Didi Balle. As with 2008’s CSI: Beethoven, patrons are invited to “join the investigation” and uncover the events that led to Mozart’s death. How did one of history’s greatest and most influential composers, who enjoyed dazzling popular celebrity at the height of his success, end up poor, alone and in debt, eventually dying of kidney failure and buried in an unmarked grave? Marin Alsop explores these questions and more with a team of experts, punctuated by selections from Mozart’s most beloved works, such as selections from The Magic Flute and Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter.”
On April 25-26, 2014, Marin Alsop explores Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, “Titan,” a work she and the BSO released in 2012 on the Naxos label to critical success. Maestra Alsop will examine the composer through the autobiographical lens of his first symphony. For example, the work’s nickname—“Titan”—is the protagonist of Romantic author Jean Paul Richter’s novel by the same name. The fictional Titan was a passionate dreamer, an ideal Mahler admired and aspired to emulate.
BSO Gala with Pink Martini, Sept. 7
In 1994, aspiring politician Thomas Lauderdale was attending yet another political fundraiser and was once again underwhelmed by the assembled drab and generic musical entertainment. He decided to do something about it, and created a hip “little orchestra” with a multi-cultural sound. Since its founding, this eclectic group of musicians has gone on to perform with orchestras throughout the world, including sold-out concerts everywhere from Carnegie Hall to Paris’ legendary L’Olympia Theater. Founder Mr. Lauderdale describes Pink Martini’s style as “wildly diverse.” He explains that each member brings their globetrotting experiences and study of different languages to the compositional and repertoire selection process. “At one moment, you feel like you’re in the middle of a samba parade in Rio de Janeiro, and in the next moment, you’re in a French music hall of the 1930s or a palazzo in Napoli. It’s a bit like an urban musical travelogue.”
Pink Martini’s inclusive musical style fits perfectly with the annual BSO Gala Concert, which seeks to be a community-wide celebration. Conducted by BSO Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly and held on Saturday, September 7 at 8:30 p.m., the Orchestra’s largest fundraising event of the season will raise support for the BSO’s broad education and community outreach programs, such as OrchKids, OrchLab, Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestras, the Midweek programs and more. Gala event packages will be available later this Spring and concert tickets are first available to 2013-2014 subscribers and then to the general public for $75 and $100 in early August.
Holiday Fun for the Family with the BSO
Critically-acclaimed conductor Edward Polochick leads the Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale in their annual performance at the Meyerhoff of Handel’s Messiah, December 6, 2013. The Baltimore Sun raves, “Polochick and his Concert Artists of Baltimore enjoy a remarkable rapport that can produce startling, highly satisfying results.” Handel’s powerful and iconic oratorio, which has become a beloved holiday tradition with the BSO and beyond, will ignite the winter program.
In December 2011, Holiday Cirque audiences were spellbound by the dazzling feats of grace and strength, paired with inspiring symphonic music played by the BSO. The concert hall becomes the Big Top once again when a new act—Cirque Musica—takes the stage for seven shows on December 11-15. Strongmen, contortionists, acrobats and more entertain, choreographed to the Holiday season’s favorite tunes.
The BSO’s 2012 full-length production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, featuring dancers from the Baltimore School for the Arts, complete with scenery by students from the Maryland Institute College of Art, was a critical success and filled four packed houses at The Lyric Modell for the Performing Arts Center. The BSO again presents this holiday tradition for the whole family in four productions on December 20-22 (tickets available May 1, 2013 via Ticketmaster).
Jack Everly and the BSO SuperPops Season
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly’s 11th season with the BSO includes tributes to legends like Barbra Streisand, the late Marvin Hamlisch and The Bee Gees, and headliners like Ann Hampton Callaway, George Takei and Chris Botti.
If anyone is up to the challenge of emulating the living legend Barbra Streisand, it must be singer-songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway, performing The Streisand Songbook on October 10-13, 2013. Best-known for her Tony Award-nominated performance in the hit Broadway show Swing!, BSO patrons may remember Callaway for her turn as the witty and golden-voiced host of the 2009 Holiday Spectacular. Callaway enjoys a professional relationship with Streisand, and has written some of Streisand’s favorite songs, including “I Dream of You,” which Streisand sang at her own wedding to Josh Brolin.
Strathmore audiences have the opportunity to hear one of the leading trumpeters of our day, Chris Botti, on November 14, 2013. Known early in his career for his collaborations with Sting, he has gone on to cement his reputation with an unparalleled sonorous sound that has inspired audiences for years. Editor’s Note: the BSO will not be performing on this program. (This performance is only at Strathmore.)
On November 22-24, 2013, the BSO welcomes “the best jazz band in the land” (The San Francisco Examiner)—New Orleans’ own Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The group of friends that began jamming together in 1961 in the French Quarter’s Preservation Hall has gone on to set the standard for pure, unadulterated jazz entertainment. Their music is known for its unique blend of high-energy traditional American spirit. Editor’s Note: the BSO will not be performing on this program. (This performance is only in Baltimore at the Meyerhoff.)
Jack Everly leads the BSO in a tribute to former BSO Pops Conductor, Marvin Hamlisch. Vocalist Debbie Gravitte and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society join the BSO to remember the legendary conductor and composer, performing hits from A Chorus Line, The Sting, The Way We Were and more on January 23-26, 2014.
Before he became a highly followed icon on Facebook, George Takei was better known as the hit television show Star Trek’s Mr. Sulu. Takei will join conductor Jack Everly, soprano Kristen Plumley and The Sci-Fi-ettes on a journey through outer space in Sci-Fi Spectacular! on February 20-23, 2014. Takei serves as narrator and host on a galactic adventure with tunes from Star Trek, E.T., Somewhere in Time, Star Wars and more.
On March 27-30, 2014, the tribute group Stayin’ Alive joins the BSO in a celebration of the nine-time Grammy Award-winning band The Bee Gees. Their smash hits like Stayin’ Alive defined an era’s music and continue to live on with future generations.
On May 15-18, 2014, Jack Everly concludes the 2013-2014 SuperPops season in All the Jazz: A Symphonic Celebration of Kander & Ebb. This Broadway blockbuster duo has written the music for many of Broadway’s greatest shows, including Cabaret, Chicago, New York, New York, Kiss of the Spider Woman and more.
Subscription Season Highlights
Throughout the season, a lineup of distinguished guest conductors will lead the BSO, including conductors Arild Remmereit, Jun Märkl, Andrew Grams, Nicholas McGegan, Gilbert Varga, John Storgårds, Jakub Hrůša, Itzhak Perlman and Hans Graf.
- Marin Alsop opens the subscription season September 20-22, 2013 with two show-pieces: Rimsky-Korsakov’s sensuous Scheherazade, paired with Tchaikovsky’s rousing 1812 Overture. Also on the program is the United States’ premiere of the BSO co-commission of John Adams’ Saxophone Concerto, performed by Tim McAllister. The 1812 Overture will feature the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters Chorus. In 2009, McAllister performed in the premiere of Adams’ City Noir at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, prompting American Public Media to rave, “John Adams said he wouldn’t wish [that alto saxophone solo] on anyone, but Timothy McAllister [dispatched] it with wonderful grace on this world premiere [evening].”
- Jean-Yves Thibaudet returns to the BSO in a performance of Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety,” September 26-28, 2013. Based on W.H. Auden’s Pulitzer Prize-winning poem of the same name, Bernstein wrote “The Age of Anxiety” for a symphony orchestra and a solo piano creating a piece that moves between symphony and concerto. The piano solo, according to Bernstein’s own daughter, musical narrator Jamie Bernstein, is “one of the hardest parts ever written.” He will also perform Ravel’s riveting Piano Concerto in G Major. Also on the program are Daphnis and Chloe: Suite No. 2 and Gershwin’s Cuban Overture.
- Norwegian conductor Arild Remmereit leads debuting 23-year-old pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s popular Piano Concerto No. 1 on October 18-20, 2013. Remmereit, whom The New York Times calls “sensational,” will be returning for his third appearance with the BSO. Born blind, Nobuyuki Tsujii has inspired audiences worldwide with his “depth of expression and perception, mind-boggling technique and dexterity.” Also on the program is Water of Life by Japanese composer Karen Tanaka, whose style has been described as “delicate and emotive, beautifully crafted and showing a refined ear for both details and large organic shapes.” Fitting into the season’s larger theme of music as solace after tragedy, the work was composed as a reaction to the 2011 tsunami that ravaged her native Japan. The program will also feature Grieg’s Music from Peer Gynt, from Maestro Remmereit’s native Norway.
- Highly-acclaimed German conductor Jun Märkl returns to lead Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 on October 24-26, 2013. The Third Symphony is the shortest and least often heard of Brahms’ four symphonies, but as the composer’s friend and music critic Eduard Hanslick once noted, “the Third strikes me as being artistically the most nearly perfect.” Cellist Johannes Moser, hailed by Gramophone Magazine as “one of the finest among the astonishing gallery of young virtuoso cellists,” makes his BSO debut performing Tchaikovsky’s Mozart-inspired Variations on a Rococo Theme. Also on the program is Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings and Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5.
- Music Director Marin Alsop will lead the BSO and Baltimore Choral Arts Society in a larger-than-life performance of Holst’s The Planets on November 7 & 10, 2013. The Planets is one of the 20th century’s most famed orchestral showpieces and its seven movements, each illuminating the emotional character behind a particular planet, will be made even grander when paired with high definition imagery of space projected on a screen above the Orchestra. Praised as “skillful and fearless” by The Classical Review violinist Leila Josefowicz will perform Stravinsky’s chamber-style Violin Concerto. Also on the program is Leopold Stokowski’s arrangement of Bach’s Toccata & Fugue.
- For the 2013-2014 season’s first Off the Cuff series concert on November 8-9, 2013, Marin Alsop leads the BSO and Baltimore Choral Arts Society in the dazzling orchestration of Holst’s The Planets. The Off the Cuff series, now in its sixth season in Baltimore and fourth at The Music Center at Strathmore, features Maestra Alsop unraveling the history behind some of classical music’s greatest works in a fun, laid-back setting.
- Maestra Marin Alsop leads Britten’s gripping War Requiem on November 14-16, 2013, as the centerpiece of the new season. War Requiem is one of Britten’s greatest masterpieces as it brings together Britten’s dynamic talents as a writer of opera, choral works and songs into one incredibly powerful piece. Britten was commissioned to write his War Requiem in 1962 for the consecration of the newly reconstructed Coventry Cathedral, which had been destroyed in the Second World War, and thus the music is laden with the horrors of war and rich with Britten’s personal anti-war sentiments. The performance will feature the University of Maryland Concert Choir and the Peabody Children’s Chorus, as well as soprano Tamara Wilson, tenor Nicholas Phan and baritone Ryan McKinny.
- BSO Concertmaster Jonathan Carney leads the BSO in a classic combination of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires on December 7, 2013 (at The Music Center at Strathmore only). Vivaldi’s Seasons, written 250 years earlier in Italy, has inspired more than 200 renditions and is one of the most recorded classical works in history. On the other side of the equator in Argentina, where the seasons are the reverse of those in Europe, Piazzolla’s piece was influenced by the vibrant sounds of his “tango nuevo.” The unique strength behind each of these works was drawn together harmoniously by Leonid Desyatnikov for the great Russian violinist Gidon Kremer. This arrangement, written for a solo violin and small string orchestra, matched the instrumentation of the two pieces so that audiences could enjoy not just four, but “Eight Seasons” of musical splendor.
- It’s a Viennese New Years in Maryland! Rising young talent Andrew Grams leads the BSO in Viennese Favorites on January 2-5, 2014. The Chicago Classical Review applauds the Maryland-born Grams for “displaying natural authority, a graceful podium presence and an impressive musicality.” He will conduct miniatures of Mozart and pieces by Johann Strauss, Jr. including the treasured Blue Danube Waltz.
- With the New Year comes Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony, led by Marin Alsop on January 9-12, 2014. “From the New World,” Dvořák’s last symphony, is one of the most popular symphonies of all time as it weaves together Dvořák’s Czech roots with his new love for America in a truly masterful pairing. The program also features the world premiere of the BSO co-commissioned Guitar Concerto, by Baltimore-based composer Jonathan Leshnoff and performed by another Baltimore treasure, guitarist Manuel Barrueco, whom the Dallas Morning News calls “a superb instrumentalist with a seductive sound and uncommon lyrical gifts.” Opening the program is the iconic Adagio for Strings by Barber.
- On January 10-11, 2014, Marin Alsop takes audiences on a journey from Old World Europe to turn-of-the-century America as seen through the eyes of young Dvořák. This Off the Cuff program digs deeper into the influences of folk tunes and gypsy music contrasted with the sounds of the composer’s new home in the New World, all contained within one of his most popular works, Symphony No. 9, “From the New World.”
- BSO favorite Nicholas McGegan conducts an evening of Beethoven, Haydn & Mozart on January 16-18, 2014. The acclaimed conductor will lead the BSO in performances of Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony, a thrilling piece that is equal parts grace and thunder. The program will also feature principal bassoonist Fei Xie making his BSO solo concerto debut performing Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto, a composition that Mozart wrote when he was just 18 years old and which remains his only surviving bassoon concerto. Also on the program is Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25, K. 503, performed by Jeremy Denk. A true “Renaissance man,” the high praise Denk receives for his distinct piano style is rivaled only by the effusive acclaim his witty and arresting writing and unusual and fresh compositions garner. Also on the program is Haydn’s Symphony No. 30, “Alleluja.”
- In celebration of the centennial of The Little Tramp, Charlie Chaplin’s most memorable character on the silver screen, the BSO presents two Chaplin classics in a double-bill: The Idle Class and The Kid on January 30-February 1, 2014. Maestra Alsop leads the BSO in accompanying these 1920s favorites with their original music, written almost 50 years after the films debuted.
- Gilbert Varga conducts the music of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique” on February 14-16, 2014. Tchaikovsky’s last and most renowned piece is famous both for its inspired orchestration and the mystery surrounding its true meaning. The program also features BSO Concertmaster Jonathan Carney performing Saint-Saëns’ dazzling Violin Concerto No. 3. Opening the program is Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture.
- Maestra Alsop leads the season’s only All-Mozart performance on February 27 and March 2, 2014. Clarinetist Anthony McGill will perform Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, the last important work that Mozart completed before his death. McGill’s 2012 performance of this work with The Philadelphia Orchestra was praised by the Philadelphia Inquirer for his “supreme grace and legato.” Among Mozart’s “greatest hits” from his prolific career is his comic opera, The Magic Flute, of which the BSO will perform its Overture. Also on the program is Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter”—the last symphony he would compose in his lifetime—and his Symphony No. 29, widely considered to be the symphony where he shook off the mantle of his predecessors’ influence and found his own, unique voice.
- An Off the Cuff season highlight is CSI: Mozart on February 28 and March 1, scripted and directed by Didi Balle. As with her 2008 CSI: Beethoven production, patrons are invited to join a team of experts to uncover the events that led to W.A. Mozart’s death, punctuated by selections from Mozart’s most beloved works, such as The Magic Flute and Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter.”
- On March 6-8, 2014, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg joins the BSO for a program of Russian favorites, performing Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Her most recent appearance in 2012 with the BSO prompted The Washington Post to rave, “Power and dazzle are violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg’s calling cards…present was some of the most rhapsodic, emotive and technically fluent playing you can expect to hear.” Also on the program are Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise and Symphonic Dances.
- Back by popular demand, the BSO will perform all six of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos on March 13-15, 2014. BSO Concertmaster Jonathan Carney and Associate Concertmaster Madeline Adkins take turns leading this popular Baroque masterpiece. Tim Smith with The Baltimore Sun described their summer 2012 performance of the Brandenburg Concertos: “There was a consistent warmth to the playing all evening, a sense of everyone onstage fully relishing Bach’s melodic spark and contrapuntal brilliance.”
- Finnish conductor John Storgårds makes his BSO debut on March 21-23, 2014 leading a work by his fellow Finn, Sibelius’ Symphony No. 1. Storgårds serves as chief conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. For this concert, virtuoso Latvian violinist Baiba Skride performs Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. The Baltimore Sun praised Skride’s “gorgeous tone and affinity for songful playing” in her 2011 performance with the BSO. Also on the program is Vaughan Williams’ Fantasy on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.
- More than 45 years after he dazzled audiences at his New York Philharmonic debut under Leonard Bernstein at the age of 16, pianist André Watts continues to inspire audiences around the world. On April 3-5, 2014, he will perform Grieg’s Piano Concerto, which Rachmaninoff once described as “the most perfect piano piece ever written.” The performance is led by debuting Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša, whom Gramophone magazine named in 2011 as one of the top 10 conductors on the verge of greatness. He will conduct works by two of his countrymen: Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7 and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen Suite.
- The reigning violin virtuoso, Itzhak Perlman, is beloved by audiences around the world for his stunning performances that always communicate the sheer joy he finds in making music. On April 10-13, 2014, he will perform on the violin Beethoven’s Romances No. 1 and 2 before taking up the baton to conduct Mozart’s Symphony No. 27 and—Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique. The five-movement masterpiece follows the actions of a love-sick man who has poisoned himself with a non-fatal dose of opium because he could not have the woman he loved.
- When the BSO accompanied the finalists of the William Kapell Piano Competition hosted by University of Maryland in July 2012, the Orchestra was introduced to competition winner 23-year-old South Korean pianist Yekwon Sunwoo. The BSO immediately engaged this talented young pianist, whose playing The Baltimore Sun described as having “technique to spare” and “considerable richness of phrasing.” He will perform Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Marin Alsop will also lead Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, “Titan,” which she and the BSO released in 2012 on the Naxos label to critical success (April 24-27, 2014).
- In the Off the Cuff program on April 25-26, 2014, Marin Alsop explores Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, “Titan,” a work she and the BSO released in 2012 on the Naxos label to critical success. Maestra Alsop will examine the composer through the autobiographical lens of his first symphony.
- On May 2-4, 2014, Maestra Alsop leads Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, featuring esteemed pianist Yefim Bronfman, who is heralded around the world for his “digital dexterity, warmly romantic sentiment, and jaw-dropping bravura.” Alsop will also lead the BSO’s first-ever performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 12.
- “Ray Chen can do pretty much anything he wants on the violin,” said The Washington Post’s Anne Midgette of the Taiwan-born, Australia-raised young violinist who makes his BSO debut this season performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. The program is led by Hans Graf, who will also conduct Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 (May 22-24, 2014).
- Among this season’s most anticipated events is the BSO’s semi-staged production of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, May 29 through June 1, 2014, led by Marin Alsop. Directed by Edward Berkeley, the concert uses an adapted version of the original Shakespeare, interspersed with Mendelssohn’s lively incidental music. The women’s chorus of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society also appears in this program. A cast of actors will be announced at a later date.
- On June 5-8, 2014, Marin Alsop leads the BSO in a program that revels in music’s power to restore and unite. John Adams’ On the Transmigration of Souls was composed in response to the horrific acts against humanity that occurred on September 11, 2001. It is intended to be a “memory space,” where people can “go and be alone with their thoughts.” The piece is paired with Beethoven’s enduring Ninth Symphony, performed by the Baltimore Choral Arts Society with soprano Nicole Cabell, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, tenor Dimitri Pittas and bass baritone James Morris. Johnson Cano and Pittas are making their BSO debuts.
- At the close of the season on June 12-14, 2014, Emil de Cou leads the BSO in timeless music of the 1942 classic Casablanca as the film is projected in its entirety on a screen above the stage. This wartime film chronicles one man’s (Humphrey Bogart) decision between being with the woman (Ingrid Bergman) he loves or aiding her escape with her husband from the Moroccan city of Casablanca to lead a resistance against the Nazis. Its enduring musical score is by Max Steiner, whose compositional credits include the music for Gone with the Wind, features well-known ballads like “As Time Goes By,” “Perfidia” and “It Had to Be You.”
Family Series and Educational Programming
As the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra nears its centennial celebration in 2016, its commitment to engaging, inspiring, educating and serving its community through symphonic music is stronger than ever. During the past few seasons, the BSO has dramatically expanded its education and community engagement offerings. Programs for youth music education include OrchKids, OrchLab, Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestras, Midweek Education Concert Series, Music Box Series for the very young, Saturday Family Concerts, Legg Mason Open Rehearsals, Side-by-Side Concerts and the BSO-Peabody Conducting Fellowship. For amateur adult musicians, Rusty Musicians and the BSOAcademy attract hundreds of musicians annually to perform onstage with the BSO. New this season is the collaboration between the BSO and University of Maryland Baltimore County on the Graduate Certificate in Music Entrepreneurship. For more information on these programs, see “BSO Education and Community Engagement Programs” in the 2013-2014 Season Press Kit.
Family Concert Series
During the 2013-2014 season, the BSO will present four Family Concerts in Baltimore, each on select Saturdays at 11 a.m. Featuring the BSO and guest artists, these programs are recommended for children ages 5 and up and their families and use classical music, illustration, puppetry and visuals to weave enchanting stories. Back by popular demand, the BSO Family Fun Zone enhances all Saturday morning Family Concerts with several age-appropriate, pre-concert activities beginning in the lobby at 9:45 a.m. Children are invited to the Meyerhoff lobby to experience Music and Arts’ instrument petting zoo, the Maryland Zoo’s ZOOmobile and even have their faces painted. The BSO is proud to announce Kenneth Lam as the BSO Education Conductor. He will lead the Family Concerts on December 7, 2013, February 8, 2014 and May 10, 2014.
Children and their families can get into the holiday spirit early with The Snowman on December 7, 2013. This classic children’s film about a young boy’s friendship with a snowman will be projected above the stage while the BSO performs its charming music.
On February 8, 2014, the BSO joins the Bob Brown Puppets to perform Saint–Saëns Carnival of the Animals. The concert is narrated by Rheda Becker, who celebrates her 40th season narrating BSO concerts for youth.
Marin Alsop’s commitment to music education extends to leading, for the first time with the BSO, a Family Concert, performing Greg Smith’s The Animated Orchestra. Children will follow the antics of a mischievous ferret who wreaks havoc in an old instrument shop, accompanied by sound effects by the BSO. (March 8, 2014)
Percussion Strikes Again! on May 10, 2014. Children will learn about the exciting instruments in the Orchestra’s percussion section.
Music Box Series
For families who cannot wait until next Fall, the BSO has a unique new program for the very young offered this spring: the Music Box Series. This new program for young children ages six months to three years old and their families is hosted by acclaimed actress, dancer and storyteller Maria Broom. The Music Box Series gives young children the chance to explore music through highly engaging and interactive performances. Each thirty-minute concert promotes musical, motor and language development through bouncing, clapping, listening, singing and other hands-on activities. The concerts will feature the musical talents of a small ensemble of BSO musicians performing classical children’s pieces to provide a captivating musical, social and educational experience for both children and their families. Each performance also features pre-concert activities hosted 30 minutes prior to the show by the BSO and partner organization Ready-at-Five, a non-profit that works to ensure that all Maryland children are ready to learn at age five. The wide range of pre-concert activities will encourage literacy, creative play and musical and listening skills. The three programs will take place this spring in the spacious lobby of the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall: “Birdie Melodies” on Saturday, April 13; “Great Big Animals” on Saturday, May 4; and “Life in the Water” on Saturday, June 15. Concerts are offered at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and cost $9 for children and $9 for adults; there is a 20% discount with the purchase of all three concerts.