2019-2020 ASO season kicks off this weekend

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, text

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents the first concert of the 2019-2020 Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks season: Scheherazade, Saturday, September 28th at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, September 29th at 3:00 p.m. at the Robinson Center.

The ASO collaborates with ACANSA Arts Festival of the South to present American trio, Time for Three, an ensemble that “defies any traditional genre classification,” and prestigious conductor, JoAnn Falletta. The concert will also feature Ravel’s La Valse, Higdon’s Concerto 4-3 and will conclude with Rimsky-Korsakov’s colorful musical telling of the Arabian Nights legends, Scheherazade. The Masterworks Series is sponsored by the Stella Boyle Smith Trust.

Interim Artistic Director, Geoffrey Robson gives these notes: “This program, led by distinguished conductor Joann Falletta, is vivid, lively, and bursting with character. Ravel’s La Valse was conceived as a ballet and a tribute to the Viennese waltz. Its relentless, adrenaline-soaked rhythmic drive pushes the orchestra to its limits and by design almost breaks apart at the finish. American composing phenom Jennifer Higdon wrote her Concerto 4-3 for the group performing it, Time for Three. The music is steeped in bluegrass, reflecting the eclectic tastes of the performers, who perform with an edgy and multicultural style. Last on the program is the great symphonic favorite Scheherazade, based on the Arabian Nights folk tales. Four movements of colorful music tell four stories, connected by themes for the dangerous king and the brilliant storyteller Scheherazade herself.”

Tickets are $16, $36, $57, and $70; active duty military and student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.ArkansasSymphony.org; at the Robinson Center street-level box office beginning 90 minutes prior to a concert; or by phone at 501-666-1761, ext. 1. All Arkansas students grades K-12 are admitted to Sunday’s matinee free of charge with the purchase of an adult ticket using the Entergy Kids’ Ticket, downloadable at https://www.arkansassymphony.org/freekids.

The 2019-2020 Arkansas Symphony Orchestra MasterWorks season is announced

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (ASO) announced its 2019-2020 Masterworks which includes guest conductors and a concert conducted by Geoffrey Robson, ASO’s Associate Conductor who has been named Interim Artistic Director.

The Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series opens Sep. 28-29, 2019, with a concert presented in partnership with ACANSA Arts Festival of the South. Luminary conductor JoAnn Falletta is the first featured guest conductor, and American trio Time for Three is featured in work written for them by former ASO Conductor in Residence Jennifer Higdon. The program also features Ravel’s La Valse and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.

ASO’s casual concert and street party, Beethoven and Blue Jeans, returns Nov. 9-10 and features works by two Arkansas composers: William Grant Still’s Festive Overture and Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement. Karen Walwyn, a specialist in the piano works of Price, is the featured soloist, and Andrew Grams will conduct the concert.

The Masterworks series ends May 2-3, 2020, featuring music from Fanny Mendelssohn and Schubert along with the return of prestigious cellist, Zuill Bailey, performing Dvorak’s Cello Concerto.

The 2019-2020 season coincides with the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. ASO is celebrating by featuring two outstanding women conductors, JoAnn Falletta and Carolyn Kuan, two women soloists, pianist Karen Walwyn and violinist Simone Porter, and by performing works from four women composers: Pulitzer Prize-winner and former ASO Composer in Residence, Jennifer Higdon, an active and popular composer today, Little Rock’s own Florence Price, Lili Boulanger, and Fanny Mendelssohn.

The full Masterworks series includes:

  • JoAnn Falletta and Time for Three, Sep. 28 & 29, 219, with music from Higdon, Ravel, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.
  • Beethoven & Blue Jeans, Nov. 9 & 10, 2019, ASO’s annual casual concert, featuring works from Arkansas composers Florence Price and William Grant Still and guest conductor Andrew Grams.
  • Copland’s Rodeo, Jan. 25-26, 2020, with guest conductor Carolyn Kuan, and music from Ginastera and Bartok;
  • Sibelius & Debussy, Feb. 29 – Mar. 1, 2020, conducted by Geoffrey Robson, and featuring a multimedia work: In Seven Days: A Concerto for Piano and Moving Image, with pianist Andrius Zlabys.
  • Symphonie Fantastique, Apr. 18-19, 2020, with guest conductor Eric Jacobsen, and violinist Simone Porter performing the Saint-Saens Violin Concerto No. 3 in addition to the titular orchestral showpiece by Berlioz.
  • Zuill Bailey Plays Dvorak, May 2 & 3, 2020, with guest conductor Vladimir Kulenovic.

The concerts will be at Robinson Center Performance Hall.

ASO River Rhapsodies concludes 2012-2013 with APPALACHIAN SPRING

20121020-054530.jpgThe Arkansas Symphony Orchestra River Rhapsodies concert series concludes the 2012-2013 season tonight.  With spring weather upon us, it is appropriate that tonight’s program is entitled Appalachian Spring.

The evening will include Crumb’s Voice of the Whale, Debussy’s Sonate en trio for Flute, Viola and Harp; ASO composer of the year Higdon’s Amazing Grace and Copland’s Appalachian Spring.  

Performing these selections will be Carl Anthony, piano; Carolyn Brown, flute; Daniel Cline, cello; Alisa Coffey, harp; Leanne Day-Simpson, violin; David Gerstein, cello; Eric Hayward, violin; Andrew Irvin, violin; Kelly Johnson, clarinet; Kiril Laskarov, violin; Susan Bell León, bassoon; Ryan Mooney, viola; Katherine Reynolds, viola and Barron Weir, contrabass.

The concert takes place at 7pm at the Clinton Presidential Center. A limited number of tickets are available at the door. But the concerts usually sell out.

Philip Mann is the music director of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

 

ASO Chamber Concert tonight features Composer of the Year

ASO_2-colorAt tonight’s Arkansas Symphony Orchestra River Rhapsodies concert, ASO Composer of the Year Jennifer Higdon will be featured.

The program consists of Higdon’s Autumn Music and Piano Trio.  Also on the program are Barber’s Summer Music and Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 67.

The musicians for the concert include Diane McVinney, flute; Beth Wheeler, oboe; Kelly Johnson, clarinet; Susan Bell Leon, bassoon; David Renfro, horn; David Gerstein, cello; Kiril Laskarov, violin; Meredith Maddox-Hicks, violin and Tatiana Roitman, piano.

Higdon received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto, with the committee citing Higdon’s work as a “deeply engaging piece that combines flowing lyricism with dazzling virtuosity.”  She is one of the most performed composers today.  During her time in Little Rock, she has spoken at the Clinton School and been featured in last weekend’s MasterWorks concert.

The concert is at 8pm at the Clinton Presidential Center.

Arkansas Symphony: Truth and Triumph this weekend

20121020-054530.jpgThe Arkansas Symphony Orchestra returns with another MasterWorks concert.  Under the baton of Music Director Philip Mann, the program features Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony as well as ASO Composer of the Year Jennifer Higdon’s Concerto for Orchestra.

In a season highlight, hear the ASO fill the Robinson stage with its full orchestral forces in a program of breathtaking power and expressive range.

Shostakovich’s awe-inspiring Tenth Symphony provides an opportunity for the talents, energy, and artistry of your ASO musicians to be showcased to their fullest. Premiered shortly after Stalin’s death in the USSR, this work is a product of its time, but is also imbued with timeless themes seemingly even more evocative today. Shostakovich the man is found in the very notes of the score and the transcendent power of music is displayed as he prevails in a popular masterpiece that begins with tragedy, terror, and violence but leads to an explosive and unforgettably triumphant conclusion.

ASO Composer of the Year, Jennifer Higdon, is highlighted in her Concerto for Orchestra, and the penchant for writing absorbing and compelling melodies that has endeared her to audiences worldwide is on display. Her virtuosity and range as a composer is explored fully in a work of creative contrast, Technicolor orchestration, propulsive rhythms, and an infectious vitality. The Concerto helped to cement Higdon’s position as one of the greatest living composers and in adding to the concerto tradition, she goes beyond highlighting principal musicians, and showcases entire sections, including the percussion with fresh and innovative sounds.

The concert takes place Saturday night at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm at Robinson Center Music Hall.

As always, kids can get in free on Sunday when accompanied by a paying adult as part of the Entergy Kids’ Ticket program.

Ark Symphony Concerts This Weekend

20121020-054530.jpg

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will perform with fiery Georgian pianist Elisso Bolkvadze on Saturday, October 20 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 21 at 3:00 p.m. at the Robinson Center Music Hall. This is the second concert of the Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series and is sponsored in part by University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

The concert opens with To the Point by Jennifer Higdon, ASO Composer of the Year. Then Bolkvadze continues the program with Saint-Saëns much-loved 2nd concerto. ASO Music Director Philip Mann describes the work as, “full of captivating dance rhythms, grand flourishes, and melodies that stick with you.” The ASO then takes center stage again for the remainder of the program with Sibelius’s marvelous and influential 5th Symphony.

Elisso Bolkvadze won numerous international piano competitions, such as Van Cliburn (USA), Vianna da Motta (Lisbon, Portugal), Axa International Piano Competition (Dublin, Ireland), Marguerite Long (Paris, France).

A superstar in her country of birth in Georgia, Elisso has been awarded by Georgian Government “The award of Georgian Government” and “Cultural Merit.” After she enjoyed great success at Van Cliburn International Contest, she plays many concerts in top auditorium through the world, like Kennedy Centre (Washington), Pasadena Auditorium (Los Angeles), Santa Fe Festival, Miami Arts In Florida, Orange County Center, Salle Pleyel, Salle Gaveau (Paris) Gewandhaus Orchestra (Leipzig) Radio France Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra (Russia), Herkulessaal (Munich) Alte Oper (Frankfurt), National Philharmonic of Ukraine, Georgian National Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra, and Theatre de Champs Elysees (Paris).

ASO announces River Rhapsodies for 2012-2013

On the heels of the recent announcement of the 2012-2013 Arkansas Symphony Orchestra MasterWorks and Pops series, the ASO has unveiled next season’s River Rhapsodies Chamber Series.

It will kick off on October 2 when Augustin Hadelich will perform.  He will be featured on September 29 and 30 with the MasterWorks series as the Richard Sheppard Arnold Artist of Distinction.  Joining him on the program will be the Quapaw String Quartet, the Rockefeller String Quartet and violinist Geoffrey Robson.  The works to be performed include Haydn’s String Quartet in C Major, Op. 54 No. 2; Webern’s Langsamer Satz; Yasye’s Violin Sonata in d minor, No. 3 “Ballade” and Tchaikovsky’s Sextet, Op. 70 “Souvenir de Florence.”

Appropriately the second concert of the series is entitled Duos.  On October 30, the concert will feature David Gerstein, cello; Andrew Irvin, violin; Tatiana Kotcherguina, viola; Ryan Mooney, viola; Geoffrey Robson, violin and Barron Weir, contrabass.  The program will feature Mozart’s Duo No. 1 in G for Violin and Viola; Rossini’s Duetto for Cello and Bass; Bridge’s Lament for Two Violas and Kodaly’s Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7.

On November 13, the concert is entitled Masterworks and will feature the Quapaw String Quartet, Louis Menendez on piano and violinist Geoffrey Robson.  They will perform Ravel’sPiano Trio in a minor and Beethoven’s String Quartet, Op. 130 and Op. 133.

The Rockefeller String Quartet’s 10th anniversary will be highlighted in the fourth concert of the series.  They will perform Mendelssohn’s String Quartet in D Major, Op. 44 No. 1; Glass’s String Quartet No. 3 (Mishima) and Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No. 1 in D Major.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Composer of the Year Jennifer Higdon will be featured on February 26, 2013.  The musicians performing that night will be David Gerstein, cello; Kelly Johnson, clarinet; Kiril Laskarov, violin; Susan Bell Leon, bassoon; Meredith Maddox-Hicks; violin; Diane McVinney, flute; David Renfro, horn; Tatiana Roitman, piano and Beth Wheeler, oboe. The musical selections include Barber’s Summer Music; Higdon’s Piano Trio and Autumn Music and Shostokovich’s Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 67.

Spring in Little Rock will be celebrated with Appalachian Spring on April 16.  A host of musicians will play a program including Crumb’s Voice of the Whale; Debussy’s Sonate en trio for Flute, Viola and Harp; Higdon’s Amazing Grace and Copland’s Appalachian Spring.  The performers will be Carl Anthony, piano; Carolyn Brown, flute; Daniel Cline and David Gerstein, cello; Alisa Coffey, harp; Leanne Day-Simpson, Eric Hayward, Andrew Irvin and Kiril Laskarov, violin; Kelly Johnson, clarinet; Susan Bell Leon, bassoon; Ryan Mooney and Katherine Reynolds, viola and Barron Weir, contrabass.

The concerts will take place at 7pm at the Clinton Presidential Center.  Philip Mann is the music director of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.