ASO features Midori, Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Brahms

midori_playingWorld famous violinist Midori joins forces with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (under the baton of music director Philip Mann) to close the ASO Masterworks season in unforgettable fashion.

Midori performs Tchaikovsky’s celebrated Violin Concerto in a pairing of two inimitable favorites which also connects with the season’s opener, in that it was inspired by Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole. Adding to the festive feel of the program is Mozart’s frothy and iconic overture to the Marriage of Figaro, which defies any listener not to smile.

Closing the program is Brahms’s final and incredible 4th symphony– a work of stunning beauty and depth that grows out of the most simple of gestures, a falling then rising line. A sense of yearning and urgency underlie the work as counterpoint adds flavor and intensity to sublime lyricism. An almost overwhelming final movement harkens back to an earlier time in music in a masterstroke combination of the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic.

The opportunity to hear Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Brahms in one program is a special treat.  These three are certainly among the top favorite of classical composers for most listeners.  The concerts are tonight at 8pm and tomorrow at 3pm at Robinson Center Music Hall.

Midori, ASYO and CALS collaborate this weekend

asoyoWorld-famous violinist Midori will accompany the Arkansas Youth Symphony String Quartet for two separate events at the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS). The events will be on Friday, April 12, 3:45 p.m. at the Children’s Library and Learning Center, 4800 W. 10th Street, and Saturday, April 13, 3:30 p.m. at the Terry Library, 2015 Napa Valley Drive.

The Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra (ASYO) was chosen as one of two recipients for Midori’s Orchestra Residency Programs for the 2012-2013 season.  The programs are designed to support and encourage youth orchestras in the United States. Through the week-long residency, Midori collaborates in a wide range of activities with both the youth orchestras and their partner professional organizations.

calsIn the 2012-2013 season, violinist Midori will celebrate the 30th anniversary of her performing career.

She made her debut at age 11 as a surprise guest soloist with the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta in 1982. Today, Midori is recognized as an extraordinary performer, a devoted and gifted educator, and an innovative community engagement activist.

The ASYO began as a dream of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s founders in the 1960s and today continues to attract Arkansas’s leading student-musicians. Ranging in age from 9-18 years and traveling from over thirty-seven communities throughout the state, the ASYO has grown to over 200 members. The Arkansas Youth Symphony String Quartet formed eight years ago in 2005.

Arkansas Symphony 2012-2013 Masterworks and Pops

Continuing with the Spring Break theme of looking to next year, today’s entry looks at the 2012-2013 Masterworks and Pops offerings from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will kick off the 2012-2013 season on September 29 and 30 with a Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks concert featuring violinist Augustin Hadelich returning to play Eduoard Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole.  Also on the program are Strauss’ Don Juan and von Dohanyi’s Suite in F-sharp Minor. ASO Musical Director/Conductor Philip Mann will conduct.

The ASO next turns to the Pops series. The Acxiom Pops Live! series starts on October 6 & 7 with the Beatles tribute act Classical Mystery Tour. ASO Associate Conductor Geoffrey Robson will lead this concert.

Pulitzer Prize winning composer Jennifer Higdon will be the ASO Composer of the Year for 2012-2013.  Her composition To the Point will be featured on the ASO’s second Masterworks concert on October 20 and 21.  That concert will also featured pianist Elissa Bolkkvadze performing Saint-Saens’ Piano Concerto No. 2 and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5.

On November 10 and 11, the ASO’s annual “Beethoven & Blue Jeans” concert will showcase Tan Dun’s Pipa Concerto featuring soloist Wu Man. Also on the program is the overture to Beethoven’s only ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus.  The evening will conclude with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.

For many families, it isn’t the holidays without the annual ASO Happy Holidays concert.  In 2012 it will take place on December 14-16.  Plan accordingly.

In January, the ASO will start 2013 with guest conductor Guillermo Figueroa, music director of the New Mexico Symphony and Colorado’s Music in the Mountains Festival on January 26 and 27.  ASO principal cellist David Gerstein will solo on Tchaikovsky’s Variationson a Rococo Theme.  The concerts will also include Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No. 1 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2.

Returning to Pops, on February 9 and 10, the ASO will present “A Night at the Movies.”  Later that month, the ASO will feature Composer of the Year Higdon again on February 23 and 24.  In addition to her blue cathedral, the program will include Haydn’s No. 95 in C minor and Shostakovich’s No. 10 in E minor.

The ASO will march into March with a celebration of the American Songbook on the Pops schedule on March 16 and 17.

The Masterworks season will conclude on April 13 and 14, 2013.  Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto featuring Midori will be the centerpiece of the evening.  Also on the bill will be the overture to Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro as well as Brahms’ Symphony No. 4.

The final concert of the 2012-2013 season will be in the Pops series: Cirque de la Symphonie.  This concert, on May 11 and 12, will featured six Cirque du Soleil veterans performing to music accompanied by the ASO.

Sponsors for the 2012-2013 season are the Stella Boyle Smith Trust, Acxiom and American Airlines.