Friday, October 19, 2018 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM

Saturday, October 20, 2018 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM

Sunday, October 21, 2018 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

JoAnn Falletta and the VSO return for Ravel’s most famous work, Boléro. This melodic, whimsical work – originally composed as a ballet – is a perfect example of Ravel’s preoccupation with restyling and reinventing dance movements. This program also features the Fourth Piano Concerto by Canadian composer Andre Mathieu, performed by guest artist Alain Lefevre, who worked with conductor and composer Gilles Bellemare to reconstruct the composition that was lost for 70 years. At the height of the concert is Poulenc’s most celebrated work, Gloria.

JoAnn Falletta , conductor
Alain Lefèvre , piano
Anna Feucht , soprano
Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus
Robert Shoup , chorus master

Tailleferre : Overture
Mathieu : Piano Concerto No. 4
Poulenc : Gloria
Ravel : Boléro

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Joanne Falletta, Music Director, Conductor - Virginia Symphony OrchestraJoAnn Falletta

Music Director

JoAnn Falletta is internationally celebrated as a vibrant ambassador for music, an inspiring artistic leader, and a champion of American symphonic music. An effervescent and exuberant figure on the podium, she has been praised by The Washington Post as having “Toscanini’s tight control over ensemble, Walter’s affectionate balancing of inner voices, Stokowski’s gutsy showmanship, and a controlled frenzy worthy of Bernstein.” Acclaimed by The New York Times as “one of the finest conductors of her generation”, she serves as the Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center and music advisor to the Hawaii Symphony.

Ms. Falletta is invited to guest conduct many of the world’s finest symphony orchestras. Recent guest conducting highlights include debuts in Belgrade, Gothenburg, Lima, Bogotá, Helsingborg, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, a European tour with the Stuttgart Orchestra, return engagements with the Warsaw, Detroit, Phoenix, and Krakow Symphony Orchestras and a 13 city US tour with the Irish Chamber Orchestra with James Galway.

She has guest conducted over a hundred orchestras in North America, and many of the most prominent orchestras in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. Her North America guest conducting appearances have included the orchestras of Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Seattle, San Diego, Montreal, Toronto and the National Symphony and international appearances have included the London Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Korean Broadcast Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, China National Symphony, Shanghai Symphony, Liverpool Philharmonic, Manchester BBC Philharmonic, Scottish BBC orchestra, Orchestra National de Lyon and Mannheim Orchestra among others. Ms. Falletta’s summer activities have taken her to numerous music festivals including Aspen, Tanglewood, the Hollywood Bowl, Wolf Trap, Mann Center, Meadow Brook, OK Mozart Festival, Grand Teton, Eastern, Peninsula and Brevard Festival.

Falletta is the recipient of many of the most prestigious conducting awards including the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award, the coveted Stokowski Competition, and the Toscanini, Ditson and Bruno Walter Awards for conducting, as well as the American Symphony Orchestra League’s prestigious John S. Edwards Award. She is an ardent champion of music of our time, introducing over 500 works by American composers, including more than 110 world premieres. Hailing her as a “leading force for the music of our time”, she has been honored with twelve ASCAP awards. Ms. Falletta served as a Member of the National Council on the Arts during both the George W Bush and Obama administrations.

Under Falletta’s direction, the VSO has risen to celebrated artistic heights. The VSO, which made critically acclaimed debuts at the Kennedy Center and New York’s Carnegie Hall under Falletta and entered into their first multinational recording agreement with Naxos, performs classics, pops and family concert series in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News and Williamsburg.

In addition to her current posts with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony, Brevard Music Center and Hawaii Symphony, Ms. Falletta has held the positions of principal conductor of the Ulster Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Phoenix Symphony, music director of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, associate conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and music director of the Denver Chamber Orchestra.

Ms. Falletta received her undergraduate degree from the Mannes College of Music in New York and her master’s and doctorate degrees from The Juilliard School.

JoAnn Falletta on NPR | The Innovative Mosaic Of American Symphonies

Alain Lefèvre, OC CQ (born July 23, 1962) is a French Canadian pianist and composer. He is one of the Québécois pianists who have sold the greatest number of musical recordings.

In 2009, he was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2011.

Hailed as a “hero” (Los Angeles Times), a “smashing” performer (Washington Post), “a pianist who breaks the mold” (International Piano) and “who stands out from the typical trends and artifices offered on the international scene” (Classica), Lefèvre has performed in over forty countries to the most prestigious venues (Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Théatre des Champs-Élysées, Théatre du Châtelet, Salle Pleyel, Teatro Colón, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Herodes Atticus Theatre, Epidaurus Theatre…) and participated to numerous international festivals (Ravinia, Saratoga, Wolf Trap, Athènes, Istanbul, Cervantino…).

His performances were many times described as “unequaled” (Westdeutsche Zeitung) and “unparalleled” (Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee). Saluted for his “phenomenal technique”

(The Spectator), his « sparkling playing resulting in fascinating interpretations »(Kölner Stadt Anzeiger), his “sovereign mastery” (Hamburger Abendblatt), Lefèvre has been guest soloist of great orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre National de France, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, National Symphony, the China Philharmonic, the SWR, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, the Moscow Virtuosi, (…) and has collaborated with renowned conductors such as James Conlon, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, JoAnn Falletta, Claus Peter Flor, Lawrence Foster, Jacek Kaspszyk, Jacques Lacombe, Kent Nagano, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Vladimir Spivakov and Long Yu.

Since the beginning of his career, Lefèvre has included, commissioned and battled for the music of our time. Alexander Brott, Walter Boudreau, John Corigliano, François Dompierre, Pierre-Max Dubois, Henri Dutilleux, Alain Payette are but a few of the composers he has added to his core répertoire. Alain Lefèvre has also championed the music of the forgotten genius, composer and pianist André Mathieu, called the “Canadian Mozart”. He was music director, composer, and pianist for the 2010 motion picture L’Enfant prodige, a film based on André Mathieu’s life, produced by Denise Robert (Cinémaginaire).

His discography covers a vast repertoire, from John Corigliano’s Piano Concerto, considered to be the reference version by BBC Music Magazine, to Chopin’s 24 Preludes, where the critic “celebrates Alain Lefèvre”, placing him alongside with the recordings of the “illustrious” Alicia de Larrocha, Ivan Moravec and Arthur Rubinstein (Fanfare).

Lefèvre has won numerous prizes, amongst them a JUNO, an Opus, ten Felix (ADISQ) and the AIB Award (London), for “International personality of the year – Radio”, saluting his radio program broadcast on ICI Musique/Radio-Canada. He is Officer to the Order of Canada, Chevalier of the National Order of Quebec, Chevalier of the Pléiade Order and Recipient of the Queen Elisabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Anna Feucht is a young soprano who has garnered praise for her "exciting coloratura" and "exceptionally beautiful and powerful sound," with "notes that soar towards the ceiling."  She is a frequent soloist with Virginia Opera and Tidewater Opera Initiative. Roles performed include Laetitia in Tidewater Opera's Old Maid and the Thief, Romilda in Bel Cantanti Opera’s Serse,  Miss Silverpeal in Capitol Opera Richmond’s Der Schauspieldirektor, and Pamina in Lyric Opera Studio Weimar’s Die Zauberflöte, in Germany.

Recently, Anna made a splash in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, where she was described as a big talent with tremendous potential and was praised for her coloratura.

She has often appeared as a soloist with orchestra; Anna is artist-in-residence with the Hampton Roads Philharmonic and has presented a selection of opera arias with the orchestra. She appeared as the soprano soloist in Elijah with the Williamsburg Choral Guild. She has also made repeated appearances with the Ocala Symphony Orchestra as soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah, and had a special performance as part of their one year anniversary concert.   Anna is also a soprano with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Virginia Chorale.

Anna obtained her Master of Music degree from the University of Florida and her Bachelor of Music from Christopher Newport University.  She currently lives in Norfolk, Virginia with her dog Wednesday.

Bob Shoup, Chorusmaster, Staff Conductor - Virginia Symphony OrchestraRobert Shoup

Chorusmaster/Staff Conductor

This is Robert Shoup’s 20th season as Chorus Master and Staff Conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. His national and international conducting credits include the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra, ensembles from the Prague Radio Orchestra and Czech State Philharmonic, and numerous choral ensembles. He served as the Music Director of the all professional Virginia Chorale from 1997-2007.

Robert Shoup’s choruses have been described by critics as “totally enthralling” and “completely mesmerizing,” and he has spearheaded numerous collaborations that have included music, dance and visual arts. His ensembles have been featured on numerous recordings, including two discs with the VSO for the Naxos label (Hailstork and Stravinsky). He served as Assistant Music Director for the Virginia Symphony and Virginia Arts Festival’s highly acclaimed production of the Leonard Bernstein “Mass” and coordinated the collaborating choruses for 2012 performances and recording of Mahler’s Eighth symphony known as the “Symphony of a Thousand.”

His achievements include the creation and coordination of “American Voices”, a two-week-long festival of American choral music with the Virginia Chorale and the VSO. The project earned one of seven major National Endowment for the Arts “American Masterpieces: Choral Music” grants. Shoup also prepared a nationally recruited choir of over 1,800 singers for the 400th Anniversary celebration of Jamestown.

Mr. Shoup is also a singer whom the Pittsburgh Post Gazette called Shoup “an especially fine tenor.” His vocal performances have included the role of John Adams in the world premiere performance of Adolphus Hailstork’s Crispus Attucks, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Fort Collins (CO) Symphony. Mr. Shoup is the founding Artistic Director of CREATOrS, Inc., for which he is composing the score for a major theatrical project related to a true story in sub-Saharan Africa.

Shoup holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education (voice) from Duquesne University, and a Master’s degree in Conducting in the studio of Grammy-winning conductor Robert Page at Carnegie Mellon University.

 

Germaine Tailleferre was born Germaine Taillefesse, April 19, 1982 in Parisian suburbs. She was the daughter of an unhappy marriage, and her mother’s only solace. As a result, her mother spent hours training her daughter in the arts, teaching piano, solfege and story writing to young Germaine. Indifferent to her dad’s opposition to her musical education, she enrolled in the Paris Conservatory to learn piano and solfege. She studied primarily with Eva Sautereau-Meyer, who discovered she was a pianistic prodigy with a phenomenal memory for music which led to her winning many prizes. This convinced her father of her exceptional skills, but even so, he refused to fend for her education. To avenge this, Germaine Taillefesse changed her name Germaine Tailleferre.

After completing her studies at the Paris Conservatory, Miss Tailleferre threw off academic restraints to compose uncomplicated works that combined brightness, humor and gentle lyricism. She is quoted to be saying, “I write what I feel.” Her experiences in the art world led to her initial success and the formation of Les Six. Tailleferre was the only woman in Les Six, whose other members were Francis Poulenc, Darius Milhaud, Arthur Honegger, Georges Auric and Louis Durey. The six musicians were friends and their works had already been performed on some of the same new-music programs. After two very unhappy marriages, she found her creative energies drained and due to financial issues was almost unable to compose if not for commission, leading to many uneven and quickly composed works. Germaine Tailleferre spent a good deal of time with Maurice Ravel, who was a great source of support for her and encouraged her to enter Prix de Rome Competition. Ravel was impressed by the works of Les Six and gave Tailleferre ideas on composition and orchestration as well. Moreover, her lack of self-esteem and sense of modesty held her back from publicizing herself to a fuller extent.

The 1930s were even more fruitful, with the Concerto for Two Pianos, Chorus, Saxophones, and Orchestra, the Violin Concerto, the opera cycle Du style galant au style méchant, the operas Zoulaïna and Le marin de Bolivar, and her masterwork, La cantate de Narcisse, in collaboration with Paul Valéry. Later in Paris, she worked as an accompanist for children’s music and movement class at a private school in the year 1976. In her final days of life, she was suffering from arthritis in her hands and thus, limited her works. Still she had made it a point to contribute by bringing forth the Sonate Champetre for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and piano. Her last work was on Concerto de la fidelité pour coloratura soprano and orchestra which was premiered before her death at Paris Opera.

Germaine Tailleferre’s contribution in the French musical movement as well as in the realms of music had been enormous.

Andre Mathieu was born February 18, 1929 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. As a very young child he revealed an exceptional talent for the piano and for composition, which encouraged his father, Rodolphe, to give him his first lessons. He composed Trois Études for piano at four and gave a recital of his works 25 Feb 1935 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, creating a sensation. The young Mathieu enjoyed huge successes at a young age, and was given a grant by the Quebec government that enabled him to go to Paris and study piano with Yves Nat and Mme. Mathieu also studied harmony and composition with Jacques de la Presle.

André Mathieu is well-known by his nickname, little Canadian Mozart. His music is firmly late-romantic, unashamedly adhering to the tradition (and style) of Rachmaninov and his music was influenced by Debussy as well. Mathieu's early solo piano works, written mostly in ternary form, reveal an abundance of compositional ideas based on the influences of Romantic and Impressionist styles. However, when he began composing Piano Concerto No. 3, a much larger work, his lack of compositional training became evident. It wasn’t until Mathieu studied with Swiss composer Arthur Honegger did he develop and clearly display a concept of formal structure.

Among the compositions of his youth are the Trois Études, Les Gros Chars, Procession d'éléphants, Trois Pièces pittoresques, Hommage à Mozart enfant, and Les Mouettes, two suites, and a third concerto for piano. Around the time he composed a fourth concerto, his work was beginning to be considered more mature and original. Alain Lefevre has devoted his life to rediscovering the works by Mathieu. Among Mathieu's works for piano and violin are Fantaisie brésilienne, a sonata, a berceuse, and Complainte. Mathieu's vocal works include Le ciel est si bleu, Hymne du Bloc Populaire, Les Chères Mains, and Quatre Mélodies.

Francis Poulenc was born January 7, 1899 in Paris, France to an industrialist father and an artisan mother. His mother, Jenny Royer, introduced the young Poulenc to the piano and often sat him down to practice Mozart, Schubert and Chopin as well as fashionable romances, ‘loveable bad music.’

As the only son of a prosperous manufacturer Poulenc was expected to follow his father into the family firm, and he was not allowed to enroll at a music college. Largely self-educated musically, he studied with the pianist Ricardo Viñes, who became his mentor after the composer's parents died. Poulenc soon came under the influence of Erik Satie, under whose tutelage he became one of a group of young composers known collectively as Les Six. In his early works Poulenc became known for his high spirits and irreverence. During the 1930s a much more serious side to his nature emerged, particularly in the religious music he composed from 1936 onwards, which he alternated with his more light-hearted works.

In his later years, and for decades after his death, Poulenc had a reputation, particularly in his native country, as a humorous, lightweight composer, and his religious music was often overlooked. During the 21st century more attention has been given to his serious works, with many new productions of Dialogues des Carmélites and La voix humaine worldwide, and numerous live and recorded performances of his songs and choral music.

Francis Poulenc died January 30, 1963, Paris. His compositions made an important contribution to French music in the decades after World War I and whose songs are considered among the best composed during the 20th century.

Maurice Ravel was born on March 7, 1875 in Ciboure – a village near Saint-Jean-de-Luz – France, to a Swiss father and a Basque mother. His family background was an artistic and cultivated one, and the young Maurice received every encouragement from his father when his talent for music became apparent at an early age. In 1889, at 14, he entered the Paris Conservatory, where he began studying under Gabriel Fauré. During this period he composed some of his best known works.

Ravel was in no sense a revolutionary musician. He, for the most part, was content to work within the established formal and harmonic conventions of his day. Yet, so very personal and individual was his adaptation and manipulation of the traditional musical idiom, it would be true to say he forged for himself a language of his own that bears the stamp of his personality – as unmistakable as any work of Bach or Chopin.

A slow and painstaking worker, Ravel composed fewer pieces than many of his contemporaries. Among his works to enter the repertoire are pieces for piano, chamber music, two piano concertos, ballet music, two operas and eight song cycles; he wrote no symphonies or church music. Many of his works exist in two versions: first, a piano score and later an orchestration.

Ravel died December 28, 1937 in Paris, France. Today, he remains widely regarded as France's most popular composer. He is remembered for once stating, "The only love affair I have ever had was with music."

VSO Performance
The Virginia Symphony will be performing Ravel’s most famous work Boléro in the Classics season during a performance of the same name, and Ravel’s arrangement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in the Classics season during a performance of the same name.