Virginia Symphony Orchestra

Classics Concert Series

 

Norfolk Classics Series Sponsor

 

A Mozart Celebration • 3/21 – 3/24

Thursday, March 21, 2019 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM

Saturday, March 23, 2019 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM

Sunday, March 24, 2019 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

Guest conductor Scott Yoo, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Mexico City Philharmonic, takes the helm of this magnificent Mozart program.  Symphony No. 39 is the first of a set of three symphonies, the last set he composed. Its opening is “so majestic that it so surprised even the coldest, most insensitive listener.” The program opens with the Overture to The Magic Flute before Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, a work that blends symphony with concerto in this small-ensemble masterpiece. With its rich harmonies and incandescent themes, the work has inspired arrangers and composers for centuries. This beautiful piece, the only surviving complete concerto for this combination of instruments, features principal musicians of the VSO.

Scott Yoo , conductor
Sherie Aguirre , oboe
Michael Byerly , clarinet
Laura Leisring , bassoon
Jacob Wilder , horn

Mozart : Overture to The Magic Flute
Mozart : Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat Major, K. 297b
Mozart : Symphony No. 39

A Night at the Movies • 4/5 – 4/7

Friday, April 5, 2019 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM

Saturday, April 6, 2019 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM

Sunday, April 7, 2019 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

Join the VSO for a Night at the Movies! From the composer of the score to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Tan Dun’s Pipa Concerto features a first for local audiences. The pipa is a traditional Chinese four-stringed instrument, and soloist Wu Man is one of the world’s leading performers, having worked with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. John Williams’ hauntingly beautiful music from Steven Spielberg’s 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind will be one of the many film scores featured.

Sarah Hicks , conductor
Wu Man , pipa

Prokofiev
: Suite from Lieutenant Kijé, OP. 60
Tan Dun : Pipa Concerto
Rota: Romeo and Juliet Suite
Rózsa : Hitchcock’s Spellbound
John Williams : Close Encounters

 

Mahler Symphony No. 2 • 4/18 & 4/19

Thursday, April 18, 2019 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM

Friday, April 19, 2019 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM

The 2018-19 Classics Season comes to a close with one of the greatest symphonies of all time. Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, among his most popular and successful works during his lifetime, demonstrates his vision of beauty in the afterlife and in resurrection. Characteristic of Mahler, the symphony is written for a huge orchestra and runs the gamut of emotions in the contemplation of life and death.

JoAnn Falletta , conductor
Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus
Robert Shoup , chorus master
Mary Wilson, soprano
Susan Platts, mezzo soprano
F. Ludwig Diehn Chorale and ODU Concert Choir
Dr. Nancy K. Klein, ODU director of choral activities

Mahler : Symphony No. 2

Rachmaninoff and Ravel • 9/13-9/15

Friday, September 13, 2019 | Ferguson Center For the Arts, Newport News | 8PM
Saturday, September 14, 2019 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM
Sunday, September 15, 2019 | Sandler Center for the Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

To launch her final season as Music Director, JoAnn Falletta conducts Rachmaninoff’s famous Rhapsody On A Theme of Paganini with Chautauqua favorite, pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk (gah-vee-LOOK). Gavrylyuk has been hailed as a “true inspiration” and “easily, the most compelling pianist of his generation” – whether in performance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, concerts in Europe or the Far East. To close the evening, a rare treat: excerpts from Ravel’s music for Daphnis et Chloe, originally produced by the Ballets Russes.

JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Alexander Gavrylyuk, piano
Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus

Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini
Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Ravel: Daphnis and Chloe Suites 1 and 2

Brahms + Pulitzer Prize Winning Composer • 10/24-10/27

Thursday, October 24, 2019 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 7:30PM
Saturday, October 26, 2019 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM
Sunday, October 27, 2019 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

Michael Tilson Thomas calls conductor Edwin Outwater “one of the most innovative conductors on the scene today.” Known throughout the world for reinventing the concert experience with major orchestras, Outwater collaborates for these performances with violinist, singer, and composer Caroline Shaw – who at age 30, was the youngest-ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013, and who enjoys a large following both on recordings and YouTube. Equally adept at interpreting the great masterworks, Outwater concludes the evening leading Brahms’ perennial favorite Symphony No. 4.

Edwin Outwater, conductor
Caroline Shaw, composer

Beethoven: King Stephen Overture
Caroline Shaw: Other Song
Caroline Shaw: Red, Red Rose
Caroline Shaw: “Lo” (Violin solo)
Brahms: Symphony No. 4

Handel’s Messiah • 12/19-12/21

Thursday, December 19, 2019 | Regent University, Virginia Beach | 7:30PM
Friday, December 20, 2019 | First Baptist Church, Newport News | 8PM
Saturday, December 21, 2019 | Harrison Opera House, Norfolk | 8PM

As legend has it, divine inspiration may have played a hand in Handel’s 1741 composition of what has become his most famous work. Not only did he write the massive score in just over three weeks’ time – there is a long-held story that the popular “Hallelujah” chorus was itself inspired by a vision of heaven and its angels revealed to Handel as he wrote it. Our outstanding VSO Chorus will be joined by four fabulous soloists for this holiday masterpiece.

Sponsored by
CBN - Sponsor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra

Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique • 1/24-1/26

Friday, January 24, 2020 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM
Saturday, January 25, 2020 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM
Sunday, January 26, 2020 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

Glasgow-born conductor Douglas Boyd enjoyed a stellar career as a world-renowned oboist, before stepping away after 21 years to begin an international career as conductor. Currently, Boyd is Music Director of the L’Orchestre de Chambre de Paris as well as Artistic Director of the summer opera festival, Garsington Opera, in Buckinghamshire, England. Boyd has conducted all the BBC Orchestras, as well as orchestras throughout Europe, Australia, and the United States. For his debut performances in Hampton Roads, Boyd conducts Hector Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique, a romantic symphonic portrayal of the gifted artist’s challenges with unrequited love.

Douglas Boyd, conductor
Elena Urioste, violin

Stravinsky: Fireworks
Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending
Ravel: Tzigane
Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique

Mahler Symphony No. 4 • 2/21-2/23

Friday, February 21, 2020 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM
Saturday, February 22, 2020 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM
Sunday, February 23, 2020 | Sandler Center for the Perfoming Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

“Danzmayr has what it takes,” wrote The Chicago Tribune of David Danzmayr’s performances leading the Illinois Symphony. Last year, Danzmayr was appointed chief conductor of the Zagreb Philharmonic – part of an extensive European career of concerts in venues like Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, and the Grosses Festspielhaus in Salzburg. One of his shorter symphonies, Mahler’s fourth is that last of his so-called Wunderhorn symphonies, all based on songs from The Youth’s Magic Horn – and is one of his most popular and widely performed.

David Danzmayr, conductor
Clara Rottsolk, soprano

Mozart: Divertimento KV 136
Mozart:
Voi avete un cor Fedele
Mahler
: Symphony No. 4

Stravinsky Firebird • 3/6-3/8

Friday, March 06, 2020 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM
Saturday, March 07, 2020 | L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center, Norfolk | 8PM
Sunday, March 08, 2020 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

Chicago-born conductor Fawzi Haimor has established an extensive international career with some of world’s great orchestras, including the Pittsburgh Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, the Indianapolis Symphony, and just last summer, the Grant Park Symphony in his native Chicago. He is currently music director of the Württembergische Philharmonie. For his VSO debut, Haimor celebrates the Centennial of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, along with a first Hampton Roads performance from Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavarra – his popular Cantus Articus, or Concerto for Birds and Orchestra featuring birdsong recorded at the Finnish Artic Circle.

Fawzi Haimor, conductor
Leonard Elschenbroich, cello

Joshua Cerdenia: Feuertrunken (Fire-Drunk)
Elgar: Concerto for cello
Rautavaara: Cantus Arcticus, op. 61 “Concerto for Birds and Orchestra”
Stravinsky: Firebird Suite (1919)

Strauss Rosenkavalier Suite • 3/27-3/29

Friday, March 27, 2020 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM
Saturday, March 28, 2020 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM
Sunday, March 29, 2020 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

From the much-loved waltzes made famous in Strauss’ opera Der Rosenkavalier, to Robert Schumann’s one and only piano concerto, JoAnn Falletta has chosen a wide-ranging program of classics to show off the orchestra and soloist next spring, including French pianist Pris Benoitca – known for a refined pianistic touch with a wide range of colors. Benoit continues the orchestra’s collaboration with Sentara Healthcare’s “Music and Medicine” Program. The Schumann concerto will be recorded for later release.

JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Prisca Benoit, piano

Bantock: The Witch of Atlas
Schumann: Piano Concerto
Strauss: Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome
Strauss: Rosenkavalier Suite

Shostakovich Five • 5/8-5/10

Friday, May 8, 2020 | Chrysler hall, Norfolk | 8PM
Saturday, May 09, 2020 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM
Sunday, May 10, 2020 | Sandler Center for the Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

Hailed by The New York Times as “an interpretive dynamo,” conductor Eric Jacobsen returns to the VSO in the new season to lead one of the 20th Century’s tour de force masterpieces – Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. Jacobsen has built a reputation for engaging audiences with his innovative and collaborative programming, and in addition to the Shostakovich, Jacobsen will conduct the beautiful Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2, with violinist Alexi Kenney, a recipient of a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant. Kenney has been named “a talent to watch” by The New York Times, which also noted his “architect’s eye for structure and space and a tone that ranges from the achingly fragile to full-bodied robustness.”

Eric Jacobsen, conductor
Alexi Kenney, violin

Anna Clyne: Masquerade
Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

Beethoven “Emperor” and Symphony No. 9 “Choral” • 5/15-5/17

Fri., May 15 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM
Sat., May 16 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM
Sun., May 17 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, VA Beach | 2:30PM

JoAnn Falletta finishes her final season as Music Director with a history-making performance celebrating Beethoven’s 250th Year, in performances presented by the Virginia Arts Festival. For these concerts, Falletta will be joined by renowned pianist Olga Kern, who will perform Beethoven’s well-known “Emperor” Concerto. Kern is the recently appointed Connie and Marc Jacobson Director of Chamber Music for the Virginia Arts Festival. Following intermission, Falletta will be joined by four soloists and full VSO Chorus for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, the “Choral” Symphony.

JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Olga Kern, piano

Beethoven: Emperor Concerto
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9

Scott Yoo, conductor

After beginning his musical studies at age three, Scott Yoo performed Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto with the Boston Symphony at age twelve. He received first prize in the 1988 Josef Gingold International Violin Competition, the 1989 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and the 1994 Avery Fisher Career Grant. In 1993, Yoo founded the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, conducting the ensemble in its series at Jordan Hall in Boston, and more than ninety performances on tour.

Yoo has collaborated with eminent artists Sarah Chang, Edgar Meyer, Benita Valente, and Dawn Upshaw. He is currently Music Director and Principal Conductor of Festival Mozaic, and Artistic Director of the Medellín Festicámara, a chamber music program for underprivileged young musicians.

As a guest-conductor, Yoo has led the Colorado, Dallas, Indianapolis, New World, San Francisco and Utah Symphonies. He conducted the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in their Elliott Carter Festival, and at Carnegie Hall with pianist Brad Mehldau. Abroad, he has conducted the City of London Sinfonia, the Britten Sinfonia, the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Odense Symphony, the Seoul Philharmonic, and the Yomiuri Nippon Orchestra.

He has recorded for Sony Classical, Naxos, and New World, and is currently recording the complete Mozart Piano Concertos for Bridge Records.

Sherie Aguirre, Principal Oboe

Sherie Lake Aguirre has been the Principal oboist of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Virginia Opera since 1987. She graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor’s degree in Performance and continued her graduate studies with Ray Still at Northwestern University.

Ms. Aguirre has held principal positions with the Singapore Symphony, La Sinfonica de Maracaibo, La Sinfonica de Tenerife, and La Sinfonica de Madrid. She appears regularly as soloist with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and performs frequently in the Chamber Music series of the Virginia Arts Festival as well as the Norfolk Chamber Consort programs.  

From 1990 to 1997 she spent her summers in Boulder, Colorado performing with the Colorado Music Festival. For the past 15 summers, Ms. Aguirre has performed and recorded several CD’s with the Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival in Florida. Ms. Aguirre also maintains a private teaching studio full of young, local, talented oboe students in addition to fulfilling adjunct faculty positions at William and Mary College and Old Dominion University.

She resides in Norfolk with her husband, a violinist in the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Michael Byerly, Principal Clarinet

Principal clarinetist Michael Byerly joined the Virginia Symphony Orchestra at the start of its 2014-2015 season. Originally from Oregon, he studied clarinet with William McColl and Yehuda Gilad, completing degrees at the University of Washington and the University of Southern California and earning an Artist Diploma at The Colburn School. While in Los Angeles, he gained formative orchestral experience as a substitute player with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

As a soloist, he won First Prize at the International Clarinet Association Young Artist Competition and the Pasadena Showcase House Competition. He spent three years in Nishinomiya, Japan, as a member of the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra, and he served for two seasons as Principal Clarinetist with the Tucson Symphony. He resides in Virginia Beach with his fiancée, Christina Havens, who is Director of Education and Community Engagement for the Virginia Symphony

Laura Leisring, Principal Bassoon

Laura Leisring, Principal Bassoon of the Virginia Symphony since 2007, can be heard on more than 35 CD recordings on labels such as Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, and Auvidis Valois as Principal with the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, Canary Islands, Spain 1989-2003, and as Acting Principal of the Milwaukee Symphony 2003/2004.

Highly praised for her work by critics in Spain, she has performed with more than 100 world-class artists, and has been a soloist under conductors Yoel Levi, Antoni Wit, Leopold Hager, and Anne Manson, with whom she performed the European Premiere of the Concerto for Bassoon by Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Composer, Ellen Taaffe-Zwilich.

She has served as Principal with theMusic in the Mountains Festival, Durango, CO. since 2002, where she was a featured soloist in 2007.

Jacob Wilder, Principal Horn

Jacob Wilder, Horn - Virginia Symphony OrchestraJacob Wilder completed both a Bachelor's degree and an Artist Diploma in French Horn performance at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in downtown Los Angeles.

During his time in Los Angeles, Jacob played substitute french horn with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and the Santa Barbara Symphony. Jacob has also served as a full time section member in the Colburn Orchestra, American Youth Symphony, the Industry Opera Company, Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo, and Colorado College Music Festival.

Beyond making music, Jacob enjoys being outdoors biking, hiking, or playing basketball.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born January 27 1756. Mozart was born in Salzburg to a musical family. From an early age, the young Mozart showed all the signs of a prodigious musical talent. By the age of five he could read and write music, and he would entertain people with his talents on the keyboard. By the age of six he was writing his first compositions. During his childhood, he would frequently tour various palaces around Europe playing for distinguished guests. Aged 17, he accepted a post as a court musician in Salzburg; although this did not suit him very well, the next few years were a time of prolific composition. In Vienna, he became well known and was often in demand as a composer and performer.

Mozart was generally considered to be a rare musical genius, although he was also diligent in studying other great composers such as Haydn and Bach. He composed over 600 works, including some of the most famous and loved pieces of symphonic, chamber, operatic, and choral music. In London Mozart met, among others, Johann Christian Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach’s youngest son and a leading figure in the city’s musical life, and under his influence Mozart composed his first symphonies—three survive (K 16, K 19, and K 19a—K signifying the work’s place in the catalog of Ludwig von Köchel).

Two more followed during a stay in The Hague on the return journey (K 22 and K 45a). Perhaps his best-admired work is in opera, the piano concerto, sonata, the symphony, the string quartet, and string quintet. Mozart also wrote many pieces for solo piano, other forms of chamber music, masses and other religious music, and numerous dances, divertimentos, and other forms of light entertainment.

Mozart died December 5 1791, he was one of the most influential, popular and prolific composers of the classical period.

VSO Performance
The Virginia Symphony will perform Mozart’s Symphony No. 39, Sinfonia Concertante, and Overture to The Magic Flute in the Classics season during A Mozart Celebration, and Mozart’s Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra in the Williamsburg and Regent University Classics seasons during Classics Reborn.

Sarah Hicks, conductor

Noted in the New York Times as part of "a new wave of female conductors in their late 20's through early 40's", Sarah Hicks's versatile and vibrant musicianship has secured her place in "the next generation of up-and-coming American conductors". In October of 2009 she was named Principal Conductor, Live at Orchestra Hall of the Minnesota Orchestra; in addition to conducting most Pops and Special Presentations, she has been instrumental in creating new Pops productions while also heading the innovative classical series, "Inside the Classics". Hicks concurrently holds the positions of  Staff Conductor of the Curtis Institute of Music. Throughout her career she has collaborated with diverse artists, from Jamie Laredo and Hilary Hahn to Josh Groban and Smokey Robinson; during the summer of 2011 she was on a two-month tour with Sting as conductor of the final leg of his Symphonicities Tour. In June of 2012 she conducted the opening concert of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, and program featuring Dmitri Hvrostovsky, Sumi Jo and Jackie Evancho.

Hicks has guest conducted extensively both in the States and abroad, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Boston Pops, Cincinnati Pops, Atlanta Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Detroit Symphony, National Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic, Malaysian Philharmonic, RTE Symphony, Danish Radio Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony Prime Philharmonic (Seoul, Korea), and the Orchestra of la Teatro Fenice.  She led the Los Angeles Philharmonic in July 4th concerts at the Hollywood Bowl in 2012, 2013 and 2015; upcoming concerts include return engagements in San Francisco and Montreal as well as debuts with the Calgary and Danish National Symphonies.

Hicks was a member of the Faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music from 2000-2005 and continues her affiliation with Curtis as Staff Conductor.  Her past positions include Associate Conductor of the North Carolina Symphony Associate Conductor of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Resident Conductor of the Florida Philharmonic, and Assistant Conductor of the Philadelphia Singers, the chorus of the Philadelphia Orchestra, whom she has led in radio broadcasts heard nationwide.  She has also been Music Director of the Hawaii Summer Symphony, an ensemble she founded in 1991 in her hometown of Honolulu and which she led for five seasons.

Hicks was invited to Japan by the New National Theatre Tokyo, where she acted as assistant conductor to a production of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and has performed Verdi's Aïda with the East Slovak State Opera Theater. Her extensive work with the Curtis Opera Studio include performances of Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmelites and numerous vocal concerts; she led the Opera Studio's production of Handel's Alcina in 2005 and led the Minnesota Orchestra in a semi-staged production of Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel in 2009.

A committed proponent of the performance of new music, Hicks recently completed a Microcommission Project (the first of its kind) with the Minnesota Orchestra in which hundreds of people made microdonations to fund a major new work by composer Judd Greenstein.  She has led the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in readings, recordings and performances of contemporary works. Her recording project with the Vermont Symphony, "Triple Doubles", featuring music of Richard Danielpour and David Ludwig with Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson, soloists was recently released on the Bridge Label.  She has also conducted performances with Composers in the Shape of a Pear (Cleveland) and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble.

Hicks was born in Tokyo, Japan and raised in Honolulu, HI.  Trained on both the piano and viola, she was a prizewinning pianist by her early teens.  She received her BA magna cum laude from Harvard University in composition; her AIDS Oratorio was premiered in May of 1993 and received a second performance at the Fogg Art Museum the following December.  She holds an Artists' Degree in conducting from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with renowned pedagogue Otto-Werner Mueller. Hicks's talents have been recognized with numerous prized and scholarships; she received the Thomas Hoopes Prize for composition and the Doris Cohen Levy Prize for conducting from Harvard University, and she was the recipient of the Helen F. Whitaker Fund Scholarship and a Presser Award during her time at Curtis.

In her spare time, Ms. Hicks enjoys running, yoga, her Papillon, cooking (and eating) with her husband, traveling and sketching.

Wu Man, pipa

Recognized as the world’s premier pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music, Wu Man has carved out a career as a soloist, educator and composer giving her lute-like instrument—which has a history of over 2,000 years in China—a new role in both traditional and contemporary music.

Through numerous concert tours Wu Man has premiered hundreds of new works for the pipa, while spearheading multimedia projects to both preserve and create awareness of China’s ancient musical traditions. Her adventurous spirit and virtuosity have led to collaborations across artistic disciplines allowing Wu Man to reach wider audiences as she works to break through cultural and musical borders. Wu Man’s efforts were recognized when she was named Musical America’s 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year, marking the first time this prestigious award has been bestowed on a player of a non-Western instrument.

As a principal musician in Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, Wu Man has performed throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia with the Silk Road Ensemble. She is a featured artist in the documentary The Music Of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble, as well as on the film’s 2017 Grammy Award-winning companion recording, Sing Me Home, which includes Wu Man’s original composition Green (Vincent’s Tune) performed with the vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth. She has recorded six albums with the group: Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet (2002), Silk Road Journeys: Beyond the Horizon (2005), New Impossibilities (2007), the CD/DVD A Playlist Without Borders/Live from Tanglewood (2013) and Sing Me Home (2016) on Sony Classical, as well as Off the Map (2009) on World Village. Her recent performances with SRE include a 2016 tour to summer festivals such as Tanglewood, Wolf Trap, Blossom, Ravinia and Hollywood Bowl, SRE performances with Mark Morris Dance in Berkeley and Seattle, and a tour of Asia.

Born in Hangzhou, China, Wu Man studied with Lin Shicheng, Kuang Yuzhong, Chen Zemin, and Liu Dehai at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where she became the first recipient of a master's degree in pipa. Accepted into the conservatory at age 13, Wu Man’s audition was covered by national newspapers and she was hailed as a child prodigy, becoming a nationally recognized role model for young pipa players. She subsequently received first prize in the First National Music Performance Competition among many other awards, and she participated in many premieres of works by a new generation of Chinese composers. Wu Man’s first exposure to western classical music came in 1979 when she saw Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra performing in Beijing. In 1980 she participated in an open master class with violinist Isaac Stern and in 1985 she made her first visit to the United States as a member of the China Youth Arts Troupe. Wu Man moved to the U.S. in 1990 and currently resides with her husband and son in California.

Tan Dun’s individual voice has been heard widely by international audiences.As a conductor of innovative programs around the world, Tan Dun has led the China tours of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Japan’s NHK Symphony Orchestra. His current season includes leading the NDR Radiophilharmonie in a five-city tour in Germany, as well as engagements with the London Symphony Orchestra and at the Venice Biennale. Tan Dun has led the world’s most esteemed orchestras, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Filarmonica della Scala, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, among others.

Tan Dun’s creations can be unabashedly populist, radically experimental, or—most frequently—both. While his work does not neatly fit within previously-existing categories—perhaps the closest fit is opera in the broadest cultural context, Tan has created several new artistic formats, which—like opera—encompass sound, sight, narrative, and ritual.

In addition to his contributions to the repertoire of opera and motion pictures scores, Tan’s new formats include: orchestral theatre, which re-contextualizes the orchestra and the concert-going experience; organic music, which explores new realms of sound through primal elements such as water, paper, and stone; and multimedia extravaganzas, which incorporate a variety of cutting-edge technologies. A winner of today’s most prestigious honors including the Grammy Award, Oscar/Academy Award, Grawemeyer Award, Bach Prize, Shostakovich Award, and most recently Italy’s Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement, Tan Dun’s music has been played throughout the world by leading orchestras, opera houses, international festivals, and on radio and television.

The world-renowned artist and UNESCO Global Goodwill Ambassador, Tan Dun, has made an indelible mark on the world’s music scene with a creative repertoire that spans the boundaries of classical music, multimedia performance, and Eastern and Western traditions.

Miklós Rózsa was born April 18, 1907 in Budapest. His mother played the piano, but his father was an industrialist who thought very little of music and resisted his son's wish to pursue a career as a musician. However, the young Miklos was clearly highly talented and his passion for music was encouraged by his mother. He was able to read music before he could read words and became a proficient violinist, an instrument he played very well when only five. Rózsa's teacher, Herman Grabner, told his father that he believed him to be a musical prodigy and that he showed considerable ability as a composer. Reluctantly, his father let Miklos satisfy his appetite for music.

At the age of only 21, Rózsa was contracted by the musical publishing company Breitkopf and Haertel. He composed for the concert hall and the theatre and wrote for ballet too. The producer of Knight Without Armour (1937) was his fellow Hungarian Alexander Korda. This was the start of a partnership that led Rózsa to produce some of his finest work. These included The Thief Of Baghdad (1940), The Four Feathers (1939), and Lady Hamilton (1941), starring Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. Although he may be primarily remembered as the composer who captured the "Roman" epic sound for the cinema, he was also highly experimental - often writing for film "noir" and utilising early electronic instruments such as the "Theremin" to suggest psychological disorder. Unusually for a film music composer he also wrote prolifically for the concert hall.

In the Fifties and Sixties Rózsa's name was closely associated with Biblical epics and historical dramas. He often used instruments of the time, or tried to emulate them, in Quo Vadis (1951), El Cid (1961) and Sodom and Gomorrah (1962). But his two best and most memorable "epic" scores were Ben Hur (1959) and King of Kings (1961). Throughout his career Rózsa had been regarded as a specialist composer - first of oriental fantasies, then psycho- logical trauma, crime pictures and finally historical epics. He broke from these moulds towards the end of the 1970s when asked to compose for films such as Jonathan Demme's The Last Embrace (1979), Time After Time (1979) and Carl Reiner's Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1981). Rózsa stopped composing in the 1980s because of ill-health. Illness prevented him from attending his own special 80th Birthday Celebration, held at the Royal Festival Hall, in London, with his fellow film composers Jerry Goldsmith and Elmer Bernstein.

Miklós Rózsa died in July 27, 1995 in Los Angeles as one of the last of the great "classic" film and television composers

John Williams was born in New York City on February 8, 1932. Williams—who studied at Julliard—worked as a jazz pianist and studio musician before starting to compose for television and film. John Towner Williams, generally known as John Williams, was born in the Flushing section of Queens, New York, on February 8, 1932. His father was a musician, and Williams started taking piano lessons at a young age. With his family, Williams moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1948. He attended the University of California at Los Angeles for a short time before being drafted into the U.S. Air Force in 1951. After three years of military service, Williams returned to New York City, where he worked as a jazz pianist. He also attended the Juilliard School, studying with famed teacher Rosina Lhevinne in pursuit of his dream of becoming a concert pianist.

Returning to Los Angeles, Williams became a movie studio musician. He was heard as a pianist on films such as Some Like It Hot (1959) and To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). Working with Henry Mancini, Williams also played piano on the theme for the television program Peter Gunn. Soon, Williams was composing his own music for TV. Williams may be best known for his work with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Almost all of Spielberg's films have Williams scores; their notable collaborations include Jaws (1975), E.T. (1982), Jurassic Park (1993), Schindler's List (1993), Catch Me If You Can (2002), Munich (2005) and Lincoln (2012). Williams also composed the music for George Lucas's six Star Wars movies. In 2013, it was announced that Williams would write the score for Episode VII (2015), and he later returned for Episode VIII (2017).

Shows that received Williams's musical touch include Wagon Train, Gilligan's Island and Lost in Space. His career took off in the 1970s; since then, he has scored more than 100 films, including the notable films listed above. Williams also composed and arranged music for the big screen, starting with Daddy-O (1959). He received his first Academy Award nomination for Valley of the Dolls (1967). Williams has won five Academy Awards and received a record-breaking number of nominations. In 1972, Williams won an Academy Award for his work on Fiddler on the Roof.  He'd also gained attention for his score for The Poseidon Adventure (1972), which received an Oscar nomination as well.

In a career that spans five decades, John Williams has become one of America’s most accomplished and successful composers for film and for the concert stage. He has served as music director and laureate conductor of one of the country’s treasured musical institutions, the Boston Pops Orchestra, and he maintains thriving artistic relationships with many of the world’s great orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

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

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.

 

Gustav Mahler was born on July 7, 1860, into an Austrian Jewish family on July 7, 1860 in Kaliste, Czech Republic. Mahler and his 11 siblings grew up in Jihlava, where pronounced ethnic divisions made him feel like an outsider. With music serving as an outlet, he began singing and composing on the accordion and piano at the age of 4 and gave his first recital at 10. When he was 15 years old, Mahler entered the Vienna Conservatory. During his years at the school, he began composing a piece where he felt he was able to truly develop his voice, Das klagende Lied. Ultimately, he turned to conducting after graduation, believing it to be a more practical career choice.

From 1897 to 1907, Mahler was the musical director of the Vienna Court Opera, a job for which he converted from Judaism to Catholicism. While holding this position, Mahler toured all over Europe, becoming very well known. He built a villa at Maiernigg in Carinthia, and each summer he’d vacation there and compose a great deal of music. Mahler’s work ethic was characterized by perfectionism, a trait that made him unpopular among the musicians that he directed.

Mahler’s compositions were solely symphonic rather than operatic. He eventually composed 10 symphonies, each very emotional and large in scale. He also wrote several song cycles with folk influences. His work is characterized as part of the Romanticism movement and is often focused on death and afterlife. He is known for his choral work Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) and the song cycle Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer). On January 1, 1908, Mahler debuted as director of New York City’s Metropolitan Opera. One year later he was conducting the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. He returned to Vienna to die of heart disease on May 18, 1911. He passed away before he fully completed his tenth and final symphony.

Died on May 18, 1911, in Vienna, the Austrian composer and conductor Gustav Mahler had served as director for the Vienna Court Opera from 1897 to 1907. After his death, Mahler’s work went largely unacknowledged. It took decades for his community to recognize his influence; he is now regarded as a pioneer of 20-century composition techniques, particularly progressive tonality.