Friday, September 21, 2018 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM

Saturday, September 22, 2018 | Chrysler Hall, Norfolk | 8PM

Sunday, September 23, 2018 | Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Beach | 2:30PM

Saunter into a new season with Pictures at an Exhibition. Mussorgsky’s most famous composition, written in just twenty days, is a suite of 10 pieces depicting his tour of a memorial exhibition for his late friend, the painter and architect Victor Hartmann. JoAnn Falletta and the VSO will perform Ravel’s orchestration of this picturesque masterpiece. Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture makes for a triumphant opening to this program before world-class violinist Sandy Cameron takes the stage to perform acclaimed film composer Danny Elfman’s Violin Concerto – the first performance by a professional orchestra in the United States. 

JoAnn Falletta, conductor
Sandy Cameron, violin

Brahms: Academic Festival Overture
Elfman: Violin Concerto
Mussorgsky/arr. Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition

from to
ical Google outlook Classics Concert

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

Declared “brilliant” by the Washington Post, violinist Sandy Cameron is one of the most strikingly unique artists of her generation. Since her debut at the age of 12 in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, Cameron has performed extensively as a soloist and recitalist throughout North America, Europe, and Korea. At 15, Sandy was a featured guest at the famed White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the Salzburg Festival in Salzburg, Austria, and at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland. She has toured North America with renowned conductor Valery Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra, and made other solo appearances with orchestras such as the Seattle Symphony and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. Cameron was a performer in Cirque du Soleil’s Los Angeles based show, “IRIS”, and is a featured soloist in Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton concerts and The Nightmare Before Christmas Live at The Hollywood Bowl.

Cameron is currently touring the world with jazz trumpeter and composer Chris Botti, performing jazz standards and classical repertoire. She also performed as a part of Tan Dun’s Hero Concerto and The Triple Resurrection in China. Her work has been featured on a number of major film scores including Rio 2, The Peanuts, Straight Outta Compton, Goosebumps, The 5th Wave, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fantastic Four and The Cobbler. She will also be touring with composer Austin Wintory performing his score for the video game Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate.

Cameron has earned numerous awards and honors, including the title of Presidential Scholar, and graduated from Harvard University ('09) and New England Conservatory ('10). A firm believer in giving back to the community, Cameron created her own Music Benefit Fund in 2004, which provided funding for musical education and activity in the schools and community of Poolesville, MD, and continues to participate in a number of charity events.

The outstanding violin used by Cameron, crafted by Pietro Guarnerius of Venice, c. 1735, is on extended loan through the generous efforts of the Stradivari Society® of Chicago.

Johannes Brahms was born May 7, 1833 in Hamburg, Germany. His father, Johann Jakob Brahms, was an innkeeper and a double bass musician with moderate ability. He taught his son violin and piano at an early age, and later hired Otto Cossel to tutor his sons growing piano skills. At just six years old, created his own style and method of writing music to achieve the melodies he composed. He played his first private concert at age ten.

To help his family with tight finances, Brahms gave lessons and performed at local pubs, streets, and dance halls. The constant work strained his mental and physical health, so he took an opportunity for rest by conducting a small, male choir for whom he gave his first choral compositions. He enjoyed a steady success, but after failing to achieve the recognition for his works, he returned to his hometown to continue giving inexpensive lessons and performances. 

Brahms made his name as an accomplished musician, despite wanting to compose full time. He met violinist Reményi, and they went on several successful concert tours. During which, the two acquired several introductions through violinist Joachim. Franz Liszt was highly impressed with Brahms compositions, but Brahms declined the invitation to join Liszt’s group because he disliked Liszt’s music. Reményi sent a letter to composer Schumann, praising Johannes Brahms. Schumann and Brahms enjoyed a strong friendship with each other, and Brahms stayed with the Schumann’s during the middle part of his life and career. Brahms insisted on performing his own pieces, rather than the music of any other historical or modern composer of the day.

Stubborn and uncompromising, Brahms was wholly committed to his craft. Unfortunately, he would destroy pieces he deemed unworthy, including some 20 string quartets. Even though he was a perfectionist, he never gave up on composing. Brahms wrote four Symphonies, each massive in structure and the result of long periods of work and many revisions. In addition, Brahms completed two serenades, and several other orchestral works. Many of Brahms orchestral music contains its own unique charm and enjoy enormous popularity. Brahms composed a large number of other musical pieces during his lifetime. Some two dozen pieces of chamber music has captured the attentions of musicians around the world. The composer always showed particular talent for the piano and for the compositions of variations. One such Variations on a Theme by Handel, made his name in Vienna.
After doctors discovered Johannes Brahms had cancer of the liver, his health quickly began declining. His last performance was in March, 1896 in Vienna. He died a month later, on April 3, 1897.

VSO Performances
The Virginia Symphony will be performing Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture in the Classics season during Pictures at an Exhibition, and Variations on Theme of Haydn in the Williamsburg and Regent University Classics season during performances of Classics Reborn.

Danny Elfman was born in the Baldwin areas of Los Angeles, California. There he spent a huge amount of time attending a local movie theatre, paying close attention to the unnoticed film scores. Danny Elfman was largely unaware of his talent for composing during his early years of his life, even after creating a Ska band during high school. It wasn’t until the 1970s when older brother, Richard Elfman, started a music troupe while in Paris. The Avant-Garde group began as the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, eventually just known as the American group Oingo Boingo. Many older fans will recognize Danny Elfman’s performance and compositions from this group. While composing the eclectic, intelligent rock for the Oingo Boingo band, Danny formed a strong friendship with director Tim Burton.

The Elfman-Burton partnership began when Elfman composed the soundtrack to Burton’s 1985 film, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, which was also Danny’s first orchestral film score. Elfman delivered the scores, with the help from Oingo Boingo band member Steve Bartek. Burton was so enthralled with Elfman’s works, that Danny has written the performances for all but two of Burton’s films.

The first film Elfman scored was Forbidden Zone, where Danny interestingly played “Satan.” – a film directed by his brother Richard. Most notably, Elfman composed the film scores to the highly successful Batman flicks. Elfman has received many awards for his film compositions. His soundtrack for the highly famous film Men in Black received both an Academy Award Nomination and a Grammy Award Nomination. His three other Academy Award Nominations were for the 1997 movie Good Will Hunting, the 2003 Tim Burton Movie Big Fish, and for the 2008 movie Milk. He was also nominated for the Grammy Award a total of eleven times, for which he won once. Elfman’s score for Batman went on to win a Grammy for “Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture”.

Elfman recently pushed his way into new territory with the completion of his concerto for violin and orchestra, Eleven Eleven. This was a first for Elfman, and effectively launched his career into the classical world. Elfman has proven himself as one of the most versatile and accomplished film composer’s of modern day.  

Mussorgsky was born March 9, 1839 in Karevo, Russia. He was the son of a landowner with peasant influences, as his grandmother was a serf. During his earliest years his nanny would read him Russian fairytales, leaving the young Mussorgsky with a lasting impression of the spirit of the Russian people and a sense of wonder. He discovered music through his mother, who was an accomplished pianist. She gave Modest some of his first lessons, and he could even play some of Liszt’s simpler pieces by age seven.

Modest was primed for a military career from a young age. He and his brother were sent to the Peter-Paul school in preparation for a life in the military. His father was aware of Modest’s musical nature, and entrusted the boys to Anton Gerke, future professor of music at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Later, when Modest was attending the school for Cadets of the Guard, he composed his first piece which was published at his father’s expense. Lieutenant Mussorgsky joined the Preobrazhensky Guards, one of Russia’s most aristocratic regiments. There he made several friends of music-loving officers that were all fond of Italian theatre. He also came to know officer Borodin, who would become another important Russian composer. During a dinner at the home of Russian composer, Aleksandr Dargomyzhsky, Mussorgsky discovered the music of the seminal Russian composer Mikhail Glinka, and this quickened his own Russophile inclinations. This gave Mussorgsky the push he needed to resign from the army and follow his musical passions.

Mussorgsky composed with a bold, unique style but with a relatively small output. The 65 songs he composed describe scenes of Russian life with great vividness and insight and realistically reproduce the inflections of the spoken Russian language. Mussorgsky achieved artistic maturity in 1866 with a series of remarkable songs about ordinary people such as “Darling Savishna,” “Hopak,” and “The Seminarist,” and an even larger series appeared the following year. In 1869 he began his great work Boris Godunov to his own libretto based on the drama by Aleksandr Pushkin, which was originally rejected by a advisory committee of the imperial theatres because it lacked a prima donna role. This piece was subject to a thorough revision, but was completed with the addition of two roles and several new episodes. Mussorgsky heavily struggled with financial difficulties which affected the overall tone of his music. The last years of his life were dominated by depression and alcoholism.

Mussorgsky died on March 28, 1881, in St. Petersburg. He was an innovater of the Russian, romantic music. Striving for a completely unique Russian identity through his works.

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.