Friday, November 30, 2018 | Ferguson Center for the Arts, Newport News | 8PM

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

“Winter is coming….” Usher in the season with the VSO in a program that pays homage to winter featuring Glazunov’s picturesque Winter from The Seasons. Acclaimed cellist Julian Schwarz returns with Tchaikovsky’s delightful Rococo Variations. The VSO then takes a trip north to Finland for Sibelius’ evocative Fifth Symphony. We close with a rare treat on the concert stage, the climactic Pas de Deux from Tchaikovsky’s beloved Nutcracker.

JoAnn Falletta , conductor
Julian Schwarz , cello

Glazunov : Winter from The Seasons, Op. 67
Tchaikovsky : Rococo Variations for Cello and Orchestra
Sibelius : Symphony No. 5
Tchaikovsky : Pas de Deux from The Nutcracker

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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

Julian Schwarz, cello

Julian Schwarz was born to a multigenerational musical family in 1991. Heralded from a young age as a cellist destined to rank among the greatest of the 21st century, Julian’s powerful tone, effortless virtuosity, and extraordinarily large color palate are hallmarks of his style.

In 2013 Schwarz won 1st prize in the professional cello division of the Schoenfeld International String Competition in Hong Kong, and in 2016 won 1st prize at the Boulder International Chamber Music Competition’s “The Art of Duo” with Canadian pianist Marika Bournaki.  

After making his concerto debut at the age of 11 with the Seattle Symphony and his father Gerard Schwarz on the podium, he made his US touring debut with the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2010. Since then he has led an active career as soloist. Recent and upcoming debuts include the Buffalo and Rochester Philharmonics, Camerata Chicago, Symphony Silicon Valley, and the Toledo, Jacksonville, Charleston, Tucson, Amarillo, San Antonio, Des Moines, Charlotte, and West Virginia Symphonies. Return engagements include the Hartford and Springfield (MA) Symphonies, Northwest Sinfonietta, Lake Union Civic Orchestra, Symphoria (Syracuse NY), and the Boca Symphonia. Internationally, he made his Australian debut with the Queensland Symphony, his Mexican debuts with the Boca del Rio Symphony in Veracruz and the Mexico City Philharmonic with frequent collaborator Jorge Mester, and his Hong Kong debut at the Intimacy of Creativity Festival. He has also appeared at the Salzburg Mozarteum, and the Verbier festival in Switzerland.

As a recitalist, he has performed at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, the Rosenegg Castle in Steyr Austria, on the Embassy Series in Washington DC, at the National Arts Club, and in Palm Springs, CA. In March 2017, Schwarz embarked on an extensive 10-recital tour of China, and will make debuts for the Musical Club of Hartford, the University Club in NYC, and the Boulder Bach Festival in the 17-18 season. A committed chamber musician, he is a member of the New York based Frisson Ensemble, the New York Classical Players, and the Mile-End Trio with violinist Jeff Multer and pianist Marika Bournaki. He performs frequently at Bargemusic in Brooklyn with violinist Mark Peskanov, on the Frankly Music Series in Milwaukee with violinist Frank Almond, and has been the featured young artist at both the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival and the Seattle Chamber Music Festival.

Schwarz is an ardent supporter of new music, and often commissions new works to enhance the cello repertoire. He has premiered concertos by Richard Danielpour, Samuel Jones (recorded with the All Star Orchestra for public television in 2012, subsequently released as a DVD on Naxos), and will give the world premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s first Cello Concerto with a consortium of five orchestras in the 17-18 season. Other premieres include the US Premiere of Dobrinka Tabakova’s Cello Concerto with the Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra, and recital works by Paul Frucht, Gavin Fraser, Ren Damin, and Gerard Schwarz. On record, the Schwarz-Bournaki duo has recorded Bright Sheng’s “Northern Lights” for Naxos, the complete cello/piano works by Ernest Bloch for the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music, and will release a debut recital album in 2017.

A devoted teacher, Schwarz serves as Asst. Professor of Cello at Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University (Winchester, VA). Other faculty appointments include the Eastern Music Festival (Greensboro, NC), Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance (Nova Scotia, Canada), and faculty teaching assistant to Joel Krosnick at The Juilliard School.

Schwarz studied at the Academy of Music Northwest, the Colburn School with Ronald Leonard, and received both BM and MM degrees from The Juilliard School where he studied with mentor Joel Krosnick. Other influential teachers include David Tonkonogui, Toby Saks, Lynn Harrell, Neal Cary, and chamber music studies with Andre Roy, Arnold Steinhardt, Jonathan Feldman, Toby Appel and Paul Coletti. Schwarz plays on a Neapolitan cello made by Gennaro Gagliano in 1743, is an active contributor to Strings Magazine’s Artist Blog, and sits on the music committee of the National Arts Club.

Alexander Glazunov was born July 29, 1865 in St. Petersburg, Russia. His mother recognized the talent in her son. Glazunov’s mother, a piano pupil of Mily Balakirev, took her obviously talented son to her teacher, and on his advice the boy in 1880 began study with Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. In 1882 Balakirev conducted Glazunov’s First Symphony. A revised version of the piece was printed in 1886 by M.P. Belyayev, a millionaire timber merchant and founder of the famous Belyayev music-publishing firm that Glazunov later helped direct.

As Glazunov become an experienced composer, he met many of the talented composers of his time. He absorbed the influence of Franz Liszt, whom he visited in Weimar, Germany, in 1884. Other influences, notably Wagner’s and Tchaikovsky’s, were later evident.

Most of Glazunov’s best works—the fourth, fifth, and sixth symphonies and his ballets Raymonda, Ruses d’amour, and Les Saisons (“The Seasons”)—date from the 1890s. He finished his Violin Concerto in A Minor in 1904 and last complete symphony, the eighth, in 1906. In 1905 he became director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he had taught since 1899. He wrote few large-scale works after 1906: two piano concerti (1911 and 1917), two string quartets (1920 and 1930), the Concerto-Ballata for Cello and Orchestra (1931), and the Concerto for Saxophone, Flute, and Strings (1934).

Glazunov died March 21, 1936 in Paris, France. He was known as the major Russian symphonic composer of the generation that followed Tchaikovsky.

Pyotr Tchaikovsky was born May 7, 1840 in the Votkinsk in the Vyatka district of Russia. He was the second born of six surviving children and the son of a successful engineer. The young Tchaikovsky received a sound education from his French governess. His parents sometimes took him to concerts, and after one such evening he complained that he could not fall asleep because of the music stuck in his head. He was devoted to his mother, and at age four he and his sister composed a song for her. Since music education was not available in Russian institutions at that time, Tchaikovsky’s parents had not considered that their son might pursue a musical career. Instead, they chose to prepare the high-strung and sensitive boy for a career in the civil service. Tchaikovsky attended law school in St. Petersburg, Russia, and, while studying law and government, he took music lessons, including some composing, from Gabriel Lomakin. Tchaikovsky graduated at the age of nineteen and took a job as a bureau clerk. He worked hard, but he hated the job; by this time he was totally absorbed by music.

When St. Petersburg Conservatory opened the following fall, Tchaikovsky was among its first students. After making the decision to dedicate his life to music, he resigned from the Ministry of Justice, where he had been employed as a clerk. Tchaikovsky spent nearly three years at St. Petersburg Conservatory, studying harmony and counterpoint with Nikolay Zaremba and composition and instrumentation with Anton Rubinstein. At the very end of 1875, Tchaikovsky left Russia to travel in Europe. He was powerfully impressed by a performance of Georges Bizet’s Carmen at the Opéra-Comique in Paris; in contrast, the production of Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle, which he attended in Bayreuth, Germany, during the summer of 1876, left him cold.

His music has always had great appeal for the general public in virtue of its tuneful, open-hearted melodies, impressive harmonies, and colourful, picturesque orchestration, all of which evoke a profound emotional response. His oeuvre includes 7 symphonies, 11 operas, 3 ballets, 5 suites, 3 piano concertos, a violin concerto, 11 overtures (strictly speaking, 3 overtures and 8 single movement programmatic orchestral works), 4 cantatas, 20 choral works, 3 string quartets, a string sextet, and more than 100 songs and piano pieces.

Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky November 6, 1835 in St. Petersburg, Russia as the most popular Russian composer of all time.

Jean Sibelius was born December 8, 1865 in the small garrison town of Hämeenlinna, then under the Grand Duchy of Finland. His birth name was Johan Julius Christian Sibelius; but at home, he was called Janne, which he later changed to Jean and thus became known as Jean Sibelius. Although intended for a legal career, he soon abandoned his law studies at Helsinki, devoting himself entirely to music. At first, he planned to become a violinist. Under the guidance of Martin Wegelius, he composed much chamber and instrumental music. He adopted the name Jean, which he used throughout his professional career in preference to his baptismal names. In his mid-20s he left Finland to continue his studies in Berlin and Vienna, where his teachers included the composers Robert Fuchs and Karl Goldmark.

Sibelius studied at the Finnish Normal School, the first Finnish-speaking school in Russian-held Finland, where he came into contact with Finnish literature and in particular with the Kalevala, the mythological epic of Finland, which remained for him a constant source of inspiration. (Many of his symphonic poems drew on this source.) Around the turn of the 20th century, Sibelius’ fame penetrated the European continent. The pianist-composer Ferruccio Busoni, whose friendship he had made in Helsinki, conducted his Symphony No. 2 in Berlin and the British composer Granville Bantock commissioned his Symphony No. 3. He is widely recognized as his country's greatest composer and, through his music, is often credited with having helped Finland to develop a national identity during its struggle for independence from Russia.

Two chamber music works crowned Sibelius's studies in Helsinki, a suite for violin, viola and cello, and a string quartet in A minor. The core of his oeuvre is his set of seven symphonies which, like his other major works, are regularly performed and recorded in his home country and internationally. His other best-known compositions are Finlandia, the Karelia Suite, Valse triste, the Violin Concerto, the choral symphony Kullervo, and The Swan of Tuonela (from the Lemminkäinen Suite). Other works include pieces inspired by nature, Nordic mythology, and the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, over a hundred songs for voice and piano, incidental music for numerous plays, the opera Jungfrun i tornet (The Maiden in the Tower), chamber music, piano music, Masonic ritual music, and 21 publications of choral music.

Jean Sibelius died September 20, 1957 in Järvenpää, Finland as the most noted symphonic composer of Scandinavia.

Pyotr Tchaikovsky was born May 7, 1840 in the Votkinsk in the Vyatka district of Russia. He was the second born of six surviving children and the son of a successful engineer. The young Tchaikovsky received a sound education from his French governess. His parents sometimes took him to concerts, and after one such evening he complained that he could not fall asleep because of the music stuck in his head. He was devoted to his mother, and at age four he and his sister composed a song for her. Since music education was not available in Russian institutions at that time, Tchaikovsky’s parents had not considered that their son might pursue a musical career. Instead, they chose to prepare the high-strung and sensitive boy for a career in the civil service. Tchaikovsky attended law school in St. Petersburg, Russia, and, while studying law and government, he took music lessons, including some composing, from Gabriel Lomakin. Tchaikovsky graduated at the age of nineteen and took a job as a bureau clerk. He worked hard, but he hated the job; by this time he was totally absorbed by music.

When St. Petersburg Conservatory opened the following fall, Tchaikovsky was among its first students. After making the decision to dedicate his life to music, he resigned from the Ministry of Justice, where he had been employed as a clerk. Tchaikovsky spent nearly three years at St. Petersburg Conservatory, studying harmony and counterpoint with Nikolay Zaremba and composition and instrumentation with Anton Rubinstein. At the very end of 1875, Tchaikovsky left Russia to travel in Europe. He was powerfully impressed by a performance of Georges Bizet’s Carmen at the Opéra-Comique in Paris; in contrast, the production of Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle, which he attended in Bayreuth, Germany, during the summer of 1876, left him cold.

His music has always had great appeal for the general public in virtue of its tuneful, open-hearted melodies, impressive harmonies, and colourful, picturesque orchestration, all of which evoke a profound emotional response. His oeuvre includes 7 symphonies, 11 operas, 3 ballets, 5 suites, 3 piano concertos, a violin concerto, 11 overtures (strictly speaking, 3 overtures and 8 single movement programmatic orchestral works), 4 cantatas, 20 choral works, 3 string quartets, a string sextet, and more than 100 songs and piano pieces.

Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky November 6, 1835 in St. Petersburg, Russia as the most popular Russian composer of all time.