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Gratifying Humor, Grace, and Passionate Lyricism at the Eastman Theatre

Rochester, NY – A “double marriage” opens up the penultimate pair of RPO Philharmonics Series concerts at 8:00 pm on Thursday, May 7 and Saturday, May 9, as the orchestra welcomes back two guest artists to the Eastman Theatre in three different roles.  Wearing his “composer hat” to open the concert, guest conductor Yoav Talmi conducts his own 2006 composition, The Double Marriage of Figaro; the brilliant young violinist, Stefan Jackiw, brings Mozart’s Fourth Violin Concerto to life, and the orchestra revels in Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 in its original version as the composer intended.  Mr. Talmi will host the pre-concert chat at 7:00 pm. 

Yoav Talmi’s The Double Marriage of Figaro was written to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Mozart. “What I had in mind” says Talmi, “was to take Mozart’s overture to The Marriage of Figaro and have fun with it by throwing in some foreign ideas and material from pieces that, in some mysterious ways, came to my mind while I was fooling around with Mozart’s original music.”  Much like the playful tone in which it was composed, The Double Marriage of Figaro is an upbeat, jubilant piece meant to honor Mozart and entertain audiences. Talmi conducted the first performance of the piece in March 2006 by the Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec.

Following Talmi’s piece is Mozart’s own elegant Violin Concerto No. 4, performed by Stefan Jackiw.  Written when Mozart was only 19 and modeled on an earlier concerto by Luigi Boccherini, this violin concerto exudes refinement, lightheartedness, and delight.  Although audiences often think of the composer’s performing talents at the piano, the young Wolfgang frequently performed as a violin soloist on the concert tours his family made during the 1760s.  Mozart scholar Alfred Einstein referred to this piece as “an uninterrupted song, an avowal of love.” 

After intermission, Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 packs a romantic wallop with four movements of poignant, contrasting emotions that build to create a glorious finale of uncontained joy.  The first movement is a slow, contemplative introduction to the symphony’s “motto” which recurs throughout the piece.  The second movement is restive and agitated, creating a sense of yearning and desire.  The third movement is one of the most powerful in the symphony.  It presents a long melody that builds itself into a glorious climax before disappearing into a suggestion of satisfaction. The final movement echoes previous melodies and movements, bringing the symphony to a fulfilling conclusion.

Israeli-born conductor Yoav Talmi has traversed the globe, performing in Great Britain, Europe, Japan, and in North America with such symphony orchestras as Pittsburgh, Houston, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Vancouver, and Montreal, as well as the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall.  He last appeared with the RPO in 2002, conducting Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.  Mr. Talmi’s recordings include an all-Berlioz cycle with the San Diego Symphony, and Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony with the Oslo Philharmonic for which he received the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque.

Stefan Jackiw is recognized as one of the most significant artists of his generation with exquisite insight and flawless technique.  In the United States, he has performed with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston, Seattle, Baltimore, and Chicago symphonies, and the Boston Pops. Mr. Jackiw also has appeared in recitals at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Louvre in Paris.  At the opening night of New York’s Zankel Hall, he was the only young artist invited to perform alongside Emanuel Ax, Renée Fleming, Evgeny Kissin, and James Levine. He last appeared with the RPO in January 2004 performing Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5.  Born in 1985, Jackiw began playing the violin at the age of four.  He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and his Artist Diploma from the New England Conservatory.  In 2002, he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant.

Tickets for these performances are $20-$56, available online 24/7 at; by phone (454-2100); in-person from the RPO Box Office, 108 East Avenue, 10:00 am-5:00 pm, Monday-Saturday (non-concert Saturdays, 10:00 am-3:00 pm); and seven days a week at area Wegmans.  A convenience fee may apply.  Students and Senior Citizens are entitled to a 20% discount on advance single ticket purchases. Special rates for groups of 10 or more are also available from the RPO Box Office.

The Philharmonics Series is sponsored by the Eastman Kodak Company and Bausch & Lomb.  The RPO gratefully acknowledges PAETEC Communications Inc. for the PAETEC Philharmonic Partners program, which offers discounted $9 Philharmonics Series tickets to local students. 

This concert is sponsored by Zimmer Sales & Services Corp. with additional support from the Mozart Performance Fund: Sarah D. Atkinson, M.D. and Steven Hess.