For Immediate Release: September 5, 2013
Media Contacts: Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795, firstname.lastname@example.org, @PR4Arts
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Year of top guest conductors kicks off with Jun Märkl for Mahler’s First
“Brilliant” young violinist Jennifer Koh performs Mendelssohn
~Magic Crystal Spiegeltent hosts Season Opening Celebration~
Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO)’s 2013-14 season, presented by Dawn & Jacques Lipson, officially begins with Opening Weekend: Mahler’s First Symphony on Thursday, September 26 and 28 at 8 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, with a pre-concert talk (included with ticket price) beginning at 7 p.m. in Kodak Hall. Tickets start at $22, with $10 student tickets available, and may be purchased in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office (433 East Main Street) and at all Wegmans That’s T.H.E. Ticket! locations, by phone at (585) 454-2100, or online at rpo.org.
The Season Opening Celebration takes place on Thursday, September 26 from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Magic Crystal Spiegeltent at the corner of Main and Gibbs Street, and includes beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $75 and available in person at the Eastman Theatre Box Office, by phone at (585) 454-2100 or online at rpo.org.
“We have a lot to celebrate this season,” says RPO Board Chair Dawn Lipson, who took on her new role September 1. “Not only did our Annual Campaign (which ended August 31) set an all-time RPO record for annual giving in its 90-year history, but Rochester will see some of the world’s most outstanding conductors this season. Our search for a new music director has resulted in feedback that only confirms what we already knew: the RPO is a world class orchestra, right here in our own backyard.”
Kicking off the season is guest conductor Jun Märkl, who conducts the world’s leading orchestras, including the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra (Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai, Tokyo), Czech Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, and Tonhalle Orchester Zürich. He has long been a highly-respected interpreter of the core Germanic repertoire from both the symphonic and operatic traditions.
He was music director of the Orchestre National de Lyon from 2005-11, and in recognition of his tenure and his hugely successful nine-disc Debussy cycle with the orchestra, he was honored by the French Ministry of Culture with the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2012.
Märkl has recorded Mahler and the complete Schumann symphonies live with the NHK Symphony and Dvořák with the Indianapolis Symphony. Fitting, then, that he conducts Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D Major, “The Titan” for the RPO’s season opener.
Reactions to Mahler’s First Symphony reflect a century’s worth of change in musical taste – what struck so many ears as shapeless and vulgar in 1889 has become loveable, even quaint. This robust score bursts with the boldness and fire of youth, proudly displays a burgeoning mastery of orchestration, and flirts cheekily with traditional ideas of good taste. Echoes of Weber, Wagner, Liszt, and Berlioz can be detected, but they are already well-digested, even though Mahler was just 28 at the time. The symphony’s close intertwining of song and symphony would also become a regular practice for him.
Violinist Jennifer Koh, called “fiercely gifted and intelligent” and “brilliant” by the New York Times, guests on the program’s Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 by Felix Mendelssohn.
The concerto is a beautifully polished work of art, combining sureness of construction with passion, warmth, and playfulness. Mendelssohn directed that its three sections be played without any breaks between them, a typical Romantic practice designed to increase the music’s cohesiveness and sense of momentum. The majority of the concerto’s dramatic content unfolds during the urgent first movement. The second movement is an interlude of gentle melodic beauty. A brief bridge passage then ushers in the impish finale. Its solo fireworks are backed by the kind of light, gossamer orchestration which became a Mendelssohn trademark.
Since the 1994-95 season when Koh won the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the Concert Artists Guild Competition, and the Avery Fisher Career Grant, she has been heard with leading orchestras and conductors around the world, including the symphonies of Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Seattle Symphony, as well as the National Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, and other orchestras worldwide.
Born in Chicago of Korean parents, Koh began playing the violin by chance, choosing the instrument in a Suzuki-method program only because spaces for cello and piano had been filled. She made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at age 11, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from Oberlin College, and went on to study at the Curtis Institute, where she worked extensively with Jaime Laredo and Felix Galimir.
In addition to the Mendelssohn and the Mahler, the program also includes Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis’ New Era Dance.
Composed in the summer of 1992, New Era Dance was jointly commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for its 150th anniversary, and by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. David Zinman conducted the BSO in the world premiere on April 8, 1994. In seeking to write, in his words, a “larger-than-life work,” Kernis incorporated the many types of music one would hear in the neighborhood where he was living at the time, the Washington Heights district of New York. Hence the strains of salsa, rap, folk, disco, and jazz that pop up throughout this kinetic and vividly entertaining piece – not to mention the police whistles, taped sound effects, and orchestral chanting.
The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its founding in 1922. The RPO presents up to 150 concerts a year, serving nearly 200,000 people through ticketed events, education and community engagement activities, and concerts in schools and community centers throughout the region. Notable former music directors include Eugene Goossens, José Iturbi, Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman, and Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman; Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik has earned a national reputation for excellence in pops programming during his 19-year tenure with the RPO. With Michael Butterman as Principal Conductor for Education and Outreach (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) – the first position of its kind in the country – the RPO reaches 14,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children.
Media please note: High-resolution images for Phils concerts are available at docs.google.com/folder; high-res photos for Pops and other concerts are available at docs.google.com/folder/d. More details are available at rpo.org and upon request. Interviews, as well as photo and footage opportunities, can also be arranged.
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