Friday, October 2, 2015, 8 pm
Mason Bates Devil’s Radio – West Coast Premiere
Prokofiev Violin Concerto no. 2
(Kenneth Renshaw, violin)
Brahms: Liebeslieder Waltzes selections conducted by
Lynne Morrow, celebrating 10 Years as Oakland Symphony Chorus Director
Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances
Two internationally acclaimed local artists–composer Mason Bates, who has worked with the Symphony since early in his career, and Menuhin Competition winner and Crowden School alumnus Kenneth Renshaw–take the stage for what promises to be a sensational season opening. Bates’s Devil’s Radio (2014) swings and grooves from quietly propulsive to shimmering melodic “lures” to a bluesy bassline. “One of the premier young violinists in the world,” according to SF Classical Voice, Kenneth Renshaw brings a formidable technique and interpretive flair to Prokofiev’s virtuoso concerto. Oakland Symphony Chorus Music Director Lynne Morrow celebrates ten years on the podium conducting Brahms’ lyrical Liebeslieder Waltzes, after which the soaring melodies, driving rhythms and lush harmonies of Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances complete the evening.
Bach/Stokowski Toccata and Fugue in D minor
Mendelssohn, Piano Concerto no. 1
2015 Toland Voice Competition winner
Victor Bendix Symphony no. 3
Continuing a long-standing and celebrated tradition of introducing some of the most compelling young artists on the international music scene, Maestro Morgan has invited the winner of the 2015 James Toland Vocal Arts Competition, based in the Bay Area, for their Symphony debut. Phenomenal young pianist Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner returns following his triumphant debut last season on Notes from Mexico. We roll out the first in a new series exploring dazzling lost Romantic works. Danish composer Victor Bendix’s Third Symphony (1895) features unusually rich harmonic textures, beautiful string interludes and majestic winds. Conductor Leopold Stokowski’s orchestration of Bach’s monumental Toccata and Fugue in D minor—which has one of the most recognizable opening themes in all music—helped spark a mid-20th century flood of interest in Bach’s sublime works, and its being featured in Disney’s 1940 Fantasia brought it to the attention of millions.
Dvořák, Carnival Overture
2015 Young Artist Competition Winner
Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ Lullaby for a Country – World Premiere
(Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ, dan tranh zither)
Emmy Award-winner, Academy Award contributing composer and Vietnamese dan tranh (Vietnamese zither) virtuoso Vân-Ánh Võ headlines this year’s edition of Oakland East Bay Symphony’s Notes from . . . series that has brought more than a dozen world symphonic music traditions to the stage. Võ’s genre-bending work, “interestingly begs the question of what is American music,” observed the Los Angeles Times, and NPR called her style “gorgeous and sentimental.” She has clearly struck a chord with a fusion of Vietnamese and American idioms and sound. Additional Vietnamese artists and music will be announced and the program also features the Oakland East Bay Symphony debut of the winner of our biennial Young Artist Competition.
Martin Rokeach Piccolo Concerto – World Premiere
(Amy Likar, piccolo)
Beethoven Symphony no. 2
Beethoven is said to have preferred Luigi Cherubini’s 1815 Requiem to Mozart’s better-known and more widely performed one. Composed to commemorate the regicide of France’s Louis XVI, it showcases brooding and majestic melodies, smoldering Byronic harmonies and a spectacular, pulse-pounding Offertorium in the form of a fugue. Beethoven’s Second Symphony (1802) bears the marks of the energetic and iconoclastic composer at full stride. Bay Area musicologist Robert Greenberg asserts that the work’s opening bars evoke the composer’s hiccups due to gastric problems, and who but Beethoven could spin a symphony from such humble material? Bay Area Composer Martin Rokeach has been commissioned to write a new piccolo concerto for the Symphony’s own Amy Likar that promises to showcase the instrument’s uniquely beautiful voice and what the composer calls “its haunting low register.”
Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms
2014 Toland Voice Competition Winner
(Nicole Greenidge, soprano)
John Adams The Dharma at Big Sur
(Tracy Silverman, electric violin)
Ravel La Valse
Bay Area composer John Adams composed The Dharma at Big Sur for the opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in 2003 with Tracy Silverman as its electric violin soloist. In addition to an unusual solo instrument, its playful orchestration includes electronic samplers, ten gongs and two flower pots. Dharma’s sinuous solo passages and descriptive orchestral writing emerge as if from a fog into crystal clear phrases in homage of American composers Lou Harrison and Terry Riley. Adams composed it to evoke what he calls the “shock of recognition” that happens when reaching the end of a continental land mass in a spectacular place like Big Sur, CA. Stravinsky’s neoclassical choral symphony and Ravel’s ebullient, impressionistic dance-hall romp are the perfect bookends to Adams’ amazing concerto.
Program Subject to Change