Fresh Coat of Copland

We are ready for our third Casual Classics concert this afternoon at University of Alabama Huntsville’s Roberts Hall.
Local artist, Pamela Willis is joining the musicians of the Huntsville Symphony to create a painting live, in front of the eyes of the audience in three stages “choreographed” to the music of Aaron Copland. The painting will be auctioned out to benefit the Huntsville Symphony.
On the all Copland program we’ll be presenting
Quiet City for English Horn, Trumpet and strings
Nonet for strings
Appalachian Spring (original version)

I am especially proud of us playing the rarely performed Nonet for strings, a late composition by Copland known mostly for his Americana music. Along with two late, and well-known orchestral pieces, Connotations and Inscape, the style of ‘Nonet’ is not at all like that of Appalachian Spring or Rodeo. This music is more ‘avant-garde’, more contemplative and at points more sinister than the all sunny Copland we all know and admire. Nonet for strings was commissioned by the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library (same as in ‘Dumbarton Oaks Concerto’ by Stravinsky) and is dedicated to Nadia Boulanger “after forty years of friendship.”

Come and join us in an hour at Roberts Hall, and come back to the VBC next weekend to hear our Classical 5 concert with music by Ligeti, Bartok and Beethoven!

Banjo And Paradise

Happy New Year Everyone! I am looking forward to an extremely busy January. My year starts with a historical concert. The “Bela Fleck Banjo Concerto” show with the Huntsville Symphony marks the highest ever single ticket sales for a classical series concert in the history of the orchestra. We are 80 some tickets short of a sell out (we’ve got one more day to go) and we are expecting a great crowd for the Saturday morning open dress rehearsal. On the program (all kind of “folk music-inspired” pieces)
Zoltan Kodaly: Variations on a Hungarian Folk Song (“The Peacock”)
Aaron Copland: El Salon Mexico
Bela Fleck: The Impostor (Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra)

Go to Bela’s website to see and hear some of the concerto (recorded with the Nashville Symphony)

I am sure the audience is going to stick around for some more of Bela’s solo banjo playing at the end of the concert! Well, yes, and I am glad that the same audience is going to have the chance to listen to Kodaly and Copland.

Right after the concert I am leaving for Budapest, Hungary to dive into an exciting new opera-project. Peter Eotvos (I wrote about him and his 70th Birthday earlier) wrote an opera called Paradise Reloaded (Lilith) which was premiered in Vienna, Austria in October 2013. With the cooperation of MTVA (the mother company of the Hungarian Radio Symphony) and The Palace of The Arts (MUPA) in Budapest we are presenting the Hungarian premiere of the opera as part of the so called “Mini Festival” on January 23. Before the staged performance I get to be the conductor of the first ever studio recording of the opera (sung in German). The story is about Lilith, first wife of Adam (yes, an apocryphal story from biblical times) and the Journey of Adam, Eve with the help of Lucifer. More info here: