March 22 & 23, 2013
The Honorable Steven S. & Mrs. Carol Trott
Daniel Hege, guest conductor
Roberto Plano, piano
Aaron Copland - Appalachian Spring
Johann Sebastian Bach - Piano Concerto
Robert Schumann - Symphony No. 1 "Spring"
BUY BOISE |
Daniel Hege is widely recognized as one of America's finest conductors, earning critical acclaim for his fresh interpretations of the standard repertoire and for his commitment to creative programming. He served for eleven seasons as the Music Director of the Syracuse Symphony and in June 2009, was appointed Music Director of the Wichita Symphony, beginning his tenure with that orchestra in September 2010.
Following a nationwide search, Mr. Hege was named Music Director of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra in April, 1999. In June 2001, he completed a five year tenure with the Baltimore Symphony where he held the titles of Assistant, Associate and Resident Conductor and led the orchestra in subscription, family and run-out concerts. Mr. Hege also served as Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony, Assistant Conductor of the Pacific Symphony, Music Director of the Encore Chamber Orchestra in Chicago and Music Director of the Chicago Youth Symphony where he was twice honored by the American Symphony Orchestra League for innovative programming.
Daniel Hege has guest conducted the Houston, Detroit, Seattle, Indianapolis, Oregon, Colorado, San Diego, Columbus and Phoenix symphonies; the Rochester, Buffalo and Calgary Philharmonics; and at the Grand Teton and Aspen Music Festivals. International engagements include leading the Singapore Symphony and the St. Petersburg Symphony at the Winter Nights Festival. In addition, Mr. Hege has also worked with the Syracuse Opera with which he conducted productions of Madame Butterfly, La Traviata, Tosca and Don Pasquale.
In May 2004, Mr. Hege was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Le Moyne College in Syracuse for his contributions to the cultural life in central New York State. Born in Colorado, Mr. Hege currently resides in Syracuse with his wife, Katarina Oladottir Hege, a violinist, and their three daughters.
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First Prize Winner of the 2001 Cleveland International Piano Competition, Finalist at the Twelfth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2005, Laureate of the 2003 Honens International Piano Competition (Calgary, Canada) and of the 2006 Axa Dublin International Piano Competition, Italian pianist Roberto Plano has performed throughout North America.
Roberto Plano's friendly and outgoing personality has made him a favorite for guest appearances on a number of radio stations, including NPR’s Performance Today, WNYC in New York City, WFMT in Chicago, WGBH’s Classics in the morning (Boston), CBC's In Performance (Toronto), BBC In Tune and Piazza Verdi in Italy, Polske Radio 2 e da Bayern 4 Klassik.
Plano recorded a CD of works by Chopin, Liszt and Scriabin on Italy’s Sipario Dischi label, a disc of works by Liszt on the Azica label, a disc which includes Brahms Sonata op.5 and Klavierstucke op.118 on the Canadian label Arktos, and just released a World Première Cd for Concerto label with music by Andrea Luchesi, reviewed with 5 stars out of 5 in the music magazine “Musica”. As a result of his success at the 2005 Van Cliburn Competition, he appeared in the film documentaries "In the Heart of Music" and "Encores" (together with James Conlon and Menahem Pressler) which was aired on PBS stations across the United States, as well as in Europe through the satellite channel MEZZO.
Mr. Plano has studied at the École Normale “Cortot” in Paris with Nelson Delle Vigne, where in 2004 he earned the “Diplome Superieur De Concertiste” with First Prize and special mention: “à l’unanimité et avec felicitations du jurie”. Other teachers have included Eli Perrotta, Walter Kra_t, Lazar Berman, Bruno Canino, William Grant Naboré (Lake Como Academy) and Bruno Marengoni.
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Aaron Copland | November 14, 1900 – December 2, 1990
Aaron Copland, the Dean of American composers, was born in 1900 of immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York. In 1921, he moved to Paris to study music. To his dismay, the harmony teacher to whom he was assigned was a thirty-four year old woman, Nadia Boulanger. As was the custom of the time, he expected to work with a man. At first, Copland was reluctant to attend Boulanger’s class, but when he gave in, he was impressed by her brilliance and skill -- so much so that he stayed with her as a pupil for three years. She became his teacher, his mentor, and his inspiration. A pioneer wherever she went, Mlle Boulanger became the first woman to conduct the London Philharmonic. When asked by a reporter how it felt to be the first woman to do so, her characteristic answer was, “I have been a woman for 50 years, and it no longer astonishes me.”
Upon returning to the United States in 1924, Copland developed a distinctive American music. He did so by using pastoral American folk styles and distinctive rhythms combined with a listener-friendly sonic palette. He favored open, slowly changing harmonies which, as one writer said, “evoke the vast American early Twentieth-Century landscape.”
Soon, his fresh and irresistible idiom came to the attention of Martha Graham, the extraordinary choreographer and performer who started in 1926 her own innovative school of dance. In June of 1942, she commissioned a score from Copland for $500, specifying that the thirty-minute piece had to be for a chamber orchestra of no more than thirteen musicians. The final dance created after Copland wrote the music portrays a pioneer celebration in the mid-1800s of a new farmhouse in the hills of Pennsylvania built by neighbors for a bride-to-be and her young fiancé, but the composition itself had no title. Copland simply called it, Ballet for Martha.
In later years, Copland loved to tell the humorous story of how his Ballet for Martha became Appalachian Spring. “The first thing I said to Martha when I came down to the rehearsal was, ‘Martha, whatdya call the ballet?’ She said, ‘Appalachian Spring.’ ‘Oh,’ I said, ‘What a nice name. Where’d ya get it?’ She said, ‘It’s the title of a poem by Hart Crane.’ ‘Oh,’ I said, ‘Does the poem have anything to do with the ballet?’ She said, “No, I just liked the title and I took it.’ And, over and over again, nowadays people come up to me after seeing the ballet on stage and say, ‘Mr. Copland, when I see that ballet and when I hear your music, I can just see the Appalachians, and I just feel spring.’ And you know, I’ve begun to see the Appalachians myself a little bit.”
Appalachian Spring was first performed by the Boise Philharmonic on September 24, 1988. It was most recently performed on February 21, 2003.
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Johann Sebastian Bach | March 21, 1685 – July 28, 1750
Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, BWV 1052
Bach was a keyboard virtuoso, excelling on the organ, the clavichord, and the harpsichord -- but not the piano. He wrote seven groundbreaking concertos featuring the harpsichord, the first composer to so highlight the instrument. Prior to his fifth Brandenburg Concerto which features an assertive harpsichord in the first movement, the instrument and its crisp and metallic sound had been mostly a subservient member of the baroque orchestra. However, when Bach took over responsibility for Georg Telemann’s Collegium Musicum in Leipzig, he and his sons needed secular repertoire to perform at the Collegium’s primary venue, George Zimmermann’s Coffee House, and these new harpsichord concertos filled the bill. Can you imagine running into Bach at a Coffee House?
In the first and third movements, the D Minor Concerto is muscular and energetic as the orchestra and the soloist work with and against each other. The austere second movement is in the nature of an aria for the soloist. The undercarriage for the keyboard in this section is a repeating thirteen-measure bass line, called a “ground bass” or a “passacaglia,” a standard baroque form of which Bach was a master. The Hungarian pianist Zoltan Kocsis likened this movement to a “Via Crucis,” or a tragic march to the Crucifixion.
To quote Milton Cross, “In whatever form he wrote, Bach blended science with poetry, technique and emotion. Too often in the hands of Bach’s predecessors, these forms had been mere technical exercises. But with Bach, they became the channel through which he transmitted great and moving art.”
This is the Boise Philharmonic’s first performance of J.S. Bach’s Piano Concerto.
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Robert Schumann | June 8, 1810 - July 29, 1856
Symphony No. 1 in B-flat major, “Spring”
At the age of twenty, after wasting two years in law school without attending a single class, Robert Schumann made a momentous decision. Enthralled by Romantic literature, poetry, and music, he announced to his family and friends that he would become Europe’s greatest pianist -- a tall order in 1830. Just two years later, an accidental injury to his hand demolished his dreams, and he became a self-taught composer. For years, however, he was known -- to his chagrin -- as the “husband of Clara Wieck Schuman,” one of the best pianists of The Golden Age of the Piano.” His contemporaries wrote him off as a dilettante.
As a budding composer, Schumann was an arch-Romantic, a true apostle. He ardently embraced the idea that music was a subjective medium of personal expression. His own words illuminate his art: “I am affected by everything that goes on in the world. I think it over in my own way, and then I long to express my feelings in music.”
After composing mostly for the piano and then writing hundreds of art songs, Schumann graduated to the orchestra, “the big show.” Inspired by Schubert and Beethoven, he completed his first symphony during the winter of 1841 -- in less than one month. True to himself, he gave it a joyful title, Spring.
The first performance under the baton of Mendelssohn was a triumph. No longer would he be his superstar wife’s lesser half. To a conductor about to premier his symphony in Berlin, he gave this advice:
“Could you breathe a little of the longing for spring into your orchestra as they play. That is what was most in my mind when I wrote it in January of 1841. I should like the very first trumpet entrance to sound as if it came from on high, like a summons to awakening. Further on in the introduction, I should like the music to suggest the world’s turning green, perhaps with a butterfly hovering in the air, and then, in the allegro, to show how everything to do with spring is coming to life.”
Listen carefully to the opening of the first movement. It is a wordless setting of a poem in German that reads, “O turn from this your present course, springtime blossoms in the valley!"
Robert Schumann’s music, although occasionally tempered with angst and conflict, overflows in the end with warmth, lyrical beauty, confidence, and optimism. “What I really am,” he wrote, “I do not know myself. If I am a poet – for no one can become one – destiny will decide one day.” Often unappreciated in his own time, his legacy has passed the test of time. In 1854, bedeviled by mental illness, Schumann attempted suicide, and was hospitalized in an asylum. He died two years later. He was barely 46 years old. The life of one of the 19th Century’s brightest artists had come to a tragic end.
This is the Boise Philharmonic’s first performance of Schumann’s Symphony No. 1.
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