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National Symphony Orchestra: Journey to America/Leonard Slatkin conducting, The New Virtuosi
Feb 2, 2002


Concert Hall

Ticket Price: $19.00 - $69.00

Untitled Document

Coming to America

      Some composers came to America by choice, drawn by the beauty of the land and the promise of opportunity and prosperity. Some came for refuge, fleeing persecution in their homelands. Some merely visited and observed; some settled here and made new lives for themselves. But all of these artists from every part of the world left their mark on America's artistic heritage with the brilliance and resonance of their music. Émigré composers have enhanced the country's films with their scores and created works for American soloists and ensembles-finding inspiration in the events, places, and people of the United States.
      [photo of leonard slatkin conducting.]January 31-February 9, National Symphony Orchestra Music Director Leonard Slatkin and the Orchestra celebrate the contributions of these composers in the festival Journey to America-A Musical Immigration. Six extraordinary concerts will spotlight the works of such musical legends as Antonin Dvorák, Igor Stravinsky, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Walter Damrosch, Kurt Weill, Bright Sheng, and many others who wove their threads into the tapestry of America's music.
      "We are a country of émigrés," says Maestro Slatkin, "and nowhere is this better reflected than in the music we create and reprocess." Growing up in Hollywood, California in a musical family, the music director saw a wide range of composers visit his household and experienced first hand the diversity of the American arts scene.
      "In a sense, this festival will be a journey of discovery for many," he says. "And for others, a rediscovery of musical thoughts that have come to be taken for granted[photo of concertmaster nurit bar yosef.]."
      For each concert in the festival, the program of music is organized under a different theme. January 31, "Salute to the New Land" features paeans to America from Dohnányi, Dvorák, and Bloch. "Just Passing Through" on February 1 brings works from composers who visited, then departed, the United States: Bartók, Prokofiev, and Delius. Damrosch's An Abraham Lincoln Song, Barber's Violin Concerto, Koussevitzky's Contrabass Concerto and Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto are all considered virtuoso masterworks and are included in "The New Virtuosi" February 2. "Giants in America" on February 7 includes Schoenberg's intensely moving A Survivor from Warsaw, Rachmaninoff's Fourth Piano Concerto, Weill's unique arrangements of American patriotic songs, and three seminal works from Stravinsky. The festival goes to Tinsel-town with "Émigrés in Hollywood" February 8, which includes Toch's Pinocchio, Waxman's Tristan and IsoldePhantasy, Rózsa's Sinfonia Concertante, and Erich Korngold's Cello Concerto. Music from the Cello Concerto was played by Leonard Slatkin's mother in the film Deception. This performance will feature the music director's brother, cellist Frederick Zlotkin, performing the solo. The final concert on February 9 honors "The New Americans," with works such as Bright Sheng's H'un: Lacerations (In Memoriam 1966-1976), Michel Camilo's Piano Concerto (in which the composer himself will perform), and the world premiere of Paquito D'Rivera's Gran Danzon for Flute and Orchestra. Additionally, each program will feature two different versions of "The Star-Spangled Banner," arranged by composers not originally from the United States.
      Along with moving music, Journey to America also shines a spotlight on émigré musicians like French pianist Christie Julien and violinist Judith Ingolfsson, a native of Iceland. The individual talents of many Orchestra musicians-including contrabassist Robert Oppelt, pianist Lisa Emenheiser, and violinist Nurit Bar-Josef, the Orchestra's new concertmaster-also shine in dazzling solos.
      Reserve your tickets for this season's most unforgettable journey, Journey to America-A Musical Immigration, and hear Leonard Slatkin and the National Symphony Orchestra pay tribute to the genius of émigré composers.