The Albany Symphony Orchestra has unveiled its 2019-2020 schedule.
2019 Grammy nominee conductor/music Director David Alan Miller says the calendar features "phenomenal women in music," encounters with new music, and masterworks that have withstood the test of time. "Because we're heading toward the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, which happened in 1920 in the summer, the season is really a celebration of women in concert music, and particularly composers but also performers, conductors, et cetera."
Season highlights will include seven works by leading female American composers, including world premieres of new pieces by Albany Symphony Composer-Educator Angélica Negrón and Water Music NY composer, Loren Loiacono. "Through the whole season you have a lot of wonderful works by women composers. The centerpiece is actually a festival built around the person of Clara Schumann, who is I guess best known today as the wife of Robert Schumann, the famous composer. But actually in her own time she was the much more famous figure, one of the world's greatest concert pianists. She toured the world."
The Symphony’s Clara Schumann Festival in January 2020 includes performances of Clara’s and Robert’s Piano Concertos, performed by 13-year-old virtuoso Harmony Zhu. Before each orchestral concert, students from Bard College Conservatory will perform chamber and piano works as well as songs composed by the Schumanns. "From our perspective the most exciting event of the season is always our season-ender, the American Music Festival, because that's a whole concert of essentially brand-new music that's pretty much just out of the box. So on the American Music Festival we have a beautiful chorale work by the Indian-American composer Reena Esmail, a great double-guitar concerto by Brazilian-American composer Clarice Assad..."
Albany Symphony Executive Director Anna Kuwabara: "This season really talks about, basically the power of music to really touch and transform lives and the relevance of what we do to the community. I'm actually really excited about the opening night 'Pictures at an Exhibition,' which is just a really wonderful, grand, that if you're new to classical music I think it's one of those wonderful pieces, and then with Valerie Coleman the 'Phenomenal Women's piece with the Imani Winds group which is an all-African-American all the members are African-American, and I think we are also making a big push in terms of being welcoming, but it's not just about women, it's not just about people of color, we are all so many different things and I think everyone will find something that they can connect to in our season."
The 2019-20 season runs from October through the American Music Festival in June. Concerts will be held at the Palace Theatre, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Proctors in Schenectady, and EMPAC.
- 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19: Works by Valerie Coleman (“Phenomenal Women”), Bernstein (Suite from “On the Waterfront”), Mussorgsky (“Pictures at an Exhibition”). Featuring Imani Winds. Palace Theatre, Albany.
- 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9: Works by Rachmaninoff (Symphony No. 2), Borodin (overture to “Prince Igor”), Dalit Warshaw (Theremin Concerto). Palace. Featuring Carolina Eyck, theremin .
- 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, and Sunday, Dec. 8: Works by Pachelbel (Canon in D), Barber (“Knoxville, Summer of 1915”), Angelica Negrón (new collaborative work with Albany City Schools), Mozart (Symphony No. 36, “Linz”). Featuring Talise Trevigne, soprano. Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.
- 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12: Clara Schumann Festival, including her Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 7, plus Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54; Brahms’ Tragic” Overture; and new work by Loren Loiacono. Featuring Harmony Zhu, piano. Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.
- 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, and 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 12: Clara Schumann festival recitals. Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.
- 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14: Works by Roussel (“Bacchus and Ariana” suite), Prokofiev (“Romeo and Juliet” suite) and Dame Ethel Smyth (Concerto for Horn and Violin). Featuring guest conductor JoAnn Falletta, plus Jill Levy, violin, and Jacek Muzyk, horn. Proctors, Schenectady.
- 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14, and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 15: Works by Beethoven (Symphony No. 8), Mozart (“Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”), Joan Tower (“Last Dance”), plus world premiere by Christopher Cerrone. Featuring Shai Wosner, piano. Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.
- 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 4, and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 5. Works by Brahms (Symphony No. 1), Steven Stucky (“Radical Light”), Christopher Rouse (“Heimdall’s Trumpet”). Featuring Eric Berlin, trumpet. Venue to be determined.
- 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 9: Works of George Gershwin from the 1920s, including the original jazz-band version of “Rhapsody in Blue.” Featuring Kevin Cole, piano. Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.
- 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 30: American Music Festival concert. Music includes Clarice Assad’s Double Guitar Concerto, Reena Esmail’s “This Love Between Us” and a new work by Christopher Theofanidis. Featuring Albany Pro Musica and the Brasilian Guitar Duo. EMPAC at R.P.I., Troy.