Sarasota Orchestra announces new season

The Sarasota Orchestra’s 2009-2010 season is designed to see music in a whole new way with programming that incorporates a strong visual component.“This season we will help you see music, both literally as we continue to integrate multi-media elements into some of our concerts, as well as figuratively, as we perform with ever greater passion and commitment,” said Artistic Director Leif Bjaland, who is returning for his 13th season with the Orchestra.

Beginning on September 12, 2009, the season includes subscription concerts continuing through May 13, 2010. “Our season has been designed to offer programs for every taste,” said Joseph McKenna, president and CEO of the Sarasota Orchestra. “The diversity of our programs spans generations and varies from traditional to ground-breaking. Putting the season together is an exciting challenge, and we are very pleased with the outcome.”

Season highlights include:• An impressive series of Masterworks concerts, programmed thematically to Seeing Music, which incorporates numerous epic works and dynamic, young guest artists. Video images will accompany the classical works Pictures at an Exhibition and the Pines of Rome, illustrating the season theme Seeing Music. Other masterpieces featured during the 2009/2010 season that will stimulate mental images including the monumental Carmina burana, Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony No. 6, Stravinsky’s adventurous and well-known Rite of Spring and Mozart’s intensely emotional Symphony No. 40. • A visual cornucopia, the three-concert Pixel Pops series kicks off with a high-definition celebration of Rodgers and Hammerstein; followed by an evening of American nostalgia as the Orchestra performs a multi-media tribute to the American dream through Ellis Island and the work of artist Norman Rockwell; and the series closes with a showing of Charlie Chaplin’s famed silent film City Lights with the Orchestra performing the movie score live.• Coming off a sold out premiere and laudatory reviews, the Journeys to Genius concept returns with a three-concert series. In the opening concert, the audience will get a glimpse into the personal side of five Sarasota Orchestra musicians as they discuss their musical mentors before performing enchanting solos in Portraits of Passion. The Journeys to Genius concept continues with multi-media programs that tell the stories and perform the works of the two great masters: Mozart and Beethoven. • Great Escapes continues the tradition of providing a delightful mix of Pops-like music with a sprinkling of light classics interspersed with informative and colorful comments by the conductor. Maestro Dirk Meyer returns to conduct four of the six concerts, with Leif Bjaland and Andrew Lane each conducting one program. • For lovers of chamber music, resident ensembles and chamber orchestra will perform seven Chamber Soirees spread throughout the season.

“All of the composers we will be featuring this season have one thing in common: they each aspired to reflect and reveal the world as they understood and experienced it,” said Bjaland. “Not only did they paint a portrait of human emotion, but they also expressed what it was like to live at a particular point in time. Whether it is Beethoven in 1808 on a trip to the country, Mussorgsky viewing an art exhibition in 1874, or Stravinsky evoking primitive Russia in 1913, music is an aural canvas that paints pictures in the imagination. The music of each of these composers, and the scores of others that we will be performing this season, offers us a magic mirror by which we are able to understand the human experience in a new light.”

In addition to Bjaland, returning conductors include Dirk Meyer (assistant conductor and Youth Orchestra music director) and Andrew Lane (Pops conductor).

“Throughout history, music has served as an oasis from the calamities of time,” said McKenna. “This season, which is fresh, exciting and uplifting, is designed to do just that – in a time when people are looking for a place to restore their spirits and imaginations.”Subscription packages are now on sale by mail and in person at the Orchestra box office. Online subscriptions may be ordered after April 21. Single tickets are available for sale in September. Special event concerts will be announced at that time. To request a brochure, go to SarasotaOrchestra.org or call (941) 953-4252.

MASTERWORKS The full Orchestra presents its hallmark series of classical music in seven programs from late October through late March at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota and the Neel Performing Arts Center on the campus of Manatee Community College in Bradenton. Subscribers may choose from four different series of five, six or seven concerts, with both evenings and matinees available. The dynamic Masterworks guest artists will perform a compelling list of epic works this season:

• Cellist Zuill Bailey will performs Elgar’s Cello Concerto at Seeing Music at Exhibition. The Orchestra and Maestro Leif Bjaland also perform Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini. (October 22-25, 2009)• Cliburn medallist, pianist Joyce Yang returns to perform Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto at Seeing Music in Fantasy. The Orchestra and Maestro Dirk Meyer also perform Hector Berlioz Symphonie fantastique (December 4-6, 2009)• Sarasota Orchestra Concertmaster Daniel Jordan will perform Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy at Seeing Music on Tour. The Orchestra and Maestro Leif Bjaland will also perform George Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, Dvorák’s Slavonic Dances and Respighi’s Pines of Rome with visual images of this eternal city projected on the big screen. (January 8-10, 2010)• At Seeing Music in Nature Maestro Leif Bjaland leads the Orchestra in the works of two of history’s greatest composers: Beethoven and Stravinsky. They’ll perform Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony (No. 6) and Stravinksy’s Rite of Spring. (January 29-31, 2010)• Emerging violist Elena Urioste joins the Orchestra for Seeing Music in Youth to perform Barber’s Violin Concerto. The Orchestra and Maestro Leif Bjaland will also perform Bernstein’s Three Dance Episodes from the musical On the Town and Saint-Saëns’ riveting Symphony No. 3, commonly known as the “Organ Symphony.” (February 19-21, 2010)• At Seeing Music through Life celebrated pianist Andreas Haefliger performs Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1. at the Allan Friedman Memorial Piano Concert. The Orchestra and Maestro Leif Bjaland will also perform Brahms’ Symphony No. 3. (March 4-7, 2010)• The Masterworks season ends with Seeing Music through Myth when the Key Chorale will join the Orchestra to perform Orff’s Carmina burana. The Orchestra will also perform Mozart’s Symphony No. 40. (March 25-28, 2010)

The Orchestra Association will present Classical Conversations, a set of seven pre-concert lectures held the Thursday of each Masterworks weekend, at 10:30 a.m. in Holley Hall of the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center. Admission is $8 and tickets may be purchased at the door.Series prices for Masterworks start at $135. Single tickets, available in September start at $29.PIXEL POPSThe Pixel Pops series combines big screen projection in synchronization with theOrchestra. Maestro Andrew Lane conducts what promises to be a season of visually enhanced Pops concerts on three Saturdays at 8 p.m., at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota.

• Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Movies, January 23, 2010Legendary film moments from Oklahoma!, Carousel, State Fair, The King and I, South Pacific and The Sound of Music will be projected in HD onto the big screen. In perfect synchronization with the clips, the Orchestra performs these “show-stopping” masterpieces of American musical theatre.

• Ellis Island: The Dream of America, March 19, 2010This program celebrates the American dream through the experience of Ellis Island and the art of Norman Rockwell. The Orchestra performs Peter Boyer’s Ellis Island: The Dream of America. A moving orchestral and visual tapestry, the concert features vintage photos from the Ellis Island archives with live actors reciting short monologues from the journals of seven immigrants who came through Ellis Island. The other half of the concert features Florida-composer Stella Sung’s Rockwell Reflections while nostalgic Rockwell paintings are projected on the big screen.

• City Lights, April 16, 2010 The concert hall transforms into a movie theater as Charlie Chaplin’s 87-minute silent film City Lights is projected on the big screen while the Orchestra performs the movie’s soundtrack live. Charlie Chaplin not only wrote, directed and starred in this film — he also composed the score. While Chaplin may be most famous for his comedy The Great Dictator in which he bitterly satirized Adolf Hitler, the American Film Institute has named City Lights the best romantic comedy and number one silent film of all time. Albert Einstein attended the Los Angeles premiere of City Lights in 1931. George Bernard Shaw took in the London opening.

Pixel Pops series subscription prices start at $75. Single tickets, available in September, start at $29.

JOURNEYS TO GENIUSThis three-concert series tells the stories, passions and experiences that influenced musical geniuses past and present. A multi-media format brings a relevant new feel to the performance of orchestral masterpieces at 8 p.m. in the beautiful Sarasota Opera House. Leif Bjaland conducts and narrates.

• Portraits in Passion, September 12, 2009Five Sarasota Orchestra musicians are highlighted as their musical paths are shown in short video presentations prior to solo performances that demonstrate their brilliance. Live video projection of the soloists makes this concert a larger-than-life experience. The evening opens with a full orchestra performance of Berlioz’s popular Roman Carnival Overture and closes with Rimsky-Korsakov’s moving Russian Easter Overture.

• Mozart: Touched by the Gods, October 10, 2009Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s last three symphonies were written in a miraculous blaze of inspiration during the summer of 1788. They formed a dazzling summation of Mozart’s inner soul and presented a remarkable window into the future. In a multi-media presentation, Leif Bjaland’s narration documents Mozart’s journey to genius, culminating in a performance of Mozart’s final symphony, the glorious Jupiter Symphony.

• Beethoven: The Angry Revolutionary, April 24, 2010 Following a sold-out performance last season, Beethoven: The Angry Revolutionary returns for an encore presentation. Facing the loss of his hearing and surrounded by the chaos of revolution and war across Europe, Beethoven composed one of the most triumphant (and familiar) pieces of music of all time. Hear and see the story of Beethoven’s personal journey that culminates in his remarkable Fifth Symphony.

Series prices for Journeys to Genius start at $60. Single tickets, available in September, start at $25.

GREAT ESCAPESThese enjoyable concerts blend Pops with a sprinkling of light classics. Engaging comments by the conductors add color and tie these themed programs together.

• Musical Postcards, conducted by Dirk Meyer (November 18-21, 2009)• All That Glitters, conducted by Leif Bjaland (December 16-19, 2009)• I’ll See Be Seeing You, conducted by Dirk Meyer (February 3-6, 2010)• The Green, Green Grass of Home, conducted by Andrew Lane (March 10-13, 2010)• Mona Lisa, conducted by Dirk Meyer (April 7-10, 2010)• Beyond the Blue Horizon, conducted by Dirk Meyer (May 5-8, 2010)Great Escapes programs are performed in two formats: full-length and abbreviated. Full-length programs are held on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Abbreviated programs are performed without intermission on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Fridays at 5:30 p.m. Series subscription prices for Great Escapes start at $157. Single tickets, available in September, start at $29.

CHAMBER MUSIC Chamber music has always been a staple of the Sarasota Orchestra’s season, and next year is no exception. All seven Chamber concerts are on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. in the intimacy of Holley Hall with wine tasting and complimentary hors d’oeuvres are offered at 4:30 p.m. Chamber orchestra will also be featured on three programs.

• September 17, 2009, From the Start - All four resident ensembles are featured in a kick-off festival of the chamber music season. Handel – Aria • Dzubay – St. Vitus’ Dance • Sforzini – Sextet • Tsontakis – Bagatelles • Verdi – String Quartet in E minor

• October 15, 2009, With Quartets – Two great classics by two of the most revered composers. Mozart – String Quartet in F major, K.590 (The Prussian Quartet) • Brahms – Piano Quartet no. 2

• November 12, 2009, In Monuments – Harpist Cheryl Losey joins the Sarasota Wind Quintet for Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin and the Sarasota String Quartet performs Beethoven’s monumental Opus 59. • Bozza – Scherzo, Op. 48 • Ravel/Moore - Le Tombeau de Couperin • Beethoven – String Quartet, Op. 59, no.2

• December 10, 2009, In Moonlight – Dirk Meyer, conductor - Literally translated as “A Little Night Music,” the chamber orchestra work Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is one of Mozart’s most popular compositions. Golijov – Lullaby and Doina • Thomas – Street Song • Debussy – Piano Trio No.1 in G Major • Mozart – Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525

• January 14, 2010, Everywhere – Dirk Meyer, conductor - This recital featuring chamber orchestra takes you from Canada to London to America. Calvert – Suite from The Monteregian Hills • Crespo – Suite Americana • Jim Parker – Mississippi Five • Haydn – Symphony no. 104 “London”

• February 25, 2010, In Forests and Meadows – Dirk Meyer, conductor - The Czech Suite calls on a full chamber orchestra to capture the forests of Dvorák’s homeland. Jan Bach – Foliations • Bartók – String Quartet no.2 • Roussel – Divertissement • Dvorák – Czech Suite, Op. 39

• May 13, 2010, From My Life – The Sarasota String Quartet finishes the chamber music season with the emotional Voces Intimae and the semi-autobiographical From My Life. Sibelius-- String Quartet “Voces Intimae” • Smetana – String Quartet “From My Life”

A three-concert Chamber Orchestra series starts at $60 and the “All 7 Concerts” package starts at $120. Single tickets, available in September, start at $24.Subscription renewals are now underway. New subscription orders will be processed throughout the summer. To request a brochure, contact the Orchestra at (941) 953-4252 or visit the website at www.SarasotaOrchestra.org. Subscriber questions may be directed to the Orchestra box office at (941) 953-3434, open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The box office is located at 709 N. Tamiami Trail, in the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center.

All programs and guest artists subject to change.