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AMERICAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA GOES BEYOND BEETHOVEN AT CARNEGIE HALL

FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2020

WITH GUEST PIANIST LUCAS DEBARGUE IN MAINSTAGE DEBUT

New York, NY January 6, 2020 — American Symphony Orchestra will pay tribute to the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth with a concert that investigates how his music inspired others on Friday January 31, 8 pm at Carnegie Hall. From Liszt’s fantasia on the “Turkish March” to Spohr’s Beethovenesque scherzo and Reger’s variations on a bagatelle theme by Beethoven, the program also celebrates the 100th anniversary of an often-overlooked 20th-century master, Galina Ustvolskaya. Her Piano Concerto is considered her first composition and demands the listener’s ear with a pounding rhythmic motif that is repeated by the piano until the closing chord.

French pianist Lucas Debargue—who makes his Carnegie Hall mainstage and New York City symphonic debut at this performance—is the soloist. The only musician at the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition awarded with the Moscow Music Critic’s Prize, the Huffington Post wrote that “Since Glenn Gould’s visit to Moscow and Van Cliburn’s victory at the Tchaikovsky Competition, never has a foreign pianist provoked such frenzy.” Following an unconventional path to success, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Paris Diderot as a teen, and didn’t change his primary focus to piano until his twenties, when Debargue started professional training at the Paris Cortot Music School and made a formal commitment to music. Since winning First Prize at the Gaillard International Piano Competition in 2014 and becoming a prize winner in the Tchaikovsky Competition, he has released four solo albums with Sony, received a prestigious 2017 German ECHO Klassik prize, and was the subject of a documentary following his Tchaikovsky Competition break-through. A composer as well, his Orpheo di camera concertino for piano, drums and string orchestra was premiered with Kremerata Baltica in Latvia in 2017. This season, he appears in Boston, Toronto, and Montreal, on tour with the Russian National Orchestra and Maestro Pletnev to the Middle East and Berlin, in concerts with violinist Gidon Kremer, and is returning to the Verbier Festival.

Music director Leon Botstein will provide the musical context for the program in a lively, 30-minute Conductor’s Notes Q&A session, free for all ticket holders, one hour before the concert. As for all ASO programs, these discussions offer animated learning opportunities for both concert-goers and music connoisseurs alike.

Beyond Beethoven
Friday, January 31, 2020 at Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage)
Conductor’s Notes Q&A 7 PM
Concert 8 PM

Leon Botstein, conductor
Lucas Debargue, piano

Louis Spohr, Symphony No. 6, “Historical Symphony”
Galina Ustvolskaya, Piano Concerto
Franz Liszt, Fantasy on Motifs from Beethoven’s Ruins of Athens
Max Reger, Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Beethoven

Tickets, priced at $25–$65, are available at carnegiehall.org, CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800 or the box office at 57th St & 7th Ave.

American Symphony Orchestra
Now in its 58th season, the American Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski, with a mission of providing great music within the means of everyone. Music Director Leon Botstein expanded that mission when he joined the ASO in 1992, creating thematic concerts that explore music from the perspective of the visual arts, literature, religion, and history, and reviving rarely-performed works that audiences would otherwise never have a chance to hear performed live.

The ASO’s signature programming includes its Vanguard Series, which presents concerts of rare orchestral repertoire at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center; an adult educational series at Symphony Space that offers interactive investigations into popular classical works; and various other events dedicated to enriching and reflecting the diverse perspectives of American culture. During the summer months, the ASO is the orchestra-in-residence at Bard’s SummerScape Festival and performs at the Bard Music Festival.

As part of its commitment to expanding the standard orchestral repertoire, the ASO has released recordings on the Telarc, New World, Bridge, Koch, and Vanguard labels, and live performances are also available for digital download. In many cases, these are the only existing recordings of some of the forgotten works that have been restored through ASO performances.

Leon Botstein
Leon Botstein has been music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992. He is also music director of The Orchestra Now, an innovative training orchestra composed of top musicians from around the world. He is co-artistic director of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival, which take place at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, where he has been president since 1975. He is also conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, where he served as music director from 2003–11. In 2018, he assumed artistic directorship of Campus Grafenegg and Grafenegg Academy in Austria. Mr. Botstein also has an active career as a guest conductor with orchestras around the globe, and has made numerous recordings, as well as being a prolific author and music historian. He is the recipient of numerous honors for his contributions to the music industry. In 2019, The New York Times named Leon Botstein a “champion of overlooked works…who has tirelessly worked to bring to light worthy scores by neglected composers.”

For more information, please visit americansymphony.org.

Media Contact
Pascal Nadon
Pascal Nadon Communications
Phone: 646.234.7088
Email: pascal@pascalnadon.com

The Sons of Bach

by Paul Corneilson

Written for Sons of Bach, which will be performed on December 19, 2019 at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1785–1750) wrote more than a thousand musical works, and had twenty children. Four of his six sons became respected composers in their own right. Though they had the same father, the two eldest—Wilhelm Friedemann (1710–1784) and Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714–1788) had a different mother, Maria Barbara (1684–1720), than the two younger sons—Johann Christoph Friedrich (1732–1795) and Johann Christian (1735–1782), who were born to Anna Magdalena (1701–1760). Indeed, the two pairs of half brothers belong to different generations, and this is apparent in the four works on the concert tonight.

Friedemann’s first job was as organist at St. Sophia’s Church, Dresden; his father wrote the letter of application for him in 1733. W.F. might have exceeded his father as an organist, and in 1746 he was hired as organist of the Liebfrauenkirche (Our Lady Church) in Halle. He eventually became music director and wrote several church cantatas in the 1750s. The cantata Erzittert und Fallet (Tremble and Falter) dates from this period and was first performed on Easter Sunday. The seven movements unfold in an arrangement much like many of his father’s cantatas for Leipzig in the 1720s and 1730s, closing with a four-part harmonization of a chorale. The opening chorus sets a festive mood with two trumpets and timpani plus strings. The voices enter before the instruments, imitative entries of the “roaring crowds” to celebrate the risen Savior. The first aria for tenor, two flutes (suggesting the “reizend sanfte Blicke”), and basso continuo shows Friedemann in his original, mannered voice. Following a recitative for tenor and soprano, the duet for soprano and bass with oboe recalls the two allegorical duets between Jesus and the Soul in Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (BWV 140), though in W.F.’s cantata you could easily imagine the shepherd (Hirte) as a secular figure in a pastoral cantata. After another simple recitative for soprano and alto, the aria for soprano and two violins is full of imagery of natural disaster: floods, thunderous lightnings, and terrifying flames (Fluten, donnernd Blitzen, Schreckensflammen). Clearly, the poetry inspired Friedemann to set the text vividly.

Unfortunately, much of his music is either lost or perhaps was never written down. In 1764 he abruptly resigned his position in Halle and was unable to secure another one, though he did receive support from Princess Amalia of Prussia in his later years. Johann Nikolaus Forkel, J.S. Bach’s first biographer, wrote that W.F. “approached the nearest to his father in the originality of all his thoughts. All his melodies have a different turn from those of other composers, and yet they are not only extremely natural, but, at the same time, uncommonly fine and elegant.”

Emanuel spent a few years at the university in Frankfurt an der Oder before joining the musical entourage of Friedrich II and spent almost thirty years in his service. C.P.E.’s Magnificat (Wq 215) exists in two distinct versions. It was originally completed in Potsdam in 1749, and was likely performed in Leipzig as a tryout piece to replace his father as Cantor there. At least one account claims that J.S. Bach heard it before his death in July 1750. In any event, C.P.E. Bach eventually succeeded his godfather Georg Philipp Telemann as music director of the Hamburg municipal churches in 1768. Having no need for a Latin Magnificat in Hamburg, Emanuel adapted most of the movements in his church cantatas, with parody (German) texts, including his Passion Cantata (Wq 233), a work that was performed each Lent in Hamburg. Thus when he decided to perform the Magnificat on a concert in 1779, he felt compelled to write a new chorus no. 4, the “Et misericordia eius” to replace the original setting that was now more familiar as chorus no. 2, “Fürwahr, er trug unsere Krankheit” in his Passion Cantata. This new chorus, written thirty years later, is a good example of the “empfinsamer Stil” (sensitive style), full of refined, expressive chromatic harmony. In 1779 he also took the opportunity to add three trumpets and timpani to the opening and closing choruses and aria no. 5, plus two horns to aria no. 3 and duet no. 6.

C.P.E.’s setting of the Magnificat is partly modeled on his father’s setting (BWV 243) also in D major, which the son might have sung in the Thomas choir in Leipzig. But there are also substantial differences. J.S. divides the text into twelve distinct movements, while C.P.E. has only nine. J.S. brings back the opening music only at the end of the doxology (“Sicut erat in principio” = as it was in the beginning), but C.P.E. uses the opening music for the “Gloria Patria” and then writes a massive double fugue for the “Sicut erat in principio” that he extends and embellishes for the concluding “Amen.” (By contrast, J.S. Bach’s “Amen” is only two short statements.) If J.S. Bach heard his son’s Magnificat, he would have been proud of the harmonic richness. C.P.E. Bach told Forkel that he had to choose a style of his own, because he could never have equaled his father’s style.

Friedrich received his musical training from his father then joined the court musical establishment of Count Wilhelm von Schaumburg-Lippe at Bückeburg in 1750 and remained there the rest of his life. (His son, Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst, studied with his uncle Christian in London from 1778 until the latter’s death, and eventually became the music director to King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia.) It is perhaps no coincidence that J.C.F. published his cantata Die Amerikanerin (The American Woman) in 1776, the year the Declaration of Independence was written and signed. The poem by Heinrich Wilhelm von Gerstenberg was published in 1815 as “Lied eines Mohren” (song of a Moor) and set in the Middle East, not the American colonies, but to a north German of the late eighteenth century the two places were equally exotic.

J.C.F. set the text as a solo cantata for soprano and orchestra and called it “ein lyrisches Gemählde” (a lyric picture). The first two stanzas are treated as two
separate numbers, with the opening Andante (“Saide, komm!”), followed by an Andantino grazioso (“Schön ist mein Mädchen!”). An accompanied recitative, marked Poco allegro and full of wilderness imagery, leads directly to another aria in two parts: an Allegro (“Mein Herz fleucht ihr entgegen!”) with a concluding Larghetto grazioso (“Wie Ambraduft will ich dich, Tod”). Overall, the cantata is very much in the same vein as C.P.E. Bach’s late cantata for solo voice and keyboard, “Die Grazien” (Wq 200/20), also to a poem by Gerstenberg.

After his father died in 1750, Christian came to Berlin to live and study with C.P.E. In 1755 J.C. became the only member of his family to travel to Italy and absorb the Italian style through the tutelage of Padre Martini in Bologna. While serving as organist at the Cathedral in Milan, J.C. wrote an opera for Turin and then two for the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. Their success led to his appointment as music master to Queen Charlotte in London in 1762, and he eventually achieved commercial success in Great Britain. With Carl Friedrich Abel, Bach organized annual concert series for which he wrote orchestral and chamber music; he continued to compose operas and one oratorio for the King’s Theatre, and songs for Vauxhall Gardens; and published sets of sonatas, concertos, symphonies, and chamber music in London, Paris, and Amsterdam.

His Symphony in G Minor, Op. 6, no. 6 shares the same key as Haydn’s Symphony No. 39 (c. 1768) and Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 (K. 183, 1773), and likewise has many of the same “Sturm und Drang” elements. This is Bach‘s only known symphony in a minor key, and the outer movements are in G minor, and the  Andante più tosto adagio is in C minor. But it is not the minor key alone that creates the “storm and stress,” rather the angular melodies and the driving rhythms, the sudden contrasts between dynamics, and the contrasting themes: agitated one moment, full of sentimentality the next.

It is unlikely that Haydn or Mozart knew any of the pieces on the program, but at least two of the sons of Bach, C.P.E. and J.C., had a significant impact on their musical development.

Paul Corneilson is managing editor of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: The Complete Works.

AMERICAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA OPENS ITS SEASON AT CARNEGIE HALL WITH ELGAR’S MASSIVE CHORAL WORK, THE KINGDOM

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2019

Soloists Include: Soprano Janai Brugger, Mezzo–Soprano Maya Lahyani, Tenor Cooper Nolan, and Baritone Alexander Birch Elliott, with Choral Director James Bagwell and the Bard Festival Chorale

New York, NY October 10, 2019— The 58th season of American Symphony Orchestra’s Vanguard series at Carnegie Hall will open on October 31 with Music Director Leon Botstein leading the ASO in a performance of Edward Elgar’s great choral work, The Kingdom, the second of Elgar’s incomplete trilogy of oratorios.

Beginning with the calling of twelve young men (The Apostles), The Kingdom explores the start of the apostles’ mission on earth, ultimately unfolding at the end of time (The Last Judgement). This immense choral work—set to scriptural references from the New Testament—focuses on the apostle Peter and the beginnings of the Christian Church in Jerusalem. Guest soloists are soprano Janai Brugger, one of Opera News’ top 25 “brilliant young artists”; mezzo-soprano Maya Lahyani, who has sung more than 70 performances at the Metropolitan Opera; tenor Cooper Nolan, praised by Musical America for his “bright, shining, tenor”; and baritone Alexander Birch Elliot, who recently debuted at both the Houston Grand Opera and the Metropolitan Opera as Zurga in Les Pêcheurs de Perles.

The next concert in the series will be Sons of Bach, presenting rarely-performed works by the four fellows who followed in the footsteps of their famous father, J.S. Bach. The performance is part of the ASO’s expanded 2019-2020 season, which includes this additional concert at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall (December 19, 2019).

Music director Leon Botstein will provide the musical context for the program in a lively, 30-minute Conductor’s Notes Q&A session, free for all ticket holders, one hour before the concert. As for all ASO programs, these discussions offer animated learning opportunities for both concert-goers and music connoisseurs alike.

The Kingdom
Thursday, October 31, 2019 at Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage)
Conductor’s Notes Q&A 7 PM
Concert 8 PM

Leon Botstein, conductor
Janai Brugger soprano
Maya Lahyani, mezzo–soprano
Cooper Nolan, tenor
Alexander Birch Elliott, baritone
Bard Festival Chorale
James Bagwell, choral director

Edward Elgar: The Kingdom

Tickets, priced at $25–$65, are available at carnegiehall.org, CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800 or the box office at 57th St & 7th Ave.

American Symphony Orchestra
Now in its 58th season, the American Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski, with a mission of providing great music within the means of everyone. Music Director Leon Botstein expanded that mission when he joined the ASO in 1992, creating thematic concerts that explore music from the perspective of the visual arts, literature, religion, and history, and reviving rarely-performed works that audiences would otherwise never have a chance to hear performed live.

The ASO’s signature programming includes its Vanguard Series, which presents concerts of rare orchestral repertoire at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center; an adult educational series at Symphony Space that offers interactive investigations into popular classical works; and various other events dedicated to enriching and reflecting the diverse perspectives of American culture. During the summer months, the ASO is the orchestra-in-residence at Bard’s SummerScape Festival and performs at the Bard Music Festival.

As part of its commitment to expanding the standard orchestral repertoire, the ASO has released recordings on the Telarc, New World, Bridge, Koch, and Vanguard labels, and live performances are also available for digital download. In many cases, these are the only existing recordings of some of the forgotten works that have been restored through ASO performances.

Leon Botstein
Leon Botstein has been music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992. He is also music director of The Orchestra Now, an innovative training orchestra composed of top musicians from around the world. He is co-artistic director of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival, which take place at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, where he has been president since 1975. He is also conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, where he served as music director from 2003–11. In 2018, he assumed artistic directorship of Campus Grafenegg and Grafenegg Academy in Austria. Mr. Botstein also has an active career as a guest conductor with orchestras around the globe, and has made numerous recordings, as well as being a prolific author and music historian. He is the recipient of numerous honors for his contributions to the music industry. In 2019, The New York Times named Leon Botstein a “champion of overlooked works…who has tirelessly worked to bring to light worthy scores by neglected composers.”

For more information, please visit americansymphony.org.

Media Contact
Pascal Nadon
Pascal Nadon Communications
Phone: 646.234.7088
Email: pascal@pascalnadon.com

AMERICAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PERFORMS SONS OF BACH AT LINCOLN CENTER’S ALICE TULLY HALL THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2019

Soloists Include: Soprano Amanda Woodbury, Mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven, Tenor Jack Swanson, and Baritone Chris Kenney, with  James Bagwell Leading the Bard Festival Chorus

New York, NY, November 25, 2019 —American Symphony Orchestra comes to Alice Tully Hall for the holiday season with a concert titled Sons of Bach on Thursday, December 19 at 8 PM. The program will offer rarely-performed works by four of J.S. Bach’s sons, showcasing the compositional mastery the young men learned from their father, and also revealing how each was able to develop his own unique style.

Featured soloists are soprano Amanda Woodbury, now in her fifth season at the Metropolitan Opera; mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven, who recently made her solo debut with the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl; 2018 Richard Tucker Career Grant Winner, tenor Jack Swanson; and baritone Chris Kenney, a three-time winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions. The performance is part of the ASO’s expanded 2019-2020 Carnegie Hall season, which includes this additional concert at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.

Music director Leon Botstein will provide the musical context for the program in a lively, 30-minute Conductor’s Notes Q&A session, free for all ticket holders, one hour before the concert. As for all ASO programs, these discussions offer animated learning opportunities for both concert-goers and music connoisseurs alike.

The next concert in the ASO series will honor the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth with Beyond Beethoven, a program investigating how the great master’s works were an inspiration to other composers (January 31, 2020 at Carnegie Hall).

Sons of Bach
Thursday, December 19, 2019 at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center
Conductor’s Notes Q&A 7 PM
Concert 8 PM

Seldom-heard music by four of Johann Sebastian Bach takes centerstage at this concert. Wilhelm Friedemann’s music is closest to his father’s, while Carl Philipp Emanuel’s is more imaginative and expressive. Johann Christian’s music, on the other hand, is closer to the classical style of Mozart, although his earliest works are remarkably similar to Emanuel’s. Johann Christoph Friedrich’s compositional style resembles those of both Emanuel and Christian.

To access the program notes, click here.

Leon Botstein, conductor
Amanda Woodbury, soprano
Taylor Raven, mezzo-soprano
Jack Swanson, tenor
Chris Kenney, baritone
Bard Festival Chorale
James Bagwell, choral director

W.F. Bach: Erzittert und Fallet (Oh, Tremble and Falter)
J.C.F. Bach: Die Amerikanerin (The American)
J.C. Bach: Symphony in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6  
C.P.E. Bach: Magnificat

Tickets, priced at $25–$50, are available by calling CenterCharge at 212.721.6500, or visiting the Alice Tully Hall box office at Broadway and 65th St.

American Symphony Orchestra
Now in its 58th season, the American Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski, with a mission of providing great music within the means of everyone. Music Director Leon Botstein expanded that mission when he joined the ASO in 1992, creating thematic concerts that explore music from the perspective of the visual arts, literature, religion, and history, and reviving rarely-performed works that audiences would otherwise never have a chance to hear performed live.

The ASO’s signature programming includes its Vanguard Series, which presents concerts of rare orchestral repertoire at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center; an adult educational series at Symphony Space that offers interactive investigations into popular classical works; and various other events dedicated to enriching and reflecting the diverse perspectives of American culture. During the summer months, the ASO is the orchestra-in-residence at Bard’s SummerScape Festival and performs at the Bard Music Festival.

As part of its commitment to expanding the standard orchestral repertoire, the ASO has released recordings on the Telarc, New World, Bridge, Koch, and Vanguard labels, and live performances are also available for digital download. In many cases, these are the only existing recordings of some of the forgotten works that have been restored through ASO performances.

Leon Botstein
Leon Botstein has been music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992. He is also music director of The Orchestra Now, an innovative training orchestra composed of top musicians from around the world. He is co-artistic director of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival, which take place at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, where he has been president since 1975. He is also conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, where he served as music director from 2003–11. In 2018, he assumed artistic directorship of Campus Grafenegg and Grafenegg Academy in Austria. Mr. Botstein also has an active career as a guest conductor with orchestras around the globe, and has made numerous recordings, as well as being a prolific author and music historian. He is the recipient of numerous honors for his contributions to the music industry. In 2019, The New York Times named Leon Botstein a “champion of overlooked works…who has tirelessly worked to bring to light worthy scores by neglected composers.”

For more information, please visit americansymphony.org.

Media Contact
Pascal Nadon
Pascal Nadon Communications
Phone: 646.234.7088
Email: pascal@pascalnadon.com

JACK SWANSON, Tenor

JACK SWANSON
Photo by Craig VanDerSchaegen

Will appear in Sons of Bach, on December 19, 2019 at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center. 

Stillwater, Minnesota native Jack Swanson is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after young tenors in the opera world. His distinctive high lyric voice is known for singing the acrobatic arias of Rossini and the legato melodies of Donizetti.

This season brings Mr. Swanson to new stages in new roles: first in Frankfurt as Rodrigo in a new production of Rossini’s Otello, then as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Opera Omaha and to Opera Lafayette as Cody in Philidor’s The Blacksmith. Jack Swanson will debut with the Minnesota Opera as the title-role in the world premiere of Paola Prestini’s Edward Tulane.  Mr. Swanson rounds out the season with a return to the Santa Fe Opera as Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia.  In concert, the tenor will be heard in Paris in Rossini’s Messa di Gloria and at New York’s Alice Tully Hall for a concert of pieces by sons of J.S. Bach.  Future engagements include a debut with the Houston Grand Opera and returns to the Norwegian, Frankfurt Garsington Operas.

Last season Jack Swanson made several role and company debuts, first as Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore with the Norwegian Opera, later as Sam Kaplan in Street Scene with Oper Köln.  He returned to the title-role in Candide for concert performances in Paris and Marseille and to his celebrated portrayal of Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Portland Opera.  In concert, he performed music by Leonard Bernstein at the Moab Music Festival and by John Musto (his Bastianello) with Festival Napa Valley.

TAYLOR RAVEN, Mezzo-soprano

TAYLOR RAVEN
Photo by André Peele

Will appear in Sons of Bach, on December 19, 2019 at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center. 

Ms. Raven is currently a member of the LA Opera Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. With the company, she has appeared on the mainstage as Tebaldo in Verdi’s Don Carlo , Sandman in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel , Vanderdendur in Bernstein’s Candide , and Annio in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito. She returned as a 2019 Filene Artist with Wolf Trap Opera appearing as Concepción in Ravel’s L’heure espagnole and Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia. In the spring of 2020, Ms. Raven will make her debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Grimgerde in Wagner’s Die Walküre and will return in the summer to sing the role of the Mother in Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson’s Blue. She recently made her debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as a soloist in Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied led by James Conlon. She appeared as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in their 2018 Hollywood Bowl performance of Beethoven Choral Fantasy. She was the first prize winner of the 2018 Loren L. Zachary Competition. She is a recipient of a 2017 Sara Tucker career grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation. Ms. Raven holds degrees from the University of Colorado-Boulder and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

CHRIS KENNEY, BARITONE

CHRIS KENNEY
Photo by Arielle Doneson

Will appear in Sons of Bach, on December 19, 2019 at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center. 

American baritone Chris Kenney, whose voice was called “lush” by Broadway World, is in his second and final year as a member of the Ryan Opera Center ensemble at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In the 2019-2020 season, Mr. Kenney will debut with Michigan Opera Theatre as Silvio in I Pagliacci, and at Lyric, will sing Fiorello and cover Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, sing the Motorcycle Cop in Dead Man Walking, sing the Registrar and cover Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, and cover Yeletsky in Pique Dame. On the orchestral stage, he will make his New York City concert debut singing Bach cantatas with the American Symphony Orchestra and Leon Botstein at Alice Tully Hall.

In the 2018-2019 season in Chicago, Chris Kenney appeared as the Master of Ceremonies in Cendrillon and the Marquis d’Obigny in La traviata. He also covered Schaunard in La bohème and the King in Cendrillon. Orchestral debuts included the Guide in Bernstein’s Wonderful Town with Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony, and Bob or the Thief in The Old Maid and the Thief with the Grant Park Music Festival. He also presented a series of songs with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I.

AMERICAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA ANNOUNCES EXPANDED 2019–20 SEASON WITH CONCERTS AT CARNEGIE HALL, ALICE TULLY HALL, AND SYMPHONY SPACE

OCTOBER 31, 2019 – MARCH 12, 2020

Music Director Leon Botstein to Conduct Four Concerts Including Tributes to Duke Ellington, Beethoven’s 250th Birthday, and J.S. Bach’s Four Sons

ASO Renews Successful Series at Symphony Space

Soloists Include:
Pianist Lucas Debargue; Sopranos Janai Brugger and Amanda Woodbury; Mezzo-Sopranos Maya Lahyani and Taylor Raven; Tenors Cooper Nolan and Jack Swanson; and Baritones Alexander Birch Elliott and Chris Kenney; Plus Jazz Pianist Marcus Roberts and the Marcus Roberts Trio, and American Vocalist Catherine Russell

New York, NY, June 25, 2019 American Symphony Orchestra announced the 58th season of its three-concert Vanguard series at Carnegie Hall, now expanded to include an additional performance at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. The season also marks the return of the Orchestra’s popular series to New York City’s Symphony Space—which originally took place between 1998 and 2015—with a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in conjunction with the ASO’s celebration of the great composer’s 250th birthday. This series combines complete concerts of well-known, major orchestral works with interactive educational demonstrations. The full 2019–20 season runs from October 31, 2019 through March 12, 2020.

Following the success of the Orchestra’s 2017 performance of The Apostles, the ASO season opens on October 31 with Edward Elgar’s massive choral work The Kingdom, the second of Elgar’s incomplete trilogy of oratorios. The concert series continues with Sons of Bach, which will present rarely-performed works by four fellows who followed in the footsteps of their famous father, J.S. Bach (December 19, 2019). In honor of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, Beyond Beethoven will examine how the composer’s music inspired others with a program of works by Liszt, Spohr, and Reger. The performance will also celebrate the 100th anniversary of an often-overlooked 20th-century master, Galina Ustvolskaya (January 31, 2020). The Carnegie Hall season culminates with Duke Ellington, a tribute to the genre-defying genius of Ellington, with an evening including two world premiere arrangements by Marcus Roberts of New World A-Comin’ and Three Black Kings for Jazz Trio and Large Orchestra (March 12, 2020).

Music director Leon Botstein will provide the musical context for each of the concert programs in lively, 30-minute Conductor’s Notes Q&A sessions. These discussions, animated learning opportunities for both concert-goers and music connoisseurs alike, begin one hour before each concert and are free for all ticket holders.

The Kingdom
Thursday, October 31, 2019 at Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage)
Conductor’s Notes Q&A 7 PM
Concert 8 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Janai Brugger, soprano
Maya Lahyani, mezzo–soprano
Cooper Nolan, tenor
Alexander Birch Elliott, baritone
Bard Festival Chorale
James Bagwell, choral director
Edward Elgar: The Kingdom

The opening program presents the second work in Elgar’s incomplete trilogy of oratorios, which begins with the calling of twelve young men (The Apostles). The Kingdom explores the start of the apostles’ mission on earth, ultimately unfolding at the end of time (The Last Judgement). This immense choral work—set to scriptural references from the New Testament—focuses on the apostle Peter and the beginnings of the Christian Church in Jerusalem. Soloists feature soprano Janai Brugger, one of Opera News’ top 25 “brilliant young artists”; mezzo-soprano Maya Lahyani, who has sung more than 70 performances at the Metropolitan Opera; tenor Cooper Nolan, praised by Musical America for his “bright, shining, tenor”; and baritone Alexander Birch Elliot, who debuted this season at both the Houston Grand Opera and the Metropolitan Opera as Zurga in Les Pêcheurs de Perles.

Tickets, priced at $25–$65, go on sale September 3 at carnegiehall.org, CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800 or the box office at 57th St & 7th Ave.

Sons of Bach
Thursday, December 19, 2019 at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center
Conductor’s Notes Q&A 7 PM
Concert 8 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Amanda Woodbury, soprano
Taylor Raven, mezzo-soprano
Jack Swanson, tenor
Chris Kenney, baritone
Bard Festival Chorale
James Bagwell, choral director
W.F. Bach: Erzittert und Fallet (Oh, Tremble and Falter)
J.C.F. Bach: Die Amerikanerin (The American)
J.C. Bach: Symphony in G minor, Op. 6, No. 6
C.P.E. Bach: Magnificat

These rarely-performed works by four of J.S. Bach’s sons showcase the compositional mastery the young men learned from their father, while also revealing how each was able to develop his own unique style. Wilhelm Friedemann’s music is closest to his father’s, while Carl Philipp Emanuel’s is more imaginative and expressive. Johann Christian’s music, on the other hand, is closer to the classical style of Mozart, although his earliest works are remarkably similar to Emanuel’s. Johann Christoph Friedrich’s compositional style resembles those of both Emanuel and Christian.

The soloists are soprano Amanda Woodbury, now in her fifth season at the Metropolitan Opera; mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven, who recently made her solo debut with the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl; 2018 Richard Tucker Career Grant Winner, tenor Jack Swanson; and baritone Chris Kenney, a three-time winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions.

Tickets, priced at $25–$50, go on sale September 3 at lincolncenter.org, by calling CenterCharge at 212.721.6500, or visiting the Alice Tully Hall box office at Broadway and 65th St.

Beyond Beethoven
Friday, January 31, 2020 at Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage)
Conductor’s Notes Q&A 7 PM
Concert 8 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Lucas Debargue, piano
Louis Spohr: Symphony No. 6, “Historical Symphony”
Galina Ustvolskaya: Piano Concerto
Franz Liszt: Fantasy on Motifs from Beethoven’s Ruins of Athens
Max Reger: Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Beethoven

In honor of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, the ASO investigates how his music inspired others, from Liszt’s fantasia on the “Turkish March” to Spohr’s Beethovenesque scherzo and Reger’s variations on a bagatelle theme, where he displays his mastery of complex compositional techniques and pays homage to his distinguished predecessors. The program also celebrates the 100th anniversary of an often-overlooked 20th-century master, Galina Ustvolskaya. Her Piano Concerto is considered her first composition and demands the listener’s ear with a passionate, rhythmic motive that is repeated by the piano until the closing chord. French pianist Lucas Debargue is the soloist. He was the only musician at the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition awarded with the Moscow Music Critic’s Prize as a pianist whose “incredible gift, artistic vision, and creative freedom have impressed the critics as well as the audience.”

Tickets, priced at $25–$65, go on sale September 3 at carnegiehall.org, CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800 or the box office at 57th St & 7th Ave.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5
Sunday, February 2, 2020 at 4 PM at Peter Norton Symphony Space
Leon Botstein, conductor
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 5

After a four-year hiatus, the ASO brings back its Symphony Space series, which integrates complete performances of familiar orchestral works with interactive educational demonstrations. The program will present Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, in conjunction with the Orchestra’s celebration of the composer’s 250th birthday. Music director Leon Botstein will open the afternoon with a lecture-demonstration that explains the cultural context and key themes of the work through a series of musical demonstrations played by the Orchestra. After intermission, the piece will be performed in its entirety, followed by a Q&A session with the audience.

Tickets, priced at $25-$40, go on sale September 3 at symphonyspace.org, 212.864.5400 or the box office on Broadway & 95th St.

Duke Ellington
Thursday, March 12, 2020 at Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage)
Conductor’s Notes Q&A 7 PM
Concert 8 PM
Leon Botstein, conductor
Marcus Roberts Trio
Marcus Roberts, piano
Rodney Jordan, bass
Jason Marsalis, drums
Catherine Russell, singer (special guest appearance)
Three Black Kings (Arr. Marcus Roberts)
New World A-Comin’ (Arr. Marcus Roberts)
Satin Doll
Harlem
Sophisticated Lady
Night Creature for Jazz Band and Orchestra
Black, Brown and Beige Suite

The ASO culminates its 2019-20 season with a tribute to Duke Ellington on the stage of Carnegie Hall, where Ellington played a series of annual concerts and premiered many of his greatest works, including Black, Brown, and Beige and New World A-Comin’. Ellington’s musical style employed a unique combination of classical and jazz compositional techniques that utilized improvisation over written composition, making him one of the most influential jazz composers of all time. Although he considered his compositions “beyond category” and he never defined himself as a jazz composer, his instrumental combinations, improvisation, and jazz arranging brought the world a notable American sound that can be heard in works like Sophisticated Lady and Harlem. His symphonic suite Three Black Kings displays his focus on musical form and jazz composition. He said his aim in writing Night Creature—which premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1955—was “to try to make the symphony swing.”

Marcus Roberts revolutionizes the Jazz trio format by making all three instruments equal partners in an ongoing conversation. His method of writing for trio and orchestra is to blend the two ensembles, the often disparate worlds of Jazz and Classical they each represent, and their contrasting approaches of improvisational vs. written music-making, into a collage that is uniquely and unmistakably American. Grammy-Award winning American vocalist Catherine Russell will join the evening in a special guest appearance.

Tickets, priced at $25–$65, go on sale September 3 at carnegiehall.org, CarnegieCharge at 212.247.7800 or the box office at 57th St & 7th Ave.

American Symphony Orchestra
The American Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski with a mission of making orchestral music accessible and affordable for everyone. Music Director Leon Botstein expanded that mission when he joined the ASO in 1992, creating thematic concerts that explore music from the perspective of the visual arts, literature, religion, and history, and reviving rarely-performed works audiences would otherwise seldom hear performed live.

The Orchestra has made several tours of Asia and Europe and performed in countless benefits for organizations including the Jerusalem Foundation and PBS. Many of the world’s most accomplished soloists have performed with the ASO, including Yo-Yo Ma, Deborah Voigt, and Sarah Chang. The Orchestra has released several recordings on the Telarc, New World, Bridge, Koch, and Vanguard labels, and numerous live performances are also available for digital download. In many cases, these are the only recordings of some of the rare works that have been rediscovered in ASO performances.

Leon Botstein
Leon Botstein has been music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992. He is also music director of The Orchestra Now, an innovative training orchestra composed of top musicians from around the world. He is co-artistic director of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival, which take place at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, where he has been president since 1975. He is also conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, where he served as music director from 2003–11. In 2018, he assumed artistic directorship of Campus Grafenegg and Grafenegg Academy in Austria. Mr. Botstein also has an active career as a guest conductor with orchestras around the globe, and has made numerous recordings, as well as being a prolific author and music historian. He is the recipient of numerous honors for his contributions to the music industry. In 2019, The New York Times named Leon Botstein a “champion of overlooked works…who has tirelessly worked to bring to light worthy scores by neglected composers.”

For more information, please visit americansymphony.org.

Media Contact
Pascal Nadon
Pascal Nadon Communications
Phone: 646.234.7088
Email: pascal@pascalnadon.com

Audrey Babcock, mezzo-soprano

Audrey Babcock
Photo by Laura Marie Duncan

Appearing in the concert A Mass of Life, performed on April 5, 2016 at Carnegie Hall.

Award-winning mezzo-soprano Audrey Babcock is quickly gaining acclaim for her performances as Carmen and her portrayals of Maddalena in Rigoletto. As Carmen, Ms. Babcock made her French debut with the Festival Lyrique-en-Mer and has performed the role with the Florentine Opera Company; Opera San Antonio; OperaDelaware; and the Nashville, Florida Grand, New York City, Toledo, and Utah Festival Operas. She has premiered several new operas, including the NY premiere of Tobias Picker’s Thérèse Raquin with Dicapo Opera Theatre; the world premiere of With Blood, With Ink at Fort Worth Opera; La Reina and The Poe Project with American Lyric Theater in New York; and appeared as Mother in Winter’s Child at Beth Morrison’s Prototype Festival in NYC in 2015.

Other engagements for 2014–15 included Carmen with Knoxville Opera and Suburban Symphony, and La Tragédie de Carmen with OperaDelaware. Additional recent highlights include Maddalena in Rigoletto with Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Omaha, Tulsa Opera, Florentine Opera Company, and Nashville Opera; Erika in Vanessa with Sarasota Opera; Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Tulsa Opera; Secretary in Menotti’s The Consul with New Jersey State Opera; and Jo in Little Women with Utah Opera and Syracuse Opera, where she won Artist of the Year.

Engagements for the 2015–16 season include Carmen with Anchorage Opera, Rosette in Manon with Dallas Opera, La Reina at the Prototype Festival, and a concert with Flamenco Sephardit. Future seasons include Maddalena in Rigoletto with Palm Beach Opera and Carmen with Dayton Opera and Fort Worth Opera.

Winter 2016

Thomas Cannon, baritone

Thomas Cannon

Appearing in the concert A Mass of Life, performed on April 5, 2016 at Carnegie Hall.

Thomas Cannon has participated in young artists’ programs at The Glimmerglass Festival; Arizona Opera; Chautauqua Opera; Crested Butte Music Festival; Dallas Opera; International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, Israel; Santa Fe Opera; Opera Roanoke; and the Music Academy of the West. He has appeared on the concert stage at Carnegie Hall as soloist in Verdi’s Requiem to benefit victims of Japan’s Earthquake; and with The Cecilia Chorus of New York, singing Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore and Schubert’s Stabat Mater. Elsewhere, he has performed a host of oratorio and orchestra works including Mozart’s Requiem, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, and Handel’s Messiah.

Mr. Cannon is a graduate of Baylor University and The Juilliard School on full scholarship. Notable teachers include Nico Castel, Joan Dornemann, Mignon Dunn, Marlena Kleinman Malas, and Sherrill Milnes.

Mr. Cannon has garnered awards from the Dallas Opera Guild (Encouragement Award), Chautauqua Opera (Guild Award), the Anna Sosenko Assist Trust, Palm Beach Opera (Finalist), Opera Birmingham (Encouragement Award), and the Metropolitan Opera National Council (Regional Finalist).

Winter 2016