SASO Presents Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 May 19 & 20by Hot Off The Press (Release) on May. 07, 2012, under Press Releases
SOUTHERN ARIZONA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Contact: Tim Secomb at 626-4513 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SASO Program Features Bottesini Concerto for Two Double Basses, Plus Premiere by Tucson Composer
TUCSON, AZ – The Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra is known for presenting music to intrigue its audiences. The season finale on May 19 and 20 is no exception. The program features a patriotic premiere by a Tucson composer, an Italian concerto for two double basses and the hauntingly potent Symphony No. 5 by Shostakovich.
Shostakovich wrote this enigmatic symphony– which some consider the greatest of the 20th century – in the 1930s after Josef Stalin condemned the composer’s once wildly popular opera as dissident and decadent. Shostakovich promptly hid his fourth symphony. He who once delighted in pushing the limits of artistic freedom now lived in fear, sleeping in the stairwell outside his apartment to spare his family witnessing what he felt was his imminent arrest. As Michael Tilson Thomas said in a PBS documentary, “he was writing to save his life.”
His fifth symphony – subtitled “A Soviet Artist’s Response to Just Criticism” – was well received for its surface lyricism and heroic tone as prescribed by the Soviet regime.
Yet scholars and audiences surmise there are coded messages within each movement that seem to be bold, even reckless, political and religious references. Deftly done, this inscrutable work manages to incorporate lightness and humor as well as darker undertones. All told, this complex symphony packs an emotional wallop.
At the other end of the spectrum, the SASO concert opens with the premiere of Tucson native David Isaac’s Patriotic Overture. The composer said his motivation “is bringing beauty to his audiences,” striving for music that moves both heart and mind. He began his musical studies in Tucson and graduated from Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California in 2005.
The Passione Amorosa concerto for two double basses was written by 19th-century Romantic composer Giovanni Bottesini, who was known as the Paganini of the double bass. Featured soloists are Romanian Catalin Rotaru and Brazilian Waldir Bertipaglia.
Rotaru has been associate professor of music at Arizona State University since 2005. He’s a graduate of the National University of Music in Bucharest and played double bass in the Romanian National Radio Orchestra and other orchestras in Europe. He holds a master’s degree in music performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He’s taught there and at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Millikin University. Rotaru has performed both solo classical and jazz bass in Europe, the United States, South America and Japan. This award-winning musician collaborates frequently with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra and Arizona Opera. He recently completed his debut solo CD. He plays a double bass made in Italy by Luciano Golia.
Bertipaglia has performed in prestigious music festivals throughout the U.S., Europe and South America. He holds degrees from Indiana University, Western Michigan, and is a doctoral candidate at ASU, where he’s served as a teaching assistant for Rotaru, his professor and mentor. He is principal double bass with the Arizona Opera Orchestra and performs regularly with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. He also serves on the double bass faculty and is resident artist at respected annual music festivals in his home country. A winner of many competitions, he continues to solo with orchestras in Brazil and the U.S. He plays a 1991 Martin Hillmann double bass, a gift from the Swiss luthier who made it.
Music Director Linus Lerner will conduct. Lerner, who completed his doctorate in orchestral conducting at the University of Arizona, also serves as artistic director of the Bayou City Performing Arts in Houston. He’s conducted orchestras, operas, choruses and instrumental groups in his native Brazil, the United States, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Spain, Mexico and China.
SASO will present this eclectic program on Saturday May 19 at 7:30 p.m. at DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse Dr. in SaddleBrooke. Admission is $21 in advance or $23 at the door for both adults and children. Order SaddleBrooke tickets online at http://tickets.saddlebrooketwo.com or call 825-2818.
The SASO performance at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo del Norte at 3 p.m. on Sunday May 20 is free to children and youth. Tickets for those 17 and under are underwritten by SASO donors. Adult tickets are $20. Order St. Andrew’s concert tickets online at www.sasomusic.org or call 308-6226.
Founded in 1979, SASO is a vital community resource that unites performers and audiences through a passion for music. The orchestra presents world premieres, seldom-performed treasures and classical favorites. In 2009-2010 the orchestra toured in China, giving six performances in five cities, including Beijing. For more information, visit www.sasomusic.org or call 308-6226.