After a joyous and record-breaking first season with the Denver Philharmonic, I can’t wait to welcome you to our 2014–15 Season, From Revolutions to Reformations. It’s a diverse season packed with a wide variety of works from around the world and across centuries.
Our season kicks off on October 3 with Revolution! conducted by former Associate Conductor Kornel Thomas. The program opens with Shostakovich’s October, a piece written to commemorate the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. The commanding and expressive soprano Elizabeth Baldwin lends us her “powerhouse voice” for Strauss’ operatic Four Last Songs. The evening rounds off with Beethoven’s classic Symphony No. 7. Strauss was revolutionary in his orchestrations and Beethoven was revolutionary in every thing he did — he changed the world of music forever.
November ushers in A Tale of Three Symphonies. Written in the best and worst of times, all three pieces present different styles of symphonic composition across three centuries. Four of our own musicians — Kimberly Brody, Kenneth Greenwald, Katherine Thayer, and Bryan Scafuri — take center stage for Haydn’s 1792 Sinfonia concertante featuring four instruments in the solo group: oboe, bassoon, violin and cello. Britten’s somber Sinfonia da Requiem, and the contrasting cheerful and optimistic Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 transport us through the 19th and 20th centuries.
Our season would not be complete without our traditional holiday concert. Holiday Cheer! is a festive evening of family-friendly music including holiday favorites, both classical and pops. We are excited to again welcome Mark Stamper and the Colorado Repertory Singers who will perform holiday selections both with the orchestra and on their own. Soprano Elizabeth Montgomery will serenade you with her charming renditions of classics such as It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Oh Holy Night and lead our annual sing-along. I’ll even pick up my violin for a performance of Vivaldi’s “Winter” from The Four Seasons.
From Russia with Love on February 13 features a beautiful pair of works by Tchaikovsky. After Jeffrey LaDeur presents the suspenseful and exciting Piano Concerto No. 1, get close to a loved one for a cozy rendition of “Winter Reveries.”
In April, Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra Music Director Wes Kenney picks up the baton as guest conductor for Reformations. The evening begins with Toccata and Fugue, a piece Stokowski “reformed” from Bach’s organ piece into a large orchestral work. Peter Sommer heats up the night on alto sax with Duke Ellington’s jazzy orchestral piece, Three Black Kings, and a selection from John Williams’ score for Catch Me If You Can. The concert concludes with the title work, Mendelssohn’s grand Symphony No. 5 “Reformation,” which was written honor of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.
Don’t blink, or you might miss our fast-paced May season finale, Planes, Trains & Automobiles. Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine quickly accelerates into Gershwin’s classic locomotive jazz number, Rhapsody in Blue, featuring poetic pianist Fei-Fei Dong. The season crosses the finish line with Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5, which, at times, sounds like a maniacal machine off to the races.
Thank you for warmly welcoming me in my inaugural season and for your support of our orchestra. We look forward to seeing you over the coming year for the orchestra’s sixty-seventh season, From Revolutions to Reformations.