Thursday, April 1, 2010

Richmond Symphony 2010-11

The Richmond Symphony’s 2010-11 season will be highlighted by Beethoven's two late choral-orchestral masterpieces, the Ninth Symphony and “Missa Solemnis,” as well as new works commissioned from three contemporary composers: Richmond-bred Mason Bates, University of Virginia-based Judith Shatin and the Haitian-American Daniel Roumain.

Steven Smith will launch his first season as the orchestra’s fifth music director with the Beethoven Ninth, sharing the Sept. 25-26 program with Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Serenade to Music” and two works by Bates, his Ode and a newly commissioned fanfare. Erin R. Freeman, the symphony’s associate conductor and director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus, will be on the podium for “Missa Solemnis” in the May 21-22 finale of the Altria Masterworks series.

Shatin’s “Jefferson, in His Own Words,” commissioned by the Richmond and Virginia symphonies, the Charlottesville & University Symphony and Illinois Symphony, will be performed on Nov. 13-14. The Richmond Symphony commission is with support from the John Powell Fund. A new work by Roumain, commissioned by the symphony and eight other orchestras through the Sphinx Commissioning Consortium, will be introduced in concerts on March 5-6.

Evelyn Glennie, the trailblazing Scottish percussionist, will be featured in a non-subscription concert on April 2. The Christmas-season performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” with the Richmond-bred tenor William Ferguson among the soloists, will be staged on Dec. 3.

Other guest soloists for the season include pianists Awadagin Pratt (playing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1) and Virginia Commonwealth University-based Dmitri Shteinberg (Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3), soprano Kelly Nassief (Ravel’s “Schéhérazade” and opera arias) and trumpeter Tom Hooten (Henri Tomasi’s Trumpet Concerto).

Karen Johnson, the symphony’s concertmaster, will be featured in Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2, and Neal Cary, the orchestra’s principal cellist, will play Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 2.

Other major Masterworks repertory: Stravinsky’s “Firebird” Suite, Dvořák’s Sixth Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony (No. 6) and Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony, all conducted by Smith; and Schumann’s “Spring” Symphony (No. 1), conducted by Victor Yampolsky.

The 2010-11 Genworth Financial Symphony Pops series will open with the music and acrobatic-dance production “Cirque de la Symphonie.” Other programs are a “50 Years of Motown” show starring The Contours, music from the James Bond films and the “Let It Snow” holiday program.

The LolliPops series for children and families will feature the Magic Circle Mime Company in “Phantom of the Orchestra,” Robert Kapilow’s Dr. Seuss production “Green Eggs and Ham” and “Carnival of the Animals.”

All those concerts will be presented in the Carpenter Theatre of Richmond CenterStage.

The chamber-orchestra series staged at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland and other suburban locations, this season redubbed Metro Collection, is still in the planning stages, said David Fisk, the symphony’s executive director. Announcement of 2010-11 programs and venues is expected in May.

For information on ticket subscriptions, call the symphony’s patron services line at (804) 788-1212 or visit

The symphony's 2010-11 programming:

8 p.m. Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays, Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets
Subscriptions: $164-$476

Sept. 25-26 – Steven Smith conducting. Mason Bates: commissioned fanfare TBA, Ode; Vaughan Williams: “Serenade to Music;” Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 (“Choral”) (Mary Dunleavy, soprano; Christin Marie Hill, mezzo-soprano; Tracey Welborn, tenor; Kevin Deas, bass; Richmond Symphony Chorus, Erin R. Freeman directing).

Oct. 16-17 – Steven Smith conducting. Dukas: “La Peri” Fanfare; Debussy-Ravel: Sarabande, Danse; Stravinsky: “Firebird” Suite; Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3 (Dmitri Shteinberg, piano).

Nov. 13-14 – Steven Smith conducting. Copland: “Fanfare for the Common Man;” Judith Shatin: “Jefferson, in His Own Words” (narrator TBA); Saint-Saëns: Cello Concerto No. 2 (Neal Cary, cello); Dvořák: Symphony No. 6.

Jan. 15-16 – Steven Smith conducting. Britten: “Four Sea Interludes” from “Peter Grimes;” Ravel: “Schéhérazade;” opera arias, choruses and orchestral interludes TBA (Kelly Nassief, soprano; Richmond Symphony Chorus, Erin R. Freeman directing).

Feb. 5-6 – Victor Yampolsky conducting. Weber: “Euryanthe” Overture; Schumann: Symphony No. 1 (“Spring”); Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 (Awadagin Pratt, piano).

March 5-6 – Steven Smith conducting. Daniel Roumain: commissioned work TBA; Henri Tomasi: Trumpet Concerto (Tom Hooten, trumpet); Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 (“Pathétique”).

April 30-May 1 – Steven Smith conducting. Barber: “The School for Scandal” Overture; Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2 (Karen Johnson, violin); Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5.

May 21-22 – Erin R. Freeman conducting. Beethoven: “Missa Solemnis” (Lori Hultgren, soprano; Marietta Simpson, mezzo-soprano; John McVeigh, tenor; Michael Dean, bass; Richmond Symphony Chorus, Freeman directing).

8 p.m. Saturdays, Carpenter Theatre, unless listed otherwise
Subscriptions: $88-$248

Oct. 9 – Steven Smith conducting. “Cirque de la Symphonie.”

Dec. 4 (8 p.m.), Dec. 5 (3 p.m.) – Erin R. Freeman conducting. “Let It Snow” holiday program (Richmond Symphony Chorus).

Jan. 22 – Erin R. Freeman conducting. “Fifty Years of Motown” (The Contours, guest stars).

March 12 – Carl Davis conducting. “The Music of James Bond.”

11 a.m. Saturdays, Carpenter Theatre
Subscriptions: $45 (adults), $36 (children)

Oct. 30 – Erin R. Freeman conducting. “Phantoms of the Orchestra” (Magic Circle Mime Company).

Feb. 19 – Erin R. Freeman conducting. Robert Kapilow’s “Green Eggs and Ham” (Michael Boudewyne, actor).

May 7 – Erin R. Freeman conducting. “Carnival of the Animals.”

8 p.m., Carpenter Theatre

Dec. 3 – Erin R. Freeman conducting. Handel: “Messiah” (Rebecca Ringle, soprano; Katherine Jolly, mezzo-soprano; William Ferguson, tenor; Jason Hardy, baritone; Richmond Symphony Chorus, Erin R. Freeman directing). ($20-$45)

April 2 – Steven Smith conducting. Program TBA (Evelyn Glennie, percussion). ($27-$77)