Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Richmond Symphony 2012-13

The Richmond Symphony’s Masterworks, its mainstage classical series at the Carpenter Theatre of Richmond CenterStage, will be pared down in the coming season. Seven Masterworks programs are scheduled, down from eight in the current season; and three of next season’s programs will be staged only on Saturday nights.

“When we moved back to the Carpenter Theatre, we hoped to build an audience on Sunday afternoon. There is an audience, but that audience is not growing as we had hoped,” says E. Frazier Millner, the symphony’s director of advancement and patron communications. The decision was made “to repeat the ‘blockbuster’ programs that we expect to play to larger audiences.”

Cutting some Masterworks dates “gives us more flexibility in scheduling and programming . . . enabling us to offer different programs at other venues and other times,” Millner says, adding that the symphony expects to announce other 2012-13 performances at later dates.

As with this season, next season’s Symphony Pops and Metro Collections series each will feature four concerts and the LolliPops family series, three concerts. Pops and LolliPops performances will be at the Carpenter Theatre, Metro Collection concerts at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland.

Major orchestral works in the coming Masterworks season include Mahler’s First Symphony, Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,” the fifth symphonies of Tchaikovsky and Beethoven and the “Jupiter” Symphony (No. 41) of Mozart, all conducted by the orchestra’s music director, Steven Smith. Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony (No. 6), led by Erin R. Freeman, the symphony’s associate conductor, is slated for the season’s final Metro Collection program.

Continuing Smith’s practice of programming contemporary works alongside standards, the programs for next season will feature four 21st-century compositions, all being heard here for the first time: Derek Bermel’s orchestral work “A Shout, a Whisper, and a Trace” (2009); John B Hedges’ “Prayers of Rain and Wind” (2008) for double-bass and orchestra, with Joseph Conyers, the bass soloist for whom the piece was written; and “Gran Danzón (The Bel Air Concerto)” for flute and orchestra by the noted jazz saxophonist-clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera, featuring Marina Puccinini, the flutist who premiered the piece in 2002. All those will be on Masterworks programs. Steven Hartke’s “A Brandenburg Autumn” (2006) will be performed alongside Bach’s “Brandenburg” Concerto No. 1 in a Metro Collection program.

One of Steven Smith’s own compositions, “La Chasse” (1993), also is slated for performance in a Masterworks program.

Guest artists making their debuts with the symphony next season, in addition to Puccinini and Conyers, are Orion Weiss, a widely praised young pianist who studied with Emanuel Ax at the Juilliard School, playing Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3, and Mischa Santora, the Dutch-born music director of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, guest-conducting the program with the Bermel and Bartók works, as well as music of Brahms and Johann Strauss II.

Mezzo-soprano Kathryn Leemhuis will return to sing Berlioz’s song cycle “Les nuits d’été,” and pianist Norman Krieger will return to play Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat major in the Masterworks season-opener.

Diana Cohen, who joined the Richmond Symphony as its concertmaster this season after holding the same post with the Kalamazoo (MI) and Charleston (SC) symphonies and Iris Orchestra of Memphis, will perform as a soloist for the first time in a Masterworks program, playing Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto.

Three more symphony musicians will be featured in Metro Collection programs: principal French horn player James B. Ferree, performing with tenor Joseph Evans in Benjamin Britten’s “Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings;” principal second violinist Ellen Cockerham, playing Henri Vieuxtemps’ Violin Concerto No. 5; and principal violist Molly Sharp, featured in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Flos Campi.”

Freeman, who doubles as the symphony’s associate conductor and director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus, will lead a Masterworks program highlighted by the Mozart Requiem. The chorus also will perform Aaron Copland’s “Old American Songs” in the Masterworks season-opener and Handel’s “Messiah” in the Christmas season, and a chamber contingent of the chorus will sing in “Flos Campi” and folk-song settings by Vaughan Williams in the Metro Collection finale.

Highlighting the pops series are “The Long and Winding Road” starring singer Maureen McGovern and a concert featuring the Cuban jazz band Tiempo Libre. Other pops programs are “Bernstein on Broadway,” narrated by Leonard Bernstein’s daughter, Jamie; and the “Let It Snow!” program of holiday music with the Symphony Chorus.

LolliPops programs include Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” narrated by Michael Boudewyns; “Scheherazade,” with storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston; and “Come Dance With Us,” a program ranging from waltz to swing.

Ticket subscriptions, including a “Compose Your Own” package of three concerts or more from any series, are now available to existing subscribers and will go on sale to others on April 30. Single-ticket sales will begin in August.

To obtain a season brochure or more information, call the Richmond Symphony box office at (804) 788-1212, or visit http://www.richmondsymphony.com/

The 2012-13 program schedule:

8 p.m. Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays at Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage
Saturday subscriptions (seven concerts): $161-$434 (adults); $84-$434 (18 and younger) or free with paid adult; $35 (college students)
Sunday subscriptions (four concerts): $92-$248 (adults); $48-$248 (18 and younger) or free with paid adult; $20 (college students)

Sept. 22-23 – Steven Smith conducting. Copland: “Old American Songs” (Richmond Symphony Chorus); Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat major (Norman Krieger, piano); Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D major.

Nov. 17 – Mischa Santora conducting. Derek Bermel: “A Shout, a Whisper, and a Trace” (2009); Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3 (Orion Weiss, piano); Johann Strauss II: “The Gypsy Baron” Overture; Brahms: Hungarian dances TBA.

Jan. 26-27 – Steven Smith conducting. Steven Smith: “La Chasse” (1993); Paquito D’Rivera: “Gran Danzón (The Bel Air Concerto)” (2002) (Marina Piccinini, flute); Rimsky-Korsakov: “Scheherazade.”

Feb. 16-17 – Erin R. Freeman conducting. Mozart: “The Magic Flute” Overture; John B Hedges: “Prayers of Rain and Wind” (2008) (Joseph Conyers, double-bass); Mozart: Requiem (soloists TBA, Richmond Symphony Chorus).

March 16 – Steven Smith conducting. Mendelssohn: “Hebrides” Overture; Barber: Violin Concerto (Diana Cohen, violin); Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C major (“Jupiter”).

April 20 – Steven Smith conducting. Berlioz: “Béatrice et Bénédict” Overture; Berlioz: “Les nuits d’été” (Kathryn Leemhuis, mezzo-soprano); Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E minor.

May 11-12 – Steven Smith conducting. Monteverdi: Toccata and Ritornelli from “Orfeo;” Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C minor; Stravinsky: “Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring).”

3 p.m. Sundays at Blackwell Auditorium, Randolph-Macon College, Ashland
subscriptions (general-admission seating): $68 (adults); $40 (18 and younger); $20 (college students)

Oct. 7 – Steven Smith conducting. Kodály: “Summer Evening;” Britten: Serenade for tenor, horn and strings (Joseph Evans, tenor; James Ferree, French horn); Haydn: Symphony No. 102 in B flat major.

Nov. 4 – Steven Smith conducting. Gounod: “Petite Symphonie;” Lutoslawski: Preludes and fugue for 13 solo strings; Schubert: Symphony No. 6 in C major.

Feb. 24 – Steven Smith conducting. Bach: “Brandenburg” Concerto No. 1; Steven Hartke: “A Brandenburg Autumn” (2006); Vieuxtemps: Violin Concerto No. 5 (Ellen Cockerham, violin); Respighi: “Ancient Airs and Dances” Suite No. 1.

May 5 – Erin R. Freeman conducting. Vaughan Williams: folk-song settings (Richmond Symphony Chamber Chorus); Vaughan Williams: “Flos Campi” (Molly Sharp, viola; Richmond Symphony Chamber Chorus); Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 in F major (“Pastoral”).

8 p.m. Saturdays at Carpenter Theatre, unless listed otherwise
subscriptions: $99-$258 (adults); $48 (18 and younger); $20 (college students)

Sept. 29 – Erin R. Freeman conducting. “Bernstein on Broadway,” narrated by Jamie Bernstein.

Dec. 1, Dec. 2 (3 p.m.) – Erin R. Freeman conducting. “Let It Snow!” (Richmond Symphony Chorus).

Jan. 19 – Erin R. Freeman conducting. “The Long and Winding Road,” with singer Maureen McGovern.

March 2 – Steven Smith conducting. Tiempo Libre, guest stars.

11 a.m. Saturdays at Carpenter Theatre
subscriptions: $45 (adults); $36 (18 and younger) or free with paid adult; $15 (college students)

Oct. 27 – Erin R. Freeman conducting. “Peter and the Wolf,” with actor Michael Boudewyns.

Feb. 2 – Erin R. Freeman conducting. “Scheherazade,” with storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston.

March 23 – Erin R. Freeman conducting. “Come Dance With Us.”

at Carpenter Theatre
tickets: $20-$45 (adults); $12-$45 (18 and younger)

Dec. 8 (7 p.m.) – Steven Smith conducting. Handel: “Messiah” (soloists TBA, Richmond Symphony Chorus).