Friday, May 8, Overture Hall, 7:30 pm
It’s been almost 200 years since Beethoven composed this beloved choral symphony, and over a decade since the Madison Symphony Orchestra last performed it. Nevertheless, the Ode’s status as a powerful protest anthem is as relevant today as ever. Reinvigorate your spirit at this memorable show, which opens with Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade and caps off MSO’s 2014-2015 concert season. ALSO: Saturday (8 pm) and Sunday (2:30 pm), May 9-10.
Ode to Joy: Madison Symphony Orchestra May 8, 9, 10
Performing Beethoven, Bernstein
Beethoven’s ever-popular choral “Ode to Joy” Symphony No. 9 will join a monumental work by Leonard Bernstein in the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s May 8, 9, 10 concerts in Overture Hall, for a memorable ending to the 2014-2015 concert season.
Last performed by the Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) in 2004, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (Choral) embodies the Ode to Joy movement that has become a powerful, popular and enduring protest anthem the world over. The Ninth will also feature vocal soloists Melody Moore, soprano, Gwendolyn Brown, contralto, Eric Barry, tenor, Morris Robinson, bass, and the Madison Symphony Chorus, directed by Beverly Taylor.
Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade (after Plato's Symposium) will open the program. Featuring MSO concertmaster Naha Greenholtz performing the violin solos, the work is based on Plato’s Symposium in which dinner guests discourse on the power and nature of love. This was the background for Bernstein composing some of his most passionate and attractive music.
The concerts are Fri., May 8, at 7:30 p.m.; Sat., May 9, at 8 p.m.; and Sun., May 10, at 2:30 p.m. in Overture Hall, 201 State Street.
When Naha Greenholtz became concertmaster of the MSO in 2011, she joined a distinguished group of talented young violinists taking on musical leadership roles with U.S. orchestras while still in their 20s. Since her concert debut at age 14 with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, she has established a career as an active orchestral musician and as a soloist.
Leonard Bernstein’s concerto-like Serenade (after Plato's Symposium) highlights harp and percussion soloists, but is dominated by the solo violin. Bernstein conducted the premier himself in 1954 with violinist Isaac Stern as soloist, and the piece is widely regarded as the conductor and composer’s finest concert work.
When Beethoven’s expansive Symphony No. 9 (Choral) was premiered in 1824, the musicians and singers were instructed to pay no attention to the composer, who was conducting while almost completely deaf. Although for many years after Beethoven’s death it was considered to be too long and too technically challenging to perform, the work has nevertheless endured as a cultural symbol of unmatched influence.
Beethoven’s inclusion of a chorus and vocal soloists in the final movement pushed the boundaries of the symphonic genre by borrowing elements of opera and oratorio. The monumental “Ode to Joy” movement, with its humanistic text by German poet Friedrich Schiller, is today employed frequently as a protest anthem.
One hour before each performance, Beverly Taylor, chorus director for the Madison Symphony Chorus and assistant conductor of the Madison Symphony Orchestra, will lead a 30-minute Prelude Discussion in Overture Hall to enhance concertgoers’ understanding and listening experience. More background on the music can also be found in the Program Notes at: http://www.madisonsymphony.org/beethoven
Single Tickets are $16 to $84 each, available at www.madisonsymphony.org/singletickets and through the Overture Center Box Office at 201 State Street or call the Box Office at (608) 258-4141.
Groups of 15 or more can save 25% by calling the MSO office at (608) 257-3734.
For more information visit, www.madisonsymphony.org/groups
Student rush tickets can be purchased in person on the day of the concert at the Overture Box Office at 201 State Street. Students must show a valid student ID and can receive up to two $12 or $15 tickets. More information is at: www.madisonsymphony.org/studentrush. Students can receive 20% savings on seats in select areas of the hall on advance ticket purchases.
Seniors age 62 and up receive 20% savings on advance and day-of-concert ticket purchases in select areas of the hall. Discounted seats are subject to availability, and discounts may not be combined.
The Madison Symphony Orchestra marks its 89th concert season in 2014-2015 with Music Director John DeMain in his 21st year leading the orchestra. The Symphony engages audiences of all ages and backgrounds in classical music through a full season of concerts with established and emerging soloists of international renown, an organ series that includes free concerts, and widely respected education and community engagement programs. Find more information at www.madisonsymphony.org.