The Gulf Coast Symphony, Southwest Florida's community orchestra, will presens another of its of its acclaimed Classical Access Concerts on Saturday evening, March 14.
The program, American Icons, features some of the greatest American composers, including two of the most famous living American composers, Jennifer Higdon and Christopher Theofanidis. The program includes Jennifer Higdon's ethereal Blue Cathedral, Christopher Theofanidis' spiritual Rainbow Body, Leonard Bernstein's exciting and jazzy Dances from On the Town and Howard Hanson's lusciously rich Symphony No. 2 "Romantic".
The concert will take place in the acoustically beautiful Anderson Theater at Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers (5598 Sunrise Drive) at 7:30 p.m. Ample free parking is available. Single tickets are $10-$20, with free tickets for children under 18. Tickets are available online at www.gulfcoastsymphony.org , by calling 239-481-4849, or in person at Anderson Hall one hour before the concert. This concert is sponsored by Symphonia Medicus: "Doctors Dedicated to the Art of Classical Healing." For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gulf Coast Symphony's Classical Access Concerts are designed for the audience to become active listeners during the evening's program. Before each piece, Music Director Andrew Kurtz will discuss the musical selection and demonstrate with orchestral excerpts various elements that make the evening's program unique. Highly interactive, the evening's concert is both entertaining and educational. The informal and casual atmosphere of these concerts only enhances the concert-goers experience. Following the concert, the conductor will hold a question-and-answer session with interested audience members.
Hanson's Second Symphony is best known for its use in the end credits of the 1979 Ridley Scott film Alien, and remains Hanson's best-known work. Both Higdon's Blue Cathedral and Theofanidis' Rainbow Body are two of the most-performed orchestral works by a living composer and rival each other in their sheer beauty and power of emotional expression. Bernstein's On the Town captures the spirit of 1940s America. On the Town, first produced on Broadway in 1944 and made into a film in 1949, was a musical with music by Leonard Bernstein and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, based on Jerome Robbins' idea for his 1944 ballet Fancy Free to Bernstein's music. The musical introduced several popular and classic songs, among them New York, New York, Lonely Town, I Can Cook, Too, and Some Other Time. The story concerns three American sailors on a 24-hour shore leave in New York City during wartime 1944. Each of the three sailors becomes enamored of a particular woman - and of the city itself. The musical integrates dance into its storytelling: Robbins made a number of ballets and extended dance sequences for the show, including the "Imaginary Coney Island" ballet.
"This music features all music written within the past 80 years, with two pieces in the past seven. It features several of America's most talented composers," said Kurtz in a prepared statement.
Event: CLASSICAL ACCESS CONCERT AMERICAN ICONS
Date: Saturday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m
Place: The Anderson Theater, Bishop Verot High School
Tickets: $10-$20; Children under 18 FREE. For tickets call 239-481-4849, online at www.gulfcoastsymphony.org or in person at the Anderson Theater Box Office one hour prior to the concert.
"These pieces were specifically chosen because of the immense sonic landscape they create. They showcase the very best of symphonic sounds the richness, harmony and majesty of 70 instruments playing together," Kurtz continued.
Kurtz added, "This concert celebrates the lush sound that is unique to American symphonic music, and captures the spirit of each of the four composers."
During the month of March, the Gulf Coast Symphony is participating in the Orchestras Feeding America National Food Drive sponsored by the League of American Orchestras. The Gulf Coast Symphony is collecting nonperishable food donations at all of their concerts, which will be donated to local food pantries. In addition to its participation in the American League of Orchestras Food Drive, the Gulf Coast Symphony performed for a sold out audience at the sixth annual Sam Galloway Soup Kitchen Benefit on March 3, an event that raised a half million dollars for the local soup kitchen.
* Jennifer Higdon (b. Brooklyn, NY, December 31, 1962) is the most performed living American composer working today. She is the recipient of awards, including a Pew Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and two awards from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. The Telarc release of Higdon: Concerto for Orchestra / City Scape won a GrammyTM award in 2005. Her work blue cathedral is one of the most-performed orchestral works by a living composer (150 orchestras have performed the work since its 2000 premiere). Some of her recent commissions include works for The Philadelphia Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Chicago Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, eighth blackbird, Tokyo String Quartet, and Ying Quartet. Upcoming projects include a new violin concerto for Hilary Hahn. A solo disc of her chamber music was recently released by Naxos. She is on the composition faculty at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she holds the Milton L. Rock Chair in Compositional Studies.
* Christopher Theofanidis (b. 12/18/67 in Dallas, Texas) has had performances by many leading orchestras from around the world, including the National Symphony, the London Symphony, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, the Moscow Soloists, the Atlanta, Houston, Baltimore, St. Louis and Detroit Symphonies, the California Symphony (for which he was composer-in-residence from 1994 to 1996), the Oregon Symphony, the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, among others. He recently served as Composer of the Year for the Pittsburgh Symphony during their 2006-2007 Season, where he wrote a violin concerto for Sarah Chang. Mr. Theofanidis holds a degree from Yale, the Eastman School of Music and the University of Houston. He has been the recipient of the International Masterprize (hosted at the Barbican Centre in London), the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Barlow Prize, six ASCAP Gould Prizes, a Fullbright Fellowship to France, a Tanglewood Fellowship and the Academy of Arts and Letters' Charles Ives Fellowship. Last year he was nominated for a Grammy for best composition for his chorus and orchestra work, The Here and Now. His orchestral concert work, Rainbow Body, has been one of the most performed new orchestral works of the last ten years, having been performed by over 70 orchestras. Mr. Theofanidis has served as a delegate to the US-Japan Foundation's Leadership Program and is a former faculty member of the Juilliard School. He currently teaches at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
* Howard Hanson was among the first 20th Century American composers to achieve widespread prominence. In contrast to the angular Stravinskian and Americana-influenced sounds that dominated American concert music prior to World War II, Hanson wrote in an unabashedly Romantic idiom influenced by his Nordic roots. Of particular importance to the composer was the music of Sibelius; however, he also acknowledged the influence of composers such as Palestrina and Bach. After boyhood studies on the piano, Hanson studied music at the Institute of Musical Art in New York City and Northwestern University, where he earned a degree in 1916. In 1921, he became the first American to win the Prix de Rome, which provided him the opportunity to study with Ottorino Respighi, whose colorful orchestral language was clearly an influence on Hanson's own. Upon his return to the United States, Hanson was appointed head of the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester at the age of 28. Under the composer's guidance over the course of more than four decades, Eastman became one of the world's preeminent educational institutions. During his tenure there Hanson continued to compose prolifically; he also embarked on a career as a conductor, in which capacity he proved himself one of the great champions of American music. At Eastman, it has been calculated, he presented some 1,500 works by 700 composers. Hanson also commercially recorded a number of modern works in a series for the Mercury label in the 1950s, drawing much attention to otherwise neglected repertoire. Hanson's most characteristic works are undoubtedly his seven symphonies. The first of these, the "Nordic" Symphony (1922), dates from the composer's studies in Rome. The Second Symphony ("Romantic"), best known for its use in the end credits of the 1979 Ridley Scott film Alien, remains Hanson's best-known work, a characteristic realization of the lush, lyric aesthetic with which is closely associated. Further notable among Hanson's symphonies are the Symphony No. 4 (1943), awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and the Symphony No. 7 (1977), one of a series of works inspired by the poetry of Walt Whitman. Other important works in Hanson's catalogue include The Lament for Beowulf (1925) for chorus and orchestra; the opera Merry Mount (1933), well received at its premiere and in subsequent productions, but now rarely performed; and a variety of other chamber, vocal, and orchestral works.
* Leonard Bernstein (Aug. 25, 1918 Oct. 14, 1990) was a multi-Emmy-winning and Academy Award nominated American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim. He is perhaps best known for his long conducting relationship with the New York Philharmonic, which included the acclaimed Young People's Concerts series, and also for his compositions, which include the musical theater works West Side Story, Candide, and On the Town. Bernstein was the first classical music conductor to make numerous television appearances, all between 1954 and 1989. Additionally, he had a formidable piano technique and was a highly respected composer. He was "one of the most prodigally talented and successful musicians in American history."
The Gulf Coast Symphony is Southwest Florida's premier community orchestra. It draws its membership from Naples to Port Charlotte and has performed to sold-out audiences. Its 14th season features its highly popular Symphonic Sensations Concert Series at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall (Best of Andrew Lloyd Webber & Richard Rodgers, April 5, three Magic Carpet Family Concert Series around the county, outdoor pops concerts at Estero Park and Cape Coral Cultural Park, and its ACCESS Classical Concerts at Bishop Verot's Anderson Theater. The Gulf Coast Symphony sponsors a comprehensive arts education program, Musical Gateways, dedicated to providing ongoing educational opportunities for adult and youth alike, that includes in depth artist residencies for its partner schools and the entire community. The Gulf Coast Symphony rehearses weekly from October through May. For more information on orchestra membership call the Gulf Coast Symphony office at 277-1700 or email us at email@example.com
The Gulf Coast Symphony's Music Director and founder is Andrew Kurtz. Kurtz is also the general & artistic director of the Center City Opera Theater of Philadelphia and Music Director of the Florida Jewish Philharmonic Orchestra. He is the international tour conductor of CANTORS: A Faith In Song, featuring three of the world's leading Cantors performing an evening of popular and religious Jewish songs. Kurtz's 2008-09 season included concerts with the Gulf Coast Symphony, leading six operas, including the North American premiere of Edward Rushton's comic opera The Shops with the Center City Opera Theater. He is the 2007 recipient of the Angel of the Arts Performing Artist of the Year. In 2001 Kurtz won First Prize in the Accademia Dell'Arte International Conducting Competition and made his European debut in Florence, Italy. Kurtz is also a respected and talented arts educator, and serves as a Resident Music Director and teacher at the Luzerne Music Festival. He received his Doctorate from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore.
The Gulf Coast Symphony's 2008-2009 sponsors include the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Lee Memorial Hospitals, the Bireley Foundation, the City of Ft Myers, Advanced Pain Management and Spine Specialists, Arts Estero 2009, Terrasi Media, Southwest Florida Business Alliance, Estero Medical Center & Urgent Care Centers, 21st Century Oncology, FineMark Bank, Ameriprise Financial, Target Stores, Florida Shores Bank, and Symphonia Medicus: "Doctors Dedicated to Classical Healing".
Source: Gulf Coast Symphony