California Symphony returns to live performances and launches 2021-22 season with EMPEROR

After more than a year of providing virtual performances during the pandemic, California Symphony returns to live concerts next month, kicking off its 2021-22 season with Emperor, a program that features comfort music to Bay Area audiences. . Award-winning pianist Adam Golka heads the performance with Beethoven’s heroic Emperor Concerto (Piano Concerto No. 5 in E major, Op. 73), offering music of hope and unity. The captivating Sinfonia by Marianna Martines and the rarely performed Symphony No. 5 by Ralph Vaughan Williams will also be presented.

According to California Symphony Music Director Donato Cabrera, who will conduct this concert: “The music I have chosen for the 2021-22 California Symphony season reflects and recognizes the reality that our community has been without live music for more than a year. year and a half. When actively engaged, live music has the unique ability to give us a personal perspective and understanding while being in a shared setting. Thanks to our lineup this season, California Symphony once again welcomes our Bay Area family with open arms.

emperor will be presented live on stage, 7:30 p.m., Saturday September 18 and 4:00 p.m., Sunday September 19, to Hofmann Theater at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. For tickets ($ 44-74) or more information, the public can visit or call the Lesher Center ticket office at (925) 943-7469 (open Wednesday to Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.).

Note: California Symphony is currently reviewing its COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Vaccines and masks will now be required to attend California Symphony performances of the Emperor in September.Details are still being worked out, so please continue to check for updates on the California Symphony website: Customers will also receive further instructions via email.

Composed during another difficult period, when Vienna was invaded in 1809, Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto was described by a critic upon its premiere as “without doubt one of the most original concertos, the most imaginative, the most effective but also one of the most difficult of all concertos. . ”Adam Golka, who returns after appearing virtually in last season’s opener, has been praised for his“ brilliant technique and true emotional depth ”(The Washington Post). As a concerto soloist, he has performed with dozens of orchestras, including the BBC Scottish Symphony, NACO (Ottawa), Warsaw Philharmonic, Shanghai Philharmonic, as well as the San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, New Jersey , and the San Diego Symphonies. One of Beethoven’s leading modern performers, Golka first performed all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas at the age of 18 and considers all 32 masterpieces to have been his saving grace during the pandemic. Said Golka, “The reason I cannot stay away from Beethoven is that he submitted to absolute hell in an attempt to marry the crudest expressions of his subconscious to the unreachable ideals of his mind . No other composer before or since has wanted to explore this inner well-being as deeply as he has, and I constantly feel like I’m going to redeem myself somehow by surrendering myself to the fight that is at hand. heart of the execution of his works. “

A leading composer in 18th century Vienna, Martines was more acclaimed than perhaps any other female composer of her time, making her story a story of triumph, resilience and character. She was one of the first pupils of the young Franz Joseph Haydn, when he was still a struggling composer, renting the attic of his family home. Martines’ enigmatic Sinfonia, which is highlighted in the program, is representative of the style of Haydn’s early works. Light and rhythmic, this work is harmonically simple and conforms to the dominant usage of the Italian three-movement sinfonia (fast, slow, fast). Later celebrated as the “Father of the Symphony,” Haydn went on to perhaps become Beethoven’s most influential teacher, providing an interesting connection between two of the works in this program. A pioneer in many ways, Martines had a substantial impact on future generations of women, paving the way for female composers to work professionally, teach in musical institutions, and write orchestral works on a larger scale.

The evening ends with the painfully soothing Symphony No. 5 by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. In style, she represents a change from the violent dissonance of her Fourth Symphony and a return to the softer style of her previous Pastoral. Symphony. An anonymous Times reviewer said that Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No.5 “belongs to that small body of music which, apart from Beethoven’s ending, can rightly be described as transcendental,” adding that “it is music not only of contemplation but of blessing. ” Written during the darkest moments of World War II, Vaughan Williams composed Symphony No.5 to console and heal a nation. California Symphony Music Director Donato Cabrera chose this symphony to do the same for the Bay Area community.

The 2021-22 season of the California Symphony is sponsored by the Diablo Regional Arts Association (DRAA) and the Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation. Emperor is sponsored by Mechanics Bank, while his May concert, Epic Finale, is sponsored by KMPG.

Founded in 1986, California Symphony is now in its ninth season under the direction of music director Donato Cabrera. It is distinguished by its dynamic concert programs that combine classics from the American repertoire and works by living composers, and for making the symphony welcoming and accessible. The orchestra includes musicians who perform with the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Ballet and others. Committed to supporting emerging talent, California Symphony launched the careers of some of today’s best-known artists, including violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, cellists Alisa Weilerstein and Joshua Roman, pianist Kirill Gerstein and composers such as Mason Bates, Christopher Theofanidis, and Kevin Puts. California Symphony is based in Walnut Creek at the Lesher Center for the Arts, serving the public in Contra Costa County and the wider Bay Area.

Kenneth T. Shippee

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