Sunday, June 18, 2000

New maestro warms up for CCO




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        Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra maestro Mischa Santora has worked quickly to plan his inaugural season as music director, beginning in September.

        Last week, with a few details to be fine tuned, the new era under Mr. Santora began to take shape. Concertgoers can expect big name soloists and rising stars, musical favorites and new commissions, and a choral program that Mr. Santora hopes to make a Chamber Orchestra tradition.

        “I'm proud that we got it together in this short amount of time,” says the 28-year-old maestro, who was named in May to succeed Keith Lockhart. “I was on the phone a lot in the past few weeks, but it paid off.”

        Mr. Santora has nabbed several major artists to be guest soloists in 2000-2001, including pianists Vladimir Feltsman (whose other engagements next year include the New York Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Symphony) and Ignat Solzhenitsyn, who was recently featured on CBS Sunday Morning.

        New York-based hornist David Jolley, who performs Strauss in January, has recorded more than two dozen CDs with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

        Among the young talent is gifted violinist, Karen Gomyo, 18, who studies with the famed Dorothy DeLay at Juilliard. Ms. Gomyo will perform the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in November.

        The young, charismatic maestro will conduct five out of the six subscription concerts. The conductor for the sixth concert will be announced at a later date.

        In putting together the program, Mr. Santora “tried to get a balance of a lot of different styles, different times, different geographic areas,” he says.

        Although he'll start with “a Mozart celebration,” Mr. Santora plans to introduce some new music to CCO audiences. The orchestra will commission a new work from New York composer Schafer Mahoney, a faculty member at Hunter College.

        Commissions, he believes, are important “to keep the musical tradition afloat, not letting the orchestral institution become a museum.”

        In March, he has programmed a microtonal piece by Ligeti to introduce “some lesser-known 20th-century classics.”

        For the season finale, Mr. Santora plans a choral concert with the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati — something he hopes will become an annual affair.

        The orchestra, which performs in Memorial Hall, will continue its Monday night series at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Sycamore Township (Sept. 18 and Jan. 8) and Rockdale Temple in Amberley Village (Nov. 27 and March 5).

The schedule:

        Sept. 17-18 — Mischa Santora, conductor; Vladimir Feltsman, piano. Mozart, Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, K. 492; Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K. 491; Symphony No. 41 in C Major, K. 551, “Jupiter.”

        Oct. 15 — To be announced.

        Nov. 26-27 — Mischa Santora, conductor; Karen Gomyo, violin. Copland, Quiet City; Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto in E Minor; Strauss, Serenade for Winds, Op. 7; Prokofiev, Symphony No. 1, “Classical.”

        Jan. 7-8 — Mischa Santora, conductor; David Jolley, horn. Bartok, Divertimento for Strings; Richard Strauss, Horn Concerto No. 2; Haydn, symphony to be announced.

        March 4-5 — Mischa Santora, conductor; Ignat Solzhenitsyn, piano. Ligeti, Ramification for String Orchestra; Mozart, Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K. 453; Schubert, Symphony No. 5.

        April 15-16 — Mischa Santora, conductor; Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, Earl Rivers, director. Schafer Mahoney (new commission); Mendelssohn, Psalm 42, Op. 42; J.S. Bach, Magnificat, BWV 243.

        Concerts are at 3 p.m. Sundays; 7:30 p.m. Mondays.

        Renewals will be sent to subscribers this week. Six Sundays: $105; $240 box; $89.75 seniors; $52.75 college student; $20 child. Four Mondays: $54.40; $44.80 seniors; $28.80 college student; $10 child. Other packages of two to six concerts are available. 723-1182.

       



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