Sunday, August 20, 2000

Jarvi's season provides hint of possibilities

        Paavo Jarvi, music director designate of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, is in the news everywhere. A search of his Web site,, indicates he'll be conducting an “A-list” of American orchestras in the coming season.

        In July, Mr. Jarvi, 37, created a stir in London when he made his Proms debut with the BBC Philharmonic in a packed Royal Albert Hall. Wrote critic Tim Ashley of London's The Guardian: “A pupil of Leonard Bernstein, (Mr. Jarvi) has much of the latter's charisma and a similar ability to galvanize an orchestra into playing with furious intensity and bravura panache.”

        The critic compared Mr. Jarvi, who led Mahler's Sixth Symphony, to his father, Neeme Jarvi, 62, music director of the Detroit Symphony.

        “Jarvi's Mahler (like his father's) is powerhouse stuff. . . . An overwhelming achievement: one of the great conducting careers of the 21st century is now, unquestionably, under way.”

        Although we'll have to wait a year for Mr. Jarvi's programming ideas for the CSO — he begins his tenure in fall 2001 — highlights of his upcoming concerts with seven American orchestras offer clues:

        • On Sept. 9, Mr. Jarvi will open the Houston Symphony Orchestra season with an all-Tchaikovsky gala concert with pianist Barry Douglas. Then, Sept. 16-18 he'll conduct the HSO in Ives' Unanswered Question, the Sibe lius Violin Concerto (Cho-Liang Lin) and Schumann's Symphony No. 3.

        • Sept. 22-23 Mr. Jarvi will lead the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in Arvo Part's Fratres, the Schumann Piano Concerto (Helene Grimaud) and Brahms' Piano Quartet in the orchestral arrangement by Schoenberg (tickets: 800-366-8457).

        • The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will feature Mr. Jarvi Sept. 28-30 in Erkki-Sven Tuur's Exodus, Chausson's Poeme and Ravel's Tzigane (violinist Elmar Oliveira) and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 6.

        • Mr. Jarvi will make his only Music Hall appearance Oct. 5-7 leading the CSO in Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, “Love Scene” from Romeo et Juliette and Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 (Yoon Kwon). Tickets: 381-3300. While in town, he'll record his first album with the CSO for Telarc.

        • On Oct. 13 and 15, Mr. Jarvi will make his Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra debut in Nielsen's Symphony No. 5, Part's Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten and Dvorak's Violin Concerto in A Minor (Pamela Frank).

        • After concerts in Europe and Japan, he returns Feb. 9-11 to lead the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the U.S. premiere of Eduard Tubin's Symphony No. 11. The program includes Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D Minor (Thomas Zehetmair) and Schumann's “Spring” Symphony No. 1.

        • Feb. 16-17 Mr. Jarvi con ducts the St. Louis Symphony in Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis, Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 (Leonidas Kavakos) and Schumann's “Spring” Symphony.

        Earlier this month, with maestros James Levine, Zubin Mehta and Yuri Temirkanov, Mr. Jarvi conducted the Verbier Festival in Switzerland. He will lead the festival orchestra on a world tour in October.

        Maestro makes plans: CSO music director Jesus Lopez-Cobos will become principal guest conductor of a Spanish orchestra.

        Mr. Lopez-Cobos, who completes his 15-year tenure at the end of this season, has accepted the position of principal guest conductor of the Galicia Symphony Orchestra, says music critic Juan Torreiro of La Voz de Galicia.

        When Mr. Lopez-Cobos conducted the Galicia orchestra at the Mozart Festival in La Coruna, Spain, in early June, he praised it as “one of the best in Spain.”

        Mr. Lopez-Cobos was music director of the Spanish National Orchestra 1984-88. He will return to Spain in January, when he leads the CSO on a tour to Spain, Berlin and Poland.

        Opera in Spain will figure in Mr. Lopez-Cobos' plans for the future. In 2001, he will conduct Cosi fan Tutte at the Teatro Real in Madrid, La Forza del Destino in Seville, and Faust at the Liceo in Barcelona.

        Kunzel in the parks: Conductor Erich Kunzel begins his 35th year with the CSO this fall — and his 33rd year conducting free Concerts in the Parks. You can picnic under the stars again with Mr. Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra in five free concerts, starting at 8 p.m. Here's the schedule:

        • Aug. 29, Northern Kentucky University — Beethoven's Symphony No. 5; plus “You've Got a Friend in Me” (Toy Story); Elton John's “Candle in the Wind,” John Williams' “Olympic Spirit” and tributes to Louis Armstrong, Aaron Copland and Kurt Weill.

        • Aug. 30, Woodland Mound — Aug. 29 program.

        • Aug. 31, Miami Whitewater Forest — “Swingin' with the Pops,” with the Jazz Ambassadors of the United States Army Field Band, lindy hop dancers Steven Bailey and Carla Heiney, singer Michael Gough and the “Andrews Sisters” (Brenda Hartman, Patricia Linhart and Laurie Wyant).

        • Sept. 1, Sawyer Point — Aug. 31 program.

        • Sept. 7, Sawyer Point — Aug. 29 program, plus fireworks.

        For the 10th consecutive year, Mr. Kunzel and the Pops will travel to Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls (the Cleveland Orchestra's summer home) on Sept. 2-3. The program will star the Jazz Ambassadors of the U.S. Army Field Band (tickets: 800-686-1141).

        Kudos: Cincinnatian Jack Wellbaum was scheduled to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award Saturday night at the National Flute Association conven tion in Columbus. Mr. Wellbaum was the solo piccolo player of the CSO for 40 years (1950-90), as well as the CSO's personnel manager.

        More than 3,000 flutists were expected to attend the convention, dedicated to flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal, who died in May.

        CSYO auditions: The Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra (CSYO) is looking for talented high schoolers for the 2000-2001 season. The elite orchestra for kids grades 9 through 12 will hold auditions from Wednesday through Aug. 31 at the Wyoming Fine Arts Center. To apply call 744-3333.

        Sweet music in Columbus: Alessandro Siciliani, music director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, has extended his contract through August 2004. The Italian-born maestro will lead the orchestra in its Carnegie Hall debut in April.

        Ticket sales and donations are up markedly from recent years. In July, the orchestra reported a record $3.2 million annual fund campaign last season. Meanwhile, Columbus Dispatch critic Barbara Zuck reports the board plans to build the core of full-time players from 51 to 96 “hopefully while Siciliani is still in town.”

        Symphony survivor: The Indianapolis Symphony will present 17 guest maestros in its coming season, as it searches for a new music director. Who will survive? Paavo Jarvi, who conducts in September, is already eliminated. Others include Marin Alsop, Stefan Sanderling, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Jahja Ling and David Alan Miller.

        The ISO will honor outgoing music director Raymond Leppard for his distinguished 14-year tenure with a Gala Opening Night starring renowned mezzo Frederica von Stade on Sept. 10. The event will include a preconcert reception on Monument Circle for all concertgoers, and a post-concert dinner in tents for patrons. Information: (800) 366-8457.

        Endowing the 88 for eighth blackbird: The avant-garde group, eighth blackbird, needs a piano. But how to find a creative way to raise the $12,000 cost?

        The sextet has hit upon endowing individual piano keys. At the $50 level, you can own the white key of your choice. (Hint: there are 52, and the one in the middle is C). For $250, you can choose any of the piano's 36 black keys. Or, perhaps you would like to endow a scale or a chord.

        The prize-winning group has moved to Chicago, where it will hold residencies at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. Meanwhile, Cincinnati fans can follow the fund-raising effort at, which will post names of donors and their keys.

        Janelle Gelfand is Enquirer classical music critic. Write her at Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati 45202; fax, 768-8330; e-mail to


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