Sunday, April 08, 2001

CSO spends part of summer on campus


Laredo conducts concerts in Corbett

By Janelle Gelfand
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        This summer, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra will divide its season between Riverbend Music Center, where it has performed summer concerts since 1984, and Corbett Auditorium at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

        At Riverbend, the orchestra will perform a series of four mid-week concerts — two Thursdays in June and two Wednesdays in July. Concerts will be led by guest conductor Andreas Delfs (music director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra), the distinguished violinist/conductor Jaime Laredo and CSO associate conductor John Morris Russell.

        At CCM, Mr. Laredo will preside over a new chamber orchestra series on Tuesdays called Bach & Beyond: A Series of Great Music for Small Orchestra.

        “It's an idea we've considered for some time now, and we appreciate the cooperation of (CCM) in making Corbett Auditorium available for these concerts,” says Steven Monder, CSO president. “We also will have an outreach component of this chamber orchestra series that will bring great music to communities in the Greater Cincinnati region. Those plans are not yet finalized, and we'll have more to say about that very soon.”

        Mr. Laredo, whose title will be Distinguished Artist, will conduct and perform in two concerts in the 740-seat auditorium.

        “Being a conductor/soloist really is like playing chamber music. It's just slightly enlarged, that's all,” says Mr. Laredo, who was asked about six weeks ago to direct the series. “When you have sensitive musicians, as there are (in the CSO), it's very easy. They just listen more instead of watching, and it works very well.”

        Mr. Laredo has been a frequent soloist with the CSO in Music Hall and appeared as guest conductor in 1998. He embraces an astonishing number of worlds. As a violinist, he celebrated the 40th anniversary of his Carnegie Hall debut last season. More than 25 years of his life has been devoted to the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, of which his wife, cellist Sharon Robinson, is a member.

        He is the artistic director of New York's Chamber Music at the Y series, teaches at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and is going into his third season as music director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. With the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Mr. Laredo has had almost 27 years guest conducting, touring and recording. He has recorded more than 40 albums and won a Grammy. His television appearances include The Today Show, PBS' Live from Lincoln Center and CBS' Kennedy Center Honors.

        How will he find time to direct another series?

        He laughs. “Well, when this was suggested to me, it was just too good a thing to turn down. I love the CSO. I'll just sleep a little bit less! I think it's wonderful for the musicians to play a different type of repertoire, and for them to be able to be soloists,” he says.

        “I very much regretted that I couldn't do the first week, because this came so late and I was already committed.”

        Bach & Beyond will open June 5 with guest conductor Andreas Delfs, in his CSO debut. He will be joined by soprano Esther Heideman, winner of the 2000 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, who will perform Mozart's scena and rondo, “Ch'io mi scordi di te; Non temer amato bene,” and Samuel Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915. The mostly Mozart program includes Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G Minor.

        On June 12, pianist Joseph Kalichstein, anchor of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, will join Mr. Laredo in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat Major, K. 595. Mr. Laredo will pick up his violin to perform with CSO musicians in Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante in B-flat Major. He'll conclude with Bizet's Symphony No. 1.

        The final concert (June 19) will match up music by J.S. Bach and Stravinsky, including Bach's Violin Concerto No. 1, Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite.

        Will the new series be an annual June event?

        “We haven't made any commitments other than this summer, but I know that (the CSO) would like this to be an ongoing thing,” Mr. Laredo says.

        At Riverbend, American violinist Kurt Nikkanen will be the soloist in the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto when Mr. Delfs opens the season June 7. The program includes Hungarian and Slavonic dances by Brahms and Dvorak.

        Mr. Laredo and Mr. Kalichstein will team up again on June 14 for an all-Beethoven program at Riverbend, with Beethoven's Egmont Overture, Piano Concerto No. 2 and Symphony No. 2.

        On July 18, Mr. Russell will lead a Russian program with the Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos, who performs Glazunov's Violin Concerto in A Major.

        The season will end on an American note July 25, when Mr. Russell conducts “Classic Jazz” with Cincinnati pianist Michael Chertock as soloist in Gershwin's Concerto in F.

        The three-concert Bach & Beyond series will be at 7:30 p.m. in Corbett Auditorium. Subscriptions ($75) go on sale Monday. Single tickets ($30) go on sale May 29.

        Subscriptions to the four-concert CSO Riverbend series — from $56 (lawn seats) to $144 (VIP seating with RSViP Club privileges) — go on sale Monday. Single tickets ($17-$32) go on sale June 1.

        Riverbend prices include parking; children 12 and younger are admitted free to the lawn. Note: Summerpass coupons may be redeemed for Bach & Beyond concerts. (513) 381-3300 or cincinnatisymphony.org.

       



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