SV Summer Symphony to Trace Evolution of Chamber Orchestra Starting July 24
To Conclude with New Work by Time for Three
SUN VALLEY, Idaho — “Great Things, Small Package: The Evolution of the Chamber Orchestra” will be the theme for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony In Focus Series, which runs Sunday, July 24, through Thursday, July 28.
The final performance will include the world premiere of “Free Souls,” commissioned from Time for Three and T.J. Cole as part of the symphony’s three-year partnership with the genre-defying trio. The Big Screen on the lawn will be live for this performance.
The series opens Sunday, July 24, with “Baroque Beginnings: Bach Sets the Stage” and Brandenburg Concertos No. 1, 3 and 5. They will feature the symphony’s associate concertmaster and violinist Juliana Athayde.
Athayde also performs with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, where Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik earlier this year wrote a jazz concerto with her in mind. Appointed concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra 2005 at age 24, Athayde has been the youngest person to hold the position since the orchestra’s inception in 1922.
The Brandenburg Concertos were written from 1717-1723, but were never performed in Bach’s lifetime. They were found in his archives almost 100 years later.
“Any three of Bach’s six Brandenburg Concertos would be a great way to spend an hour of your time. I chose No. 1 because it’s the most orchestral in feel — various solo instruments are given moments in the spotlight, but overall it’s a team effort,” Music Director Alasdair Neale said.
“The third is essentially a conversation among nine solo string players — all equal participants in the discussion. And the fifth is really a triple concerto for flute, violin and harpsichord, with the latter required to perform so many bravura passages that I think you can legitimately call it the first ever virtuoso concerto.”
Tuesday night’s concert, called “Fully Formed: The Classic Style,” will include Haydn’s Symphony No. 45 in F-sharp Minor, also known as the “Farewell” symphony, and Mozart’s Concerto for Piano No. 21 in C Major.
“Any series chronicling the development of the chamber orchestra has to include music by Haydn, the father of the symphony. But which of his 104 symphonies to play? I settled on No. 45, the “Farewell” not only because of the audaciously original denouement, but also because I love the turbulent undercurrents swirling throughout the rest of the piece. The beginning of the first movement grabs you by the collar and doesn’t let you go — it’s wonderfully visceral, passionate music,” Neale explained.
The “Farewell” symphony got its name from the story of the first performance. Haydn wrote it for the Esterházy court in Hungary in1772, when the orchestra was obliged to remain in residence at the expansive summer estate as long as the prince did. He stayed a particularly long time that year, so Haydn wrote the symphony as a musical message. During the last movement, the performers completed their parts in intervals, blew out the candles on their music stands, and left the stage.
As the story goes, the ploy worked: The prince remarked at the end, “Well, if they all leave, we might as well leave, too.”
The Mozart concerto will be the third appearance with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony for pianist Orli Shaham, whose brother Gil performed here last year. She has performed with nearly every major symphony in America, as well as some of the most important orchestras in Europe. The New York Times has called her a “brilliant pianist,” and London’s Guardian has said her playing was “perfection.”
The In Focus Series will conclude on Thursday, July 28, with a program called “Stravinsky Looks Back; Time for Three Looks Forward.” Assistant Conductor Ankush Kumar Bahl will lead the orchestra in Stravinsky’s “Pulcinella Suite” before turning the podium over to Music Director Alasdair Neale for the world premiere of “Free Souls.”
Commissioned by the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, this piece was written by Time for Three’s Ranaan Meyer and Nick Kendall and arranged and orchestrated by Cole. Cole, Meyer and Kendall all studied at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music as did Nikki Chooi, the newest member of Time for Three.
Time for Three defies any traditional genre classicization, performing music from Bach to world premieres of compositions by Pulitzer Prize winners William Bolcom and Jennifer Higdon. They also are known for their own arrangements and mash-ups of hits by the Beatles, Katy Perry, Kanye West and Justin Timberlake. They have performed in Carnegie Hall as well as at NFL games and the Indy 500. CNN and the Huffington Post have featured their 2014 video “Stronger,” aimed at preventing bullying.
This is the second year of the Symphony’s three-year partnership with Time for Three, which calls for the trio to write a new work each year. Time for Three also performs and works with students in the community throughout the year.
All In Focus concerts are free and run from 6:30 to 7 p.m. in the R. E. Holding Sun Valley Pavilion.
The free Orchestra Festival opens Monday, Aug. 1 with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, the largest privately funded free-admission orchestra in America. Opening night will bring the only free performance in the country of a specially commissioned production of Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” with giant puppets and dancers. The Festival will conclude Thursday, Aug. 18, with Mahler Symphony No. 3 in D Minor.
About Sun Valley Summer Symphony
The Sun Valley Summer Symphony, now in its 32nd season, is the largest privately funded free-admission orchestra in America. More than 100 world-class musicians from North America’s most distinguished orchestras, including the San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, New York Philharmonic and Houston Symphony, convene for July and August concerts in the mountain resort of Sun Valley, Idaho. Internationally renowned guest artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, Yefim Bronfman, Thomas Hampson, James Ehnes, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Audra McDonald, Garrick Ohlsson, Midori, Yuja Wang and Deborah Voigt have performed in the spectacular Sun Valley Pavilion, set in front of Bald Mountain and built from travertine hand-selected in Italy for the venue. In keeping with its mission, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony is involved in the community, sponsoring the year-round School of Music for students ages 9 to 18, Summer Music Workshops and adult education programs. Additional information is available online at svsummersymphony.org.