Events & Tickets
New World Center
Sunday, February 19 at 2:00 PM
- Alasdair Neale, conductor
- Jarrett McCourt, tuba
- Thomas Carpenter, cello
- Hilary Glen, cello
- Ju Hyung Shin, violin
In this popular all-concerto program—a staple of the NWS program—select Fellows take the coveted spotlight as winners of this season’s concerto competition. “Father of the Symphony” Joseph Haydn is a formidable force with his demanding and dramatic feature for cello. Lush and romantic, Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto is as impassioned as it is thrilling. Ernest Bloch captures the beauty of his faith as a cello assumes the voice of King Solomon, and in a surprise twist, Arild Plau’s elegant concerto has a tuba in the spotlight! Celebrate the immeasurable talent and accomplishments of the young musicians who call the New World Symphony home.
Ju Hyung Shin will be performing on a violin by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu, Cremona, 1735 ex "David", ex "Midori"
Thomas Carpenter will be performing on a cello by Bartolomeo Bimbi, Florence, c. 1700
Both on generous loan from Florian Leonhard Fine Violins, London - New York.
This concert is sponsored in part by Ximena Caminos and Alan Faena, David Edelstein of Tristar Capital, Susan D. Kronick and Edward Manno Shumsky, and Liliya "Rose" Mukhamadyarova and William Strong.
Approx. Duration: 16 minutes
Concerto for Tuba and String Orchestra
Approx. Duration: 20 minutes
Schelomo, Hebraic Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra
Franz Joseph Haydn
Approx. Duration: 25 minutes
Concerto No. 2 in D major for Cello and Orchestra
Approx. Duration: 31 minutes
Concerto in D minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 47
(1904, revised 1905)
Adagio di molto
Allegro, ma non tanto
Concerto for Tuba and String Orchestra
Approximate duration: 16 minutes
The tuba was a late addition to the symphony orchestra, only taking its place as the bass member of the brass family in the mid-19th century. For an instrument with such an impressive range of pitches and dynamics, composers have been unreasonably stingy about writing concertos, but the situation has improved in recent decades. In the wake of a landmark Tuba Concerto from 1954 by Ralph Vaughan Williams, the Hollywood composer John Williams added another well-known example in 1985 and others have followed suit.
A particularly elegant concerto came from the Norwegian composer Arild Plau in 1990. A bassoonist himself, his personal understanding of the bass register seems to have transferred well to his tuba writing. By using only strings in the accompanying ensemble, the tuba is able to emphasize its lyricism and delicacy, especially in the first movement’s slow introduction and in the central Canzone, written as a tribute to the composer’s late wife shortly after her death. The fast finale showcases the tuba’s deft phrasing and articulation, strengths it rarely gets to maximize in the symphonic repertoire.
Plau’s concerto got a boost when the Norwegian tubist Øystein Baadsvik recorded it for the BIS label in 2003 and released his own edition of the score, prompting tuba virtuosos around the world to add it to their repertoire.
Video of Baadsvik and the Taiwan National Orchestra performing the Plau Concerto
Descriptions and pictures of the many varieties of tuba
Schelomo, Hebraic Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra
Approximate duration: 20 minutes
The Swiss-born composer Ernest Bloch spent his most productive years in the United States. Around the time he first moved to New York, in 1916, he became fascinated with expressing his Jewish faith and identity in music. Works from that period remain his most popular, including Three Jewish Poems, Israel and above all Schelomo for cello and orchestra.
Schelomo, from the Hebrew name for Solomon, takes the form of a “Hebraic Rhapsody,” as specified in the subtitle. Initially Bloch had planned to create a work for voice and orchestra using text from the Book of Ecclesiastes—a portion of the Old Testament attributed to King Solomon himself. Bloch had made years of sketches, “But neither French, German, nor English suited my purpose, and I did not know enough Hebrew,” he wrote in a program note. He revived the project after meeting the cellist Alexander Barjansky, along with his wife Catherine, an artist. “At last, in my terrible loneliness,” Bloch wrote, “I had found true, warm friends. My hopes revived and I began to think about writing a work for that marvelous cellist. Why not use my Ecclesiastes material, but instead of a human voice, limited by a text, employ an infinitely grander and more profound voice that could speak all languages—that of his violoncello? I took up my sketches, and without plan or program, almost without knowing where I was headed, I worked for days on my rhapsody.”
In Schelomo, the cello is more than just a concerto soloist; it represents King Solomon in all his power and wisdom. There is no specific plot or description underlying the music, but the tone of the world-weary biblical text (the source of the famous phrase, “There is nothing new under the sun”) and the fact that Bloch wrote the work amid World War I and his own displacement from Europe contribute to its plaintive tone.
For the most part Bloch wrote original themes modeled after the distinctive modes of Hebrew liturgical chant. One notable reference to Jewish source material is a motive that imitates the blowing of the shofar (a hollow ram’s horn that is played in the manner of a bugle) on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The solo statements from bassoon and oboe, with their stuttering repeated notes and upward leaps, strongly resemble the T’Ruah, one of the traditional shofar blasts.
Detailed history and analysis from the Internet Cello Society
Bloch profile by the Milken Archive of Jewish Music
Franz Joseph Haydn
Concerto No. 2 in D major for Cello and Orchestra
Approximate duration: 25 minutes
In 1766 Prince Nikolaus Esterházy completed a sumptuous summer palace, Eszterháza, on the site of a former hunting lodge. The “summers” he and his entourage spent in the country eventually lengthened to 10 months of each year, and the prince expected his Kapellmeister Haydn to keep him well supplied with musical diversions. The composer acknowledged the impact of this obligation, once writing, “In Eszterháza I was forced to become original.”
Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D major was a product of that fruitful environment. Prepared in 1783, it featured the talents of Anton Kraft, Principal Cellist of the Esterházy court orchestra from 1778 to 1790. Kraft studied composition with Haydn, and scholars long believed that the cellist composed the concerto himself, until a signed autograph copy discovered in 1951 confirmed the music as Haydn’s. The solo part is far more demanding than Haydn’s other surviving Cello Concerto, from the 1760s, so we can suppose that Haydn considered Kraft’s abilities and perhaps consulted directly with him.
The Allegro moderato first movement begins with a relaxed exposition for the orchestra. When the cello enters with the melody, the violins follow along down an interval of a third; at the contrasting theme, the violins again join in, this time a sixth above. These harmonized melodies sound like they could have come straight from the realm of opera, the genre that occupied most of Haydn’s time in that period. In the concerto, the solo cello covers all roles—from basso profundo to nimble soprano—reaching far into the instrument’s upper range.
The Adagio is an intimate rondo, its stately music coaxed along by 16th-notes in the accompaniment. For the first statement of the theme, and again in one of its returns, only violins and violas accompany the solo cello, imparting a special delicacy to the texture. As in the first movement, the finale begins at a gentle piano dynamic, withholding the impact of a forte arrival. Haydn’s famous humor animates this movement, with breath-catching holds between phrases, extreme changes in range, and an unexpected detour into the minor mode.
Video of performance by Rostropovich and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
History of the palace where Haydn worked much of the year
Concerto in D minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 47
(1904, revised 1905)
Approximate duration: 31 minutes
By the start of the 20th century, Jean Sibelius was Finland’s greatest musical hero. Just when the young country was struggling to differentiate politically and culturally from tsarist Russia, Sibelius’ orchestral works (including the Second Symphony, The Swan of Tuonela and Finlandia) emerged as national objects of pride. But Sibelius was not thriving in Helsinki; he drank heavily and spent money recklessly, until his concerned wife and friends intervened by suggesting a move to the country. The family built a remote estate, dubbed Ainola after Sibelius’ wife, Aino, and Sibelius lived there from 1904 until his death 53 years later.
Sibelius composed his Violin Concerto during the chaotic period surrounding his move to Ainola. He first mentioned an idea for the opening of the work in a letter to his wife in 1902, and then he composed the bulk of the music in 1903. He had intended for the German virtuoso Willy Burmester to premiere the work in Berlin, but then Sibelius scheduled an earlier premiere in Helsinki (probably for financial reasons) that Burmester could not attend. The ill-fated debut occurred on February 8, 1904, with a local violin teacher, Victor Novacek, butchering the daunting solo part. After that debacle, Burmester again offered to give the work a worthy performance, but Sibelius withdrew the score so he could revise it. A slimmed-down version of the Violin Concerto was ready in time for a performance on Richard Strauss’ concert series in 1905, at a time when Burmester was again unavailable, so Sibelius enlisted a competing star violinist in Berlin. By that point, Burmester felt slighted enough that he never performed or championed the concerto that Sibelius had once offered to dedicate to him. Only in the 1930s, with the help of Jascha Heifetz, did the concerto start to develop its rightful and lasting reputation.
(As a historical footnote, Sibelius’ heirs in 1990 authorized a single performance and recording of the original version, which is about five minutes longer and includes some particularly challenging passages for the soloist. Avid connoisseurs of the work can hear Leonidas Kavakos perform both versions on a disc for the BIS label.)
The concerto opens with the icy chill of muted strings and an expressive melody from the solo violin. The entire first movement is broad and spacious, with drawn-out harmonies and lyrical solo flights. The substantial cadenza elides into the recapitulation, with the violin revisiting the opening melody in its throaty low range.
That lush, contralto side of the violin returns at the start of the slow middle movement. The music grows to an impassioned climax decorated with swooping filigree from the soloist before returning to the song-like texture of the opening.
The most unforgettable description of the finale, with its romping rhythmic play, comes from the musicologist D. F. Tovey, who characterized the movement as a “polonaise for polar bears.” The music does have the typical driving rhythm in a 3/4 meter associated with the polonaise dance, although it is hard to imagine any polar bear that could be as lithe as the acrobatic solo violin.
Video of performance by Joshua Bell and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
History of the Violin Concerto on a Sibelius site from Helsinki
-- Copyright © 2017 Aaron Grad
Aaron Grad is a composer, guitarist and writer based in Seattle. Besides providing program notes for the New World Symphony, he has been the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s program annotator since 2005 and also contributes notes to the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Seattle Symphony.
Alasdair Neale is Music Director of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony (SVSS) and Music Director of the Marin Symphony. In his 22 years as Music Director of the SVSS, he has propelled this festival—now the largest privately funded free admission symphony in America—to national status. Among the many celebrated guest artists that Mr. Neale has brought to this festival are Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Christine Brewer, Michelle DeYoung, Renée Fleming, Nathan Gunn, Horacio Gutiérrez, Augustin Hadelich, Thomas Hampson, Lynn Harrell, Audra McDonald, Midori, Itzhak Perlman, Gil Shaham, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Time for Three, Deborah Voigt, Frederica von Stade, Yuja Wang and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
As Music Director of the Marin Symphony since 2001, Mr. Neale has been hailed for invigorating the orchestra and establishing it as one of the finest in the Bay Area. Under his direction the Marin Symphony was chosen as one of several distinguished orchestras to participate in Magnum Opus, a groundbreaking, decade-long commissioning project bringing new music to the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Osvaldo Golijov, Kevin Puts, Kenji Bunch, David Carlson and Avner Dorman were among the composers represented in the project.
Mr. Neale’s appointment with the Marin Symphony followed 12 years as Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. During that time he conducted both orchestras in hundreds of critically acclaimed concerts both here and abroad. In 1999 he substituted for an ailing Michael Tilson Thomas, conducting the San Francisco Symphony in widely praised performances of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony in Germany. Under Mr. Neale’s direction the Youth Orchestra became one of the finest young ensembles in the world, receiving consistent rave reviews for performances in San Francisco, as well as on tour in Amsterdam, Leipzig, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Dublin, Copenhagen and Vienna.
From 2001 to 2011 Mr. Neale served as Principal Guest Conductor of the New World Symphony. From 2001 to 2014 he served on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has guest conducted numerous orchestras here and abroad, including the New York Philharmonic, Saint Louis Symphony, Houston Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Nashville Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Florida Orchestra, Hartford Symphony, Florida West Coast Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Portland Symphony Orchestra, Orlando Philharmonic, Phoenix Symphony, Princeton Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Sydney Symphony, Real Filharmonia de Galicia, l’Orchestre Métropolitan du Grand-Montréal, Radio Sinfonie Orchester Stuttgart, Auckland Philharmonia, Orchestra of St. Gallen (Switzerland), MDR Leipzig, NDR Hannover, Trondheim Symphony, Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, University of Melbourne Orchestra and at the Aspen Music Festival. In 2002, to enthusiastically positive reviews, he collaborated with director Peter Sellars and composer John Adams to open the Adelaide Festival with a production of the opera El Niño.
In 1994 Mr. Neale conducted the San Francisco Symphony in the world premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’ Colored Field, featuring English horn player Julie Ann Giacobassi. Following those performances Mr. Neale, Ms. Giacobassi and the San Francisco Symphony recorded Colored Field for Argo/Decca; the recording was released in February 1996 and was honored with the Diapason d’or award, conferred by the French music publication Diapason harmonie. In addition to his San Francisco Symphony recording, he can also be heard on New World Records conducting the ensemble Solisti New York in a recording of new flute concertos. During his years with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra he made a number of recordings, including Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony and Richard Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra. Mr. Neale appears on the Bay Brass recording Sound the Bells, released in March 2011 on the Harmonia Mundi label and nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance.
Mr. Neale holds a bachelor’s degree from Cambridge University and a master’s degree from Yale University, where his principal teacher was Otto-Werner Mueller. He lives in San Francisco.
Canadian tubist Jarrett McCourt is a second-year Tuba Fellow at the New World Symphony. He has performed with a number of high-level ensembles, including the Detroit Symphony, Flint Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Pacific, Windsor Symphony, Motor City Brass Quintet and University of Michigan Symphony Band. He can also be heard on recently released CDs by the University of Western Ontario Wind Ensemble (Apparitions, Albany Records) and the University of Michigan Symphony Band (Reflections, Equilibrium). Additionally, Mr. McCourt has had the privilege of playing under classical conductors such as Leonard Slatkin, Michael Stern, Andrew Litton and Jeffery Kahane, as well as alongside jazz heavyweights such as Terence Blanchard, George Benson and Nicholas Payton.
Mr. McCourt has won or been a finalist in eight competitions over the past three years, including the Leonard Falcone International Tuba and Euphonium Competition and concerto competitions in Ontario, Quebec and Michigan. Most notably, he won the top prize in the brass category of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal’s prestigious Standard Life Competition in 2014, becoming the first tubist to do so in the competition’s 75-year history.
Mr. McCourt earned a bachelor’s of music degree in tuba performance with a minor in ethics at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario in 2013 and two master’s degrees (one in tuba performance and the other in chamber music) at the University of Michigan in 2015. His principal teachers have been Brent Adams, Sasha Johnson, Dennis Nulty and Fritz Kaenzig.
Thomas Carpenter is a second-year Cello Fellow at the New World Symphony and has quickly established himself as an accomplished solo, orchestral and chamber musician. He has participated in music festivals throughout the U.S., including the National Repertory Orchestra, New York String Orchestra Seminar, National Orchestral Institute and Tanglewood Music Center. Mr. Carpenter was also a member of the Canton Symphony Orchestra from 2011 to 2013.
Mr. Carpenter has served as principal cellist with the Tanglewood Music Center (TMC) Orchestra under noted conductors Marcelo Leningher and Andris Nelsons. He performed twice as a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s cello section in side-by-side performances at TMC, and was awarded the Carl Zeise Memorial Prize for cello while a fellow at TMC.
As a collaborative artist Mr. Carpenter’s performance highlights include Brahms’ Trio in B major, Shostakovich’s Piano Trio in E minor, Dvořák’s “Dumky” Trio and Lutosławski’s String Quartet. His notable mentors in chamber music include Samuel Rhodes, Michael Tree and Pamela Frank.
In addition to Mr. Carpenter’s private studio teaching, he was most recently a Brown Scholar at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. This award supports his chamber music coaching for young musicians who study music in the Michael P. Hammond Preparatory Department at Rice University.
Mr. Carpenter received his bachelor’s degree in cello performance with Stephen Geber at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2013. He recently received his master’s degree in cello performance under the tutelage of Norman Fischer at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.
Praised as a “standout performer” who has successfully “taken on the demanding and most expressive responsibilities assigned to [her] instrument,” Hilary Glen is a third-year Cello Fellow at the New World Symphony.
Making her stage debut at the age of six, Dr. Glen caught the performing bug early. Since then she has performed nearly everywhere, including a mountainside in the Italian Alps, Carnegie Hall, the Rochester Jazz Festival and the Bliss Center in Belize. She has collaborated with many musicians, including Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham, Mikail Kopelman, Gary Hoffman, Yefim Bronfman and John Adams.
A passionate chamber musician, Dr. Glen coordinates and performs with several small ensembles including her collaborative company, Chamber Ballet Brockport. Her ensembles have played at a wide variety of national and international venues, including the Kennedy Center, as well as local schools, churches, coffee shops, hospitals, sidewalks and senior living centers.
Dr. Glen is a devoted teacher and believes that music provides a crucial outlet for creativity and expression. She regularly visits schools to present experience-based workshops and is dedicated to bringing music to underserved areas. In the 2015-16 season Dr. Glen traveled with her string quartet to perform and present master classes as part of her educational outreach initiatives.
Dr. Glen completed her bachelor’s degree at Indiana University, where she studied under the renowned performer and pedagogue, Janos Starker. She earned her master’s degree and doctorate, studying under esteemed teacher Alan Harris, at the Eastman School of Music. When not playing the cello Dr. Glen can be found singing, exploring the outdoors and dancing.
Ju Hyung Shin, a second-year Violin Fellow at the New World Symphony, is among the most compelling young concert violinists, chamber and orchestral musicians.
Mr. Shin has won several major competitions including top prize at the California International Young Artist Competition, second prize and audience prize at the Andrews International String Competition, second prize at the prestigious Joong Ang Music Competition and first prizes at Hankook Ilbo, Sungjung and Korea Herald competitions. Mr. Shin had his debut recital at Kumho Art Hall in Seoul after winning the Kumho Prodigy and Young Artist Concert Audition.
Recently Mr. Shin attended the Verbier Festival in Switzerland and led the Verbier Festival Orchestra in various principal positions under the direction of Charles Dutoit, Manfred Honeck and Zubin Mehta. He has also spent several summers at Spoleto Festival U.S.A., Aspen Music Festival, Great Mountains Music Festival and Vermont Music Festival. He has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra, and was previously a member of the CitiMusic Cleveland and the New York Symphonic Ensemble. An active chamber musician, Mr. Shin most recently performed Brahms’s Sextet No. 1 with the principal chairs of the New York Philharmonic and Mendelssohn’s Octet with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company at the Spoleto Festival.
Born and raised in South Korea, Mr. Shin started playing violin at the age of eight and continued his early musical training at Yewon School. After moving to the United States, he received a bachelor of music degree from Oberlin Conservatory, a master of music degree from Yale School of Music, studying with Hyo Kang, and pursued his artist diploma at Korea National University of Arts under the tutelage of Nam Yun Kim.
He is sponsored by the Kumho Asiana Cultural Foundation.