Perry, Scheherazade, and Sheng
Emmy-Award-winning, Grammy-nominated conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya (’91) leads the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in an evening of firsts and favorites, with a boisterous twentieth-century classic, an exhilarating world premiere viola concerto, and one of the most popular orchestral works in the repertoire.
Curtis kicks off the program with trailblazing neoclassical composer Julia Perry’s dynamic Study for Orchestra (also known as A Short Piece for Orchestra, 1952). This fiercely raucous, high-octane work shifts gears between intensely dramatic moments reminiscent of a menacing Bernard Hermann film score and quiet, poetic passages. In 1965, Perry’s energetic piece made history as the first work by a woman of color to be performed and recorded by the New York Philharmonic and only the third by a female composer.
The evening continues with Of Time and Love by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, conductor, and pianist Bright Sheng. Co-commissioned with the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra of China, this exciting new concerto for viola and orchestra features the virtuosity of internationally acclaimed violist Roberto Díaz (’84). Hailed by the MacArthur Foundation as “an innovative composer who merges diverse musical customs in works that transcend conventional aesthetic boundaries,” Sheng’s new work will showcase more of the lyrical, limpid melodies and striking dramatic gestures that have made him one of the most sought-after composers of our time.
The final portion of the program is dedicated to Rimsky-Korsakov’s rapturous Scheherazade, an intoxicating symphonic suite based upon the mystical fairy tales of The Arabian Nights. Throughout four movements and 1,001 nights, the clever young Scheherazade beguiles her royal husband. Spinning fantastical stories of romance, danger, intrigue, and swashbuckling adventure, she saves her own life and becomes his queen.
|JULIA PERRY||Study for Orchestra|
|BRIGHT SHENG||Of Time and Love, Concerto for Viola and Orchestra|
|NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV||Scheherazade, Op. 35|