Discovery Ensemble Presents Bach Meets the Neoclassicists: Music of Bach, Bartók, Stravinsky and Prokofiev Sunday, January 17 at 3 PM Sanders Theatre Harvard Square, Cambridge
January 17, 2010
Cambridge, MA--Discovery Ensemble will take center stage with “Bach Meets the Neoclassicists: Music of Bach, Bartók, Stravinsky and Prokofiev” on Sunday, January 17 at 3:00 P.M. at Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy Street, near Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Reserved-seat tickets priced at $35.00 [Golden Circle], $28.00 and $20.00 go on sale on Friday, December 18 on line at www.discoveryensemble.com or by calling: 617-496-2222. Tickets will also be available at the Harvard Box Office Booth, located at 1350 Massachusetts Avenue in the Holyoke Center Arcade. Harvard Box Office hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 12:00 noon to 6:00 P.M. The box office is closed on Mondays and some holidays. Tickets for students and seniors with identification will be available at a discount of $10.00 in all price ranges. Sanders Theatre is wheelchair accessible.
Courtney Lewis, the amazing 25-year-old conductor and founder of Discovery Ensemble, combines exacting standards with true vision and interpretative depth, as well as an infectious joy in the sheer act of making music. On more than one occasion he has been compared, by those whose musical memories go back to the early 1960s, to the young Carlos Kleiber. Lewis has molded Discovery Ensemble into a finely tuned, nuanced and virtuosic orchestra capable of switching from Bach to Beethoven to Stravinsky with complete stylistic assurance and a standard of playing that rivals the great European chamber orchestras. In May 2009, Osmo Vänskä appointed him Assistant Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, so Lewis now divides his time between Minneapolis and Boston.
About the Program:
The upcoming January 17 concert program at Sanders will feature Bach Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major BWV 1068, Stravinsky Apollo, Bartók Six Songs for Children’s Chorus and Prokofiev Symphony No. 1, ‘Classical.’ This diverse program will also feature the Boston City Singers under the Artistic Direction of Jane Money.
In each of the four remarkable works on this program of Discovery Ensemble one hears the composer making a sort of musical commentary on music that has made a deep impact on his own musical style.
In his Third Orchestral Suite Bach clearly had certain French models in mind, but the he transmuted the formulas of the French overture into something uniquely his own. The second movement, the famous “Air on the G String,” although absolutely dripping with French Baroque graces, could have been written by no one except Bach! Stravinsky’s Apollo, for string orchestra, is one of the great neo-classical masterpieces that he wrote in the 1920s. This amazing work embraces and transforms a whole catalog of previous musical styles, from the Italian concerto grosso to 19th century French ballet music, all of it lifted to a plane of ineffable serenity and rich detail.
Bartok’s Six Songs for Chorus and Orchestra have deep roots in Hungarian folk music. They are based on actual folksong texts, but the music is entirely original, although at every turn Bartok exploits his incomparable understanding of Hungarian folk idioms. For the performance of this rarely heard Bartok work Discovery Ensemble is particularly happy to be able to collaborate with the marvelous Dorchester-based children’s chorus Boston City Singers.
Closing the concert is Prokofiev’s lithe and balletic “Classical” Symphony, a sparkling, virtuosic tour de force for the orchestra that embraces the classicism of the title and also makes a nod in the direction of the French Baroque in its famous Gavotte. It’s a piece that audiences invariably find exhilarating and irresistible.
About Discovery Ensemble
Discovery Ensemble is an exuberantly youthful chamber orchestra founded in 2008 and made up of 40 exceptional young professional musicians in their twenties from the greater Boston area. In its concerts, Discovery Ensemble presents an eclectic cross section of masterworks – some familiar, some unfamiliar – in performances that are impassioned, searching and at the highest level of technical accomplishment.
Unseen by the general pubic is the other side of Discovery Ensemble’s work -- an extensive program of workshops in Boston public schools and children’s concerts, all of which especially target areas that are underserved by existing musical institutions. The target area for these workshops for the past two years has been the community of Dorchester, Massachusetts where Discovery Ensemble has given interactive workshops in many area schools – bringing the music of Ligeti, Copland and Stravinsky into the children’s intimate and familiar surroundings. These programs have had an astonishing impact! Four times a year, in conjunction with each series of school workshops there are also concerts for children in the historic Strand Theatre in the Uphams Corner section of Dorchester. Over one thousand school children are bused to each of these morning concerts, where they experience great music played with great passion, and explained to them in a particularly dynamic and child-friendly manner. A six minute video about the outreach work of Discovery Ensemble can be seen on the Discovery Ensemble website: http://www.discoveryensemble.com.