I’m excited for the WSO concert on Sunday, November 12, 2023. Please join us at 3:00 pm at Wayzata Central Middle School for our second performance of this concert season.
The three pieces on this program were all composed in France during the Third Republic, a 70-year period that arose after France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. During this period, two differing styles of French music coexisted, French Romanticism and Impressionism.
Our concert opens with Callirhoë Suite, a charming ballet suite composed by Cécile Chaminade, an accomplished pianist and composer who performed concerts throughout Europe and in the United States. As musical taste in France shifted toward Impressionism during the late 1800s, a style that Chaminade disliked, Chaminade dug her heels into the heavier French Romantic style, aligning herself with composers such as Camille Saint-Saëns and Léo Delibes.
The music is delightfully varied, pictorial, and features many short solos by various instruments.
This is followed by Édouard Lalo’s Cello Concerto in D Minor, a defining work in Lalo’s long compositional career. We are delighted to welcome Anthony Ross (Principal Cello – Minnesota Orchestra) to join the WSO again as our featured soloist. Throughout the concerto, the solo cello plays the part of a powerful and emotional protagonist while the orchestra plays a supporting role, occasionally interjecting with motives that include a hint of Spanish flair.
Finally, we will hear another ingenious and delightful French ballet suite entitled, Sylvia Suite, by Léo Delibes. Tchaikovsky was so impressed with the music of Sylvia that he wrote to a friend, “I was ashamed. If I had known this music early on, then of course I would not have written Swan Lake…what charm, what elegance.”
We are looking forward to seeing you there! Free – donations gratefully accepted at the door. No ticket required. Join us after the concert for a reception to meet the musicians.
I am so excited and honored to be named the new Music Director of the Wayzata Symphony. Through weathering the pandemic and embarking on a yearlong search for its next conductor, the members of the WSO have blown me away with their dedication both to the organization and to creating music at a high level. Highlights this season include three symphonies, pieces by female composers on every concert, a variety of pieces composed by diverse living composers, and the much-anticipated return of Anthony Ross (Principal Cello – Minnesota Orchestra). There will be something for everyone to enjoy!
The first concert is centered around the theme of celebration; celebrating both a new chapter in the WSO legacy and the joy that we all feel in coming together to make something beautiful. The second concert is comprised entirely of 19th century French music which features Edouard Lalo’s emotional Cello Concerto in D Minor, bookended by two ballet suites. Our third concert is thought provoking, and will challenge us to consider the sometimes subtle nuances between fate and destiny. Just as painters carefully choose their color palette, so too will we explore dark and light shades of sound in our fourth and final concert of the season.
Each and every one of these concerts has something unique to offer. The WSO is a hidden gem, presenting exceptionally high-quality and meaningful performances. Please help us to expand the impact we seek to make both musically and in our community by supporting us financially with your tax-deductible donation.
I can’t wait to see you at our concerts this season!
I’m looking forward to conducting the Wayzata Symphony Orchestra on May 7 as we celebrate and explore the vibrant cultures, people and natural beauty of America.
The program opens with Starburst, a vivid and energetic piece composed by Jessie Montgomery. Montgomery’s individual compositional style reflects her upbringing in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, an area which is infamous for its multiculturalism within New York City. Montgomery describes Starburst as “a play on imagery of rapidly changing musical colors. Exploding gestures are juxtaposed with gentle fleeting melodies in an attempt to create a multidimensional soundscape. A common definition of a starburst: “the rapid formation of large numbers of new stars in a galaxy at a rate high enough to alter the structure of the galaxy significantly” lends itself almost literally to the nature of the performing ensemble who premiered the work, The Sphinx Virtuosi, and I wrote the piece with their dynamic in mind.”
This is followed by The Overture to the Song of Hiawatha, by British composer and conductor, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. The Overture introduces a trilogy of cantatas based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1855 epic poem, The Song of Hiawatha. The poem, which was inspired by Longfellow’s close friendship with an Ojibwe Chief, narrates the fictional tragic love story of Hiawatha, an Ojibwe man, and Minnehaha, a Dakota woman. Many names and locations mentioned within the poem are familiar to Minnesota audiences. Coleridge-Taylor’s three cantatas were an immediate success with British audiences and were performed annually at the Royal Albert Hall for many years. The pieces were such a success that Coleridge-Taylor named his son, Hiawatha.
Finally, we hear Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, “From the New World” by Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. Dvořák briefly lived in the United States where he resided in New York City and Spillville, Iowa. During these years he was inspired by African American spirituals, jazz, Native American culture, Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha, and the beauty of the expansive plains of central America. In this symphony, Dvorak sought to pave a way forward for the future of American symphonic music by synthesizing these American influences with his own Bohemian rhythms and harmonic language.