Michael Stern Returns To Conduct Tucson Symphony Orchestra In Siblelius’ Symphony No. 2 And Stravinsky’s Symphony Of Psalms

by Tucson Symphony

TSO Chorus Featured on Final Classic Series Program of 2018-19 Season

(Tucson, AZ)─Kansas City Symphony Music Director Michael Stern returns to conduct the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Bruce Chamberlain-Director, in a program featuring music by Jean Sibelius, Igor Stravinsky and Johannes Brahms to close the TSO’s Classic Series for 2018-19. Performances of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2, and the choral works, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and Brahms’ Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny) are Friday, April 5 at 7:30 and Sunday April 7 at 2:00 p.m. at Tucson Music Hall.

Michael Stern has been Music Director of the Kansas City Symphony since 2005. He made his debut with the TSO in 2017 conducting the Grieg Piano Concerto, “an energetic and dynamic performance,” according to the Arizona Daily Star. Stern’s guest engagements this season include leading the New York Philharmonic in the film score to The Red Violin with Joshua Bell as soloist, and concerts at the Stern Violin Competition in Shanghai.   He conducts the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra as part of Youth Music Culture Guangdong with Yo-Yo Ma, and subscription weeks with the Stamford and Tucson Symphonies, and the Boca Raton Symphonia.

A fellow Finnish composer Sulho Ranta once remarked about Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2, “There is something about this music — at least for us — that leads us to ecstasy; almost like a shaman with his magic drum.” It has also been called “one of the few symphonic creations of our time that point in the same direction as Beethoven’s symphonies.”  Composition began during an all-expense-paid vacation on the Italian Riviera and was completed a year later in his homeland of Finland. Sibelius conducted the premiere, three sold-out performances with the Helsinki Philharmonic in March, 1902. It was a hit with the general public who dubbed it the “Symphony of Independence” because it was written at a time of Russian sanctions on Finnish language and culture, immediately following his enormously popular tone poem Finlandia.

Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, commissioned for the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony in 1929, has been hailed as the best classical piece of the twentieth century by Time Magazine. Stravinsky called it “neoclassical,” and wanted to make the orchestra and chorus equal partners, an “organic whole” as he described it. Stravinsky claimed that “It is not a symphony in which I have included psalms to be sung. It is the singing of the psalms that I am symphonizing.”

Having composed the very successful Ein Deutsches Requiem Brahms pondered his next project. While visiting a friend, Brahms found a poem by Friederich Hölderlin, a notable figure in the field of German Romanticism that drew his attention. “Hyperion’s Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny)” caused him to start to compose a musical work for the poetry. The work depicts the clash between the ill-fated, self-destructive humans and Godlike spirits.

The Classic Series is sponsored by Mrs. Dorothy Dyer Vanek.

Tickets for Sibelius Symphony No. 2 are $30 to $86. They are available online at www.tucsonsymphony.org, at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Box Office, 2175 N. Sixth Avenue or by phone at 520.882.8585.  TSO Box Office hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. unless otherwise indicated.

Programming, artists and prices are subject to change.

Contact: Terry Marshall, Public Relations Manager, 520.620.9158