Rising Star Gemma New To Make Her Tucson Symphony Orchestra Conducting Debut With Mendelssohn and Mozart

by Tucson Symphony

Program Features Mozart Symphony No. 38, “Prague,” and Lauren Roth Performing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto

(Tucson, AZ)─ Critically-acclaimed young conductor Gemma New will make her Tucson Symphony debut with one of Mozart’s final symphonies, No. 38, “Prague,” and Mendelssohn’s popular Violin Concerto. The program will also feature Songs and Conversations by Dan Coleman and Pulitzer Prize-winner George Walker’s Lyric for Strings.  Performances are Saturday, January 12 at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, January 13 at 2:00 p.m. at Catalina Foothills High School, 4300 E. Sunrise Dr. in Tucson. Concert Comments are one hour prior to performances and are complimentary with tickets. There is plenty of free parking at the venue.

Gemma New is currently Music Director for the Hamilton Philharmonic in Ontario, Canada and Resident Conductor for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Starting in the 2019-20 season, New has been appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. A former Dudamel Conducting Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New has led youth, school and community programs with the LA Phil, and assisted Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen and other guest conductors. New holds a Masters of Music degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. She graduated from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand with a Bachelor of Music (Honors) in violin performance.

Lauren Roth is Concertmaster of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and Assistant Professor of Violin at the University of Arizona. Prior to these positions, she was concertmaster of the Canton Symphony. Roth earned her Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She was a member of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra and a substitute with the Cleveland Orchestra. A native of Seattle, Roth received a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from the University of Washington. Previously she has appeared as soloist with the TSO on violin concertos by Menotti, Bruch and Sibelius.

Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra is considered among the most important 19th-century concertos for the violin. Mendelssohn had a special gift for melody, which is evidenced in the entrance of the violin in the first movement. The complexity of the work is overshadowed by the virtuosity of the soloist with the final movement making it seem that there must be more than one soloist since so many notes are played in rapid succession.

Mozart’s Symphony No. 38, “Prague,” remains one of his most interesting and popular symphonies because it pushes the limits of the style of music and the orchestra. Some scholars have suggested it was named “Prague,” because Mozart composed the symphony as a thank you to the residents for making The Marriage of Figaro a big hit.

In 1996, George Walker became the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Walker dedicated Lyric for Strings to his grandmother and finished composing it shortly before she died. Lyric for Strings has been lauded by critics since it was debuted by the Student Orchestra at the Curtis Institute.

The program will open with Songs and Conversations by TSO Composer-in-residence Dan Coleman. Commissioned by the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, Songs and Conversations is an homage to the concerti grossi of the Baroque era. Coleman describes the piece as “a dream about older music in which familiar gestures are transformed in surreal, disorienting, and humorous ways.”

The Masterworks Series is sponsored by Splendido and receives generous support from Drs. John P. and Helen S. Schaefer. Concert Comments is sponsored by Fishkind, Bakewell, Maltzman, Hunter and Associates Eye Care and Surgery Center.

Tickets are $45 to $55. 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