Team Behind Last Season’s Hit, The Planets on the Big Screen, Returns With Visuals of the America the Composer Loved
(Tucson, AZ)─Conductor Mei-Ann Chen and visual artist Adrian Wyard, the winning team behind The Planets on the Big Screen last season, returns with a world premiere multi-media presentation of Dvořák’s most popular symphony, “From the New World.” Performances are Friday December 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 3 at 2:00 p.m. at Tucson Music Hall. Concert Comments, one hour prior to performances, are complimentary with tickets.
Dvořák loved America and was deeply moved by it. He urged Americans to create their own style from their own music and demonstrated by example. The English horn solo in the Largo movement of the “New World” Symphony is said to emulate the voice of Dvořák’s pupil Harry T. Burleigh, who sang plantation songs and Stephen Foster favorites to his teacher. The Scherzo pounds with American Indian drums. Dvořák taught the teachers of some of the greatest American composers: George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Aaron Copland and Duke Ellington.
Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” premiered on December 16, 1893, at Carnegie Hall. The Czech composer was midway through a three year contract as the director of the National Conservatory in New York. He had spent three months visiting a Czech settlement, Spillville, Iowa where he finished composing the symphony.
A day before the premiere Dvořák explained to the New York Herald how Native American music had influenced this symphony: “I have not actually used any of the melodies. I have simply written original themes embodying Indian music, and, using these themes as subjects, have developed them with all the resources of modern rhythms, counterpoint and orchestral color.”
Popular guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen made her TSO debut in November, 2012 conducting Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony. Since then she has made several return engagements including conducting Scheherazade and The Planets on the Big Screen. Following her successful tenure (2010-2016) as Music Director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Chen was named Conductor Laureate. Since 2011, she has been Music Director of the 2016 MacArthur Award-winning Chicago Sinfonietta. Recent performance highlights include an impressive debut with the Indianapolis Symphony as a last-minute step-in engagement, debuts with the Chicago Symphony on its subscription series and the San Francisco, Detroit, Houston and Cincinnati Symphonies.
Adrian Wyard is a Seattle-based visual artist, and former designer and program manager at Microsoft. He has over 20 years of experience working in digital media, including computer graphics, photography and videography, as well as software design. Wyard holds a Master’s degree in the history of science and has been a longtime fan of classical music.
Completing the program are: Dvořák’s Carnival Overture from his Nature, Life and Love Trilogy, three concert overtures which he intended as a unit to be performed together; “Noel,” from Boston composer and professor George Whitefield Chadwick’s Symphonic Sketches, a piece evoking the Christmas season and celebrating the birth of his son, Noel; and a suite from Les Biches (The Does), a ballet Poulenc wrote at the request of Diaghilev that was premiered by the Ballets Russes and brought him great fame.
The Classic Series is sponsored by Mrs. Dorothy Dyer Vanek.
Tickets for A New World in Pictures 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