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Peter Oundjian Guest Conducts the NRO July 27th

(c) Sian Richards

(c) Sian Richards

Sibelius & Ravel
Wednesday, July 27, 7:30 PM
Breckenridge Riverwalk Center
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Peter Oundjian is widely recognized as one of the most respected musicians on the world stage. A conductor of consummate artistry, his performances are renowned for their broad range of artistic expression and deep commitment to the composer’s intent.

Currently the Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, a post he’s held since 2004, Oundjian has worked to establish the organization as both a world-class North American ensemble and a pillar in the community arts forum. He has focused on attracting a young and diverse audience, performing and commissioning new music, and releasing multiple recordings, both on Chandos Records and on the orchestra’s self-produced label, TSO Live, the creation of which he spearheaded in 2008. In the summer of 2014, Oundjian took the orchestra on a European tour that included a sold-out performance at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and the first performance of a North American orchestra at Reykjavik’s Harpa Hall.

In 2012, Oundjian was appointed Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He has since led the ensemble in critically acclaimed performances both at home and abroad in China, Europe, the BBC Proms and Edinburgh Festival. 

Oundjian began his artistic career as first violinist of the Tokyo String Quartet, playing a vast range of repertoire on the most prestigious international stages, including complete Beethoven cycles in Paris, Vienna, Milan, Brussels, Chicago, and New York’s Carnegie Hall. With strong support from André Previn, he began conducting professionally, and has since formed lasting relationships with many of the world’s most esteemed orchestras.

Previous posts have included the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, where he was Principal Guest Conductor from 2006 to 2010, and the Caramoor International Music Festival in New York, where he served as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor from 1997 to 2007. Since 1981, Oundjian has served as a visiting professor at the Yale School of Music, and was awarded the university’s Sanford Medal for distinguished service to music in 2013. 

 

Michael Stern Returns as Guest Conduct This Summer

Andrew Litton Color photo 5 croppedMahler Symphony No. 6
Wednesday, July 20, 7:30 PM
Breckenridge Riverwalk Center
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Conductor Michael Stern is in his tenth season as Music Director of the Kansas City Symphony and sixteenth season as Founding Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the IRIS Orchestra.

Stern and Kansas City have been hailed for their remarkable artistic ascent, original programming, organizational development and stability, and the extraordinary growth of its varied audiences since his tenure began. They have entered a new era performing to critical acclaim and sold-out audiences in their new home Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. On Reference Recordings they have released four albums including Shakespeare’s Tempest; Britten’s Orchestra, which won a 2011 Grammy award in the “Surround Sound Album” category and producer David Frost won “Producer of the Year, Classical;” and most recently a Saint-Saëns album released in May 2015. In July 2012, the Symphony’s concerts with internationally celebrated mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato were broadcast nationally on nearly 400 PBS station for the PBS Summer Arts Series with the audio recording of that concert receiving a Grammy nomination.

Stern and the IRIS Orchestra in Germantown, Tennessee, are entering their sixteenth season, widely praised for the virtuosity of their playing; the depth and variety of programming, with a special emphasis on American contemporary music; and its acclaimed recordings on the Naxos and Arabesque labels. Under Stern’s direction, IRIS has commissioned and premiered works by William Bolcom, Chris Brubeck, Richard Danielpour, Stephen Hartke, Edgar Meyer, Jonathan Leshnoff, Ned Rorem, Huang Ruo, Adam Schoenberg, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, among others.

Other positions include chief conductor of Germany’s Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra (the first American chief conductor in the orchestra’s history), as Permanent Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon in France, and as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lille, France.

Michael Stern has led orchestras throughout Europe and Asia, including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Helsinki Philharmonic, Budapest Radio Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Moscow Philharmonic, National Symphony of Taiwan, Tokyo’s NHK Symphony and the Vienna Radio Symphony, among many others.

In North America, Mr. Stern has conducted the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. He has also appeared regularly at the Aspen Music Festival.

Mr. Stern received his music degree from The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where his major teacher was the noted conductor and scholar Max Rudolf. Mr. Stern co-edited the third edition of Rudolf’s famous textbook, The Grammar of Conducting, and also edited a new volume of Rudolf’s collected writings and correspondence. He is a 1981 graduate of Harvard University, where he earned a degree in American history.

Karina Canellakis Conducts “Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto”

© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2014

© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2014

Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto
Saturday, July 9, 7:30 PM
Breckenridge Riverwalk Center
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Karina Canellakis has rapidly gained international recognition as one of today’s most dynamic and exciting young American conductors. Praised for both her technical and lyrical command of the music, Ms. Canellakis is the winner of the 2016 Sir George Solti Conducting Award. She has received glowing critical endorsements of her performances since first making headlines in 2014 filling in last-minute for Jaap van Zweden with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in Shostakovich’s 8th symphony. She made her European conducting debut last June with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe at the Styriarte Festival in Graz, Austria, replacing the late Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and has been re-invited to Graz this coming June to conduct his orchestra, Concentus Musicus Wien, in four symphonies of a Beethoven Cycle. Currently in her second season as Assistant Conductor of the Dallas Symphony, she will conclude her tenure at the end of the 2015/16 season.

Highlights of the 2016/17 season feature her European debuts with the Swedish Radio Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Trondheim, Kristiansand and Mälmo symphony orchestras, as well as North American debuts including the Toronto, Vancouver, Milwaukee, Florida and Jacksonville symphony orchestras, and the Louisiana Philharmonic, where she also appears as guest soloist. She will conduct Verdi’s Requiem at the Zurich Opera, and opera projects including the world premiere of David Lang’s The Loser at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and Peter Maxwell Davies’ new opera The Hogboon with the Luxembourg Philharmonic. In addition, she has been re-invited to conduct subscription programs with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony and North Carolina Symphony.

In 2015/16, Ms. Canellakis made debuts with the Danish National Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and conducts a fully staged production of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with the Curtis Opera Theatre and Curtis Symphony Orchestra at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. In summer 2016, she debuts with the Detroit Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra, Grand Teton Music Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival in New York leading the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and Festival della Valle d’Itria in Martina Franca, Italy. She has also guest conducted the symphony orchestras of Houston and Colorado, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Lukes’, Chautaqua Festival Orchestra and the Grant Park Festival Orchestra at Millenium Park in Chicago. As the Assistant Conductor in Dallas, she conducts more than 30 concerts per season with the Dallas Symphony, including innovative programs on the Remix Series, standard repertoire on the “DSO On the Go” series, Youth and Family concerts, and various other concerts geared towards specific audiences in the community.

Already known to many in the classical music world for her virtuoso violin playing, Ms. Canellakis was initially encouraged to pursue conducting by her mentor Sir Simon Rattle while she was playing regularly in the Berlin Philharmonic for two years as a member of their Orchester-Akademie. In addition to appearing frequently as soloist with various North American orchestras, she subsequently played regularly in the Chicago Symphony for over three years, and appeared on several occasions as guest concertmaster of the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway. She spent many summers performing at the Marlboro Music Festival, and her approach to conducting is firmly rooted in her detailed and dedicated experience as a chamber musician. She plays a 1782 Mantegazza violin on generous loan to her from a private patron.

Ms. Canellakis is a recipient of a 2015 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, was the winner of the 2013 Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship, and was a conducting fellow at the Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Music Center in summer of 2014.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in violin from the Curtis Institute of Music and a Master’s degree in orchestral conducting from The Juilliard School, where she was the recipient of the Charles Schiff Award for Excellence in Orchestral Conducting, the American Conductors Award, and the Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship. In addition to Rattle and Zweden, her most prominent mentors are Alan Gilbert and Fabio Luisi.

Karina Canellakis was born and raised in New York City, where she is currently based. She speaks French, German and Italian, and is equally at home performing all genres of the repertoire. 

Andrew Litton Guest Conducts This Summer

Andrew Litton Color photo 2 croppedBarber Violin Concerto
Saturday, June 18, 7:30 PM
Breckenridge Riverwalk Center
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Andrew Litton, newly appointed Music Director of the New York City Ballet, ends his twelve year tenure as Music Director of Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic with a Gala Concert celebrating the Orchestra’s 250th Anniversary. Under Litton’s leadership the Bergen Philharmonic gained international recognition through extensive touring, making debuts at London’s BBC Proms, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and appearances at Vienna’s Musikverein, Berlin’s Philharmonie, and New York’s Carnegie Hall. It records extensively for Sweden’s BIS and Britain’s Hyperion labels. Litton becomes Bergen Philharmonic Music Director Laureate and continues to serve as Music Director of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in Denver, Artistic Director of the Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest, and Conductor Laureate of Britain’s Bournemouth. He guest conducts the world’s leading orchestras and opera companies, and has a discography of over 120 recordings with awards including America’s Grammy, France’s Diapason d’Or, and many other honors.

Litton’s Sommerfest 2015 performances conducting Gershwin’s Concerto in F from the keyboard and his concert presentation of “Madame Butterfly” drew rave notices. He opens the 2015-2016 season taking the Bergen Philharmonic on tour to Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, London’s Royal Albert Hall BBC Proms, and Dublin’s National Concert Hall. He also conducts a Proms concert with the BBC Symphony.  Litton returns to the Minnesota Orchestra in its regular season, Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra, the Brussels Philharmonic, and the Bournemouth Symphony. Having premiered the Deutsche Oper Berlin’s 2008 new production of Richard Strauss’ “Egyptian Helen”, he returns to conduct its revival.

Conductor of many of the world’s top opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden, and Deutsche Oper Berlin, Litton participated with the Bergen Philharmonic in founding the Bergen National Opera. Now its Artistic Advisor, Litton conducted critically acclaimed, sold-out performances of Tosca, Carmen, Flying Dutchman, and La Bohème.

Litton’s work in ballet began while still a Juilliard student, performing as on-stage pianist for Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, and Cynthia Gregory. After a 2015 debut conducting the New York City Ballet’s “Coppelia” he was invited to become its Music Director and begins his new duties conducting the holiday run of “Nutcracker”. On January 19 he opens their Winter season with a special performance of ballets he has chosen.

An accomplished pianist, Litton often conducts from the keyboard and enjoys performing chamber music with his orchestra colleagues. Passionate about Jazz, Litton joins the New York Jazzharmonic organized by New York City Ballet Principal Bass Ron Wasserman to perform at Symphony Space in May. A recognized authority on Gershwin, Litton has performed and recorded Gershwin’s works as pianist and conductor in America, Asia, and Europe. He led the Covent Garden premiere of Porgy and Bess and arranged his own concert suite of that work, now performed throughout the world. The University of Michigan asked Litton to join a distinguished panel of Gershwin experts in developing a critical edition of all Gershwin works. Long an admirer of the late jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, Litton recorded his first solo piano album, A Tribute to Oscar Peterson, released in 2014.

Litton was Principal Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony from 1988-1994, bringing it on its first American tour and producing 14 recordings, including the Grammy winning Belshazzar’s Feast. Music Director of the Dallas Symphony from 1994-2006, he hired over one third of the players, led the orchestra on three major European tours, appeared four times at Carnegie Hall, created a children’s television series broadcast nationally and in widespread use in school curricula, produced 28 recordings, and helped raise the orchestra’s endowment from $19 million to $100 million. Litton’s Dallas Symphony Rachmaninov Piano Concerto recordings with Stephen Hough, widely hailed as the best since the composer’s own, won the Classical Brits/BBC Critics Award. Litton also received a Grammy nomination for his recording of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd with the New York Philharmonic and Patti Lupone.

Andrew Litton, a graduate of the Fieldston School, New York, received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Juilliard in piano and conducting. The youngest-ever winner of the BBC International Conductors Competition, he served as Assistant Conductor at Teatro alla Scala and Exxon/Arts Endowment Assistant Conductor for the National Symphony under Rostropovich. His many honors in addition to Norway’s Order of Merit include an honorary Doctorate from the University of Bournemouth, Yale University’s Sanford Medal, and the Elgar Society Medal.

Guest Artist, Steven Greenman

Steven Greenman photo 2 cropped

You can see him perform with the NRO this summer!

Pops – Music from the Movies
Friday, July 1, 7:30PM
Breckenridge Riverwalk Center

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China in America
Saturday, July 2, 7:30PM
Breckenridge Riverwalk Center

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Described by the Washington Post as “particularly impressive,” and “extraordinary” by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Steven Greenman is a multi-talented musical artist, who is equally adept at performing stunning solo violin works with symphony orchestras, soulful East European Jewish folk music (klezmer music) and passionate East European Romani (Gypsy) music.  Steven’s virtuosic performing skills are complimented with his passion for composition and education. 

Steven is recognized internationally as one of the finest practitioners, composers and teachers of traditional East European Jewish klezmer violin music in the world today.  He has self-produced two landmark recordings documenting his original Jewish and klezmer compositions with Stempenyu’s Dream (2004) and Stempenyu’s Neshome (2010), the latter containing his original Jewish spiritual melodies.  Several of Steven’s Jewish compositions have been recorded by international artists and researched by scholars while two of his liturgical melodies have been recognized and published by the Shalshelet Foundation for New Jewish Liturgical Music.  With his recording Khevrisa: European Klezmer Music, Steven is a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist. 

Steven has performed internationally with several renowned klezmer ensembles including:  the Klezmatics, Kapelye, the Joel Rubin Jewish Music Ensemble, Khevrisa, Budowitz, the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band and Shtetl Band Amsterdam.  He has been at the forefront of the klezmer revival establishing new ensembles including Khevrisa, Stempenyu’s Dream, Di Tsvey, the R2G Klezmer Trio, Cedar’s Jumpin’ and the Steven Greenman Klezmer Ensemble.  Steven’s thrilling collaboration with master pipa-player Gao Hong, The Braided Candle, explores a unique blending of both traditional Jewish and Chinese folk music styles.

Steven’s international performances have included multiple appearances at the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, Poland; Ashkenaz – A Festival of New Yiddish Culture in Toronto, Canada; and Klezmer Festival Fuerth in Fuerth, Germany.  In 2012 Steven participated in the Violins of Hope project at UNC Charlotte, performing traditional klezmer music with one of master violin luthier Amnon Weinstein’s restored “Holocaust” violins.  Steven was a major participant with Cleveland Ohio’s Violins of Hope project in 2015 performing a klezmer music recital and leading a teacher workshop detailing Jewish history and culture through the auspices of the Cleveland Orchestra.  He is featured as a klezmer music historian in the WVIZ/PBS Ideastream documentary Violins of Hope – Strings of the Holocaust.

Steven is in demand as a scholar-in-residence and teaching artist at international Yiddish folk arts festivals, universities and schools.  He has taught klezmer violin and led master classes at KlezKanada, Living Traditions’ KlezKamp, Yiddish Summer Weimar (Germany), Internationales Klezmer Festival Fuerth (Germany), KlezFest London, Klezmerquerque (Albuquerque, New Mexico) and Master Class de Musica Tradicional Santiago de Compostela (Spain).  Recent North American master class engagements have brought Steven to the University of Pittsburgh, Baylor University, the University of Virginia, Cornell University, Carleton College and Case Western Reserve University.  As the first recipient of the Louis E. Emsheimer Memorial Artist in Residence Program in Cleveland, OH (2002) Steven led klezmer workshops for classical string players and lectured on klezmer music.  Since 2001, Steven has been a “teaching artist” with the Cleveland Orchestra’s “Learning Through Music” program and has developed several children’s programs combining storytelling and klezmer music.  Steven has enriched the lives of Cleveland Ohio’s students by teaching klezmer music at B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue, Park Synagogue, The Temple-Tifereth Israel and the Western Reserve Suzuki School.

In addition to his involvement with klezmer music Steven is known for his passionate performances of East European Romani (Gypsy) music.  He is an accomplished performer of urban East European violin styles, in particular, Magyar nota, Romanian lautari and Slovak folk music and has devoted his life to the study of East European violin style and ornamentation.  A performer with the Harmonia ensemble, Steven’s intense study of East European folk music has brought him into contact with professional folk musicians from the Balkans, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine and Russia.

As a classical concert performer, Steven has been a regular guest soloist with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra performing his own arrangements of traditional East European Romani violin music in Cleveland’s prestigious Severance Hall.  Steven has also performed these showpieces as soloist with the Canton and Akron Symphony Orchestras.  In 2013, Steven explored classical Chinese music and was the violin soloist for the Cleveland, Ohio premiere of the famous Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto, performing with the Chagrin Falls Studio Orchestra.  Steven has also performed this concerto with the Firelands Symphony (2015) and with the National Repertory Orchestra (in July 2016).  A serious chamber musician, Steven performs with celebrated early music pianist/harpsichordist Byron Schenkman as The Greenman-Schenkman Duo; an ensemble dedicated to performing the Jewish art music repertoire of the early 20th century Jewish composers from the St Petersburg Society for Jewish Folk Music.

Steven received his Bachelor of Music (1989) and Master of Music (1991) degrees in Violin Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music studying with Linda Sharon Cerone, Dr. Eugene Gratovich, Alan Bodman and the late Bernhard Goldschmidt.  His classical studies continued with Montreal’s late-renowned pedagogue Yaela Hertz.  As an orchestral performer, Steven has performed with the Canton and Akron Symphony orchestras and the Cleveland Pops Orchestra.  He has participated in the National Repertory Orchestra, the National Orchestral Institute, the Kent/Blossom Music Festival, the Ohio Light Opera and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.
            Steven is lead performer, composer and producer of the recordings Stempenyu’s Dream and Stempenyu’s Neshome.  He is the featured performer and co-producer of Smithsonian Folkways’ first klezmer music recording, Khevrisa-European Klezmer Music.  Steven has also recorded with Harmonia (Hidden Legacy), Budowitz (Mother Tongue), the Klezmatics (Rise Up! Shteyt Oyf!), violinist Alicia Svigals (Fidl), the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band (Fire), Rabbi Neil Blumofe (Piety and Desire), guitarist Jesse Cook (Free Fall), Yiddishe Cup (Klezmerized) and vocalists Heather Klein (Shifrele’s Portret), Lori-Cahan Simon (Songs My Bubbe Should Have Taught Me, Vol. 1 – Passover; Vessel of Song – The Music of Mikhl Gelbart) and Ludmila Sorin (Yiddish, Ladino, Hebrew and Russian Songs).  Steven’s Jewish and klezmer compositions are also featured on various internationally released klezmer music compilation recordings.

Meet The Vocalist For “Topilow Pops!”

17-57-30-DSC_1026 (2) small croppedConnor Bogart O’Brien will join the NRO for our popular “Topilow Pops!” concert on Friday, July 15th at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge. 

A native of Ashtabula Ohio, Connor grew up as a classical violinist before ultimately studying vocal performance/opera at the Eastman School of Music in New York.  During his time at Eastman, he was also accepted into the nationally ranked male acappella group, The University of Rochester Yellowjackets, (as seen on NBC’s “The Sing Off”) as a featured soloist.

In the years since, Connor has been a soloist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, The Rochester Philharmonic, The Akron Symphony, The Cleveland Pops, and the Cleveland Orchestra. He also starred on The History Channel’s Shifting Gears, and has served as executive music supervisor and composer to The Discovery Channel for their series, The Kustomizer. As a songwriter, several of his original songs have been featured on national television, including ABC’s “Days of Our Lives” and MTV’s, “The Hills”.

“Inside Out”, the lead single from his self-titled first album, vaulted to the number one radio position in France, and held the position for several weeks. Two full-length albums followed, which led to performing as the opening act on over 20 national tours.  Including Ashlee Simpson, Huey Lewis and The News, Edwin McCain, Richard Marx, Rick Springfield, Hall & Oates, and Mariah Carey.

Connor can currently be heard behind the scenes singing and recording jingles for companies such as Hasbro Toys and American Greetings, performing with native Clevelander Jim Brickman, as well as in over 32 countries as a headliner act on leading cruise lines with his vocal group, “The Matinee Idols”. For more, visit Connorbogart.com.

Johanna Groh Returns To NRO As Co-Principal Librarian

J Groh photo croppedJohanna (Jo) Groh is the Principal Librarian for the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in Norfolk, VA. Prior to moving to Virginia, Jo lived in Colorado and worked as the Archivist for the Central City Opera House Association at the University of Denver in the Special Collection and Archives department in Denver, Colorado. Jo began working with the NRO in 2013 as the library intern and returns for her second season as Co-Principal Librarian.

Other organizations that Jo has worked with include the Virginia Opera, Virginia Arts Festival, Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, Lamont School of Music Academic Library, Colorado Public Radio, and the Cleveland State University Symphony and Chamber orchestras. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University (B.S., Music & Psychology), Cleveland State University (M.M., Cello Performance), and University of Denver (M.L.I.S., Library and Information Science).

Johanna has been published in the Society of Rocky Mountain Archivists newsletter as well as in the recent volume of the Performing Arts Resources by the Theater Library Association concerning her research on the curriculum development for a specialization in music librarianship within library and information science degree program. She serves  as a member of the Education Committee for the Major Orchestra Library Association (MOLA), Education Roundtable member and conference presenter for the Music Library Association (MLA), and as a presenter and member of the Performing Arts Roundtable for the Society of American Archivists (SAA).