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Beethoven's Fifth Ushers in RPO's Summer CMAC Series

June 18, 2007

Concertmaster Juliana Athayde also featured in Mozart’s Violin Concerto

Rochester, NY – Arguably the four most familiar notes of any piece of classical orchestral music will announce the first concert of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s summer residency at the Constellation-Brands Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center (CMAC).  On Sunday, July 8 at 7:30 p.m., the RPO returns under Music Director Christopher Seaman to perform the first of its four CMAC series concerts, opening with Mozart’s delightful Overture to “The Magic Flute,” his Violin Concerto No. 4 performed by the RPO’s ever-popular concertmaster, Juliana Athayde (The Caroline W. Gannett & Clayla Ward Chair), and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, featuring those fateful four notes heard everywhere from the concert hall to animated cartoons. 
The Magic Flute was Mozart’s final work for the stage, and the libretto provides a mixture of fantasy, comedy, melodrama and philosophy.  The plot involves Prince Tamino, who must bravely undergo spiritual purification in order to achieve both priesthood in the Temple of Wisdom, and the hand of his sweetheart, Pamina. 

Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 was written when the composer was only 19 years old, and it radiates grace, good humor and perfect taste.  The slow movement offers warmth and serenity, and has been described by Mozart scholar Alfred Einstein as “an uninterrupted song, an avowal of love.”  The finale opens gently, then breaks into a rustic dance tune.  The appealing sequence of varied episodes that follows includes reference to several popular airs of the day, probably written to amuse the audiences Mozart knew so well.

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony was written in earnest early in 1808.  Generally seen as a journey from darkness to light, the symphony was the first to undertake such a momentous emotional expedition.  Beethoven’s friend Anton Schindler claimed that the composer pointed to the opening notes in the score and stated, “Thus fate knocks at the door!”  That famous opening four-note rhythm appears in almost every bar of the first movement.   The symphony continues with a relaxed and traditional second movement in a set of variations.  The scherzo movement, veiled in uncertainty, transitions directly to the finale though a muffled, heart-like beat of the timpani recalling the first movement.  Then suddenly, the exhilarating finale bursts forth, with Beethoven bringing the piccolo, trombones and contrabassoon into the symphonic orchestra for the first time.

Juliana Athayde was appointed Concertmaster of the RPO in March 2005, and since then, has performed as soloist last summer and during the 2006-07 Season.  Known for her beautiful playing and on-stage personality, Ms. Athayde has performed as a soloist with the Asheville, Canton, Diablo, Flint, Mid-Texas, Palo Alto, Plymouth and Wyoming Symphony Orchestras. A native of the Bay Area, she made her solo debut at 16 with the San Francisco Symphony.  In addition, Ms. Athayde was the first student to graduate from The Concertmaster Academy, a prestigious new program at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

CMAC tickets are $15-$50 in advance, $20-$55 at the gate. Discounts are available for seniors, students and children 12 and under. CMAC tickets are available at the RPO Box Office (585) 454-2100, online at www.rpo.org, through Ticket Express, or through Ticketmaster (585) 232-1900.  Please note: CMAC summer tickets are NOT available at Wegmans.  CMAC Box Office (Lincoln Hill Road, Canandaigua) will be open on concert days from noon to concert start, and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. beginning July 6.  The next RPO CMAC concerts are Saturday July14, July 21 and July 28.

CMAC concerts take place rain or shine. Except for lawn seating, all other seats are covered.  The grounds open at 6 p.m. and concertgoers are encouraged to bring their own blanket or lawn chair for relaxing on the hillside. Reusable plastic containers and vacuum-seal bottles are allowed.  Please note the following ground rules: alcoholic beverages may not be brought into CMAC (beer and wine are available for purchase); glass, bottles, cans, recording devices, grills, pets, fireworks and cameras are not permitted on the grounds.

The RPO’s Summer Series is sponsored by Constellation Brands; its CMAC residency is sponsored by Canandaigua National Bank & Trust.  Christopher Seaman’s appearance is made possible by The Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Foundation.

Now in its 84th season, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music.  The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense and a deep and enduring engagement with the community.  The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award, and two recent ASCAP awards for adventurous programming.  RPO performances are made possible in part with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; the State of New York; Monroe County; the City of Rochester; and American Airlines, the official airline of the RPO. 

Note: Digital photos of Juliana Athayde are available on request, as are interviews.

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