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RPO's Own Juliana Athayde Displays Her Talent in Bruch's Fiendishly Difficult Violin Concerto

January 10, 2008

Program to feature Ravel’s Boléro and two works rooted in dance

Rochester, NY – The virtuosic fingers of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s Concertmaster, Juliana Athayde (The Caroline W. Gannett and Clayla Ward Chair) will make easy work of the fiendishly difficult Violin Concerto No. 1 by Max Bruch on Thursday, January 24 and Saturday, January 26 at 8 p.m. in the Eastman Theatre with Christopher Seaman at the helm. The program titled Boléro! also features the 1985 Fantasia on an Ostinato, a fascinating work by Pulitzer Prize-winner John Corigliano inspired by Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, followed by two French masterpieces with roots in dance: Fanfare and Poème dansé from La Péri by Paul Dukas (best known for his Sorcerer’s Apprentice) and Ravel’s haunting Boléro, in which an insistent drum beat gets a masterful treatment using the orchestra’s wide-ranging instrumental colors.  Maestro Seaman hosts the pre-concert chat at 7:00 p.m.

Christopher Seaman refers to Bruch’s work as “a masterpiece among concertos.”  A thoughtful introduction leads into a strong, heroic first movement.  A lyrical and tender second movement leads into a gypsy-flavored Finale, which Seaman promises will “bring the house down!”  Paul Dukas’ superb tone poem, Fanfare and Poème dansé from his ballet La Péri, is profoundly romantic, atmospheric and wonderfully orchestrated.  After a brass Fanfare, the music takes a mystical turn, revealing a tale based on an ancient Persian legend.  Iskender, a young prince, has journeyed to the ends of the earth in search of the flower of immortality, guarded by a sleeping péri (fairy).  Iskender steals the flower, awakening the péri.  Struck by her beauty and grief, Iskender relinquishes the flower, and the péri disappears.

Since her appointment as RPO concertmaster in March 2005, Juliana Athayde has become a favorite of both audiences and critics for her huge talent and onstage personality.  Prior to joining the RPO, Juliana was concertmaster of the Canton (Ohio) and Plymouth (Mich.) Symphonies as well as with the New York String Seminar at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Jaime Laredo. She has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra in the United States and in Europe, and has been heard as a soloist with the RPO and the Asheville, Canton, Diablo, Flint, Mid-Texas, Palo Alto, Plymouth and Wyoming symphony orchestras. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, she made her solo debut at the age of 16 performing with the San Francisco Symphony.  She earned her Master of Music at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2005, becoming the first graduate of CIM’s prestigious Concertmaster Academy under the direction of Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster William Preucil.

Tickets for these performances are $20-$55, available online 24/7 at www.rpo.org, by phone (454-2100); in person from the RPO Box Office, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (non-concert Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.); and seven days a week at area Wegmans.  A convenience fee may apply.

The Philharmonics Series is sponsored by The Eastman Kodak Company and Bausch & Lomb.  The RPO gratefully acknowledges PAETEC Communications Inc. for the PAETEC Philharmonic Partners program, which offers discounted Philharmonics Series tickets to local college students.  Juliana Athayde’s performance is made possible by The Alfred Davis and Brunhilde Knapp Artists Performance Fund.  Maestro Seaman’s pre-concert chat is made possible by Drs. Robin and Michael Weintraub in memory of their parents.

Celebrating its 85th season in 2007-08, 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 and the City of Rochester. 

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