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SA Symphony Presents: Symphonie fantastique - Oct. 19 & 20
San Antonio Symphony

September, 2012

Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing’s first concert of the 2012-2013 season features Berlioz masterpiece


When:             October 19 & 20, 2012 | 8 p.m.

Where:           Majestic Theatre

Tickets:           Individual concert tickets range from $12 to $92 and are available to purchase at the Symphony Box Office or by calling (210) 554.1010 or visiting Patrons can also visit any Ticketmaster location, or call (800) 745.3000.


The San Antonio Symphony’s second performance of its 73rd season is scheduled for October 19 & 20, 2012 at 8 p.m. at the Majestic Theatre. This will be Maestro Sebastian Lang-Lessing’s first concert in his third season, and it features the orchestral showpiece Symphonie fantastique. One of the cornerstones of Romantic music, Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique was written in 1830 only three years after the death of Beethoven. There are moments when the innovative orchestral effects sound far removed from the earlier master and closer to those used by modern composers. The symphony owes its origins to Berlioz’s fascination with a famous actress. In September of 1827, Berlioz saw a performance of Hamlet with British actress Harriet Smithson. He immediately developed a deep obsession for her. Called ‘autobiographical’ by Berlioz, the work is divided into five movements that are all linked by a recurring theme representing his ‘beloved.’


In February 2010, Sebastian Lang-Lessing was appointed music director of the San Antonio Symphony and began his tenure in the 2010–11 season; he is the orchestra’s eighth director in its 73-year history. In 2011 he finished his second season in San Antonio, which included all the Beethoven Symphonies in two months with the orchestra. The highlights of the 2012-13 with San Antonio Symphony include a Brahms Festival with soloists Kirill Gerstein, Vadim Gluzman and Jian Wang. Lang-Lessing regularly appears on the podiums of the world’s preeminent opera houses, including the Paris Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Colorado, Bordeaux Opera, Washington National Opera, Hamburg State Opera, and in Oslo, and Stockholm. He has a particularly close connection with Cape Town Opera, having conducted many performances in Cape Town and on tour with the company.

The soloist for this concert will be violinist Baiba Skride. Skride has appeared with prestigious orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Sinfonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunk, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Orchestre de Paris, Philharmonia Orchestra, Sydney Symphony and the US orchestras of Philadelphia, Houston, Cleveland and Cincinnati. Skride was born into a musical Latvian family in Riga where she began her studies, transferring in 1995 to the Conservatory of Music and Theatre in Rostock. In 2001 she won the 1st prize of the Queen Elisabeth Competition. From November 2010 onwards Baiba plays the Stradivarius ‘’Ex Baron Feilitzsch’’ violin (built in1734), which is generously on loan to her from Gidon Kremer. She will perform the rarely played Romantic violin concerto by Robert Schumann.

The first work of the concert is by Tobias Picker and is called Old and Lost Rivers. Picker is the Artistic Director of the Opera Theatre San Antonio and one of the most important living American composers. He was a prodigy who began writing music at the age of eight and studied at the Manhattan School of Music as a child. He continued his studies at The Juilliard School and PrincetonUniversity where he worked with Elliott Carter, Milton Babbitt, and Charles Wuorinen. 


Picker is active in all aspects of musical life, with an emphasis on opera. From 1985-90 he served as Composer-in-Residence for the Houston Symphony. He has contributed his talents to the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Pacific Music Festival, and many other festivals around the world. In a note at the beginning of the score to this work, Picker explains:


“Driving east from Houston along Interstate 10, you will come to a high bridge which crosses many winding bayous. These bayous were left behind by the great wanderings over time of the Trinity River across the land. When it rains the bayous fill with water and begin to flow. At other times -- when it is dry -- they evaporate and turn green in the sun. The two main bayous are called OldRiver and LostRiver. Where they converge, a sign on the side of the highway reads: Old and LostRivers.


“In 1986 the state of Texas was engaged in a celebration of its sesquicentennary. This event was to be marked by the commissioning of a series of concert openers for the Houston Symphony, of which I had just been appointed Composer in Residence. Thought not a traditional Fanfare, Old and Lost Rivers took its place in what came to be known as the Fanfare Project alongside twenty other compositions from composers from all over theUS and the world…”


The full program on October 19 & 20, 2012 will be:

Sebastian Lang-Lessing, conductor and Baiba Skride, violin

Picker              Old and Lost Rivers               

Schumann       Violin Concerto

Berlioz             Symphonie fantastique


This concert sponsored by the San Antonio Symphony League.


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