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Classical 31/08/2012

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Performs Bernstein's Symphony No. 3, "Kaddish," Sept. 28-30

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Performs Bernstein's Symphony No. 3, "Kaddish," Sept. 28-30
Baltimore, MD (Top40 Charts/ Baltimore Symphony Orchestra) Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) Music Director Marin Alsop will lead the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The Washington Chorus, The Maryland Boys Choir, soprano Kelley Nassief and narrator Claire Bloom in Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 3 "Kaddish" on Friday, September 28 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, September 30 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, September 29 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. Also on the program will be Dave and Chris Brubeck's Ansel Adams: America, paired with stunning images by the legendary photographer. The BSO will also perform John Adams' thrilling Short Ride in a Fast Machine. This program of contemporary American works is the second in the BSO's 2012-2013 season-opening focus on music that celebrates America. Please see below for complete program details.

The Washington Chorus will join the BSO to perform Bernstein's Symphony No. 3, "Kaddish," narrated by acclaimed film and stage actress Claire Bloom, who recently performed the role of Queen Mary in the 2011 film, The King's Speech. Bernstein's "Kaddish" is named for the Jewish prayer that is chanted at synagogue services to honor the dead. The work was dedicated to John F. Kennedy shortly after his assassination. Said Jamie Bernstein of her father's connection to this work, "My parents adored the Kennedys… I had never seen my parents cry before November 22, 1963… So on that Friday after school, when my father's face distorted with anguish and my mother crumpled on her bed and sobbed, I felt my world lurch sickeningly on its foundations. At the time of that assassination, my father was finishing the orchestrations for his Symphony No. 3, 'Kaddish.' He immediately decided to dedicate the piece to the slain president, his beloved friend. How grimly appropriate it was that the Hebrew text in that symphony is the Kaddish prayer, the Jewish prayer of mourning for the dead." The work calls for a Speaker, a role Bernstein originally intended to be performed by a woman: his wife, the gifted Chilean-American actress Felicia Montealegre. Bernstein later revised the text so it could be performed by a narrator of either sex. Due to Maestra Alsop's close relationship with the Bernstein family, she has access to the original 1963 text, which will be performed by Claire Bloom.

The BSO reprises its 2010 performance of father and son team Dave and Chris Brubeck's Ansel Adams: America. The work pays tribute to the great American photographer. Adams' majestic images appear behind the orchestra as the 22-minute symphonic tribute is performed. Says Chris Brubeck of Ansel Adams: America, "Because the architecture of some of Adams' photographs was so like the complex structure of a fugue, I suggested to my father that he write one to be the heart of this new composition. Dave's enthusiasm and creativity inspired him far beyond the fugue. He devised many wonderful themes and ideas which we expanded and polished together."

John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine is a four-minute thrill ride. Its pulsing rhythms borrowed from Big Band jazz offer some of the most exhilarating four minutes in modern music.

Marin Alsop, conductor
Hailed as one of the world's leading conductors for her artistic vision and commitment to accessibility in classical music, Marin Alsop made history with her appointment as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. With her inaugural concerts in September 2007, she became the first woman to head a major American orchestra. She also holds the title of conductor emeritus at the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom, where she served as the principal conductor from 2002-2008, and is music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California.

In 2005, Ms. Alsop was named a MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive this prestigious award. In 2007, she was honored with a European Women of Achievement Award, in 2008 she was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2009 Musical America named her "Conductor of the Year." In November 2010, she was inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame. In February 2011, Marin Alsop was named the music director of the Orquestra Sinfônica do estado de São Paulo (OSESP), or the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, effective for the 2012-13 season. Ms. Alsop was named to Guardian's Top 100 Women list in March 2011. In 2011 Marin Alsop was named an Artist in Residence at the Southbank Centre in London, England.

A regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ms. Alsop appears frequently as a guest conductor with the most distinguished orchestras around the world. In addition to her performance activities, she is also an active recording artist with award-winning cycles of Brahms, Barber and Dvorák.

Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her master's degree from The Juilliard School. In 1989, her conducting career was launched when she won the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize at Tanglewood where she studied with Leonard Bernstein.

Claire Bloom, narrator
Claire Bloom made her first stage appearance with the Oxford Repertory Company at the age of 16. Her first major role came a year later, when she played Ophelia at Stratford-Upon-Avon opposite the alternating Hamlets of Paul Scofield and Robert Helpmann. Her first London appearance was as Alizon Eliot in John Gielgud's production of Christopher Fry's The Lady's Not for Burning, opposite Richard Burton. Her performance in Peter Brook's production of Jean Anouilh's Ring Round the Moon, also starring Paul Scofield, led to the role of Teresa in Charles Chaplin's 1952 film Limelight.

Notable stage roles include Juliet, Ophelia, Viola, Miranda and Cordelia at the Old Vic, and in London's West End she has appeared as Sasha in Ivanov, Nora in A Doll's House, Rebecca West in Romersholm and Mme. Ranyeskvya in The Cherry Orchard. In 1974, for her London portrayal of Blanche du Bois in A Streetcar Named Desire, she won the three major English theatrical awards. In New York, Ms. Bloom has been seen in leading roles in A Doll's House, Hedda Gabler, Rashomon, Vivat! Vivat! Regina!, the stage version of Henry James' Turn of the Screw and, most recently, Electra (as Clytemnestra), a performance that earned her an Outer Critics Circle Award and a Tony nomination.

Ms. Bloom has appeared as narrator with many leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic, for whom she narrated the first US performance of Georg Anton Benda's Medea.

Kelley Nassief, soprano
Kelley Nassief's recent season engagements included Brahms' Requiem with the New Bedford Symphony, Bernstein's Symphony No. 3 ("Kaddish") with Fundaçao Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Saõ Paulo under Marin Alsop, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in a return to Pacific Symphony, also in her debut with the Fort Worth Symphony. Other highlights include Bernstein's Symphony No. 3 with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Beethoven Festival in Warsaw, the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris and the Philadelphia Orchestra; Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica and with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra; Vaughan Williams' A Sea Symphony with Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra; Ravel's Shéhérazade, plus selected opera arias, with the Richmond Symphony; Verdi's Requiem with Louisville, Grand Rapids and Modesto symphony orchestras; Mozart's Requiem with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra; and Wagner's "Wesendonck Lieder" with Da Camera of Houston. Other concert appearances have included Vaughan Williams' A Sea Symphony (Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra); Mahler's Symphony No. 4 (Florida West Coast Symphony); Strauss' Vier letzte Lieder (Eugene Symphony); Bernstein's Symphony No. 3 (Lucerne Festival Orchestra at London's Barbican Centre, and Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra); Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (Oregon Symphony Orchestra); and Mozart's Requiem (both Jacksonville and Nashville symphony orchestras). She has performed Beethoven's "Ah, perfido!" with Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony, Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn with Seiji Ozawa at the Tanglewood Music Festival, Brahms' Requiem with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra under Neemi Järvi, and Mendelssohn's Elijah with Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic.

The Washington Chorus—Julian Wachner, music director
Founded in 1961 as the Oratorio Society of Washington, The Washington Chorus is noted for its critically acclaimed performances and recordings of the entire range of the choral repertoire. A Grammy Award winner, the Chorus, under direction of Music Director Julian Wachner, presents an annual subscription series at the Kennedy Center, the Music Center at Strathmore and other major venues throughout the DC area. The Chorus also frequently appears at the invitation of the National Symphony Orchestra and with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. TWC has sung under the direction of many of the world's greatest conductors including Christoph Eschenbach, Leonard Slatkin, , Marin Alsop, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Neville Marriner, Charles Dutoit, Kent Nagano and the late Mstislav Rostropovich. A leader in its commitment to the support of new music, the Chorus has instituted a multiyear concert series, New Music for a New Age, which features the music of living composers such as Trevor Weston, Nico Muhly, Elena Ruehr, and Paola Prestini. In recognition of this series, TWC was awarded the 2011 ASCAP Alice Parker Award, given each season to a chorus programming significant, new music that expands the mission of the chorus and challenges the audience in new ways.

The Chorus has toured internationally, traveling to such musically important destinations as Paris, Vienna, Prague, Barcelona, London, and Rome, among others. To better serve its local community, the Chorus also has various educational programs and presents free concerts throughout the greater Washington area for special needs groups. The Washington Chorus is deeply committed to being a strong presence in the greater Washington community.

The Maryland State Boychoir—Stephen A. Holmes, Artistic Director
Now celebrating its 25th anniversary season, The Maryland State Boychoir serves the State of Maryland as its "Official Goodwill Ambassadors"—a moniker bestowed to the choir by late Governor William Donald Schaefer. The Boychoir performs over 60 times annually throughout Maryland as well as on national and international tours that have taken them to 30 states, and to Ireland, Wales, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Bermuda and Canada. The choristers have sung at many distinguished venues, including The White House, the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., St. Patrick's Cathedral and Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York City, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Recent Boychoir musical programs have included the Washington D.C. debut of John Rutter's Mass of the Children, and two performances of Howard Shore's Fellowship of the Rings Symphony with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Their annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols has sold out three performances for the past eleven years. Other memorable performances include a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King with the Washington Choral Arts Society at the Kennedy Center, the Twelfth Baltimore Boychoir Festival with over 250 participants, and singing for the Opening Ceremony at the PGA Presidents Cup. The Maryland State Boychoir is dedicated to providing talented boys with a musical education in the tradition of the great European choir schools and provides an environment that cultivates the art of choral singing. Boys in the choir are given opportunities to perform professionally and grow socially.

Classical Concert Series: Bernstein's "Kaddish"
Friday, September 28 at 8 p.m. - Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Saturday, September 29 at 8 p.m. - The Music Center at Strathmore
Sunday, September 30 at 3 p.m. - JMSH
Marin Alsop, conductor
Claire Bloom, narrator
Kelley Nassief, soprano
The Washington Chorus
Julian Wachner, music director
The Maryland Boys Choir
Stephen A. Holmes, artistic director
John Adams: Short Ride in a Fast Machine
Dave & Chris Brubeck: Ansel Adams: America
Bernstein: Symphony No. 3, "Kaddish"
Tickets range from $28 to $90 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or

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