This January, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra continues its FAIRWINDS Credit Union Classics Series with a concert of East-meets-West music, conducted by Orlando Philharmonic Music Director finalist Eric Jacobsen. The program includes Russian composer Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade—a musical setting of One Thousand and One Nights—Debussy’s Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun, and Chinese film composer Zhao Jiping’s Concerto for Pipa (traditional Chinese lute), featuring Grammy Award nominee Wu Man.
The sole performance will be Saturday, January 10 at Bob Carr Theater, 401 W. Livingston Street, Orlando, beginning at 8:00 p.m., preceded by a pre-concert conversation with Eric Jacobsen and Wu Man at 7:00. Tickets are $20-$71, available at OrlandoPhil.org or 407.770.0071.
Hailed by The New York Times as “an interpretive dynamo,” conductor and cellist Eric Jacobsen has built a reputation for engaging audiences around the world with innovative and collaborative programming projects. As co-founder and Music Director of adventurous orchestra The Knights, he has led the “consistently inventive, infectiously engaged indie ensemble” (The New York Times) at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and New York’s Central Park, and many international hot spots. Among the group’s recent collaborations are two German tours with cellist Jan Vogler, and a return to the Ravinia Festival for concerts with three of classical music’s brightest stars: cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman and soprano Dawn Upshaw. Jacobsen is a founding member of genre-defying string quartet Brooklyn Rider, dubbed “one of the wonders of contemporary music” (Los Angeles Times). He is also a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s venerated Silk Road Project, participating in residencies and performances in the U.S. and around the world.
Recognized as the world’s premier pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music, Wu Man has carved out a career as a soloist, educator and composer giving the lute-like instrument–which has a history of over 2,000 years in China–a new role in both traditional and contemporary music. She was named Musical America’s 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year, the first time this prestigious award was bestowed on a player of a non-Western instrument. Wu Man premiered Zhao’s Concerto for Pipa and Orchestra with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra during its 2013-2014 season. She also performed the piece with the Buffalo, Fresno, and Louisiana philharmonic orchestras, and the Hartford, Illinois, and Santa Rosa symphonies. She was a featured performer with the Kronos Quartet at their 40th Anniversary Celebration concert at Carnegie Hall and will perform a recital at Wigmore Hall in the United Kingdom. She also tours with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. Jacobsen, who has performed with Wu Man in other programs, describes her as “the Heifetz, the Jimi Hendrix, the Ravi Shankar of the pipa.”
Speaking about the upcoming concert in Orlando, Jacobsen says,
“Some of the most epic music has been influenced by great stories, folk melodies and poems. Debussy was so inspired by Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem “The Afternoon of a Faun” and by sounds from the East that he created a piece that would change the musical landscape forever. Using Chinese folk songs and melodies to shape his concerto for Pipa and orchestra, Zhao Jiping writes a piece with rich and cinematic colors. And Rimsky-Korsakov wrote his version of One Thousand and One Nights by telling us a story that keeps us on the edge of our seats until the last note of his tale. His piece is one of the great orchestral stories ever told. I am so excited to share this music with the audience.”
The Orlando Philharmonic’s international Music Director search was announced in the spring of 2013. Following a 12-month process screening over 275 candidates, a search committee of orchestra musicians and community members chose five finalists to conduct the 2014-2015 Classics Series, sponsored by FAIRWINDS Credit Union. Additional Music Director finalists include Mexican-born Alondra de la Parra, Steven Jarvi of St. Louis Symphony, the Duluth Superior Symphony’s Dirk Meyer and former Music Director of Joffrey Ballet, Leslie B. Dunner.
Each finalist will spend a week or more in Orlando, rehearsing with musicians, meeting with the orchestra board, staff and volunteers, attending events with arts and community leaders, and conducting one of the orchestra’s five Classics Series programs. Following all five visits, the search committee will make an official recommendation to the board, who will announce the orchestra’s new Music Director in spring 2015. Audiences can learn more about the candidates and the search at OrlandoPhil.org/Search.
Now in its 22nd season, the Orlando Philharmonic is Central Florida’s resident professional orchestra, comprised of accomplished musicians recruited from around the world. The Philharmonic inspires audiences with over 125 musical experiences annually, ranging from classical and chamber music concerts to pops performances, staged opera productions, outdoor concerts and education programs for all ages. Learn more at www.OrlandoPhil.org | @OrlandoPhilOrch | www.facebook.com/OrlandoPhilOrch