Now that this summer’s drama surrounding the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s financial woes has quieted, at least for now, we can focus on the significant contributions our home state orchestra and its artistic leader Marin Alsop are making to classical music, beginning with their emphasis on contemporary American women composers.
This Thursday night at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, the BSO will perform the US debut of Russian-American composer Lera Auerbach’s Eve’s Lament – O Flowers, That Never Will Grow. The work was well-received during its world premiere last month when Alsop made her own debut as the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra’s first woman conductor in its 50-year history. It was also the first time the orchestra led its season with a contemporary work.
Auerbach’s piece runs about ten minutes long and is one of several works by women to be performed by the BSO during this, its “Year of the Woman” season, which Alsop has dedicated to marking one hundred years of women suffrage.
“Lera draws inspiration from a number of sources when composing, and often avoids being pigeonholed into just one art form. In this case, she was inspired by a passage in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Book XI, exemplifying her close relationship to literature,” Alsop said in an interview.
Having a work by Auerbach, one of contemporary classical music’s most recognized names, was the brainchild of American philanthropist Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, who co-commissioned the piece with the BSO, the VRSO, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, and the Vienna Konzerthaus. McElveen-Hunter, CEO and founder of the North Carolina-based Pace Communications and a former ambassador to Finland appointed by President George W. Bush, also co-commissioned Anna Clyne’s Abstractions. Later this season, the BSO will perform Restless, another Clyne commission from McElveen-Hunter.
Also on the program is Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture; Prokofiev’s “Classical” Symphony; and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, which will feature three up-and-coming local singers, soprano Elise Thora Volkmann, tenor Jason Lee Berger, and bass-baritone Peter Tomaszewski.
Running Time: About 2 hours, with one 20-minute intermission.
The BSO is performing Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture, Lera Auerbach’s Eve’s Lament – O Flowers, That Never Will Grow (U.S. Premiere), Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1, “Classical,” and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, Ballet in One Act in Baltimore at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall Thursday, November 21 at 8 p.m. and at the Strathmore Music Center in North Bethesda on Sunday, November 24, 2019, at 3 p.m. For tickets, call the box office at (877) BSO-1444, or purchase them online.