Concerts & Tickets
YOUR MUSIC, YOUR ORCHESTRA | The Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra’s commitment to world-class performances of the greatest music ever written is our history and our future. Dvořák, Bruch, Brahms, Handel, Shostakovich, Beethoven and more – will be played in wonderful live performances by the talented musicians of the RSO during our 2016-17 Season. All concerts are held in the Anne S. Richardson Auditorium at Ridgefield High School, 700 North Salem Road, Ridgefield CT 06877. Concerts begin at 8:00pm.
Purchasing tickets is convenient! View the seating chart below to see section areas and pricing. Order online, call the RSO Box Office at 203-438-3889 or buy tickets in person at the RSO Office. We are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm and are located at 90 East Ridge Road in downtown Ridgefield.
Heroic Masterpieces May 13, 2017 – Michael Lankester, Conductor
A World of Possibilities October 1, 2016 – Barbara Yahr, Conductor
Read concert review here:
Celebrate! December 3, 2016 – Kevin Fitzgerald, Conductor
Read concert review here:
About Michael Lankester
Michael Lankester enjoys an eminent, international conducting career that also includes work as composer, arranger and commentator for special projects in opera, theater and broadcasting.
In May 2000, he completed a highly successful tenure as Music Director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and the Hartford Chamber Orchestra. His fifteen years with the HSO were notable for elevating the artistic standards of the orchestra, increasing its subscriber and donor bases and introducing several innovative series, among them “Classical Conversations” and “Saturday Family Matinees.” Hailed by one critic as ” the most articulate explicator and advocate of classical of music on the planet ….” his Classical Conversations series was a supreme triumph
Since leaving the HSO, Mr. Lankester has been active as a guest conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Bulgarian National Radio Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica, and the orchestras of Seattle, Syracuse, Indianapolis, S W Florida, Edmonton, etc. His close work with chamber orchestras has continued with concerts for the Shakespeare Society of New York, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and numerous other ensembles. .
In his native England, Michael Lankester has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra (with which he has also recorded for Argo Records), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and English Chamber Orchestra. He has appeared at numerous European festivals including the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts in London and in America at the Blossom Festival. He has also led the Orchestra Communale di Firenze on a tour of Tuscany, the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra (with which he has also recorded for MSR Classics) and he returns annually to conduct at the Festival La Gesse in Toulouse, France. In Asia, Mr. Lankester has led the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Taiwan’s National Symphony Orchestra at its International Festival of Music.
Born in London, Michael Lankester studied at the Royal College of Music with Sir Adrian Boult and was awarded a conducting scholarship by Sir Malcolm Sargent. Subsequently, he joined the faculty of the Royal College of Music as Professor of Conducting and Head of Opera. For twelve years, he conducted Contrapuncti, his own chamber orchestra, giving numerous performances in London and on tour throughout Great Britain and Europe.
Fundamental to Michael Lankester’s driving force as a musician is his continuing work with young people. In addition to his many years as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Youth Orchestra and his annual festivals with the Northern Junior Philharmonic Orchestra in England he has performed literally hundreds of concerts with and for children of all ages – testament to his passionately held belief that it is only by young people actually taking part in performances that we can begin to secure the future of great orchestral music.
Michael Lankester holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Connecticut and has just completed a year as guest professor of orchestral studies at New York University.
About Adrian Daurov
A native of St. Petersburg, Russia and now living in New York City, cellist ADRIAN DAUROV is one of the most dazzling artists of his generation.
Adrian Daurov, at the age of 15, made his debut as soloist with the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra. Subsequently, he earned top honors at three international competitions – Bulgaria’s 1st International Music Competition “Coast of Hope” (First Prize, 1996); The Netherlands’ Peter De Grote International Music Competition (Grand Prix, 2002); New York City’s L.I.S.M.A. International Music Competition (First Prize, 2004). In 2004, he toured as soloist with the St. Petersburg Chamber Orchestra, performing in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Warsaw and throughout Germany, and was appointed to the dual position of principal cellist and soloist with the Bayreuth Youth Festival Orchestra, under the baton of Peter Gulke. 2008 heard him as a featured participant in a gala Carnegie Hall concert celebrating Russia’s Independence Day, a program that included the distinguished Russian singers Yelena Obratztsova and Vladimir Galouzine.
After studying at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, Adrian Daurov was awarded the Jerome L. Greene Scholarship for advanced studies at The Juilliard School with the renowned cello pedagogue David Soyer (of the Guarneri Quartet). At Juilliard, he completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, graduating in 2009. While still in school, he was appointed principal cellist of The Chamber Orchestra of New York; a year later, in 2008, he formed his own ensemble – now the award-winning Voxare String Quartet, with which he still tours. Mr. Daurov has also collaborated in chamber music programs with pianists Alexander Ghindin , Olga Vinokur and Di Wu, violinist Mark Peskanov and flutist Eugenia Zukerman. In 2012, he teamed up with the award-winning pianist Spencer Myer to form the Daurov/Myer Duo.
Passionately devoted to the music of our own time, Adrian Daurov has already presented the world premieres of two important works – In 2008, Fountains of Fin for flute, violin and cello by the Persian composer Behzad Ranjbaran and, in 2009, The Epistle – Concerto for Cello & Chamber Choir by the Siberian composer Yuri Yukechev, written for Mr. Daurov and the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York, Nikolai Kachanov, Artistic Director.
Adrian Daurov’s artistry has been heard on several radio and television stations, including WNYC, WQXR and NTV-America. He is also featured on a recent album by the young New York City-based jazz star Romain Collin.
Adrian Daurov performs on a magnificent 1989 cello crafted by John Terry in Florence, Italy.
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Michael Lankester, Conductor
Adrian Daurov, Soloist
Glinka – Overture from Ruslan and Lyudmila
Shostakovich – Cello Concerto No. 1
Beethoven – Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”
Program Notes by Courtenay Caublé
Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila Mikhail Glinka
More than a century after Mikhail Glinka’s death, Igor Stravinsky commented, with persuasive justification, that “all Russian music sprang from him.” The heritage of Russian folk music and Byzantine chant cannot be discounted, of course; but the distinctive character and colorful orchestration of Glinka’s music arguably led the way for such great composers as Rimski-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, and Tchaikovsky, who established a distinctive Russian musical identity in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Glinka chose the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin’s most popular narrative poem, Ruslan and Ludmila, as the story source for his second opera, which he composed in 1842. The fairy tale plot, set in Pagan Russia, tells the story of the lovely Ludmila, the daughter of the Grand Duke of Kiev, who is desired by three suitors, one of them the heroic knight Ruslan, whom she chooses. Unfortunately, though, Ludmila is spirited away during their engagement party by evil spirits and delivered to the also evil dwarf Chernomor. Heroically overcoming various supernatural obstacles, Ruslan manages to reach his captured fiancée, but not before the wicked Chernomor has put her into a magical sleep. Ruslan takes her (still asleep) back to Kiev, where she is abducted once again, still asleep, by one of the rejected suitors. Ruslan hastens to the rescue yet again, though, and finding that the kidnapping suitor hasn’t been able to awaken her either, does so himself (with the aid of a magic ring), followed by rejoicing throughout the land.
One of the liveliest concert openers ever written, the Overture begins with forceful full-orchestra chords and dazzling scales that lead into two contrasting themes, both taken from the opera’s joyful final scene – the first an energetic march-like theme and the second the warmly passionate melody of an aria in which Ruslan praises the lovely Ludmila.
After a development and recapitulation of the thematic material, there is a coda in which an ominous descending whole-tone scale played by trombones that recalls the evil Chernomor seems to undermine the happy mood before the overture ends in uncompromised rejoicing.
Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat Major Dimitri Shostakovich
By 1959, when Shostakovich composed his Cello Concerto No. 1 for his close friend, the great cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, he was no longer being victimized by the attacks on his music as “excessively formalistic” during the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin; but the music arguably reflects evidence of the composer’s remembered stress and resentment, even with a tongue-in-cheek quotation in the final movement from Stalin’s favorite Georgian folksong, which he had also used in Rayok, his musical satire on the Soviet Union.
Even though the concerto’s score makes effective use of both a contrabassoon and a celeste, Shostakovich’s orchestra is a relatively small one, with only a single brass instrument – a French horn, which is also tellingly used in solo passages as well as in a sort of conversational partnership with the solo cello. There are also quite a few extended passages, especially in the second movement, where Shostakovich further limits his orchestration to only a small group of instruments in a way that conveys the effect of chamber music.
Although Shostakovich described the first movement (Allegretto) as a “fun-loving” or “humorous” march, critical consensus has judged it more frenzied than frolicsome. Like a repeated question followed by attempted answers, the musical content proceeds from contrasting themes presented as a four-note descending “motto” played twice followed by four notes that descend chromatically. The pursuit of possible answers to the troubling question then proceeds conversationally between the solo cello and the orchestra and also between the solo cello and the French horn that becomes an established relationship between the two instruments, with the French horn making a thematic point and the cello responding with its elaborations on it. Shostakovich uses the timpani here and there to punctuate the discussion and to end it.
The remaining three movements are played without pauses between them.
After a brief string introduction, the French horn intones the melancholy main theme of the second movement (Moderato) before the solo cello takes over to develop it conversationally with the strings and with a solo clarinet. The middle section of the three-part movement becomes increasingly restless before it leads back into the opening horn theme, this time played instead fortissimo by the full orchestra. Then the solo cello returns, its shimmering harmonics along with the sound of the celeste creating an ethereal mood before a quiet drum roll serves as a transition between the second movement and an extended transitional cadenza of so great a length (148 measures) that Shostakovich designated it as an additional movement, giving this concerto four movements rather than the traditional three.
Shostakovich skillfully uses the unusually long solo cadenza (Cadenza – Attacca) to amalgamate the entire concerto, with musical material from the second movement, reminders of the first movement, and foreshadowing of the intense rhythmic force of the finale.
In addition to providing the private joke with the tongue-in-cheek quotation from Stalin’s favorite folksong, the fourth movement (Allegro con moto) revisits the first movement’s frenzied mood, reinforced this time by loud protests from the timpani and strident upper-register shrieks from woodwinds. Then the solo horn returns, this time with the first movement’s four-note motto theme, to begin the coda, where themes from both the first and final movements come together along with a simultaneous virtuosic display of dazzling scales and octaves by the solo cello to being the concerto to a powerful conclusion.
Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat Major Ludwig van Beethoven
When Beethoven undertook the composition of his third symphony in 1803, his intention was to dedicate it to Napoleon Bonaparte, the French general who, in his opinion at the time, was a heroic champion of the French Revolution’s motivating values of freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of justice. He almost certainly thought of Napoleon as a sort of modern Prometheus, the Greek mythological hero who brought the tool of fire to mankind because of his concern for the welfare of the human race. When he learned, however, after having finished and dedicated the symphony to Napoleon, that his heroic champion had declared himself Emperor of France, his disgust was so consuming that he ripped away the title page of the original score, scratched out Napoleon’s name from the cover page of the conducting score, and renamed the work Sinfonia Eroica, Composed to Celebrate the Memory of a Great Man.
There were a few appreciative reviews of the symphony’s first public performance in April of 1805; understandably, though, there was considerable negative reaction from the general musical public, particularly for the work’s “excessive length” and for “obviously deliberate violations of the rules of form and style.” The reason, of course, was that it was unlike anything that anyone had ever heard before.
What is termed “absolute music” (music for its own sake, which can be funny or happy or sad, but which was not intended as an expression of the composer’s feelings or thoughts) was the standard for the “classical” period (Haydn’s age) in the second half of the eighteenth century; and, for the most part, composers rather stringently followed set rules of form and harmony.
Many regard Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony both as the first undisputed eruption of Beethoven’s maturing personal style and as the harbinger of a movement away from a “classical” approach in favor of a “romantic” one to musical composition – one in which the aforementioned rules and forms would remain as guidelines but could be modified or even violated in the service of a composer’s extra-musical purposes, such as the expression of personal feelings or the musical expression of an idea or vision.
Instead of a customary “classical” introduction, the symphony’s first movement (Allegro con brio) begins with just two loud staccato E-flat Major chords followed by the movement’s first theme – a strong one (perhaps derived from the main theme of Beethoven’s ballet The Creatures of Prometheus) that follows the pattern or an E-flat triad but which, instead of moving to a harmonically predictable destination, must have shocked that first audience by landing on a clashingly unrelated C sharp – a discord that Beethoven sustains with a crescendo – a trick deliberately intended to create an unresolved tension that he will maintain throughout the entire movement’s development, with each of the themes appearances violating harmonic predictability by moving toward an unresolved tension point. The astonishing development eventually explodes in a dissonant climax unlike anything that anyone in that audience could have ever heard. Then, towards the end of the movement, Beethoven surely must have shocked his first audience even more disturbingly with yet another trick. There is a soft violin tremolo on a pitch that seems obviously intended to lead to a restatement of the theme; but before it resolves into the expected key, a single French horn timidly starts to play the theme. The audience, of course, must have thought that the poor horn player had just carelessly come in too soon. It was no mistake, though. It was just Beethoven’s way of making sure that the tension created in that opening appearance of the main theme would remain unrelieved.
One usually thinks of funeral marches as gloomy music meant to represent or evoke tearful grief over the loss of a human life. The Eroica Symphony’s beautiful second movement (Marcia funebre: Adagio assai) isn’t that sort of piece, though. Instead, it is more of an evocation of heroic grief – a solemn but thoughtfully felt reminder of a life fully lived, one that has left a treasured legacy. A somber repeated rhythmic figuration, which remains throughout the movement as an undercurrent, is soon overlaid by an also somber but lyrical and noble theme that might best be described as a musical lamentation without tears for heroes who lived their lives in the service of justice and freedom.
The spirited movement that follows the noble funeral march (Scherzo: Allegro vivace) instantly dispels heroic grief, though, in favor of unalloyed joie de vivre. The scherzo is replete with fun, laughter and sunlight – a sort of grateful tribute to lives made secure and joyful thanks to the heroic deeds of others.
In the magnificent Finale (Allegro molto), rushing strings and exuberant chords lead fortissimo to the movement’s first thematic element, a thirteen-note line of widely separated notes played pizzicato and very softly by strings which Beethoven expands and develops with two variations before overlaying and combining it with the Prometheus theme borrowed from his earlier ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus. After that, the movement proceeds in theme-and-variations form, with eleven variations and a coda, which in effect is an additional variation, totaling twelve, each one of them uniquely enjoyable and impressive. The effect of the Finale as a whole, though, is overwhelming – a formidable conclusion for a masterpiece that many consider Beethoven’s finest work.
Enjoy the Greatest Music Ever Written!
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|Enjoy Four Classical Concerts for 2017-2018 (October 7th, December 2nd, March 17th and May 5th)||Adult|
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