Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Presents Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, January 2-4, 2015
Baltimore, Md. (December 11, 2014) – Maestro Nicholas McGegan and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) will ring in the New Year with a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 on Friday, January 2 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, January 4 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, January 3 at 8 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore. McGegan will lead the Orchestra in Beethoven’s final symphony with the well-known “Ode to Joy,” along with Beethoven’s rarely performed Opferlied, his King Stephen Overture and Haydn’s The Storm. Please see below for complete details.
Throughout the 2014-2015 season, the BSO explores themes of spirituality and transcendence in eight programs. The fifth of these programs is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Beethoven was a fervent believer in the values of the Enlightenment, and found ways to express those beliefs in many of his compositions, especially later in life. One of the reasons for the nearly universal appeal of his Ninth Symphony is that it exemplifies the human value: “all men shall become brothers.” The words sung in the final movement, were taken from the “Ode to Joy,” a poem written by Friedrich Schiller, that proclaims, “Be embraced, ye millions! … Brothers, above the starry canopy there must dwell a loving Father.”
Nicholas McGegan, conductor
As he embarks on his fourth decade on the podium, Nicholas McGegan, hailed as “one of the finest Baroque conductors of his generation” by the London Independent, is increasingly recognized for his probing and revelatory explorations of music of all periods. He has been music director of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra for 27 years, and was Artistic Director of the International Handel Festival Göttingen for 20 years (1991–2011). Beginning in the 2013-14 season he becomes Principal Guest Conductor of the Pasadena Symphony, and in 2014 becomes Artist in Association with Australia’s Adelaide Symphony.
Visit Nic McGegan on the web at http://www.nicholasmcgegan.com.
Katie Van Kooten
American soprano Katie Van Kooten’s operatic and concert appearances continue to thrill audiences and earn her praise for using her “powerful, gleaming soprano” to bring vibrancy and life to all of her performances. Notable operatic performances include Magda La Rondine at the Metropolitan Opera and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Elisabetta in Maria Stuarda, Mimi in La Bohème and Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes at Houston Grand Opera, Antonia in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Vitelia in La Clemenza di Tito and Elettra in Idomeneo at Oper Frankfurt, the Marschelin in Der Rosenkavalier at Minnesota Opera, and returns to Covent Garden for Antonia, Pamina, Mimi and Marguerite.
Concert highlights include appearances with San Francisco Symphony led by Michael Tilson Thomas, Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony, Louisville Symphony. The current season will see her debut with the Atlanta Opera as well as appearances with the Baltimore Symphony, Tucson Symphony and the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.
Internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Mary Phillips is particularly high in demand in the repertoire of Wagner, Verdi, Beethoven and Mahler. She has performed most of the mezzo roles in the Ring cycle, returning to the Metropolitan Opera as Schwertleite in Die Walküre and Jezibaba in Dvorak’s Rusalka. Phillips has also made an acclaimed role as Brangäne Tristan und Isolde for the Dallas Opera. She has been lauded as Azucena in Il Trovatore, Princess Eboli in Don Carlo, and of her Amneris in Aida one reviewer wrote, “In this difficult role requiring agility, a wide vocal range and emotional strength, Phillips poured her heart and voice into it.”
Concert performances include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, the National Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic and the Handel&Haydn Society. Having recorded it with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Nicholas McGegan, Ms. Phillips will reprise the work in early 2015 with McGegan and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Thomas Cooley has established a reputation on both sides of the Atlantic — and beyond — possessing a lyric tenor voice of great flexibility, dynamic range, and precision. He has appeared with such conductors as Carlo Rizzi, David Robertson, Donald Runnicles, Eji Oue, Franz Welser-Möst, Helmuth Rilling, Manfred Honneck, Michael Tilson-Thomas, Nicholas McGegan, Osmo Vänskä, Robert Spano, and Wolfgang Swallisch. His repertoire on the concert stage comprises works such as Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Berlioz’ Requiem, Nuits d’été and L’enfance du Christ, Haydn’s Seasons, Stravinsky’s Les Noces, Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang, Kodály’s Psalmus Hungaricus, Britten’s War Requiem, Bach’s St. John Passion, Mozart’s Requiem, Bernstein’s Candide, and Penderecki’s Credo. He is frequently invited to perform in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a role that has taken him to Singapore, Japan, Germany, Italy, Spain, and throughout the U.S. In the Baroque repertoire he is a well-known interpreter of the works of Bach and Handel especially in the role of the Evangelist in Bach’s Passions and in the great oratorios of Handel.
Andrew Foster Williams
Andrew Foster-Williams studied at and is now a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, London. Opera plans include Balstrode in Britten Peter Grimes for Theater an der Wien and Donner and Gunther in Opera North’s Wagner Ring Cycle in 2016.
Concert plans include Mendelssohn Elijah in Boston and with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra; Bach St John Passion (Christus) with the Concertgebouw Orchestra; Gounod Cinq Mars with Münchner Rundfunkorchester; Beethoven Missa Solemnis in Lisbon and Méphistophélès in Berlioz La Damnation de Faust in Moscow.
Andrew has sung concerts with Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, Netherlands Philharmonic, London Symphony, Monte Carlo and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestras; DSO Berlin, Mozarteum Orchestra, Salzburg, Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, L’Orchestre des Champs Elysée and Les Talens Lyriques as well as appearances at Washington National Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Opera National de Lyon, Netherlands Opera, Opera North, WNO and Glyndebourne Festival.
Baltimore Choral Arts Society
The Baltimore Choral Arts Society, now in its 49th season, is one of Maryland’s premier cultural institutions. The Symphonic Chorus, Full Chorus, Orchestra and Chamber Chorus perform throughout the mid-Atlantic region, as well as in Washington, D.C., New York and Europe.
For the past 18 years, WMAR Television has featured Choral Arts in an hour-long special, Christmas with Choral Arts, which won an Emmy Award in 2006. Music Director Tom Hall and the chorus were also featured in a PBS documentary called Jews and Christians: A Journey of Faith, broadcast nationwide and on National Public Radio in 2001. On local radio, Mr. Hall is the host of “Choral Arts Classics,” a monthly program on WYPR that features the Choral Arts Chorus and Orchestra, and he is the Culture Editor on WYPR’s “Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast.”
Choral Arts has appeared with the National Symphony, and has made regular appearances with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Acclaimed artists collaborating with Choral Arts have included Chanticleer, Dave Brubeck, the King’s Singers, Peter Schickele, Sweet Honey in the Rock and Anonymous 4.
COMPLETE PROGRAM DETAILS
Friday, January 2, 2015 at 8 p.m. – Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 8 p.m. – The Music Center at Strathmore
Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 3 p.m. – JMSH
Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Katie Van Kooten, soprano
Mary Phillips, mezzo-soprano
Thomas Cooley, tenor
Andrew Foster-Williams, bass-baritone
Baltimore Choral Arts Society
Beethoven: King Steven Overture
Haydn: The Storm
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9, “Choral”
Tickets start at $29 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is funded by an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is supported in part by funding from the Montgomery County government and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is also supported by the Citizens of Baltimore County and Baltimore City.