CARNEGIE HALL CONCLUDES ITS SEASON-LONG CELEBRATION OF
BENJAMIN BRITTEN’S CENTENARY WITH THE ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS PERFORMING THE COMPOSER’S WAR REQUIEM ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30
Music Director Robert Spano Leads Performance of Britten’s Stirring Choral Masterpiece,
Featuring Evelina Dobračeva, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Stephen Powell as Soloists
|Carnegie Hall’s Benjamin Britten centenary celebration comes to an end on Wednesday, April 30 at 8:00 p.m., with Music Director Robert Spano leading the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in a performance of Britten’s masterful War Requiem in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage. They are joined by a trio of eminent soloists—soprano Evelina Dobračeva, tenor Anthony Dean Griffey, and baritone Stephen Powell—as well as the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Written for the inauguration of Coventry’s new cathedral in 1962, Britten’s War Requiem is a deeply felt expression of the composer’s pacifism. By juxtaposing Latin texts from the Mass for the Dead with shocking depictions of battle by British poet Wilfred Owen (who died in World War I), Britten created a gripping musical statement about man’s inhumanity to man.
This concert will be aired on WQXR 105.9 FM in New York and on stations nationwide as part of the Carnegie Hall Live broadcast and digital series, produced by WQXR and Carnegie Hall in collaboration with American Public Media and hosted by WQXR’s Jeff Spurgeon and American Public Media’s Fred Child. Concerts in the series are available for live streaming on wqxr.org and carnegiehall.org/wqxr. To encourage community and conversation, the series offers robust content surrounding each concert, including live web chats, Twitter commentary by the broadcast team from backstage and in the control room, live and on-demand audio, videos, program notes, photo galleries, and more, connecting national and international fans to the music and to each other.
Britten 100—encompassing over 1,500 performances in more than 140 cities around the world from September 2012 to August 2014—is coordinated by the Britten-Pears Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting the music of Benjamin Britten and his work with tenor Peter Pears from the home that they shared, The Red House, in the coastal town of Aldeburgh, England. This worldwide celebration is formed through extensive collaboration by leading organizations from the worlds of the performing arts, broadcast, film, academia, and heritage. It includes music, books, recordings, radio and television programming, exhibitions, online initiatives for children, and more. For more information, including other Britten 100 performances held throughout the United States, visit britten100.org.
About the Artists
Under Mr. Spano’s guidance, the ASO and its audiences explore a creative programming mix. The Atlanta School of Composers reflects his commitment to American contemporary music, thus defining a new generation of American composers. He has led ASO performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and at the Ravinia, Ojai, and Savannah Music Festivals.
As Music Director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, he oversees the programming of more than 300 events and educational programs for 630 students, including Aspen’s American Academy of Conducting. Guest engagements include the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, San Francisco, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, and Philadelphia Symphony Orchestras, as well as Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, BBC Symphony, and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He has conducted for Covent Garden, Welsh National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and the 2005 and 2009 Seattle Opera Ring cycles.
With an extensive discography of 21 recordings for Telarc, Deutsche Grammophon, and ASO Media, Mr. Spano has garnered six GRAMMY® Awards. Dedicated to pedagogy and multi-disciplinary studies, he has lectured on “Community” for TEDx and recently completed a three-year residency at Emory University. He was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2012.
Mr. Spano is on the faculty of Oberlin Conservatory, and has received honorary doctorates from Bowling Green State University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Emory University, and Oberlin. Mr. Spano served as director of the Festival of Contemporary Music at the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Music Center in 2003 and 2004, and from 1996 to 2004 was Music Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic. He headed the Conducting Fellowship Program at the Tanglewood Music Center from 1998 to 2002. In May 2009, Mr. Spano was awarded Columbia University’s Ditson Conductor’s Award for the advancement of American music.
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, currently in its 69th season, is one of America’s leading orchestras. It performs great music, presents leading artists, educates, and engages music lovers. The ASO serves as the cornerstone for artistic development and music education in the southeast. It performs more than 200 concerts each year for a combined audience of more than a half million in a full schedule of performances. It also reaches more than 67,000 students and underserved members of the community through its education and community outreach programs.
The orchestra is known for the excellence of its live performances, presentations, renowned choruses, and its impressive list of GRAMMY® Award-winning recordings. Since September 2001, the orchestra and its audiences have together explored a creative mix of programming, including Theater of a Concert performances, which explore different formats, settings, and enhancements for the musical performance experience. Another example is the Atlanta School of Composers, which reflects Mr. Spano and the orchestra’s commitment to nurturing and championing music through multi-year partnerships defining a new generation of American composers. Since the beginning of his tenure (to date), Mr. Spano and the orchestra have performed more than 100 concerts containing contemporary works (composed since 1950). By the end of the 2013–14 season, Mr. Spano and the orchestra will have performed 17 orchestra-commissioned world premieres and 17 additional world premieres, including 10 fanfares performed in the 2010–11 season in honor of the 10th anniversary of the artistic partnership between Robert Spano and Donald Runnicles.
During its 32-year history with Telarc, the orchestra and Chorus recorded more than 100 albums and their recordings have won 27 GRAMMY® Awards in categories including Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance, Best Choral Performance, and Best Opera Performance. The orchestra continues to record regularly on its new in-house label, ASO Media, which demonstrates the orchestra’s commitment to celebrating classical masterworks while continuing to perform, commission, premiere, and record with some of today’s leading composers. A recognized leader and supporter of contemporary American music, the orchestra received the 2007 award for Strongest Commitment to New American Music from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. In addition, Music Director Robert Spano was named Musical America 2008 Conductor of the Year. With the opening of the 12,000-seat Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park (vzwamp.com) in May 2008, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra became the first U.S. orchestra to annually perform and present in its concert hall, and in two amphitheaters. In Summer 2013, the orchestra celebrated 40 years at legendary Chastain Park Amphitheater, the award-winning 6,500 seat venue in Atlanta, during the orchestra’s annual Delta Classic Chastain concert series (deltaclassicchastain.com).
BENJAMIN BRITTEN War Requiem, Op. 66
This concert is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for choral music established by S. Donald Sussman in memory of Judith Arron and Robert Shaw.
Funding for the Carnegie Hall Live broadcast series is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This concert is being broadcast live on Classical 105.9 FM WQXR, and streamed on wqxr.org and carnegiehall.org/wqxr as part of the Carnegie Hall Live series. It is also broadcast on radio stations across the country, courtesy of American Public Media.
Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.
Photo at top of release © Chris Lee