The 2016-2017 Great Performers Series
presented by the Sarasota Concert Association
December 2016 – March 2017
The series’ 72nd season features performances by three major orchestras, a legendary string quartet, piano superstar Daniil Trifonov, and a bonus concert with the acclaimed baroque orchestra Apollo’s Fire.
(Sarasota, Florida) Sarasota Concert Association’s Great Performers Series continues “bringing Carnegie Hall to Sarasota” with a dazzling line-up of world-class musicians and ensembles. The 2016-2017 season, which runs December 2016 through March 2017, features the Minnesota Orchestra, recently returned from a triumphal visit to Cuba; the legendary Emerson String Quartet; the National Symphony of Ukraine; the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; young piano sensation Daniil Trifonov, and a sixth concert featuring Cleveland’s famed baroque orchestra, Apollo’s Fire.
For the past many years, SCA’s Great Performers Series consisted of five classical music concerts at the Van Wezel held during a three-month period—January through March. According to SCA president, Joy McIntyre, that changed this season with a December start and the addition of a sixth concert. “This season also marks the first in which one of our concerts will take place in a new venue,” says McIntyre. “We’re delighted to announce that the Apollo’s Fire concert will be at the Riverview Performing Arts Center.”
McIntyre explains that recent marketing and audience surveys showed that, “extending the season and adding a sixth concert creates a stronger and more consistent presence in the community. It also allows for a greater diversity of musical selections.” She adds that the organization has added the sixth concert at no extra cost to season subscribers. “This season’s bonus sixth concert will be free for our subscribers, so we encourage classical music fans to subscribe early!”
The 2016-17 Great Performers Series season opens on Sunday, December 18, 3p.m., with a performance by the renowned Emerson String Quartet. Hailed by The New York Times as “one of the most impressive of American string quartets,” and winner of nine Grammys, three Gramophone Awards, and an Avery Fisher prize, the Emerson Quartet is widely regarded as a giant among American string quartets. The arrival of award-winning conductor and cellist Paul Watkins in 2013 has “complemented their customary power, finesse and unanimity with a fresh, palpable vigor,” that is “electrifying.” (The New York Times)
The season continues on Monday, January 9, 7:30 p.m., with the Minnesota Orchestra, conducted by Osmo Vänskä, and featuring cellist Alisa Weilerstein. The Grammy Award-winning Minnesota Orchestra, now in its second century, has long ranked among America’s top symphonic ensembles. In May 2015, Vänskä and the Orchestra performed two historic concerts in Havana, Cuba, becoming the first major American orchestra to perform in the island nation since the U.S. and Cuban governments announced steps to normalize relations between the two countries.
The season’s third concert features National Symphony of Ukraine (NSU), conducted by Theodore Kuchar, with pianist Alexei Grynyuk, Monday, January 30, 7:30 p.m. Formed in 1918, the National Symphony of Ukraine gained international recognition over a remarkably short period of time and is considered to be one of the finest symphony orchestras in Eastern Europe today.
Hailed by ClassicsToday.com as “an extremely exciting and talented conductor,” with a “take-no-prisoners approach” to music, NSU conductor laureate Theodore Kuchar is one of the most prolifically recorded conductors of the past decade, with over 90 compact discs for the Naxos, Brilliant Classics, Ondine and Marco Polo labels.
Pianist Alexei Grynyuk, who will be performing during this NSU concert, has been described by Le Figaro as a “master of transparent and sovereign touch, astonishing personality and absolutely transcendental virtuosity”.
The season continues on Wednesday, February 22, 7:30 p.m., with Apollo’s Fire. Named for the classical god of music and the sun, Apollo’s Fire was founded in 1992 by the award-winning young harpsichordist and conductor Jeannette Sorrell. Sorrell envisioned an ensemble dedicated to the baroque ideal that music should evoke affekts or passions in its listeners. The resulting Apollo’s Fire is a collective of creative artists who share Sorrell’s passion for drama and rhetoric. Please note: This concert is at Riverview Performing Arts Center.
Next, is the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by Peter Oundjian, with acclaimed Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, Thursday, March 16, 7:30 p.m. Since its official founding in 1891 (as the Scottish Orchestra), RSNO has worked with some of the world’s most respected conductors and soloists, including Gustav Holst, Richard Strauss, Arthur Rubinstein, Aaron Copland, Luciano Pavarotti and Elmer Bernstein, and has played a crucial role in shaping the musical life of the nation.
Since Peter Oundjian’s arrival just over two years ago as music director of the RSNO, the orchestra has toured China, performed at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh International Festival and released two recordings.
Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti is one of the most influential violinists of her generation. Winner of Best Female Artist at both the 2012 and 2013 Classical Brit Awards, Benedetti attracts enormous worldwide media attention.
The final concert of the season, Thursday, March 30, 7:30 p.m., features Daniil Trifonov, one of the most sought-after young virtuoso pianists of today’s concert world, in a program of duo piano music with his long-time teacher at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Sergei Babayan. Born and trained in Russia, the brilliant young Trifonov burst onto the world stage in 2011 at age 20, at the International Tchaikovsky Competition. Hailed for his emotional intensity, bold energy and remarkable levels of color, pianist Sergei Babayan brings a deep understanding and insight to a stylistically diverse repertoire, which includes a performance history of 54 concertos. Le Figaro has praised his “unequaled touch, perfectly harmonious phrasing and breathtaking virtuosity.”
Five of the Great Performers Series concerts are at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The February 22nd concert is at the Riverview Performing Arts Center, 1 Ram Way in Sarasota. Subscriptions for all six concerts are $180, $230, $250, $280, and $320. Single tickets go on sale after September 1. For subscription information, call 941-225-6500. Forms for subscriptions can also be downloaded at www.scasarasota.org.
SCA also presents a series of free daytime concerts that include performances by high-caliber, area-based artists, November 2016 through April 2017. The series, originally called Munchtime Musicales, is designed to offer a variety of musical genres, including classical, folk, and jazz, featuring both vocal and instrumental performers. The 2016-2017 concert season will be announced soon—with a new name!
About the Sarasota Concert Association
The Sarasota Concert Association (SCA) is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to foster an appreciation for the musical arts by sponsoring professional concerts, featuring a variety of quality music. This is accomplished through the Great Performers Series of world-class musicians and Munchtime Musicales, a free community outreach program. For more information about SCA, visit www.scasarasota.org.