Orchestra of St. Luke Sets 40th Anniversary Season with Shows at Carnegie Hall & More
In the 2014/2015 season, Orchestra of St. Luke's (OSL) celebrates 40 years since a group of astounding musicians first performed at The Church of St. Luke in the Fields. OSL's concerts and programs show that the values held since the orchestra's earliest days-flexibility, a collaborative spirit, commitment to the community, and commensurate artistry-continue to distinguish OSL and propel it forward.
"This season's programs highlight the most unique aspects of OSL-intimate and focused at its core as a chamber ensemble, and enthralling when expanded to its full forces," says Principal Conductor Pablo Heras-Casado. "Many of the works we will perform hold a special place in the hearts of our musicians and audience members, and I am delighted to work with my OSL family to develop compelling interpretations, proving that music, whether old or new, is vibrant and ever-evolving."
OSL President and Executive Director Katy Clark notes, "Looking back on OSL's highlights and growth since 1974, it is clear that the success of Orchestra of St. Luke's is a result of its extraordinary versatility and adaptability. With our brilliant principal conductor, gifted musicians, and our home, The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, we begin our next 40 years as a thriving organization-equipped to meet the challenges facing the performing arts, and working with artistic and community partners to make excellent classical music accessible to all."
OSL's Carnegie Hall Orchestra Series will feature Heras-Casado, one of the most praised young conductors today, in two concerts. Heras-Casado has invited the exciting young cellist Alisa Weilerstein for the April 2015 program, and stunning vocalists Elizabeth DeShong, Joseph Kaiser, and Luca Pisaroni for Mendelssohn's Die erste Walpurgisnacht on the season-opening concert in November. Stephen Hough will join OSL for Dvo?ák's Piano Concerto in G minor in a program guest conducted by Harry Bicket. In honor of its 40th anniversary, OSL celebrates its longtime commitment to new music and contributes to the repertoire by commissioning new works by Roberto Sierra, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Maria Chavez for each of its Chamber Music Series concerts, with the generous support of Linda and Stuart Nelson. St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble members have handpicked works that have special meaning to the ensemble to complete the programs, and the commissioned composers will draw inspiration from these for their own pieces.
This summer, OSL returns as orchestra-in-residence at Caramoor Music Festival, where it first performed as a full orchestra in 1979. In addition to playing for this season's two bel canto operas, Verdi's Rigoletto and Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, OSL will perform three orchestral programs with world-class guest artists-violinist Joshua Bell, conductor/pianist Jeffrey Kahane, and cellist Alisa Weilerstein. Heras-Casado makes his first appearance at Caramoor since his debut there in 2012, conducting the Festival Finale in August featuring Weilerstein in the Elgar Cello Concerto. As part of a new collaboration, WQXR will broadcast concerts at Caramoor Music Festival for the first time, reaching thousands of radio and online listeners in the New York Metropolitan area. The three OSL programs to be broadcast are Joshua Bell-Sibelius, Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, and Alisa Weilerstein-Elgar.
Demonstrating its versatility, OSL performs two all-contemporary concerts co-presented with the New York Philharmonic as part of the inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL this spring. Featuring U.S. and New York premieres, Principal Conductor Pablo Heras-Casado conducts OSL in programs that explore the works of Pierre Boulez and George Benjamin, set alongside works by contemporary composers from France, Switzerland, and England whose lives and compositional styles have intersected with theirs.
OSL will continue to engage audiences beyond the concert halls in its 2014/2015 season, bringing free concerts across the city; welcoming hundreds of children, neighbors, and music lovers for free community events at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music; and providing ensemble coaching for adults through the Amateur Musicians Project (AMP). Entering its second season, and already recognized with prestigious grants, Youth Orchestra of St. Luke's (YOSL) offers intensive instrumental coaching in partnership with Police Athletic League (PAL) and New York City public schools.