Marin Alsop Leads BSO in Music from Film ALEXANDER NEVSKY, Now thru 1/13
The concert hall is transformed into the movie theater when the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO), lead by Music Director Marin Alsop, with soprano Irina Tchistjakova and the Baltimore Choral Arts Society perform Sergei Prokofiev's music score from Sergei Eisenstein's classic 1938 motion picture Alexander Nevsky. The BSO and guests will perform this majestic score live while the film is projected behind them tonight, January 11, 2013 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 3 p.m. at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, and Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore. Please see below for complete program details.
The 1938 historical drama Alexander Nevsky depicts the title character's improbable defeat of the invading Teutonic Knights in the mid-13th century Battle of the Ice, keeping safe his kingdom of Novgorod. The film was directed by pioneering Russian director Sergei Eisenstein, who employed special effects and cinematic techniques that were considered advanced for the era, with a musical score by Sergei Prokofiev. The creative collaboration between director and composer is heralded as an industry standard for filmmakers. Perhaps what fueled their synergy was their shared desire to create a popular hit that would be also be viewed favorably by Josef Stalin, thus keeping them safe from Stalinist purges. Yet the trying circumstance in which the film score was composed is not reflected in its vivid, inspirational music, reminiscent of Russian folk tunes. The degraded quality of the original soundtrack's recording, however, does not do justice to Prokofiev's compelling score. Marin Alsop and the BSO remedy this with live orchestral performances to accompany screenings of this legendary masterpiece.
Under the dynamic leadership of Music Director Marin Alsop, the BSO has become a leader among American orchestras for its unique programs designed around unified themes of cultural significance and broad appeal. Alexander Nevsky is part of the BSO's season-long celebration of the marriage of film and music. Other cinema-inspired programs performed this season include Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times (May 10-12) and Leonard Bernstein's movie musical West Side Story (June 13-16).
"Great cinema has the power to inspire, excite, entertain and make us laugh," says BSO Music Director Marin Alsop. "A crucial component of a great film is a captivating and compelling musical score. I'm thrilled to present some of the best movies throughout the ages, enhanced by full orchestral scores with themes that have become embedded in the soundtrack of our culture."
Marin Alsop, conductor: Hailed as one of the world's leading conductors for her artistic vision and commitment to accessibility in classical music, Marin Alsop made history with her appointment as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. With her inaugural concerts in September 2007, she became the first woman to head a major American orchestra. She also holds the title of conductor emeritus at the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom, where she served as the principal conductor from 2002-2008, and is music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California. In February 2011, Marin Alsop was named the music director of the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo (OSESP), or the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, beginning in the current 2012-13 season.
In 2005, Ms. Alsop was named a MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive this prestigious award. In 2007, she was honored with a European Women of Achievement Award, in 2008 she was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2009 Musical America named her "Conductor of the Year." In November 2010, she was inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame. Ms. Alsop was named to Guardian's Top 100 Women list in March 2011. In 2011 Marin Alsop was named an Artist in Residence at the Southbank Centre in London, England.
A regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ms. Alsop appears frequently as a guest conductor with the most distinguished orchestras around the world. In addition to her performance activities, she is also an active recording artist with award-winning cycles of Brahms, Barber and Dvo?ák.
Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her master's degree from The Juilliard School. In 1989, her conducting career was launched when she won the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize at Tanglewood where she studied with Leonard Bernstein.
Irina Tchistjakova, mezzo-soprano: Irina Tchistjakova graduated from the Gnesin Russian Academy of Music in Moscow in 1989. In the previous year she also became a principal soloist at the Theatre-Studio of the Gnesin Academy of Music and at the Moscow Municipal Theatre 'New Opera'.
Her career highlights include Tchaikovsky's Moscow Cantanta with the Bern Symphonie Orchester, Rusalka with the Bayerischer Rundfunk, Larina in Eugene Onegin at the Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville and with Maestro Ozawa in Japan, Kindertotenlieder with the Bergen PO, War and Peace and Pique Dame at the Bastille, Jean d'Arc at the Montpellier Opera, the Death in Le Rossignol at the BBC Proms, and Alexander Nevsky at the Tonhalle in Dusseldorf, with the Navarra Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington conducted by Leonard Slatkin, and in a recorded concert with VARA Radio at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Recent engagements include Larina in Eugene Onegin with the Cincinnati Opera, Beethoven 9 with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Verdi's Requiem with the Noord Nederlands Orkest and Ivan The Terrible with the Navarra Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Tchistjakova's recording credits include a CD of Verdi Arias on Capriccio, the role of Azucena in Il Trovatore for Laserlight Classics and Prokofiev's On guard for peace with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for Chandos Records.
During the coming seasons Irina will be singing Verdi's Requiem with the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Pique Dame with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Alexander Nevsky with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra.
Baltimore Choral Arts Society-Tom Hall, director: The Baltimore Choral Arts Society, now in its 46th 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, DC, New York and Europe.
For the past 15 years, WMAR Television has featured Choral Arts in an hour-long special, "Christmas with Choral Arts," which won an Emmy in 2006. Mr. 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."
Baltimore Choral Arts' latest CD is "Christmas at America's First Cathedral," released in 2010. A recording with Dave Brubeck, featuring Brubeck's oratorio, "The Gates of Justice," was released internationally in 2004. Mr. Hall produced "Let Freedom Ring!," a highly successful recording featuring the Washington Men's Camerata, as well the soundtracks for "Legends" on The Learning Channel.
Tom Hall is one of the most highly regarded performers in choral music today. Appointed Music Director in 1982, he has added more than 100 new works to the BCAS repertoire and he has premiered works by many contemporary composers, including Peter Schickele, Libby Larsen, Robert Sirota and Rosephanye Dunn Powell.
Mr. Hall is also active as a guest conductor, including appearances with the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, Musica Sacra in New York and Britten Sinfonia in Canterbury, England. Mr. Hall has prepared choruses for Leonard Bernstein, Robert Shaw, Helmuth Rilling, and served for 10 years as the Chorus Master of the Baltimore Opera Company.
COMPLETE PROGRAM DETAILS
Classical Concert Series: Alexander Nevsky
Friday, January 11, 2013 at 8 p.m.-Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (JMSH)
Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8 p.m.-Music Center at Strathmore
Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 3 p.m.-JMSH
Marin Alsop, conductor
Irina Tchistjakova, mezzo-soprano
Baltimore Choral Arts Society
Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky
Tickets range from $28 to $63 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office: call 410.783.8000 or visit BSOmusic.org.