Thirteen Airs 8-Part Classical Music Special, Beg. Today


Renowned conductor Gerard Schwarz and his hand-picked team of "all-star" classical musicians from across the United States come together to form a new made-for-television concert series.All-Star Orchestra premieres nationwide in September on public television (check local listings), and airs in New York today, September 8, 2013 at 12:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN and continues for seven consecutive weeks. Maestro Schwarz has taken a page from Major League Baseball's playbook, creating a team of the finest orchestral athletes from top orchestras in the United States. Featuring exceptional performances of the greatest works from the classical repertoire in an accessible format, All-Star Orchestra aims to expose a broad audience of classical music neophytes and connoisseurs to the wonder of classical music.

Maestro Schwarz's All-Star Orchestra is comprised of top players from some of the country's greatest orchestra's including Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Houston, Minnesota, Nashville, New Jersey, New York (the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra), Oregon, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle, Utah, Washington D.C., and more. Together these musicians perform on one stage under the leadership of Maestro Schwarz, who led the Seattle Symphony for 26 years and now serves as its Conductor Laureate.

The episodes feature classical masterpieces as well as exciting new works from leading contemporary American composers. Pairing works like Beethoven's Fifth Symphony with Philip Glass' Harmonium Mountain, the series aims to expose classical music to an even broader audience while keeping the listening experience informative and accessible.

Each of the All-Star Orchestra's eight one-hour programs, recorded over four days, was taped at New York's historic Grand Ballroom at the Manhattan Center where conductors including Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Zubin Mehta, and Arturo Toscanini made their classical music recordings. Cameras were allowed to roam freely during the All-Star Orchestra's recordings creating an unprecedented "up close and personal" experience.

The eight episodes are:

- "Music for the Theatre" featuring Igor Stravinsky's Suite from the Firebird, Maurice Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe Suite No. 2, and Bright Sheng's Prelude to BLACK SWAN.

- "The New World and Its Music" featuring Antonin Dvo?ák's Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's Avanti!

- "What Makes a Masterpiece?" featuring Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 5and Philip Glass' Harmonium Mountain

- "Politics and Art" featuring Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5

- "Relationships in Music" featuring Johannes Brahms' Academic Festival Overtureand Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 3 "Rhenish"

- "The Living Art Form" featuring Richard Danielpour's "A Hero's Journey" (from Piano Concerto #4), Soloist:Xiayin Wang; Samuel Jones' Concerto for Violoncello, Soloist: Julian Schwarz; and Joseph Schwantner's The Poet's Hour - Soliloquy for Violin, Soloist: Yevgeny Kutik

- "Music's Emotional Impact" featuring Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4and David Stock's Blast!

- "Mahler: Love Sorrow and Transcendence" featuring Gustav Mahler's Rueckert Lieder (Songs from Latter Days), Soloist: Nancy Maultsby, and "Totenfeier" ("Funerary Rites" - 1st Mvt. from Symphony No. 2); Augusta Read Thomas' Of Paradise and Light; and Bernard Rands' Adieu

In addition to performances of classical and contemporary works, the programs also feature musical excerpts, images, interviews and educational commentary by Maestro Schwarz, the All-Star Orchestra musicians, and special guests. Each episode also features a brief historical look at the life of the composer at the time he was composing that particular work.

A supplemental website is being developed to offer additional resources aimed for music appreciation and education. The performances, ancillary footage, interviews, and interactive components will be presented with multi-media technologies to bolster the classical music experience for the digital age.

Along with the first television broadcasts of these programs Naxos of America, a leading independent classical music distributor in the U.S. and Canada, will release this series on DVD on Tuesday, September 24, 2013.

All-Star Orchestra series is a co-production of the All-Star Orchestra (John Forsen, executive producer; Paul Schwendener, executive director) and WNET (Stephen Segaller, executive-in-charge; Julie Anderson, executive producer). American Public Television (APT) distributes All-Star Orchestrato public television stations nationwide.

All-Star Orchestra is provided by Charles and Lisa Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences, The Gladys Rubinstein Trust, The Garrigan Lyman Group, Van Ness Feldman LLP, David Gannett, Bruce and Jeanne McNae, and others.