CSO To Perform Leningrad Symphony In Russian Winter Festival

CSO To Perform Leningrad Symphony In Russian Winter FestivalMusic Director Rossen Milanov and the Columbus Symphony begin 2019 with a performance of Shostakovich's iconic Leningrad Symphony inspired by Nazi Germany's siege of the city during World War II. One of the composer's most power compositions, this work conveys tragedy, oppression, resistance, and ultimately, victory. The performance will be accompanied by excerpts of the 1997 documentary about Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich titled The War Symphonies: Shostakovich Against Stalin.

The Columbus Symphony presents the Russian Winter Festival I: Leningrad Symphony at the Ohio Theatre (39 E. State St.) on Friday and Saturday, January 4 and 5, at 8pm. Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased in-person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.columbussymphony.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. The CAPA Ticket Center will also be open two hours prior to each performance.

Prelude - Patrons are invited to join Maestro Milanov and the musicians of the Columbus Symphony in the theatre at 7pm for a 30-minute, pre-concert discussion about the works to be performed.

Postlude - Directly following the performance, patrons are invited to stay for a vodka tasting in the pavilion.

Mozart to Matisse - Wednesday, January 2, 2pm, Columbus Museum of Art (480 E. Broad St.)

In collaboration with the Columbus Museum of Art (CMA), this event will combine a chamber music performance by CSO musicians with an illustrated talk on the Russian poster art of WWII that chronicles the brief period during which Americans were allied with Soviets in the struggle to defeat the Nazis. These rare posters promoted the anti-German cause with gruesome images of Nazi brutality, ruthless political caricatures, and idealized depictions of heroic workers and soldiers designed to inspire the Soviet citizenry. Tickets are $5 for CMA members or $20 for non-members (which also includes admission to the museum) and can be purchased by calling CMA at 614.629.0359.

About CSO Music Director Rossen Milanov

Respected and admired by audiences and musicians alike, Rossen Milanov is currently the music director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (CSO), Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias (OSPA) in Spain.

In 2017, Milanov received an Arts Prize from The Columbus Foundation for presenting Beethoven's Ninth Symphony as part of CSO's 2017 Picnic with the Pops summer series. Under his leadership, the organization has expanded its reach by connecting original programming with community-wide initiatives, such as focusing on women composers and nature conservancy, presenting original festivals, and supporting and commissioning new music.

Milanov has collaborated with some of the world's preeminent artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Midori, Christian Tetzlaff, and André Watts. During his 11-year tenure with The Philadelphia Orchestra, he conducted more than 200 performances. In 2015, he completed a 15-year tenure as music director of nationally recognized training orchestra Symphony in C in New Jersey. In 2013, he wrapped up a 17-year tenure with the New Symphony Orchestra in his native city of Sofia, Bulgaria. His passion for new music has resulted in numerous world premieres of works by composers such as Derek Bermel, Mason Bates, Caroline Shaw, Phillip Glass, Richard Danielpour, Nicolas Maw, and Gabriel Prokofiev, among others.

Noted for his versatility, Milanov is also a welcomed presence in the worlds of opera and ballet. He has collaborated with Komische Oper Berlin for Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtzensk), Opera Oviedo for the Spanish premiere of Tchaikovsky's Mazzepa and Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle (awarded best Spanish production for 2015), and Opera Columbus for Verdi's La Traviata.

An experienced ballet conductor, he has been seen at New York City Ballet and collaborated with some of the best-known choreographers of our time, such Mats Ek, Benjamin Millepied, and most recently, Alexei Ratmansky in the critically acclaimed revival of Swan Lake in Zurich with the Zurich Ballet, and in Paris with La Scala Ballet.

Russian composer and pianist Dmitri Shostakovich is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century. A polystylist, Shostakovich developed a hybrid voice, combining a variety of different musical techniques into his works. His music is characterized by sharp contrasts, elements of the grotesque, and ambivalent tonality. He was also heavily influenced by the neo-classical style pioneered by Stravinsky, and especially in his symphonies, by the late Romanticism of Mahler. Shostakovich achieved fame in the Soviet Union under the patronage of Soviet chief of staff Mikhail Tukhachevsky, but later had a complex and difficult relationship with the government.

Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 60 (titled Leningrad) was written roughly around 1939-40. Initially dedicated to the life and deeds of Vladimir Lenin, Shostakovich decided instead to dedicate the symphony to the city of Leningrad upon its completion in December 1941. The piece soon became very popular in both the Soviet Union and the West as a symbol of resistance to Nazi totalitarianism and militarism. It is still regarded as the major musical testament of the estimated 27 million Soviet citizens who lost their lives in WWII. The symphony is played frequently at the Leningrad Cemetery, where half a million victims of the 900-day Siege of Leningrad are buried.

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