Guest Conductor Joel Smirnoff to Lead Program of Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, and Vaughan Williams
HARTFORD, December 3, 2013- The Hartford Symphony Orchestra will perform a wintry program highlighting the string section of the orchestra at Greensleeves & Sirena on Thursday, December 12 – Sunday, December 15, 2013 at The Bushnell Center for Performing Arts. Led by guest conductor and renowned violinist Joel Smirnoff, the program will feature Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3, “Polish” and Sibelius’ Concerto for Violin in D minor, as well as Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Greensleeves. Renowned violinist, Sirena Huang, will be joining HSO once again, performing Sibelius’ Concerto for Violin.
The program will open with Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Greensleeves. First written as an entr’acte for Shakespeare’s Merry Wives, this piece relies heavily on the graceful and flowing string lines placed throughout. The first half of the program will continue with violin virtuoso Sirena Huang performing Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D minor. This beautifully difficult work will feature HSO’s talented string section and will highlight the blended sound of their instruments.
After intermission, HSO will perform Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3 in D Major, “Polish.” This piece’s nickname, “Polish”, references the recurring Polish (polonaise) dance rhythms prominent in the symphony’s final movement. Many western critics and audiences viewed this symphony as a symbol of Polish independence, with the final scene as an expression of liberation from Russian domination and the reinstatement of their freedom.
This concert will mark Sirena Huang’s ninth engagement with the HSO. Hailing from Windsor, CT, Huang made her HSO debut in 2009, when the scheduled guest artist was stranded in Europe due to the Icelandic volcano eruption and she served as a last minute replacement. Ms. Huang began playing violin at age four and made her orchestral debut with the National Taiwan Symphony at age nine. Since then, Ms. Huang has performed with many orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Russian Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra. Ms. Haung was awarded the First Prize Gold Medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in 2009, received First Prize at the Thomas & Evon Cooper International Competition in 2011, and was given the Bernard and Mania Hahnloser Prize for Violin at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland in the summer of 2011.
Joel Smirnoff, is a Lifetime Grammy Award recipient, and recently joined the Cleveland Institute of Music as President in 2008. He is the former chair of the violin department at The Juilliard School and has been a long time member of the Juilliard String Quartet, joining them in 1986. Formally the group’s second violinist, Mr. Smirnoff was also a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for six years. Mr. Smirnoff has conducted the San Francisco Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, Louisiana Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic, New World Symphony, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, and Basel Sinfonietta, among others.
HSO MASTERWORKS SERIES: GREENSLEEVES & SIRENA
Featuring Carolyn Kuan, music director & conductor; Sirena Huang, violin; Joel Smirnoff, guest conductor
Thursday, December 12, 2013 – 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 13, 2013 – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 14, 2013 – 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 15, 2013 – 3:00 p.m.
Belding Theater – The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
Program: Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Greensleeves; Jean Sibelius: Concerto for Violin in D minor; Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 3 in D Major, “Polish”
Ticket Information: Tickets to this concert range in price from $35.50-$67.50. Student tickets are $10. On Saturday, December 14, $25 tickets are available for patrons age 40 and under. To purchase tickets for more information, please contact HSO ticket services at (860) 244-2999 or visit www.hartfordsymphony.org.
This concert is presented in part by the Koski Memorial Fund, which was established by Sylvia Koski to honor her late husband, Edward Koski. Sirena Huang’s appearance is sponsored by Loomis Chaffee and Renbrook Schools. The 2013-2014 Masterworks Series is sponsored by MetLife Foundation and The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, with additional concert support by Bank of America, BNY Mellon, The Cly-Del Manufacturing Company, Hartford Hospital, the Katharine K. McLane and Henry R. McLane Charitable Trust. Generous support for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra is provided by the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and with support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.