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big news from gbs!
tomorrow night at the Klein!
We’ve had to keep this under wraps for the last couple of months: arguably one of the world’s greatest pianists, Yuja Wang, will perform Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A with GBS on Saturday December 8 at The Klein. We look forward to an amazing evening, and we hope YOU will be joining us! Tickets will go quickly!
Piano sensation Yuja Wang, known worldwide for her artistry and electric performances, is coming to the Greater Bridgeport Symphony for All Of You On The Good Earth on Saturday, December 8 at the Klein. “This is the biggest cultural event to come to our region in recent years!” said GBS President Jean Moffitt. “We’ve been hoping for this for a long time,” adds GBS Conductor Eric Jacobsen, “and now the dream is coming true. The orchestra is so excited to have this incredible artist with us.”
The Beijing-born virtuoso is one of the most unique and brilliant piano players in the world, known for her one-of-a-kind performances as well as her fashion-forward style. The Economist says she is “…now at the height of her powers…technically brilliant and entertaining, so applause for her performances is seldom reserved. Her encores are almost as celebrated as her repertoires…” The Financial Times hails “Her combination of technical ease, colouristic range and sheer power has always been remarkable … but these days there is an ever-greater depth to her musicianship, drawing you into the world of each composer with compelling immediacy.” Vogue (UK) says she, “…is revered by fellow musicians, critics and audiences alike for her astounding command of the instrument, her ‘superhuman’ technical abilities, and her captivating, charismatic performances.”
Ms. Wang will perform Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, a musical love story Schumann wrote for his wife Clara. The music describes a struggle between enthusiasm and dreaminess, yearning and contentment, loyalty and freedom. It maintains a character of fantasy, leading to an exuberant finale.
Also, on the program are Debussy’s famous Clair de lune (in keeping with GBS’ theme of “A Season in Space”) and Grieg’s In Holberg’s Time, interspersed such holiday classics as Bizet’s Farandole from L’Arlesienne Suite #2 (popularly known as This Great Day or March of the Kings) and Silent Night.
“we choose to go to the moon” concert soared!
Conductor Eric Jacobsen conducted GBS in a 2015 composition by Mason Bates – Passage – which fuses orchestral music with live vocal (Jazimina MacNeil, mezzo-soprano) and recorded clips of historic events, including John F. Kennedy’s iconic 1962 speech at Rice University in which he affirmed America’s goal with the words, “We choose to go to the moon!”
“JFK’s speech says so much about America at that time,” says conductor Jacobsen. “The whole world seemed to be coming apart, but it came together for a while in wonder at the good people could do, amid all the strife of the 1960s.” He added that GBS hopes its season theme A Season in Space will provide that same kind of hopeful uplift through music, comparing the unrest of the 1960s with today’s divided politics. “Music can bring people together, and that’s our main message, all season long.”
The November 10 concert included Sibelius Symphony #2, known as the “Symphony of Independence.” Also, GBS Young Instrumentalist Competition winner Camden Archambeau soloed on cello in Max Bruch’s lovely Kol Niedre. “GBS is focusing on young people and young talent,” said its president, Jean Moffitt. “We work to provide easy access for young families, and to give talented young people direct exposure to the work of our professional musicians.” She pointed with pride to a recent group season subscription by 25 students from Fairfield Woods Middle School. “They love Eric,” she said. “He had a long talk with them after last April’s concert, and they were hooked!”
In that vein, GBS held a competition for new composers (age 32 and under) last season, and chose as the winner Jordan Kuspa of San Diego, whose piece Whirlwind was premiered on November 10. Kuspa writes, “In 1962, President Kennedy gave his most famous speech on space exploration, saying “We choose to go to the moon!” While so many know these famous words, fewer remember that the speech was given on the campus of my alma mater, Rice University. In fact, President Kennedy made a joke about the value of striving for seemingly impossible goals, asking, “But why, some say, the Moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?” Touché, Mr. President! As I was composing Whirlwind, I found it incredibly inspiring to know that this important moment of our nation’s history happened just across the parking lot from my school of music. In many respects, I think Kennedy’s words apply perfectly to the pursuit of artistic excellence: “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone . . .”
In a program organized by our good friends at Music for Youth, the Discovery Museum of Bridgeport and the Pequot Library of Southport partnered with GBS during this galactic weekend of music, providing a free event that Saturday, November 10, at 3 PM at the Pequot, called “Close Encounters with the Conductor.” This will be the second of a four-part series (the others on March 16 and April 13) at which the public is invited to speak with Maestro Jacobsen and hear him perform with other GBS talent. For the November Encounter, Discovery’s David Mestre, director of the Henry B. duPont III Planetarium, will open the program with a history of the Apollo program, and a look into the future of space travel. Jordan Kuspa and Camden Archambeau will join Eric Jacobsen to perform and talk about their music. The Discovery Museum will also be bringing a moon rock – an actual piece of the moon, gathered during the Apollo landings – to the Pequot, and to The Klein later that evening, before the concert. Discount concert tickets will be available at this event.
“We’ll bring the audience to the moon and bring the music down to earth,” said GBS Executive Director Mark Halstead. “This day of celebration, of music and space, is a wonderful opportunity for the young and young at heart – the best of old and new, together.”
a season in space
has cleared the tower — all systems go!
Forget the Philharmonic. The GBS plays just as well and is so much more fun! -4/28 concertgoer
jacobsen + jacobsen thrill!
Maestro Eric didn’t have to look far to find a headliner for our season opener on September 22, but the music transported our audience into the stratosphere. Colin Jacobsen performed two solos with GBS: Mozart’s exciting Violin Concerto #5 (Turkish) and Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, a musical trip to the heavens. The concert opened with great fanfare, as the orchestra boomed out Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra (of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame) at the beginning, and closed with Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 (Rhenish). Audience reaction to the evening was overwhelmingly positive.
It was a very busy week for GBS. Amid a challenging schedule of five rehearsals, our musicians hosted 400 students from James J. Curiale School in Bridgeport at The Klein on Friday, for a rehearsal-concert, sponsored by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. Eric kept the large crowd engaged in constant Q and A, as he led the group of 4th- to 8th-graders through the different sounds and sections of the orchestra — and they loved Zarathustra, of course! An encore was necessary at the end of the session. Eric and concertmaster Debbie Wong also visited classes at Roosevelt School in Bridgeport that day, but the big event was our night in the abandoned movie palaces of Bridgeport (see picture under the NEWS tab), where Colin and the orchestra rehearsed The Lark Ascending in the grand lobby of the old Palace Theater with a video production team. Production staff arrived at 4:30 PM and the last of load-out wasn’t done until 1:30 AM. Dedication! This video is in production and should be released in a month or so. Stay tuned!
A Season in Space continues on November 10 (sponsored by Peoples United Bank of Bridgeport) with “We Choose to Go to the Moon!,” a night of music old and very new, celebrating the achievements of America’s space program in the early 1960s.
SUBSCRIPTIONS STILL AVAILABLE! We’ll even credit your single ticket for last Saturday’s concert into a five concert-subscription. With a season like this, you don’t want to miss a moment!
see eric and colin jacobsen together on stage
eric on the podium — colin on the violin
It’s a magical beginning to a galactic season of great music. Colin Jacobsen will soar on Mozart’s Concerto #5 “Turkish” and Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending. We’ll start the night with the iconic theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Richard Strauss’ immortal “Sunrise” from Also Sprach Zarathustra. Finally, we’ll present Schumann’s beautiful Symphony No. 3.
WHAT A WAY TO CLOSE THE SEASON!
oUR SERIES REVOLUTIONS AND REVELATIONS CLOSED ON sATURDAY aPRIL 28 WITH GERSHWIN'S ROUSING CUBAN OVERTURE AT THE FIFTH CONCERT OF THE SEASON, STARS AND STRIPES.
"Eric Jacobsen is magical. Did you see him at the end? He was laughing and dancing up there!" -4/28 concertgoer
GBS' final concert of the season was big -- as big as the American frontier. We opened with an American song that has become familiar to millions: Jay Ungar's Ashokan Farewell for full orchestra, used in Ken Burns' 1991 The Civil War series -- a modern piece (1983) that evokes memories of America's birth and trial by fire. Then came the music of three bona fide American geniuses: Copland, Joplin and Gershwin! Aaron Copland's unforgettable Appalachian Spring and Fanfare for the Common Man were masterfully conducted and performed to the enthusiastic crowd of over 1100 at The Klein. The biggest ovations, however, were yet to come, as GBS presented the work of two composers who could have only sprung to life in America: Scott Joplin, the son of slaves from Texarkana, and George Gershwin, the Brooklyn-born son of Eastern European immigrants. A medley of Joplin's opera Treemonisha -- in a new grand operatic arrangement written (as we imagine Joplin envisioned) by Milford composer Rex Cadwallader brought down the house. The Harding High School Choir, under direction of Sheena Graham, brought unforgettable harmonies to Joplin's 1911 magnum opus. A massive standing ovation lasted nearly four minutes as the orchestra and choir took bow after bow. Then followed Gershwin's seldom-performed Cuban Overture. Like so many Gershwin compositions, Cuban Overture shows Gershwin as a 20th-century American citizen-of-the world, a true expression of the great Melting Pot. Joining the GBS pros were eight of the region's most talented brass, wind and percussion students, who had trained all season with GBS mentors on this rich and complex piece. After another ovation, Eric said to the crowd, "I don't know if I can stop laughing, that was so much fun!" Encores were certainly in order, and after playing Happy Birthday to GBS Board Chair Doris Harrington, Eric led the orchestra, the choir, and the whole audience in singing This Land is Your Land. "I had no idea I would enjoy this so much!" and "This was the best one yet" were frequent comments heard in the lobby after the concert. Unforgettable!
"I noticed at the beginning when we were all singing the National Anthem, and Eric was smiling and facing us; he looked at all of us, from the first row all the way back up into the balcony. We were there with him, and he was there with us. It was extraordinary!" - 4/28 concertgoer
And the concert was only half of a very big week at GBS. Eric took the entire orchestra into Bridgeport's Harding High School on April 27, where the choir provided the Treemonisha vocals. The audience of 200+ students roared their approval; said one observer, "You just got the applause Scott Joplin was never able to get in his lifetime!" Click here to hear Treemonisha by GBS and Harding High. Then Eric conducted excerpts from Appalachian Spring, and talked over the students' observations on the music. The day before, Eric conducted two chamber music classes at Fairfield Woods Middle School in Fairfield, before working with the students in GBS' Brass-Wind-Percussion Experience '18 program (generously sponsored by Robert D. Scinto and Bob and Diana Graziano. What a week!
"Weren't the kids fabulous? Amazing voices and talent! I loved the feeling of community, as if we were one huge musical family." -4/28 concertgoer
"Isn't it amazing how Eric shares the applause? He is so generous. Remember those eight kids standing? They will never forget that, will they? And he gets those players in the back to stand, the ones we never see. He is so inclusive! -4/28 concertgoer
Eric Jacobsen performing the Ravel String Quartet on CT STYLE with members of (GBYO) in 2016.
Welcome to a season in space -- the 2018-19 Season of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony
Eric Jacobsen returns for his fifth exciting season as Music Director of GBS.
Mark your calendars for all five concerts of our great 73rd season:
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2018 A SPACE ODYSSEY BEGINS with Colin Jacobsen, violin. See Program Notes
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2018 "WE CHOOSE TO GO TO THE MOON!" See Program Notes
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2018 A FAIRY TALE HOLIDAY
SATURDAY, MARCH 16, 2019 MOONSTRUCK
SATURDAY, APRIL 13, 2019 ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
For more information, click the 2018-19 Season tab.
The 2018-19 SEASON IN SPACE starts September 22!
Want to hear a sample? Click above!