Beethoven, Ortiz, and Barber
A Celebration of Orchestral Splendor
Acclaimed conductor Michael Stern (‘86) leads the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in an afternoon of extraordinary emotional contrasts. The program opens with the Philadelphia premiere of Latin GRAMMY-nominated composer Gabriela Ortiz’s kaleidoscopic Kauyumari (“The Blue Deer”). A rhythmic tour-de-force, this thrilling work follows the hoofed blue spiritual guide of the Huichol people of Mexico on a peyote-fueled journey through the invisible world as they communicate with their ancestors, heal the wounds of the soul, and serve as guardians of the planet.
The concert continues with legendary 20th-century composer and Curtis alumnus Samuel Barber’s (’34) soaring First Symphony (in One Movement)—a muscular, lyrical work that packs a powerful wallop within the span of twenty minutes, condensing the dramatic intensity, delicacy, and sweeping grandeur of a traditional four-movement symphony into one. The final piece of the concert, Beethoven’s transcendent Violin Concerto in D major featuring internationally renowned violinist Pamela Frank (’89), opens with a quiet whisper. One of classical music’s most intimate, impassioned masterpieces, this revolutionary work combines blazing virtuosity with the elegance of a traditional symphonic structure.