ALBUQUERQUE — The New Mexico Philharmonic welcomes violinist Rachel Barton Pine back to the Popejoy stage at 6 p.m., Saturday, April 30.
Featured on the Popejoy Classics Season Finale are three audience favorites: The Academic Festival Overture by Johannes Brahms, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, and the “Organ Symphony” of Camille Saint-. Fawzi Haimor conducts. The concert will be preceded by a Pre-Concert Talk at 5 p.m. with Maestro Haimor and NMPhil Executive Director Marian Tanau (sponsored by Keleher & McLeod).
About the Music: In March of 1879, Johannes Brahms was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Breslau in Poland. Being somewhat of a misanthrope and hating the spectacle of his celebrity, Brahms avoided the usual fanfare and thanked the university for the honor via postcard. Unsurprisingly, this did not sit well with those who bestowed the composer with the coveted degree. The conductor of the university, Bernard Scholz, urged Brahms to compose something for the occasion, a work along the lines of a “doctoral symphony.” Brahms presented them instead with the Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80; a work which he referred to as, “a very boisterous potpourri of student drinking songs à la Suppé.”
Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major was written in 1806 for Franz Clement, a former child prodigy who had grown into a seasoned and mature soloist. The premiere performance of the work is one of those legends in classical music of which no one really knows the extent of the purported facts, but it makes a great anecdote. The work premiered on December, 23, 1806, at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien with Clement as soloist. Legend has it that Beethoven finished the concerto so late that Clement played it at sight at the premiere, and some accounts go so far as to claim that the ink was still wet on the solo part. The exactitude of these details is far less important than what we do know: While Clement’s performance was hailed, the Concerto itself was a bit of a flop, a rarity for a work by Beethoven.
As with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the Third Symphony of Camille Saint-Saëns was commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society. The Symphony was greatly inspired by Saint-Saëns’s friend, mentor, and champion Franz Liszt. Originally, Saint-Saëns had intended to dedicate the work to Liszt, but unfortunately Liszt died ten weeks after its premiere and never got to hear the work that he so affected and influenced. Since Liszt’s death came before the work could be published, it instead bears the inscription, “À la mémoire de Franz Liszt.” Like Liszt, Saint-Saëns was both a master pianist and organist, so it is no surprise that both instruments are featured heavily in his “Organ Symphony.” The moniker is somewhat misleading, creating the impression that his Symphony is either for organ or a concerto for organ. In actuality, the organ is only used in two of the four movements. The French title for the work, Symphonie No. 3 “avec orgue” (with organ), is a much more apropos way to describe the organ’s role in the Symphony.
About the Artists: Fawzi Haimor was born in Chicago in 1983 and was raised in the Middle East and San Francisco Bay area. With a growing diary of international guest engagements, Haimor recently completed his tenure as Resident Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, where he conducted a variety of concerts including classical, pops, and outreach. While in Pittsburgh, he served as a cover conductor to esteemed conductors, including Manfred Honeck, Leonard Slatkin, Gianandrea Noseda, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, and Jan Pascal Tortelier.
Haimor completed his violin training at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and studied conducting under David Effron and Arthur Fagen. He earned Bachelor’s degrees in both music and neurobiology, a Master’s degree in conducting from the University of California-Davis, and a second Master’s degree in instrumental conducting at Indiana University. He was previously Assistant Conductor with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, where he was also the first Music Director of the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Heralded as a leading interpreter of the great classical masterworks, international concert violinist Rachel Barton Pinethrills audiences with her dazzling technique, lustrous tone and emotional honesty. With an infectious joy in music-making and a passion for connecting historical research to performance, Pinetransforms audiences’ experiences of classical music.
During the 2015/16 season, Pine will perform concertos by Beethoven, Brahms, Bruch, Dvorak, Fairouz, Mozart, Sibelius and Vivaldi, with orchestras including the Santa Rosa Symphony, the New Mexico Philharmonic, and the Flagstaff, Windsor, and Gainesville Symphony Orchestras. She will continue her recital tour of the Six Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Unaccompanied Violin in Gainesville, FL and Washington, DC.
Pine holds prizes from several of the world’s leading competitions, including a gold medal at the 1992 J.S. Bach International Violin Competition in Leipzig, Germany.
Her Rachel Barton Pine Foundation assists young artists through various projects, including the Instrument Loan Program, Grants for Education and Career, Global HeartStrings (supporting musicians in developing countries), and a curricular series in development with the University of Michigan: Music by Black Composers.
The New Mexico Philharmonic is the first arts organization in New Mexico to receive Piñón recognition from Quality New Mexico’s Performance Excellence program. The designation recognizes that the NMPhil uses systematic processes to manage the organization as a business focused on our audiences, our donors, and our results.
Our Mission IS Our Vision: The New Mexico Philharmonic enriches the lives of New Mexicans through musical excellence, educational opportunities, and community engagement. As the major professional orchestra in the state, the New Mexico Philharmonic is committed to inspiring audiences of all ages and backgrounds through its artistic excellence, innovative programming, and educational and community engagement. The New Mexico Philharmonic is a non-profit corporation recognized as a charitable 501(c)(3) organization by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Contributions are tax deductible as allowed by the IRS. To learn more about upcoming performances or to become a volunteer, please visit www.nmphil.org. Donations are gratefully accepted at www.nmphil.org/donate-to-.