The National Repertory Orchestra will present its 55th season opening night concert at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center on Saturday, June 14, at 7:30 p.m.
Musical director Carl Topilow and the National Repertory Orchestra will start the summer off with a bang as they present their season opener, titled “Welcome to the New World.” It will feature Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World,” the piece for which this concert is named. The program also includes John Williams’ “Olympic Fanfare and Theme,” Johannes Brahms’ “Academic Festival Overture,” Opus 80, and Reinhold Gliere’s Harp Concerto in E-flat major, Opus 74, performed by NRO harpist Marion Ravot.
About the music
Williams composed “Olympic Fanfare and Theme” for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In this triumphant opening, listeners will hear brass fanfares, dramatic percussion interludes and lyrical woodwind melodies. Next, the audience will hear Brahms’ “Academic Festival Overture,” a piece that radiates with some of the finest merits of Brahms’ orchestral technique. Solos from the woodwinds come in and out of the woodwork, and the blend of colors highlighted in the orchestra requires one of the largest ensembles of any of his compositions.
Gliere, like Shostakovich, wrote music during the reign of a Soviet government. Although this time was often filled with tribulation, Gliere’s music was quite the opposite, being generally pleasant in nature. In his concerto, one will hear a beautiful blend of the Viennese classical style and Russian romantic nationalism, which will transport the listener back to 1930s Russia.
In contrast, listeners will hear traces of African-American spirituals, Native American music, imagery of the “wide open plains” and sounds of Dvorak’s native Bohemia in his Symphony No. 9. One might even be able to recognize the theme of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” in the opening movement. World-renowned conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein noted that the symphony was indeed, “truly multinational in its foundations.” The 1893 Carnegie Hall premiere was met with tumultuous applause, and many still consider this piece to be one of the greatest American symphonies ever written.
About the musicians
The featured soloist for this concert, Marion Ravot, began her harp studies at the age of 11. In 2013, she graduated from the Paris Conservatoire and is currently working toward her master’s degree at the Julliard School under the tutelage of Nancy Allen. Ravot regularly performs as a soloist and chamber musician, and in 2010, she was the soloist in the premiere of the Haddad Concerto for electro acoustic harp and orchestra as part of the Odysée de la Harpe Festival.
Topilow once again returns to lead the National Repertory Orchestra. During his tenure with the NRO, Topilow has seen the orchestra reach the forefront of summer music programs. Each year, he chooses the 88 musicians who will join the ranks as being part of one of the greatest music festivals in the country. This season, the musicians arrived on Sunday, June 8, and within a matter of days, they will have prepared an entire concert program.