Category Archives: Special Events

FSO Annual Gala

April 2nd, 2016 – Save the Date!

Please save the date for the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra Season 66 Gala! Join us for an evening of fine dining, dancing to live music, auctions and games, all to support the FSO mission: “To enrich, engage, and inspire our community through the performance of orchestral music.”

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See you at the “Season 66” Gala!

Purchase Tickets 

 

Flagstaff Symphony: New Music for America

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We often overlook the hard work that goes into the composition of music and the days consumed by great composers writing and being tormented by their craft. These long hours created the classics we enjoy and you have the opportunity to be a part of that process by donating to our crowdfund campaign.

Most classical music was written in an age when wealthy benefactors would comission a new piece by choosing from great composers, many of whom were alive at the same time. Today, the opportunity of patronage is available to all who enjoy the arts through crowdfunding. By taking part in our Indiegogo campaign you will be a co-commissioner in the creation of new music, in our era, by Christopher Theofanidis called “Dreamtime Ancestors”

On January 29th, 2015 the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra will perform the Arizona premiere of “Dreamtime Ancestors”, a musical piece funded by people like you and by 48 other orchestras across the United States through a program called “New Music for America.”

Please consider supporting our goal. Visit our campaign and see what perks we have to offer.

Part Four: The Concerto

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A favorite showpiece for virtuoso violinists, the Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77 by Johannes Brahms was written in collaboration with a longtime friend, the great Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim. Both men participated in its premiere, Brahms as conductor, in Leipzig on January 1, 1879.

It is not known when Brahms began work on his only violin concerto, but we do know that he finished the first draft during the summer of 1878 in southern Austria, where he found inspiration in the sunny climate. Brahms, who was not a string player, turned to his friend Joachim for advice, writing, “You should correct it, not sparing the quality of the composition. . . I shall be satisfied if you will mark those parts which are difficult, awkward, or impossible to play.” The violinist complied, starting a lengthy correspondence concerning violin technique and virtuosic touches which continued until the concerto’s premiere.

Some listeners were skeptical of the new piece, believing its virtuosity would be beyond the abilities of most violinists. The symphonic scale of the concerto was difficult for audiences and critics to absorb readily. One observer, conductor and pianist Hans von Bülow, famously asserted that it was a concerto not for but “against the violin.” Decades later, the violinist Bronislaw Huberman would trump that line by saying that the Brahms concerto is not against the violin, but is instead a concerto for violin against orchestra — and the violin wins.

Brahms’s original orchestration was for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, strings, and solo violin. The concerto has 3 movements and is beloved for its lyrical melodies and rich orchestration.

The first movement is on an epic scale. Brahms seems to emulate Beethoven somewhat, as that composer’s violin concerto also features a first movement lasting more than twenty minutes with a broad tempo. Also like Beethoven, he did not compose a solo cadenza for the first movement, leaving that task to Joachim, after the standard chord and pause in the orchestra. By calling upon the soloist to extemporize, Brahms made it the last great concerto in history requiring the soloist to do so. Since then a number of soloists have written their own cadenzas, among them Rachel Barton Pine, who will perform hers during the FSO concert on September 25.

Surprisingly, in the second movement Adagio, Brahms introduced the main theme in the voice of the oboe, which greatly annoyed some virtuoso violinists, who had to cede the spotlight  for an extended oboe solo.  One 19th-century violinist so objected to this that he refused to play the work. Joachim, however, recognized that the oboe passage provided an appropriate contrast with the violin and did not protest. The pastoral theme begins in a setting of woodwinds led by the oboe. The violin enters later, ornamenting the theme over a string accompaniment. The calm ambiance gives way to a stormy middle section which eventually returns to the pastoral setting.

The concerto ends with a vigorous Andante finale of great lyricism and rhythmic drive.  Its unmistakable “gypsy” flavor is a nod to Joachim’s Hungarian roots. This great concerto is a tribute to Joachim, to whom the concerto is fittingly dedicated.

Familiar photographs of Brahms in grand later life portray his enormous beard, broad waist, piercing gaze and ever-present cigar.  But Brahms first began to grow his famous whiskers in 1878, so we must imagine him as beardless with long swept-back hair while he composed the violin concerto.

Rachel Barton Pine performs the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra on September 25th at the NAU Ardrey Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased by telephone at (928) 523-5661 or online at the NAU Central Ticketing Office.

Can’t wait for tomorrow’s concert? Treat yourself to a ‘Best of Brahms‘ video. See you tomorrow night at Ardrey!

Part Three: JOHANNES BRAHMS

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One of the most beloved composers of all time (among the “3 B’s” — Bach, Beethoven and Brahms), Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1833. His father, a humble double bass player, was aware of Johannes’s early musical talent and struggled to provide the child with superior training. By the time he was a teenager he was an accomplished pianist, and was hired by Ede Remenyi, a prominent Hungarian violinist, to accompany him on a concert tour. Louis C. Elson in 1898 wrote about their concert in Gottingen, “When they came to try the piano provided, they found it so low in pitch that Beethoven’s great ‘Kreutzer Sonata,’ which was on the programme, would have lost all its brilliancy had the violin tuned down to it.  Brahms, the youth of nineteen years, thereupon transposed the entire work from A to B flat, playing it from memory!  The herculean task had its immediate reward; the greatest living violinist, Joachim, was present, and at once gave the pianist a letter of introduction to Schumann.”

Robert and Clara Schumann took the young pianist into their home, recognizing in the shy composer a future leader of the camp dedicated to absolute music, the ideal that music be non-representational, with no associations such as story, scene or mood. When Schumann published a lavish tribute about Brahms’s talent, calling him “the young eagle,” Johannes became famous overnight.

At the time, the “Neo-German party” of composers, including Liszt and Wagner, were promoting the “music of the future” — program music, with its use of nationalistic, picturesque events and special effects.  These neo-Germans took it for granted that they spoke for all their contemporaries. Irritated by this, Brahms helped draw up a manifesto against the sort of “new music” that Wagner favored, and  circulated it for signatures. The petition, which was published prematurely, carried only four names,   causing him great embarrassment and provoking a vicious attack from Wagner.  After that Brahms withdrew into his shell, and became an avowed traditionalist, a defender of the structures and compositional techniques of Baroque and Classical music.

Robert Schumann was institutionalized for a severe mental collapse five months after Brahms joined the household.  Although Clara was 14 years older than Brahms and the mother of seven children, he became infatuated with her, and tended her lovingly during Robert’s illness. This created great conflict within Brahms’s heart, for he respected and revered his friend and benefactor.  The one-sided romance ended when Schumann died two years later, and Brahms took his leave.  He and Clara would remain lifelong friends.  Brahms had several other romances, but fearing what he called “the fetters of marriage,” he adopted a mask of gruffness in later years and kept his emotions under tight control, concealing a tender soul.

As a severe self-critic and aided by immense self-discipline, Brahms concentrated on composing.  He wrote and rewrote, destroyed and rewrote. He planned for twenty years before he started the First Symphony. Thirty-seven years after he had composed and discarded a trio, he was able to rewrite it note for note!

In 1878 he made Vienna his permanent home, and there his conducting, concert tours and compositions brought him lavish official and public recognition. He was the first composer to become comfortably well off from the sale of his music alone.  He concentrated fully on his music and let everything else go. Despite his fame, Brahms maintained a rather bohemian lifestyle and exterior, growing a massive white beard to disguise the fact that he refused to wear a necktie. Friends had to apologize for his appearance. He loved long walks in nature and was known for his rough humor.

Brahms’s four great symphonies (1876, 1877, 1883, 1885) are considered unsurpassed in the late Romantic period.  He also composed two concertos for piano and orchestra, and the one for violin (1878). Many chamber works, sonatas, and songs pursue his themes of love, nature and death. His popular choral work, A German Requiem, a rumination on mortality, is better loved today than after its premiere in 1869. Throughout his career, he was known for his keen intellect and imagination, breadth of musical insight, warm heart and noble character.

At age 64, he was still a vigorous walker, but without warning he became ill. His physicians and a few intimate friends knew that he was dying of liver cancer for some time, but they faithfully guarded this secret and Brahms knew nothing of it, working on calmly. “I have not even begun to express myself,” he complained on his deathbed. When Brahms died in 1897, he was buried in Vienna not far from Beethoven and Schubert.

Rachel Barton Pine performs the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra on September 25th at the NAU Ardrey Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased by telephone at (928) 523-5661 or online at the NAU Central Ticketing Office.

Can’t wait for the September 25th concert? Pick up  a book on Brahms and be the envy of all your friends!

Read the final part of the series and attend the concert next week!

Summer Chamber Music Concerts August 23 & 30

The Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra will present two free small ensemble concerts at distinctive locations in August.

The Ponderosa Players
Sunday, August 23 at 5pm
Lowell Observatory
1400 W Mars Hill Road, Flagstaff

Ponderosa Players

Enjoy an outdoor afternoon concert by the Ponderosa Players on serene Mars Hill in front of the Lowell Observatory Rotunda building.

Elden Brass Quintet
Sunday, August 30 at 5pm
Flagstaff Ranch Clubhouse
3850 Lariat Loop, Flagstaff

Elden Brass Quintet

Visit the beautiful and exclusive Flagstaff Ranch Golf Club for a performance by the Elden Brass Quintet and enjoy light appetizers and a cash bar.

Flagstaff Ranch will serve a limited seating prix fixe dinner after the concert for $32 per person.

View the Flagstaff Ranch dinner menu.

Call 928-226-3101 for information and to make dinner reservations for August 30.

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Summer Concerts Sponsors
Ted Bowell and Anne-Marie Malotki
Otto and Gallina Franz
Nat and Jean White

 

Guild Presents Annual Home Tour August 8th

The Annual Home Tour is a major fundraising initiative of the Flagstaff Symphony Guild. Tickets are $35 and provide individuals access to five distinctive Flagstaff homes.

Saturday, August 8th, 2015 | 10am – 4pm

The 2015 Home Tour features the historic Colton House, the original home of Museum of Northern Arizona founders Dr. Harold S. Colton and wife Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton. Built in 1929, it is a 6,000 square-foot Spanish colonial revival-style rock lodge constructed by Hopi craftsmen using local materials, malpais rock, Ponderosa pine, and Douglas fir. The Colton House is included in the National Register of Historic Places as an outstanding example of regional architecture featuring clay tiles, incised beams, beehive fireplaces, and wrought iron detailing and, most recently, was named as one of the Flagstaff’s Iconic 50.

Colton House

For information about the Home Tour and to purchase tickets, contact any of the following Flagstaff Symphony Guild members:

Mary Hostetler – 928-522-0549 or 928-699-7478
Gwen Randolph – 928.526-6058
Marilyn Stratton – 928-522-8288

Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra is Full Circle Trade & Thrift May Grantee

Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra is a proud and grateful partner organization of Full Circle Trade & Thrift and will be the beneficiary of a grant award from the store during May.

Throughout May, when you donate gently used items, shop and volunteer at Full Circle Trade & Thrift at 122 Route 66 in Flagstaff, you help support the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra.

Bring clothing, furniture, household items, and that jewelry you no longer wear, and donate to this circle of giving. Full Circle Trade & Thrift is non-profit store that grants its revenues back to other nonprofits in arts, education and social services.

Each Saturday in May, the symphony will arrange for live music to make your Full Circle experience even more rewarding.

RED DOOR AUCTION, MAY 2

The month kicks off with a Red Door Auction at the store at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 2. Come early for a 9 a.m. preview of the high-quality items Full Circle is known to auction. Cars, recreational vehicles, Native American items and more, often make the auction a lively event.

Another great deal is that your valuable items can be consigned in the auction and you can receive 65 percent of the finale sale value. This consignment opportunity is a fantastic way to quickly get a higher sales value and show your support. And if you have large items for donation or auction requiring pick up, contact Full Circle at 928.214.1094 or FSO at 928.774.5107. Thank you!

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