This month marks the conclusion of the 25th anniversary season of the New Century Chamber Orchestra (NCCO) and the final appearances of Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg as Music Director. The occasion will be recognized through three concert performances, each with a different program, over the course of a single week. Each program, in turn, will have its own title that reflects on advances made by NCCO during Salerno-Sonnenberg’s tenure. Specifics are as follows:
Tuesday, May 16, New Century Creations: This program will be an homage to the Featured Composer Program. This was the process through which NCCO built up its repertoire by commissioning an impressive diversity of composers. The program will present two short works by both Jennifer Higdon and William Bolcom, excerpts from extended compositions by Lera Auerbach, Derek Bermel, and Clarice Assad, and individual works by Mark O’Connor, Ellen Taafe Zwilich, and Michael Daugherty. The Assad excerpt will be taken from Impressions, a five-movement suite that was selected for the opening tracks of Together, the first recording that NCCO released under Salerno-Sonnenberg’s direction.
Thursday, May 18, Farewell to Nadja: This concert will shift attention to Salerno-Sonnenberg herself. She will perform as soloist for the entirety of a “Vivaldi++” program. She will begin with the first four concertos published in Antonio Vivaldi’s Opus 8 collection of twelve entitled Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione (the contest between harmony and invention). However, those four concertos are better known by the name assigned to them collectively, The Four Seasons.
This will be followed by the four pieces that Astor Piazzolla composed for his tango quintet (violin-viola, piano, electric guitar, bass, and bandoneon) between 1965 and 1970 and then collected under the title Estaciones Porteñas, which came to be known in English as The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. Piazzolla never intended any connection to Vivaldi; nor, for that matter, did he view these pieces as a single suite. However, between 1996–1998 Leonid Desyatnikov established the “Vivaldi connection” by arranging them as four concertos for solo violin and string orchestra, keeping Piazzolla’s “seasonal” titles intact. This version was first performed by Gidon Kremer, for whom the arrangements were written; and it is also included on the NCCO Together album.
Saturday, May 20, Silver Jubilee Celebration: The “official celebration” of the NCCO anniversary will involve three guest soloists contributing to a program consisting entirely of the music of George Gershwin. Pianist Anne-Marie McDermott will join NCCO in a performance of “Rhapsody in Blue” in the 1926 “theater orchestra” setting orchestrated by Ferde Grofé. This will be followed by a series of selections of Gershwin’s contributions to the Great American Songbook collection. The vocalists for these selections will be soprano Melody Moore and baritone Efraín Solís. The program will then conclude with “An American in Paris.”
All three of these concerts will begin at 8 p.m. in Herbst Theatre at 401 Van Ness Avenue on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. Festival passes are now on sale for both two and three performances. The price for premium seating for the full series of three concerts is $155, with $125 and $74 for the other sections. The prices for only two concerts are $110, $88, and $52, respectively. It is also possible to purchase single tickets at reduced rates of $55, $44, and $26 when passes are purchased. Arrangements for the purchase of passes can be made online through a Google Forms Web site. In addition, City Box Office has created event pages for the three-concert pass and passes for the concerts on May 16 and 18, May 16 and 20, and May 18 and 20; but these do not include the special rate for additional single tickets.
The prices for single tickets will be $61, $49, and $29. City Box Office has created separate event pages for May 16, May 18, and May 20. All event pages (including those for passes) show the seating plan for Herbst Theatre to illustrate which sections are available for which prices. Finally, single tickets for students showing valid identification will be available at the Box Office for $15.