The San Bernardino Symphony will open their 86th season October 4 with “Virtuosity” featuring renowned violinist Roberto Cani. Widely known for his role as Concert Master of the Los Angeles Opera, Cani will play Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. Also at that concert will be the widely requested Symphony No. 9, From the New World, by Dvorzak.
“This is the ultimate season opener that we believe will inspire both our beloved returning audiences and new attendees to come and be amazed at the quality of symphonic music available right here in the Inland Empire,” said Symphony Maestro Frank Fetta.
The theme of virtuosity was set by the Symphony’s Artistic Committee many months back, but the application of the virtuosic concept – synonymous with skillfulness, mastery, proficiency, ability, and excellence – transcends the musical genre.
“Essentially, we wanted to also recognize the virtuosic efforts of local public safety officers,” said Symphony Board President Judith Valles.
As a result, the Symphony joined forces with local restaurant The Mexico to offer An Evening Out for Officers on Saturday, October 4. Members of the San Bernardino Police Officer’s Association will be provided with free concert tickets and reduced-priced dinners.
“This has been a difficult year for the people who keep our city safe,” added Valles. “We wanted them to be aware that their work is valued by their community, and we hope people from throughout the community will come out, shake a hero’s hand, and enjoy a wonderful concert together.”
It is particularly fitting that the music to be performed is some of the most beautiful ever written, requiring considerable mastery.
Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto is considered one of the most technically difficult works for the violin. Written in 1879, the piece was not actually performed until four years later, and to mixed reaction.
“The violin was not played, but beaten black and blue,” wrote critic Eduard Hanslick.
But in 1912, Hungarian violinist and conductor Leopold Auer stated in an interview with the magazine Musical Courier, “The concerto has made its way in the world, and after all, that is the most important thing. It is impossible to please everybody.”
Maestro Fetta believes audiences will be more than pleased with this outstanding work, especially with Cani’s masterful interpretation.
Hailed by critics as “…a violinist of high caliber following the great Italian tradition of the virtuosic violinist, Paganini,” Cani launched his concert career when he won the prestigious Paganini International Competition in Genoa at age 21. In the same year, he also won the Courcillon International Competition in France and the Jeunesses Musicales International Competition in Belgrade. He also won the national Minetti Prize in Italy, and top honors at the Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow. His remarkable career has taken him throughout the globe, collaborating with many world class artists.
Also on the playbill is Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World. Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic in 1893 while the composer was the director of the National Conservatory of Music of America, it is one of the most popular of all symphonies. Dvorak wrote it was inspired in part by his travels in the “wide open spaces” of America (the New World) and by the melodies of spirituals which he referred to as “the foundation of a series and original school of composition” with “beautiful and varied themes.”
The four-movement Symphony premiered to significant acclaim and remained an audience favorite. So much so, that astronaut Neil Armstrong took a recording of the New World Symphony to the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, and several themes from the symphony have been used widely in television, films, and even in commercials.
“We believe this will be an outstanding season full of beautiful music and many exciting surprises,” said Fetta, “and we invite the community to come and enjoy all their San Bernardino Symphony has to offer.”
December 20 will begin what the Symphony hopes is the start of a new tradition for many Inland Empire families. “Home for the Holidays” will include selections from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, Handel’s Messiah, and Anderson’s A Festival of Carols. Maestro Fetta has a few additional surprises planned, including the addition of a chorus of angelic voices to uplift the spirits of all present. A family music faire will be held prior to the concert where young and old alike can hear local school principals read iconic holiday pieces, including The Night Before Christmas, and The Story of the Dreidel.
On February 7, the Symphony will bring more popular favorites to the southland with “Musical Genius in America.” The line-up includes Ragtime selections from Scott Joplin, a medley of tunes from Duke Ellington, William Grant Still’s Afro-American Symphony, and Gershwin’s iconic Rhapsody in Blue interpreted by pianist Yana Reznik. February 6, this concert will also be performed for students in the San Bernardino City Unified School District as part of the Symphony’s student enrichment program.
April 11, two Symphony musicians – Concert Master Todor Pelev and First Chair Cellist Ana Maria Maldonado – will team up to play Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Violincello. The evening’s concert, “Beethoven, Brahms & Bartholdy” will also include Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s Symphony No. 3, The Scottish Symphony. This performance will be a multi-media event, featuring a juried art show including interpretive works by local student artists.
Wrapping an amazing year will be the “Triumphant Season Finale” on May 23. The concert will include Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, and Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 1 featuring talented horn soloist Joseph Ognibene. An internationally-known recording artist, Ognibene hails from Claremont and has been principal horn of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra since 1981.
All regular season concerts will be performed at the historic California Theatre, 562 W. 4th Street, San Bernardino. Both season and individual tickets may be purchased by calling (909) 381-5388 or visiting the Symphony box office at 198 N. Arrowhead Ave., San Bernardino. General admission tickets are also available on line at www.sanbernardinosymphony.org, and with limited availability at the theater box office the evening of each event. In addition to the regular concert season, this year, the San Bernardino Symphony will also be featured in concerts in Lake Arrowhead, Loma Linda, Fontana, and other locations throughout the region. Visit their website for more information.