Toledo Symphony Orchestra to Perform Music of Bernstein and Mahler

Published Tuesday, May 1, 2018 10:00 am

On Friday, May 11, and Saturday, May 12 at 8 p.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theater, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) will perform its ProMedica Classics Series finale, Bernstein and Mahler. Maestro Giordano Bellincampi returns to Toledo and joins the TSO’s own violinist Merwin Siu for this program that celebrates Leonard Bernstein’s centennial with his Serenade and Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 “Titan.”

From 2017-2019, arts organizations around the world are joining together for a two-year global celebration of the 100th birthday of 20th century composer Leonard Bernstein. Inspired by Plato’s captivating dialogue, The Symposium, Bernstein composed his Serenade in 1954 around the same time he wrote his famous West Side Story and Candide. Serenade is written for solo violin, strings, and percussion and consists of five movements that explore the purpose and nature of love. “If you listen closely, you’ll hear elements from some of his other works from the time period, like West Side Story. You’ll also hear many different styles and a really fun, almost-jazzy finale,” said Felecia Kanney, Director of Marketing for the Toledo Symphony.

Merwin Siu holds the David W. Robinson Chair as the Toledo Symphony’s Principal Second Violin and also serves as the TSO’s Artistic Administrator. Siu has made numerous solo appearances with the TSO, including the North American premiere of Fazil Say’s 1001 Nights in a Harem, Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s Concerto funèbre, and most recently a conductor-less presentation of Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons in Buenos Aires and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons alongside TSO Concertmaster Kirk Toth.

“It’s an honor to be celebrating Bernstein’s centenary by performing his Serenade.  He performed the piece often with his longtime Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, Glenn Dicterow, who said in an interview that Bernstein often referred to the piece as his favorite composition. It’s certainly one of his most representative – it is chock-full of singable melodies, jazzy rhythms, drama, humor, tragedy, and above all, love. I can’t wait to play it!” said Merwin Siu.

Bernstein greatly identified with Mahler’s music in the mid-twentieth century. Throughout the 1960s and 1980s Bernstein recorded Mahler’s complete symphonies, giving a resurgence of interest to his works. The TSO’s ProMedica Classics Series will conclude with Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 “Titan.” From its massive orchestration to its depiction of nature’s awakening and celebration of life, Mahler’s Titan presents a powerful season finale.

Two performances of Bernstein and Mahler will take place Friday, May 11, and Saturday, May 12 at 8 p.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theater. Tickets are available at toledosymphony.com or by calling the Toledo Symphony Box Office at 419-246-8000.

For more information, please contact Felecia Kanney, Director of Marketing for the Toledo Symphony at fkanney@toledosymphony.com.

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