January-March 2015 • Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
The Great Performers Series celebrates 70 years of inspired performances with a stellar season featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Pinchas Zukerman, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Dresden Philharmonic, the Takács Quartet, and pianist Murray Perahia. The season also includes a 70th-anniversary concert with jazz pianist Dick Hyman.
(Sarasota, Florida) Since 1938, the Sarasota Concert Association (SCA) has brought the world’s most renowned classical musicians to our region, including such superstars as Rudolf Serkin, Yehudi Menuhin, Isaac Stern, Leontyne Price, Lang Lang, Emanuel Ax, and Joshua Bell.
“Reading the names of the illustrious artists and orchestras that the Sarasota Concert Association has brought to Sarasota since its founding is like reading a roll call of the greatest artists in music performance history,” says Joy McIntyre, SCA’s board president. McIntyre adds that, from the very start, SCA’s leaders realized that great artists and orchestras come at a high price and that the only way to keep the tickets affordable was to keep the costs of running the organization to a minimum.
“Our board is comprised of many professional musicians and music professionals who volunteer their time so that we’re able to keep our subscription rates as affordable as possible,” says McIntyre. “It’s truly a labor of love for each of us.”
Sarasota Concert Association’s 2015 Great Performers Series at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall includes the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Pinchas Zukerman; the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; the Dresden Philharmonic, led by Michael Sanderling, with cellist Johannes Moser; the Takács Quartet with pianist Joyce Yang; and celebrated pianist Murray Perahia. In February, the organization celebrates its 70 season with a special concert featuring renowned pianist/composer Dick Hyman.
The Great Performers Series’ 70th anniversary season opens on January 14, 8 p.m., with the return of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), conducted by Pinchas Zukerman. Founded in 1946, RPO has enjoyed ongoing success with its first-class performances. The RPO also records extensively under its own record label, RPO Records. Equally respected as a master violinist, violist, conductor, pedagogue and chamber musician, Pinchas Zukerman was appointed as the orchestra’s principal guest conductor in 2009. Zukerman is lauded for taking RPO to new heights, and giving its musicians “the freedom to perform with flexibility and charm.”
The season continues on January 26, 8 p.m., with cellist David Finckel and musicians from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center performing “Folk Inspirations,” a varied program of folk-influenced works by Brahms, Dvořák and Kodaly. Called a “New York powerhouse” by Chicago Magazine, and “one of the world’s most distinguished chamber ensembles” by the Star Tribune, the Chamber Music Society is one of 11 constituents of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the largest performing arts venue in the world. Under the leadership of its artistic directors, Finckel and his wife, pianist Wu Han, the Chamber Music Society continues to hone a repertoire that spans three centuries, providing listeners with a comprehensive and exhilarating perspective into the genre of chamber music.
The next concert on March 1, at 4 p.m., features the historic Dresden Philharmonic, conducted by Michael Sanderling, with cellist Johannes Moser. The Dresden Philharmonic traces its history back nearly six centuries when civic bands flourished between the 16th and 19th centuries. The present-day orchestra was founded in 1870 and gained worldwide fame in the 1930’s, attracting distinguished soloists and notable conductors such as Kurt Masur, André Previn, and Sir Neville Marriner. Berlin-born Michael Sanderling turned to conducting after a successful career as a cellist, and assumed the role of principal conductor in 2011. Praised by critics for his impressive control of dynamics and rhythm, Sanderling continues to expand the orchestra’s core repertoire with contemporary and commissioned works. The “strapping and exuberant” German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser has been praised by critics for his “rich, gorgeous tone and playing that can range from lovely and elegant, to vigorous with head-banging rock star energy.” Hailed by Gramophone magazine as, “one of the finest among an astonishing gallery of young virtuoso cellists,” Moser performs regularly with leading orchestras.
The season continues on March 17, at 8 p.m., with the Takács Quartet and pianist Joyce Yang. Recognized as one of the world’s great ensembles, the Takács Quartet enchants audiences with its unique blend of musical mastery, dramatic presence and its humor. The quartet was formed in 1975 at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest and first received international attention in 1977, taking First Prize and Critics Prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France. In 2012, Gramophone magazine announced that the Takács Quartet would be the only string quartet to be inducted into its inaugural Hall of Fame, alongside legendary artists such as Jascha Heifetz, Leonard Bernstein and Dame Janet Baker. Blessed with “poetic and sensitive pianism” (Washington Post) and a “wondrous sense of color” (San Francisco Classical Voice), pianist Joyce Yang, at 27, has already established herself as one of the leading artists of her generation. Yang first came to international attention in 2005 when her virtuosity, lyricism and magnetic stage presence earned her the Silver Medal at the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. She appears in the film, In the Heart of Music, a documentary about the 2005 Van Cliburn Competition, and is a frequent guest on America Public Media’s nationally syndicated radio show, “Performance Today.”
The 2015 regular season concludes on March 25, at 8 p.m., with the eminent pianist Murray Perahia. In the more than 40 years that he has been performing on the concert stage, Perahia has become one of the most sought-after and cherished pianists of our time. The Chicago Tribune, calling Perahia, “one of today’s leading artists of the keyboard,” hailed his “ability to shine a penetrating and personal light on music, in such a way that there is nothing at all standard about it.” Perahia is also the principal guest conductor of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. “We are particularly pleased to be able to present Murray Perahia in the final concert of the season,” says McIntyre. “Mr. Perahia is a legendary pianist, who has never before appeared in our series.”
Great Performers Series concerts are at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. Subscriptions for all five concerts are $155, $195, $235, and $265. Single tickets go on sale on October 1. For subscription information, call 941-225-6500. Forms for subscriptions can also be downloaded at www.scasarasota.org.
In addition Great Performers Series concerts, SCA is celebrating its 70th anniversary with a special performance by renowned pianist and composer Dick Hyman, February 11, 5 p.m., at the Historic Asolo Theater, followed by dinner at Treviso restaurant. Tickets are $125. For reservations, call 941-225-6500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCA also presents “Munchtime Musicales,” a series of free lunchtime concerts featuring performances by high-caliber, area-based artists, November 2014 through April 2015. The series is designed to offer a wide variety of musical genres, including classical, folk, and jazz, featuring both vocal and instrumental performers. The 2014-2015 Munchtime Musicales concert season will be announced soon.
About the Sarasota Concert Association
The Sarasota Concert Association (SCA) is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to foster an appreciation for the musical arts by sponsoring professional presentations not otherwise available in the community. The SCA endeavors to set ticket fees as reasonably as possible, in order to make the performances available to a wide audience. It provides outreach to all members of the regional community by offering a series of free concerts, Munchtime Musicales, held from November through April every year. For more information about SCA, visit www.scasarasota.org.