John Axelrod

January 4, 2018 (possible 5th matinée)
Un Neuvo Año con Besos con Nadja Michael
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza, Sevilla
Program: JOHAN STRAUSS: Küss Valzer JOHAN STRAUSS: Schatz Valzer F. LEHAR : Meine Lippen sie Küssen so heiß JOHAN STRAUSS: Man lebt nur einmal! JOHAN STRAUSS: Ballg`schichten JOHAN STRAUSS: Frühlingsstimmen J. STRAUSS: Die Fledermaus:  aria “Klänge der Heimat" [Rosalinde] pause Part 2: LEONARD BERNSTEIN: Candide, Obertura   G. GERSHWINGershwin: aria “Summertime” DUKE ELLINGTON: Harlem Nutcracker (arr. J. Tyzik)

After our unforgettable collaboration in Schoenberg’s Erwartung at the Spoleto Festival, the colorful and charismatic star of opera and stage Nadja Michael finally comes to Sevilla, to shower us with kisses and songs.  Strauss Waltzes and operettas color the atmosphere of a New Year in Vienna, while Lenny, George and the Duke take us to the big apple to bring in the new year.

More info (external link)

January 10-11, 2018
Paradise Lost and Found: Concierto de la Orquesta Joven de Andalucía y el Joven Coro de Andalucía
Location: Granada and Jerez
Program: Bernstein: Candide Overture/On the Waterfront Suite- Barber: Agnus Dei/Fauré Requiem



Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990)

Candide (Obertura)

On the Waterfront:Symphonic Suite (“La Ley del Silencio”)


Samuel BARBER (1910-1981)

Agnus Dei (Adagio para cuerda Op. 11, transcrito por el autor para coro mixto)

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)

Requiem, Op. 48

I. Introito e Kyrie (coro)

II. Ofertorio (coro y barítono)

III. Sanctus (coro)

IV. Pie Jesu (soprano)

V. Agnus Dei (coro)

VI. Libera Me (coro y barítono)

VII. In Paradisum (coro)

Director: John Axelrod

Lucía Martín (soprano)

Josep Ramon Olivé (barítono)

Joven Coro de Andalucía

Director invitado: Iñigo Sampil

Joven Coro de la OCG

Director: Héctor E. Márquez


On January 11-12, 2018  my commitment to music education in Sevilla and Andalucia continues.  I am honored and proud to start my 2018 Bernstein's Centennial celebrations with a program of his music with young professional musicians.  Sevilla will be the epicenter of Bernstein at 100 in Europe.  This sets the tone for what is to be a happy new year.


The press release from the Junta de Andalucia as follows:


Together with the Orquesta Joven de Andalucia and the Joven Coro de Andalucia and Joven Coro de la OCG, we will celebrate the annuall winter meeting of the OJA and the OCA to prepare a very special program by the hand of our next guest director, Maestro John Axelrod, Artistic and Musical Director of the Royal Symphony Orchestra of Seville: the centenary celebration of Leonard Bernstein, of whom maestro Axelrod was a disciple.

In this line, we dedicate the first part of the program of our concerts to Bernstein, and his music for theater and cinema, and which is projected so directly to the listener. Under the baton of maestro Axelrod, the Young Orchestra of Andalusia will perform the Candide Overture currently one of the most popular pieces of the North American orchestral repertoire, and On the Waterfront, Symphonic Suite, symphonic suite that despite its title is a work in one movement with beautifully cohesive themes, which Bernstein took from the soundtrack he made for the famous film On the Waterfront (1954) by director Elia Kazan.

In the second part of the program, the Young Chorus of Andalusia and some members of the Youth Choir of the City of Granada Orchestra will perform on stage to perform, first of all, the American  composer Samuel Barber's Agnus Dei, based on the famous Adagio for Strings, a piece premiered on May 5. November 1938 on a radio program by director Arturo Toscanini at the head of the NBC Symphony Orchestra in New York. And closing the concert, and with the solo voices of Lucía Martín (soprano) and Josep Ramon Olivé (baritone), the magnificent Gabriel Fauré Requiem: of the many requiems that have been written, this is probably one of the most beloved ones.


More info (external link)

January 18-19, 2018
The Philosophy of Lenny
Location: Real Orquesta Sinfonica de Sevilla; Teatro de la Maestranzaa
Program: LEONARD BERNSTEIN: Serenade para violín solista, cuerda, arpa y percusión "Sobre los diálogos de Platón" LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN: Las ruinas de Atenas, Obertura, Op. 113 * FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN: Sinfonía nº 22,en Mi bemol mayor "El filósofo" *


Jueves 18 / Viernes 19 - Enero 2018, 20:30 h

LEONARD BERNSTEIN: Serenade para violín solista, cuerda, arpa y percusión "Sobre los diálogos de Platón"

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN: Las ruinas de Atenas, Obertura, Op. 113 *

FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN: Sinfonía nº 22,en Mi bemol mayor "El filósofo" *

*    Primera vez por la ROSS

Director: John Axelrod

Violín: Daniel Hope

There is nothing like making music with one of your best friends.  Daniel Hope, with whom I performed many concerti over the years, including the Serenade in Lucerne and Zürich, starts our Bernstein at 100 cycle in Sevilla.  Throughout 2018, the Sevilla will be the epicenter of the European centennial activities, wtiht the ROSS exploring the multi dimensional and dynamic voice that was Bernstein's.  The Serenade is arguably his best work, premiered by Isaac Stern in Venice's  La Fenice in 1954. I am so happy to share this important work during this important year with my dear friend.

Lenny was indeed a philosopher.  The Haydn's Philosopher Symphony and Beethoven's Ruin of Athens Overture highlight the theme set by the Serenade after Plato's Symposium.  The reperoire also promotes our ongoing Beethoven/Haydn abono in the Sala Turina.

A uniquely curated program from the most creative of composers.

More info (external link)

January 30-February 1, 2018
Mendelssohn's Midwinter Dreams
Location: January 30 BOLZANO January 31 TRENTO February 1 ORTISEI
Program: PROGRAM Mendelssohn: Melusine Mendelssohn violin concerto Pause Schreker: Intermezzo op.8 Weill: Symphony 2


La fiaba della bella Melusina, op. 32

Concerto per violino e orchestra in mi minore, op. 64, Anna Tifu, Violin


Intermezzo, op. 8


Sinfonia n. 2


January 30  BOLZANO

January 31  TRENTO

February 1  ORTISEI


2018 not only allows me to champion the music of Lenny, but to also return to repertoire I have enjoyed regularly conducting.  Weill's Symphony 2 is a masterpiece of zeitgeist and zest.  I recorded the music of Schreker and Weill during my tenure as Music Director in Lucerne.  The intermesso hardly resembles the Midsummer Nights Dream of Mendelssohn.   But the Mendelssohn overture and concerto restore the romanticism of the program, perfomred by the exciting soloist Anna Tifu.  Bolzano and the region of South Tyrol are a welcoming winter wonderland coaxing the midwinter dreams of Mendelssohn.

More info (external link)

February 6, 2018
Location: Auditorium Rai “A. Toscanini”

GLUCK from "Orfeo ed Euridice":

- Danza delle Furie

- Danza degli spiriti beati

STRAVINSKY: from "Le baiser de la fée": - Divertimento


STRAVINSKY: Apollon Musagète with Roberto Bolle

An extraordinary program featuring the King of Ballet: Roberto Bolle, and a program fit for a king.  Gluck’s Dances from Orfeo and Stravinsky’s Fairy Kiss and Apollon set the ambience for this beautiful concert of ballet.

More info (external link)

February 15-17, 2018
Rhythm and Swing in Parma
Location: Auditorium Paganini, Parma/Pordenone
Program: Works by Ellington, Bernstein and Gershwin

Duke Ellington - Harlem

Leonard Bernstein - West Side Story: Symphonic Dances


Leonard Bernstein - Prelude, Fugue and Riffs

Leonard Bernstein - On the Town: Three Dance Episodes

George Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue



As always, returning to Parma is pleasure for all the senses.  Not only for the fabulous music making with my good friends in the orchestra, especially for this Bernstein at 100 program, but also for the great wine and food, so central to the culinary identity of Emilia Romagna, this food capital of Italy.

More info (external link)

February 11, 2018
Concerto de Carnevale con Igudesman & Joo and RAI
Location: Auditorium RAI di Torino, "Arturo Toscanini"
Program: Music of Strauss, Offenbach and more.

Concerto de Carnevale con Igudesman & Joo and RAI

John Axelrod direttore

Aleksey Igudesman violino

Hyung-Ki-Joo pianoforte

Richard Strauss

Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, poema sinfonico op. 28

A Big Nightmare Music

Con Igudesman & Joo

Jacques Offebach

Ouverture e Can Can, da “Orfeo all’Inferno“

Humor comes in many doses.  Igudesman & Joo are the classical music kings of comedy.  From the sublime to the ridiculous, Carnevale is in full swing with Till Eulenspiegel, the Can Can and more.  Come laugh and celebrate the night away.

More info (external link)

February 23-24, 2018
Songs and Dances of Life
Location: Orchestre Symphonique de Mulhouse, La Filature, Mulhouse
Program: Works by Stravinsky, Bernstein, Marquez, Ginastera

Igor Stravinski                Le chant du rossignol

Arturo Marquez              Danzon n°2

Alberto Ginastera           Concerto pour harpe  soliste : Anaïs Gaudemard

Leonard Bernstein         Chichester Psalms

Another fascinating program, including Bernstein at 100, full of swing and salsa.  From Marquez and Ginastera to Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms.  Mulhouse gets musical with this program so near to my heart and home.

More info (external link)

March 6 – 9, 2018
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza, Sevilla
Program: Bernstein Symphony 1 "Jeremiah," Mahler Symphony 1 "Titan"

TITANES: Bernstein sobre Mahler sobre Bernstein

Bernstein: Sinfonía 1, Jeremías (Mezzo soprano, Rinat Shaham)


Mahler: Sinfonía 1 "Titan"

Bernstein once considered himself the reincarnation of Mahler.  After all, his championing of Mahler’s music made Mahler popular.  Despite other conductors who gave Mahler his sound, Bernstein brought Mahler back to life.  These two titans reflect each other in so many ways:  Celebrated conductors, misunderstood composers, titanic personalities.  This Bernstein at 100 program is the ideal introduction and immersion into Bernstein on Mahler on Bernstein.  And after the great success singing Carmen at the Real Alcazar, Rinat Shaham returns to bless Sevilla with the very work I first made with her.  This will be titanic and tender concert.

More info (external link)

March 13-16, 2018
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza, Sevilla
Program: Bernstein: Danzas Sinfónicas de West Side Story Shostakovich: Cello Concerto n. 2 (sol. Xavier Phillips) pausa Rachmaninov: Danzas Sinfónicas op. 45

Bernstein: Danzas Sinfónicas de West Side Story

Shostakovich: Cello Concerto n. 2 (sol. Xavier Phillips)


Rachmaninov: Danzas Sinfónicas op. 45

Dance the night away in this fun program of Symphonic dances, from the effervescent and essential for Bernstein at 100 West Side Story to the romantic and expressive Rachmaninov Symphonic Dances.  Xavier Phillips returns to the ROSS to add some serene Shostakovich to the party.  At the end of it all, somber Shostakovich might have taken some vodka and jumped on the dance floor for a good time.  You know, Lenny would.

More info (external link)

March 23-24
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza, Sevilla
Program: Brahms Violin Concerto, Brahms Symphony 3

Brahms Concierto para violín: Alexandra Conunova


Brahms Symphony 3

Free but happy is the motto of Brahms in his 3rd symphony, quote Robert, and dedicating his symphony to Clara.

“According the Jan Swafford, Biographer of Brahms and writer of the notes in my Brahms Beloved CD, Brahms his Third, the most impassioned and personal of his symphonies, was permeated by the presence of Robert and Clara: their time all together, and those years of yearning and frustration regarding Clara, whom he never escaped in his heart.

But Brahms put together the Third in musical, not programmatic terms. The first movement is a dazzling mixture of heroic and lyrical gestures, here epic and there intimate. From its hymnlike opening the second movement is shot through with a sense of yearning and quiet sorrow in the midst of beauty. That quality is intensified in the third movement. Few people forget the first time they hear this sui generis music, an incomparably beautiful song of mingled love and loss.

It is in the finale that the struggle of major and minor keys, of peace and anguish, reaches its highest intensity, from its whispering beginning to its mysterious chorale to its tumultuous pages. Toward the close comes a remarkable coda: after a complex and often troubled musical dialogue, a long quiet stretch that slowly fades toward silence. There is the end of the struggle, in a kind of shimmering twilight.

It is on the last page that Brahms comes full circle and completes the journey that the Third Symphony represented for him. Quietly he returns to the Robert theme, not heard since the first movement. The theme trickles down through the orchestra. In the process it is harmonized in a way familiar to Brahms: It refers to the leading figure of a Beethoven piano sonata called Das Lebewohl, The Farewell.

That is the covert meaning of the final page of the Third Symphony that begins with Robert's theme and in its course traces a journey of love and loss: Robert, farewell. In the Third Symphony Brahms said goodbye to all that, created a testament to the most passionate and anguished years of his life, and to the two people he had loved most. When he finished the Third Symphony, he sent Clara the draft. No one knows if she fully realized what it meant to him, and how profoundly she was woven into its fabric.”

More info (external link)

March 30-April 5, 2018
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza, Sevilla
Program: Brahms: Concierto para piano 1, (sol. Victoria Vassilenko) pausa Brahms Symphony 2



Brahms: Concierto para piano 1, (sol. Victoria Vassilenko)


Brahms Symphony 2

Victoria Vassilenko, a young Bulgarian pianist, won the 2016 Enescu Competition, with a mature and musical Brahms 1 concerto.  I should know because I conducted the competition!

With great anticipation, she makes her debut in Sevilla.  The program balances the program with Brahms 2, considered by most to be optimistic and  enthusiastic, but which the curmudgeon Brahms flatly stated it was the saddest piece of music he ever wrote.  He was joking, of course, in his ironic way.  We will in any case make a very serious case of Victoria’s successful debut and our continuation of the Brahms Beloved cycle in Sevilla.

More info (external link)

April 19-20, 2018
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza, Sevilla
Program: LA FURIA


Brahms: Concierto para piano 2, (sol. Javier Perianes)


Brahms: Sinfonía 4

Brahms Beloved finishes with the remarkable Javier Perianes performing Brahms concerto 2, arguably his most difficult and symphonic.  The fury of Brahms’ last published symphony is not only in the agitated anguish of the melody and symphonic writing, but in the idea that Brahms could actually express regret in his music.  What might have been is always easy to understand in hindsight.  This music looks back with a judgmental voice and looks forward in musical innovation with a visionary ear.  But he had a good and celebrated life, and with this cycle we continue to celebrate both the man, the composer and his legacy.  This concert also brings the debut of rising star Alexandra Conunova in a much overdue family reunion debut.

More info (external link)

April 28, 2018
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza, Sevilla
Program: THE BERNSTEIN BEAT with Jamie Bernstein





Narrator: Jamie Bernstein

The Bernstein at 100 has showcased Lenny the composer and conductor.  As he was my teacher, now comes the most important “title” for Bernstein:  the Educator.  Probably no other classical music can compare the unique and inimitable quality of Bernstein as teacher.  I remember the months during which he studied.  With him everyday was new, everyday was a chance to learn.  He would say:  Today its Brahms.  Tomorrow its Beethoven.  The next day, it’s my music.  And so it was.  He helped me understand not only what was great in music, but what great music is.  With the young musicians of the Orquesta Sinfonica Conjunta, the lessons of Lenny will be shared through music and the words of the Bernstein Beat, with Lenny’s daughter, Jaime, who shares her reinvention of the Young People’s Concerts, made famous by her father, and which weaves Bernstein’s music into the narrative.  This is sure to be the most educational, entertaining, and exciting program of the season.

More info (external link)

May 4-5, 2018
Location: Espacio Joaquin Turina, Sevilla


(Sala Turina)

Haydn: Symphony 53 “L'Imperiale”


Beethoven: Sinfonia 3 “Eroica”

All his teachers from this period agree that Beethoven had a difficult personality and that his musical training was deficient in certain areas. Owing to being self-taught in Bonn, Beethoven really had to apply himself to the study of counterpoint. Ludwig himself admitted that when he studied under Haydn he had never paid a great deal of attention and for this reason he refused to be called Haydn's pupil, as he felt he did not deserve it. But in fact he owes much to Haydn, especially when it comes to style.

Though he met Haydn in 1790, as Haydn was on his way to London, it was not until 1792 that Beethoven began his studies with Haydn. These lasted three years, that is up to 1794 when Haydn moved to London. Beethoven venerated Haydn, and was the only man whom Beethoven was to bend his knee before, in order to kiss his hand.

Haydn was sufficiently impressed to tell Beethoven that if he could arrange to come to Vienna, he would gladly take him on as a pupil.

Beethoven began lessons with Haydn soon after his arrival in Vienna in November 1792 - but quickly became dissatisfied. Haydn was enormously busy with his own compositions and commissions; in January 1794 he left for a second trip to London, returning more than a year and a half later with a commission for a set of symphonies (to become the London symphonies).

Beethoven took lessons with other teachers - often in secret so as not to offend Haydn!

There is a famous quote of Haydn connected to the Eroica.  Upon hearing the premiere, performed in Prince Lobkowitz' home, Haydn is rumored to have said after hearing the symphony:  All music will be different now.

Beethoven discarded both Bonaparte and his teacher Haydn with one stroke of the pen.

But if the hero of the music was no longer Napoleon and no longer his teacher, who was it? The Eroica explores what it means to be human. In facing his own demons and choosing to continue making music, to continue living, Beethoven embraced the heroic in everyman and, ultimately, in himself.

Beethoven said that this symphony was his favorite. In it, he envisioned where his music was going and in fact where the music of the future was going.

All the works that followed it—by Schumann, Brahms, Mahler—would have been impossible without the pathfinding steps that Beethoven took in this symphony.

That is why he is my hero.

More info (external link)

May 17-18, 2018
Location: Philharmonic Essen
Program: Works by Bernstein, Weill, Korngold, Steiner, Rózsa


Max Steiner

"Vom Winde verweht" (arrangiert von Charles Gerhardt)

Miklós Rózsa

"Love Theme" aus "Spellbound"

Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Konzert D-Dur für Violine und Orchester, op. 35

Leonard Bernstein

"On the Waterfront"

Kurt Weill

Suite für Violine und Orchester (arrangiert von Paul Bateman)

After the Serenade in Sevilla, Daniel Hope and I go to his Essen, where he is artist in residence, for a unique portrait of composers who wrote for film and stage.  The third school of Viennese Composition, the sound of Hollywood, was created by Steiner, and made even more successful by Korngold and Rózsa.  Kurt Weill was among the few composers to straddle the line between the popular and the serious, between low and high art.  Bernstein did the same.  For him, as it was for others, there is no high and low.  There is only good or bad.  Play the good music, and life is good.  And so is this program, especially with Daniel Hope.

More info (external link)

May 24, 2018
Homage to Leonard Bernstein
Location: Opera di Firenze, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Program: Leonard Bernstein Sinfonia n. 2 The Age of Anxiety per pianoforte e orchestra Dmitrij Šostakovič Sinfonia n. 4 in do minore, op. 43

Leonard Bernstein

Sinfonia n. 2 The Age of Anxiety per pianoforte e orchestra

Dmitrij Šostakovič
Sinfonia n. 4 in do minore, op. 43

Bernstein at 100 continues in beloved Firenze, with the Age of Anxiety and Shostakovich’s 4th symphony, the precursor to the 5th, and the symphony that started the anxiety in Shostakovich’s life.  No risk, no gain.  Well, he took some risks in Stalin’s Soviet Russia.

Shostakovich said:  "I am not afraid of difficulties. It is perhaps easier, and certainly safer, to follow a beaten path, but it is also dull, uninteresting and futile.”  Once he completed the score, Shostakovich was apparently uncertain how to proceed. Showing the new symphony to friends did not help. One asked, frightened, what Shostakovich thought the reaction from Pravda would be. Shostakovich jumped up from the piano, scowling, replying sharply, "I don't write for Pravda, but for myself.”  And yet, he was forced to cancel the premiere for fear of reprisal.  In the end, despite fears and anxiety and threats from Stalin, Shostakovich revised the score and prevailed.  Music triumphs, as it should.

It is also very much influenced by the music of Mahler, so yet one more reason to associate with Bernstein. The symphony is strongly influenced by Mahler. The duration, the size of the orchestra, the style and range of orchestration, and the recurrent use of "banal" melodic material juxtaposed with more high-minded, even "intellectual," material, all come from Mahler.[13]

Aside from the entire second movement, one of the most Mahlerian moments appears at the outset of the third movement—a funeral march reminiscent of many similar passages in the Austrian's output. Another such point occurs near the beginning of the deeply brooding coda that follows the last full-orchestra outburst, with the descending half-step idea in the woodwinds clearly pointing to the A Major-to-A minor chord progression that characterizes much of Mahler 6.

More info (external link)

June 7-8, 2018
Location: Teatro de la Maestrnza
Program: Barber: Adagio para cuerdas Bernstein: Halil: Nocturne Flauta en solitario, (sol. Andreas Blau, Berliner) Pausa Shostakovich: Sinfonía 7 “Leningrado"


Barber: Adagio para cuerdas

Bernstein: Halil: Nocturne Flauta en solitario, (sol. Andreas Blau, Berliner)


Shostakovich: Sinfonía 7 “Leningrado"

The combination of Bernstein and Shostakovich continues.  The War comes in both the form of Halil, a portrait of a young Israeli soldier killed during war, with Andreas Blau, solo flutist of the Berlin Philharmonic and the Leningrad Symphony, a musical portrait of the siege of St. Petersburg and the will of the Russian people to defend their motherland.  It is an epic battle heard in music, the sonic equivalent to Star Wars, Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings combined.  While politics remain a source of conflict, one thing is certian, the human spirit rises above it all to remain defiant and determined in the face of tyranny.

More info (external link)

June 21-22, 2018
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza, Sevilla
Program: CHARLES IVES: La pregunta sin respuesta, S.50 * LEONARD BERNSTEIN: Sinfonía nº 2 "La edad de la ansiedad" * DIMITRI SHOSTAKÓVICH: Sinfonía nº 5, en Re menor, Op. 47

CHARLES IVES: La pregunta sin respuesta, S.50 *
LEONARD BERNSTEIN: Sinfonía nº 2 "La edad de la ansiedad" *
DIMITRI SHOSTAKÓVICH: Sinfonía nº 5, en Re menor, Op. 47

What need be said?  After the 4th and the Stalinist threats against him, Shostakovich came back from the “dead” to create his most important work.  The 5th is his destiny, just as Beethoven’s 5th became his fate.  He even included a quote from a poem by Pushkin dealing with rebirth.  This was Shostakovich’s resurrection.

There is an interesting fact about this 5th.  In addition, commentators have noted that Shostakovich incorporated a motif from the “Habanera” from Carmen into the first movement, a reference to Shostakovich's earlier infatuation with a woman who refused his offer of marriage; she subsequently moved to Spain and married a man named Roman Carmen.

One more personal anecdote.  Lenny was conducting it in 1959, in the presence of the composer.  The finale has a tremendous arrival to D major, with what could be interpreted as a statement of triumph and victory over dictatorship.  Lenny doubled the tempo to create an optimistic fanfare.  Shostakovich immediately shouted, “Nyet!”  Hence, the controversy.

As stated by writer Kenneth Woods:  “Although Shostakovich later repeatedly confirmed his intention that it be played at quaver=188, confusion continues to this day among conductors and critics more inclined to learn a piece through recordings than through the score. But what are we to make of that idiosyncratic metronome marking? By giving the tempo in quavers, Shostakovich is implying that each quaver has its own impulse, its own emphasis, and, in fact the entire coda has an absolutely unremitting string of continuous quavers all on the pitch 1 252 in all.  The brass, in note values double their original length, bring back the opening “Barbarian” or Carmen theme, now in triumphant D major- “Pends garde! Beware!” it seems to bellow over and over.  Through it all, the strings, woodwinds and piano continue to repeat those A’s over and over. When asked by his son what all those A’s where meant to signify, Shostakovich reportedly said “La! La! La! La!” La is the Russian nickname for Elena, the woman who had broken his heart by marrying Mr Carmen; Shostakovich’s archivist Manashir Yakubov calls it “a cry of despair and farewell.” Yet, asked by another friend, Shostakovich replied “Ya! Ya! Ya!” or “Me! Me! Me!” This tension between the barbarian and the genius, and between “me” and “her” continues to the final note of the piece. Ambivalent, angry, triumphant, tortured, heartbroken, defiant, world-embracing and self-regarding, the final page of this greatest of 20th c. symphonies is so powerful for much the same reason it has always been so controversial.  When one is able to recognize the depth and intensity of its countless tensions and contradictions, what listener could ever settle for something as simplistic and straightforward as a happy, or sad, ending again?"

More info (external link)

June 28-29, 2018
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza, Sevilla
Program: JOAN TOWER: Fanfarria para la mujer poco común * AARON COPLAND: Fanfarria para el hombre común * AARON COPLAND: Concierto para clarinete LEONARD BERNSTEIN: Preludio, Fuga y Riffs * GEORGE GERSHWIN: Un americano en París


JOAN TOWER: Fanfarria para la mujer poco común *

AARON COPLAND: Fanfarria para el hombre común *

AARON COPLAND: Concierto para clarinete

LEONARD BERNSTEIN: Preludio, Fuga y Riffs *

GEORGE GERSHWIN: Un americano en París

*    Primera vez por la ROSS

Director: John Axelrod

Clarinete: Sebastian Mainz

From Moscow we come to Washington.  No, it is not Russian collusion.  But there is something propagandistic between the music of Stalin’s Soviet Empire and FDR’s New Idealism, as evidenced in the iconic Copland Fanfare for the Common Man.  There could be hammers and sickles in the hands of the common man as much as a coal mine pick or cotton farm hoe.   The social realism of the time was found in the voices of all composers.  And today, the main theme is sisterhood, female empowerment.  The Fanfare for the uncommon woman is a testament to the feminist agenda and evidence of the effect of that movement on the #metoo movement of today.

The freedom to vote, to have equal rights and equal pay, to have the security and protection to be a free woman, all these themes central to the political and social dialogue of today are expressed in the jazzy freedoms of Gershwin’s famous score and Copland’s swinging clarinet concerto.  Lenny lets it rip with his riffs.  With the virtuosic Sebastian Mainz, this concert is about us all- free to be, you and me.

More info (external link)

July 5-6, 2018
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza, Sevilla
Program: Ellington: Harlem, un poema de tono Gershwin: I Got Rhythm Variations, (sol. Juan Floristan) pausa Bernstein: One day in New York - Tres episodios de baile Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue, (sol. Juan Floristan)


Ellington: Harlem, un poema de tono

Gershwin: I Got Rhythm Variations, (sol. Juan Floristan)


Bernstein: One day in New York - Tres episodios de baile

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue, (sol. Juan Floristan)

I love New York.  Not just the song, but the city.  Somehow, this city of immigrants has become the example of what is best and worst about civilization, about cities, about citizens.  Unless you’re a Trump, living in New York is like being a kind living in candy store without any money.  It all tastes so good.  That opening clarinet riff in the Rhapsody is as delicious as any bon-bon.  The Three Dance Episodes from Lenny’s On the Town is a reminder of the carefree post-war spirit that encapsulated the myth of New York.  Hometown hero Juan Florestan jazzes it up à la Sevillano.

As Columbus is buried in Sevilla, it makes sense to suggest this July 4 Independence Day Concert is a reminder of what this season represented.  The discovery of new worlds of music.  The joy of music.  Not only Lenny’s title of his book which gave the season its theme, but the philosophy we all share.  Making music with Joy.  That can only be done with love.  Lenny got it right.

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