CHAUTAUQUA - Three international competition winners will join the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, the resident symphony orchestra of Chautauqua Institution, during its nine-week, 21-concert summer season in the Amphitheater beginning Saturday, June 30.
In addition to two concerts accompanying the Chautauqua Dance program and Chautauqua Opera Company, the CSO offers an array of thrilling soloists and guest conductors presenting a diverse collection of pieces.
The 2012 season opens with world-renowned pianist Peter Serkin and guest conductor Roberto Minczuk, music director of the Calgary Philharmonic, joining the CSO for Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1. Also on the program is Brahms' "Academic Festival Overture" and Beethoven's Symphony No. 8. The family-friendly Independence Day celebration follows on Tuesday, July 3, led as usual by guest conductor and CSO member Stuart Chafetz, who is joined by soprano Michele Ragusa. The celebration includes a variety of musical selections from American classics and Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture."
Clara-Jumi Kang, 2010 winner of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, takes the Amphitheater stage on Thursday, July 5. She will be joined by guest conductor Timothy Myers, whose recent engagements include the Beijing National Center for the Performing Arts, Opera Africa, the North Carolina and Milwaukee symphony orchestras, for the Violin Concerto of Erich Korngold. Pianist Alexander Schimpf, winner of the 2011 Cleveland International Piano Competition, performs Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the CSO and one of America's most promising and talented conductors, Andrew Grams, on July 12.
Music director of the Kansas City Symphony Michael Stern will be the guest conductor on both July 17 and 19, joined by cellist Amit Peled on July 19. The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus returns to the Chautauqua Amphitheater on Saturday, July 21, joining the CSO for a performance of Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem, under the direction of guest conductor Robert Duerr and featuring soprano Janice Chandler-Eteme and baritone Tyler Duncan.
Guest conductor Sarah Ioannides, music director of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra since 2005, and bandoneon player Jorge "Coco" Trivisonno will perform the music of Astor Piazzolla on July 24. And On July 26 and 28, Chautauqua favorite Alexander Gavrylyuk returns to the Amphitheater, performing two piano concerti of Sergie Rachmaninoff. On July 26, he will perform Piano Concerto No. 1, and on July 28 the Piano Concerto No. 2. Also on July 28, guest conductor Christopher Seaman will feature Dvorak's Symphony No. 8, the piece which was cut short last season due to the power outage.
The first American music director of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra of Norway, Andrew Litton, will be the guest conductor and pianist on July 31. Litton will also lead the CSO on Aug. 2 with violinist Anne Akiko Meyers for Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto.
Stuart Chafetz returns on Saturday, Aug. 4 as guest conductor for the Opera Pops Concert featuring Chautauqua Opera Company's Apprentice and Studio Artists. Chafetz has also been a guest conductor for the orchestras of Buffalo, Chicago, Toronto, and Naples just to name a few. This year will mark Chafetz's 10th summer conducting this event. Canadian pianist, Ian Parker joins guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen Thursday Aug. 9 for Gershwin's Concerto in F.
The evening of Aug. 14 will celebrate the 80th birthday of composer John Williams. Richard Kaufman, Principal Pops Conductor of Orange County's Pacific Symphony will lead the orchestra alongside violinist Brian Reagin will take the audience through a history of John Williams as an American treasure, with music from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" to "Star Wars."
Andrew Constantine, Music Director of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and the Reading Symphony Orchestra of Pennsylvania, will lead the CSO along with flutist, James Walker on Thursday Aug. 16.
On Aug. 18, Chautauqua proudly presents the world premiere of a new work for violin and orchestra by composer Michael Colina titled Baby Yaga: Fantasia for Violin and Orchestra. Soloist Anastasia Khitruk brings this new piece to life. Also on the evening's program is Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 under the baton of guest conductor Ira Levin.
The 2012 Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra season will come to a close on Tuesday, Aug. 21, with 20-year-old Daniil Trifonov, winner of the 2011 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition and the 2011 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow, who will perform Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 under the baton of guest conductor Noam Zur.
Guest conductors, Ira Levin and Noam Zur will both be making their American debuts at Chautauqua Institution this season.
Chicago native Ira Levin has conducted more than 1,000 performances of over 60 operas, some of which include the Frankfurt Museum Orchestra, the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra in Lisbon, the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony of Taiwan and the Buenos Aires Philharmonic.
The most recent engagements of Noam Zur include a tour with his orchestra Kammerphilharmonic Frankfurt in Israel, debuting with the Moscow Virtuosi, Netania-Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra and the Israel Symphony Orchestra. Since 2001 he has performed in major concert halls and with leading orchestras in Germany, Israel, Switzerland, Austria, France, Estonia, Romanic, Scandinavia and Italy.
To learn more about the 2012 CSO season, visit www.ciweb.org/symphony. General admission evening gate/performance tickets are $40. Certain CSO performances are designated Community Appreciation Nights during the 2012 season and are discounted to $18. These tickets allow guests to access the grounds from 4 p.m. until midnight. Call 357-6250 or go to chautauquatickets.ciweb.org/ for ticket information.