Richmond Symphony Altria Masterworks Concert – New World Symphony

M E D I A  A D V I S O R Y

April 4, 2018 – Richmond Virginia Music Director Steven Smith will lead the Richmond Symphony in the Altria Masterworks concert, New World Symphony, on Saturday, April 21 at 8pm and Sunday, April 22 at 3pm. Concertmaster Daisuke Yamamoto and principal cellist, Neal Cary, will be the featured guest artists for these concerts.  Both performances will be held in the Dominion Energy Center’s Carpenter Theatre.

The program includes Kaprálová’s Suita Rustica, Brahms’ Concerto in A Minor featuring Mr. Yamamoto and Mr. Cary, and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 “From the New World.”

In 1892, Dvořák was invited to become the director for the school that would one day become Julliard. The Czech composer jumped at the opportunity and moved his family halfway across the world to the heart of New York City. Shortly after arriving in America, Dvořák composed his Ninth Symphony, which he called “Impressions and greetings from the New World.”

Dvořák included many influences from American folk culture, including southern and Creole influences and Native American undertones, but over a century after its première, classical music scholars are still debating the authenticity of these influences. Dvořák had not truly seen America at the time of the piece’s composure and perhaps it was more his interpretation of America rather than a true portrayal of “the New World.”

Johannes Brahms had been great friends with the famed Hungarian violinist Josef Joachim; the two had been friends since they were young men, and after nearly thirty years of friendship they had a falling out during Joachim’s messy divorce. Robert Hausmann, the cellist in Joachim’s quartet, had asked Brahms to write a concerto for him, and so Brahms grasped that opportunity to entice Joachim back. After living separate lives for several years, Brahms felt he needed to make amends with his friend and attempted to use his best gift to do it – music. Brahms composed his Concerto in A Minor for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra as a means of reconciliation; a way to hold Joachim’s talents in the highest regard and to encourage their mutual respect. This piece highlights the orchestra’s string instruments, featuring solos from cello and violin. The second movement serves as a true celebration of friendship, with a beautiful ballad and a free-flowing tone that represents the spirit of both Joachim and Brahms.

Czech composer Vítězslava Kaprálová was born in 1915 in a world where women were expected to take on roles of service where they spent time caring for others, but not thinking or speaking freely. Her parents noticed her creative abilities at a young age and nurtured her musical talents. At twenty years of age, Kaprálová went to Prague to study composition and conducting. Upon completing her studies she moved to Paris. Only three short years later, Kaprálová died tragically of typhoid fever. Her Suita Rustica is a harmonious composition that took her less than one month to create. It is modern in style and celebrates her Czech roots. The piece is perhaps her most celebrated work.

Adult and college student tickets for Altria Masterworks performances start at $10, and child tickets are free for ages 18 and under. Purchase tickets online at, by calling 1.800.514.ETIX, or in person at the Carpenter Theatre box office.

The series sponsor is Altria. The media sponsor is Richmond Times-Dispatch.