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The Richmond Symphony and Featured Pianist Orion Weiss

December 19, 2018


The Richmond Symphony and Featured Pianist Orion Weiss

Present Beethoven’s Emperor & Mahler 5

Altria Masterworks: Beethoven Emperor & Mahler 5
Saturday, January 12 at 8pm
Sunday, January 13 at 3pm
Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts

December 19, 2018 – Richmond, VA: The Richmond Symphony proudly presents this Altria Masterworks concert, featuring renowned pianist and Florence Robertson Givens Guest Artist Orion Weiss under the baton of Music Director Steven Smith. The program includes Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 Opus 73 “Emperor” and Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp Minor.  These two major works, performed by our amazing musicians, are sure to astound and inspire audience members. The concert will be held in the Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, January 12 at 8pm and Sunday, January 13 at 3pm.


One of the most sought-after soloists in his generation, pianist Orion Weiss has performed with major American orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and New York Philharmonic. Also known for his affinity and enthusiasm for chamber music, Weiss performs regularly with his wife, pianist Anna Polonsky. Weiss’s impressive list of awards includes the Gilmore Young Artist Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Gina Bachauer Scholarship at the Juilliard School and the Mieczyslaw Munz Scholarship.  His deeply felt and exceptionally crafted performances go far beyond his technical mastery and have won him worldwide acclaim.


Beethoven wrote his Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 73 while Vienna was under siege by Napoleon’s armies. “What a disturbing, wild life all around me,” Beethoven wrote to his publisher, “nothing but drums, cannons, men, misery of all sorts.” When Friedrich Schneider premiered the concerto in 1810, audiences expected music with a certain martial character. It amply fulfilled their expectations. The piece has a wide dynamic range that opens with a striking first movement, settles into a serene hymn-like adagio, and moves through to a triumphant rondo finale.  An unusual aspect of this massive movement is that Beethoven explicitly wrote out the cadenza, denying the performer the usual custom of improvising.


When Mahler conducted the first performance of his Fifth Symphony in 1904, it was described as “the giant symphony,” due to the immense demands placed on the orchestra. While it retains many characteristics of Mahler’s earlier symphonies, the Fifth marks a conscious movement away from certain features contained in his first four symphonies. Mahler’s Fifth lacks the narrative component found in his prior work and does not contain any sung text. Those changes didn’t seem to come easily to Mahler; he essentially re-worked the symphony every time he conducted it. The first movement mirrors a funeral march. It begins with a single trumpet announcing the main theme. The entire orchestra eventually takes up this theme, building to a powerful climax before yielding to a more lyrical, plaintive melody. Eventually, the light-hearted waltz crashes its way back in and struggles with the darker theme, prevailing triumphantly at the end. The piece moves from sorrow to joy through epic swells of orchestral participation.
Tickets start at $10 for adults, and are free for active military members and for children 18 and under. Visit richmondsymphony.com or call 804.788.1212 for more information.
The Masterworks series is sponsored by Altria and this concert is sponsored by the Richmond Symphony Orchestra League. The media sponsor for this series is Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 8:00 PM
Sunday, January 13, 2019 at 3:00 PM

Richmond Symphony
Masterworks 4

Steven Smith, Conductor
Orion Weiss, Piano




Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 73, “Emperor”

I. Allegro

II. Adagio un poco moto

III. Allegro, ma non troppo

Orion Weiss, Piano







Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp Minor

Part I:

1.  Trauermarsch

2.  Stürmisch bewegt, mit grösster Vehemenz

Part II:

3.  Scherzo: Kräftig, nicht zu schnell

Part III:

4.  Adagietto: sehr langsam

5.  Rondo – Finale: Allegro giocoso




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About the Richmond Symphony

Kicking off its 61st Season in September 2018, the Richmond Symphony is the largest performing arts organization in Central Virginia. The organization includes an orchestra of more than 70 professional musicians, the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus and more than 260 students in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra programs. Each season, more than 200,000 members of the community enjoy live concerts and radio broadcasts. The Symphony also provides educational outreach programs to over 55,000 students and teachers each year. The Symphony was recently named one of 21 American orchestras selected as a leader in orchestra innovation by the League of American Orchestras through its Futures Fund Initiative. The Richmond Symphony is partially funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Visit www.richmondsymphony.com for more information.


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