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The Richmond Symphony Invites You to Experience Elgar and Sibelius

M E D I A  A D V I S O R Y

Elgar and Sibelius with the Richmond Symphony
Featuring World Premiere of RSO Commission Piece – Sea Surface Full of Clouds
Richmond CenterStage’s Carpenter Theatre
Saturday, April 18 – 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 19 – 3:00 p.m.

April 7, 2015 – Richmond, Virginia The Richmond Symphony invites you to experience Elgar and Sibelius on Saturday, April 18 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 19 at 3:00 p.m. at  Richmond CenterStage’s Carpenter Theatre. The concert will be led by Music Director Steven Smith and features the World Premiere of Benjamin Broening’s Sea Surface Full of Clouds, commissioned by the Richmond Symphony.

In the Richmond composer’s own words: “Sea Surface Full of Clouds takes its title from a poem of the same name by Wallace Stevens…. Like the poem, the piece is set in five movements and evokes the changing sea using a small set of musical materials and gestures that are continually reshaped.” The piece begins with a bright and energetic opening and ends with a climax inspired by the poem’s close.

The concert also includes the well-loved Sibelius Violin Concerto in D Minor, featuring RSO Concertmaster and Thomas P. Bryan, Jr. Fund soloist Daisuke Yamamoto in one of the most beautiful and powerful violin concertos of the repertory. Following the Sibelius and concluding the concert is Elgar’s famous “Enigma Variations,” a symphonic set of 14 variations cryptically dedicated to various friends and acquaintances from the British composer’s life.

Altria Masterwork concerts are free for children 18 and under with a paid adult (tickets required).
College student single tickets are just $7. Soundwave college student subscriptions are $25.

Tickets start at only $10 online at richmondsymphony.com or 1.800.514 ETIX.

The Masterworks Series is sponsored by Altria. The concert is sponsored by the Richmond Symphony Orchestra League. The media sponsor is the Richmond Times-Dispatch.


Steven Smith, conductor

BENJAMIN BROENING       Sea Surface Full of Clouds (World Premiere)

SIBELIUS                               Concerto in D Minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 47, Daisuke Yamamoto, violin

ELGAR                                   Variations on an Original Theme, Opus 36 (“Enigma Variations”)

About Daisuke Yamamoto

Violinist Daisuke Yamamoto, known for exhibiting “immense virtuosity and probing musicianship,” is originally from Marietta, GA. Concertmaster of the Richmond Symphony since 2013, he has been featured as a soloist on several occasions since his arrival, including a performance of the Theme from Schindler’s List for the Holocaust Remembrance Concert, which will be broadcast statewide. Other performances include Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, Ravel’s Tzigane and Vivaldi’s “Autumn” from The Four Seasons. He recently completed his tenure as a violin fellow of the New World Symphony. While at New World, he soloed with the orchestra, performing Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy. He has also collaborated with Jaime Laredo in a performance of Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins. While at New World he was hand-picked by Michael Tilson Thomas to participate in the Thomashefsky Project, an homage to Tilson Thomas’s grandparents who were pioneers of the American Yiddish Theater. The project was recorded for DVD and was aired on PBS’ Great Performances. He was also invited to Medellín, Colombia, where he led sectionals and masterclasses as well as performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Medellín.

An avid orchestral performer, he has performed with many orchestras across the US, including The Cleveland Orchestra on numerous occasions both on tour and in Cleveland, New World Symphony, and the Spokane Symphony. As a concertmaster, he has led the New World Symphony on several occasions both at the New World Center and the Adrienne Arsht Center, Spokane Symphony, Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, Blossom Festival Orchestra and the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra. His performances have taken him to many great concerts halls in America and Europe, including Carnegie Hall, Severance Hall, Benaroya Hall, Suntory Hall, Festspielhaus and the KKL Luzern Concert Hall. He has worked with such notable conductors as Michael Tilson Thomas, Franz Welser-Möst, Fabio Luisi, Osmo Vänskä, Nicholas McGegan, Robert Spano, Jeffrey Tate and David Zinman. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with Robert McDuffie, Ida Kavafian, Peter Wiley, Steven Tenenbom, Jasper String Quartet, members of The Cleveland Orchestra, Tokyo String Quartet, Duo Patterson and Jerry Wong.

About Benjamin Broening

Benjamin Broening’s music couples his interest in the expressive power of sound with a sense of line derived from his background as a singer. His orchestral, choral, chamber and electroacoustic music has been performed in over 20 countries and across the United States by many ensembles, including Grammy-winners eighth blackbird, Da Capo Chamber Players, Choral Arts Philadelphia, Charlotte Symphony and Oratorio Singers of Charlotte, Zeitgeist, Network for New Music and others. He has also worked closely with numerous leading figures in the contemporary music world, including Timothy McAllister, Camilla Hoitenga, Richard Hawkins, Tim Munro, Arthur Campbell, Nicholas Photinos, Curtis Macomber, Lina Bahn and Daniel Koppelman.

Mr. Broening is the recipient of Guggenheim, Howard and Fulbright Fellowships, and has also received recognition and awards from the American Composers Forum, Virginia Commission for the Arts, ACS/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Jerome Foundation and the Presser Foundation, among others.

Trembling Air, a 2012 Bridge Records release of his chamber music recorded by eighth blackbird, has been praised as “haunting” and “enchanting” (Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer), “magical” (Fanfare), “other-worldly” (Gramophone), and “coruscatingly gorgeous” (CD Hotlist).

Critics have described Recombinant Nocturnes, his 2011 disc of music for piano recorded by duo runedako, as “a breathtaking suite for pianos” (World Music Report) “deep, troubling” (François Couture) and “lovely, delicate, calming” (Los Angeles’ KFJC). New Music Box wrote:

Recombinant Nocturnes is a gorgeous disc of music…It is adventurous…thoughtful, eloquent, and disarmingly direct….It’s one of the most persuasive accounts of a contemporary composer engaging a tried-and-true form—the piano nocturne—with both an individual imagination and just the right amount of affectionate familiarity.

Other recordings have been released by Ensemble Ü in Estonia, and on the Centaur, Everglade, Equilibrium, MIT Press, Oberlin Music, Open G and SEAMUS record labels. His Arioso/Doubles and Nocturne/Doubles have each been recorded four times, while Arioso and Changing Light have each been recorded multiple times. Writing about the recent recording of his Clarinet Concerto, Sequenza21 praised its “many thrilling passages” and said “it is, as is most of his music, from a formal vantage point exquisitely well sculpted.”

New works commissioned by the Arctic Philharmonic (Bodø, Norway), Ensemble Ü (Tallinn, Estonia) and soloists in Florida and North Carolina will be premiered in the coming year. Mr. Broening is at work on his third solo CD, entitled What the Light Was Like, which will focus on works for large ensemble.

Benjamin Broening is founder and artistic director of Third Practice, an annual festival of electroacoustic music at the University of Richmond, where he is Professor of Music. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan, Cambridge University, Yale University and Wesleyan University, and has studied with leading composers and teachers, such as William Bolcom, Alexander Goehr, Jacob Druckman and Martin Bresnick.

About Steven Smith

Steven Smith is currently celebrating his fifth season as Music Director of the Richmond Symphony and his third season in the Lewis T. Booker Music Director Chair. He continues as Music Director of the Grammy Award-winning Cleveland Chamber Symphony and in 2013 completed a 14 year tenure as Music Director of the Santa Fe Symphony & Chorus.

From 1997 to 2003, Steven Smith served as the Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra where he appeared on the subscription series at Severance Hall and Blossom Music Center. With a strong commitment to arts education, he assisted in the planning and conducting of the Cleveland Orchestra’s educational and family concerts and hosted the orchestra’s annual broadcast videoconference which won an Emmy Award in 2001. For five seasons, he also served as Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra which performed by invitation at Carnegie Hall in 2001. From 2002-05, he was associate professor at Oberlin Conservatory, where he led both orchestral and opera performances.

In April 2013, Steven Smith made his debut with the Virginia Opera conducting their performances of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.” Steven Smith has appeared as guest conductor with orchestras such as San Francisco, Milwaukee, Houston, Detroit, Puerto Rico Symphony and the Aspen Music Festival. Abroad, he has performed with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, New Zealand’s Auckland Philharmonia, Taiwan’s National Symphony Orchestra and Mexico’s Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa. In addition, he has conducted numerous opera and orchestral performances at Indiana University and Brevard Music Center.

Steven Smith is an ASCAP award-winning composer, with commissions from the Cleveland Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, Eugene Youth Symphony and solo artists. He was named Ohio Composer of the Year for 2008.

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Steven Smith earned Master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music. He is the recipient of the CIM Alumni Association 1999 Alumni Achievement Award and the Geraldine C. and Emory M. Ford Foundation’s Conductor Career Development Grant.
About the Richmond Symphony

Founded in 1957, 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 concerts, radio broadcasts, and educational outreach programs. The Richmond Symphony is partially funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.