The 2016–2017 Excite Season begins true to its theme: exciting. This bold, sweeping performance journeys through youthful charm to romanticism to exotic musical storytelling.
As a young child, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his older sister, Nannerl, traveled with their father, Leopold. The musically gifted siblings performed throughout the courts of Europe and were on the road for several years. During their time in England, young Mozart encountered Johann Christian Bach, whose work greatly influenced the early compositions of the burgeoning composer. Symphony No. 1, written by Mozart when he was only eight years old, is one of these pieces. The symphony’s theme is carried by the strings and demonstrates the joy and charm of a carefree young boy.
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini was Sergei Rachmaninoff’s last composition for piano and orchestra and is perhaps his best-known work. The piece was first performed in Baltimore in 1934 with Rachmaninoff himself as soloist. For this evening, Anastasia Rizikov will take the role as soloist. This young Canadian pianist made her orchestral debut at age 7. Since she was 12, Rizikov has been competing as an adult on the international competitive circuit, taking first place versus competitors twice her age. In 2015, she won first place at both the Jaen International Piano Competition and the Ettore Pozzoli International Piano Competition.
The performance continues with adventure made music. Scheherazade, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s 1888 suite for orchestra, instantly transports the audience to a warm Arabian evening in which Scheherazade tells tales to the Sultan, night after night. The suite encapsulates several unconnected stories from the collection of 1,001: The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship, Prince Kalandar, The Young Prince and Princess, the Festival at Baghdad, and Shipwreck on a Rock. All of these tales come to life within this suite. From the very beginning—as the Sultan’s theme announces itself in strong, confident brass to the gentle, yet persistent, theme of Scheherazade weaving her solo violin in triplet—this melodic story is told.
Come . . . for a charming, exotic evening of music that begs to be heard!