By Natasha Anderson
The Asheville Symphony Orchestra (ASO) celebrates four French composers in a concert on Saturday, January 19, at 8 p.m. at Asheville’s Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. Featuring works from Jacques Offenbach, Camille Saint-Saëns, Francis Poulenc and Hector Berlioz, the program will be led by guest conductor Ward Stare and will feature guest cellist Daniel Kaler and guest soprano Laura Strickling, along with the Asheville Symphony Chorus.
“These four composers come from different backgrounds and each made his own wonderful contribution to music,” says Stare. “It will be great fun to juxtapose their work and explore the varied, complex and beautiful French sound together with our audience.”
The program opens with Offenbach’s Overture to Gaîté Parisienne, depicting the romance and spirit of Paris. Next, cellist Daniel Kaler, winner of the 2018 Payne Fund Prize, joins the orchestra for Saint-Saëns’ dazzling Cello Concerto No. 1. The Asheville Symphony will then be joined by guest soprano Laura Strickling and the Asheville Symphony Chorus for Poulenc’s delightful and mystic Gloria. The evening closes with Berlioz’s grandiose La Marseillaise, the French national anthem.
“I’m sure our audiences will delight in hearing Kaler’s fresh interpretation and wonderful energy as a performer,” says Stare. “As well as in the unique perspective Strickling will bring to these works.”
Stare has been music director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra since 2014. He has performed with major orchestras across the country and around the world, including the orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Fort Worth, Houston and Pittsburgh, the Deustches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Sydney Symphony, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Symphony and Calgary Philharmonic.
Thomas Wolfe Auditorium is located at 87 Haywood Street in Asheville. Single tickets are $24-$69, depending on seating section. Reduced youth pricing is available. Tickets can be purchased online at AshevilleSymphony.org, by phone at 828.254.7046, in person at the Asheville Symphony office at 27 College Place, Suite 100, or at the U.S. Cellular Center Box Office.