By Natasha Anderson
Conductor Jacomo Bairos leads the Asheville Symphony Orchestra (ASO) in an eclectic program featuring music by Bernstein, Hyken and Brahms on Saturday, May 12, at 8 p.m. at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. “I think these works demonstrate that the orchestra truly has no bounds,” says Bairos. “That whatever style we dream up or wish to perform, the orchestra can do it in a spectacular, visceral and palpable way.”
The concert opens with Leonard Bernstein’s Overture to Candide. Originally written for a theatrical adaptation of Voltaire’s satirical novel Candide, the piece was a collaboration between Bernstein and playwright Lillian Hellman in reaction to Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s 1950s campaign against alleged communists.
Next is contemporary composer Sam Hyken’s 2017 work Four–The Vivaldi Project, a reimagining of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. While some movements are pure re-orchestrations of the original material, with added elements like percussion, brass and Moog synthesizer, others are complete re-imaginations containing elements of hip-hop, jazz and 1970s film noir.
Acclaimed violinist Jennifer Frautschi joins the ASO as the solo violin in the Hyken piece. “Frautschi has been premiering new pieces by living composers for years,” says Bairos. “Her dedication to them and their works, as well as to the use of her instrument as a vehicle for expressing new ideas and possibilities, is something I find truly remarkable.”
The evening ends with Brahms’ Symphony No. 2., a piece that concludes with great fanfare and optimism. Its 1877 premiere in Vienna was met with astounding success, with the audience insisting that the cheerful third movement be repeated.
Bairos is the artistic director of the Amarillo Symphony and is also the co-founder and co-artistic director of the Miami-based Nu Deco Ensemble. He is the last of the finalists for the ASO’s music director position to conduct an audition concert.
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. Single tickets and season ticket packages can be purchased online at ashevillesymphony.org, by phone at 828.254.7046 or in person at the U.S. Cellular Center box office at 87 Haywood Street.