The Santa Rosa Symphony presents the first virtual concert in its new and dynamic SRS @ Home series on Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 3 PM. At a time when many California regional orchestras are going dark, the Santa Rosa Symphony presents a virtual series, featuring the largest number of musicians on stage for an orchestral concert in the state, with up to 32 socially-distanced musicians for some of the works. Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong conducts unique configurations of the orchestra, recorded live on the Weill Hall stage. This free, virtual event, featuring Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1, will stream on the Santa Rosa Symphony's YouTube channel. This historic concert will be preceded by a live pre-concert talk at 2 PM and immediately followed by a live post-concert Q&A with Lecce-Chong—all on YouTube. All three elements of this event will be free, though donations to support the ongoing music and outreach programs of the Symphony will be gratefully received, during the event.
Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong says, "This program is a celebration of the orchestra and our musicians through a diverse array of works spanning 400 years of composition. Individual sections of the orchestra will be featured, from percussion to strings, in unique configurations in the Green Music Center before we conclude with Beethoven's first symphony."
"I am thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to be back on stage with my colleagues,” added Lecce-Chong. “Being able to share the hope, joy, and comfort of music is vital in times like this and these free virtual events will reach more people in our community than ever before."
"We have taken a bold artistic step forward," commented President and CEO Alan Silow, "by producing, for free, the largest virtual orchestral program by any orchestra in the state of California, inspiring all lovers of classical music and providing meaningful employment to our fine musicians.”
The program opens with Lyric for Strings by George Walker (1922-2018), a highly successful pianist, composer, and teacher with a dizzying list of “firsts.” Walker was the first African American instrumentalist to obtain professional concert management, the first African American composer to win the Pulitzer Prize in Music (for his Lilacs for Voice and Orchestra) and he was the first living composer inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame (2000).
The brass section will then have their due as they perform two Canzoni by 16th century Venitian composer Giovanni Gabrieli, arranged by the Santa Rosa Symphony’s principal trombone, Bruce Chrisp.
The program continues with Escaramuza for percussion, harp, piano, and strings by Gabriela Lena Frank, which draws on Peruvian influences for a lively tribute to the kachampa dance of the Incan warrior. Woodwinds and brass take the stage for Richard Strauss’ Serenade in E-flat major for Thirteen Wind Instruments, Op. 7. The piece, written when the composer was 17, features graceful, elegant melodies, owing to Strauss’ affinity for Mozart.
The program concludes with Beethoven’s First Symphony, written when he was 29. His first symphony, which bears the influences of Haydn and Mozart, was praised at its premiere as a masterpiece.
The Santa Rosa Symphony, the Resident Orchestra of the Green Music Center, is the third-oldest professional orchestra in California, and the largest regional symphony north of Los Angeles. Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Symphony's fifth music director in its 93 years, began his tenure in 2018. The Symphony is committed to core values of artistic excellence, innovative programming, comprehensive music education, and community service. The organization infused the Sonoma County economy with more than $4 million in 2019.
The Symphony is recognized for having one of the most comprehensive music education programs in California, serving nearly 30,000 youths annually. Collaborations with schools and organizations across Sonoma County have gained the Santa Rosa Symphony national attention and support. Awards include an American Symphony Orchestra League MetLife Award for Community Engagement and a first-place award for adventurous programming from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).