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A Bohemian Rhapsody

Saturday, October 14 at 7:30pm

Sunday, October 15 at 3:00pm


A Bohemian Rhapsody

Saturday, October 14 at 7:30pm

Sunday, October 15 at 3:00pm


A Bohemian Rhapsody

Saturday, October 14 at 7:30pm

Sunday, October 15 at 3:00pm


The Palace Series

Experience the thrill of a live, full orchestra


The Palace Theatre
61 Atlantic Street, Stamford, CT 06901


2 hours with a 20
minute intermission

Saturday, October 14, 2023 at 7:30pm

Sunday, October 15, 2023 at 3:00pm

About this performance

We open our season with bold statements—from the first notes of Robert Schumann’s achingly romantic Fourth Symphony, the seeds of burgeoning passion and inexpressible joy are planted. Writing this work to his new young bride—whom he had finally married after an agonizing year-long struggle to get her father’s permission to let the wedding go forward—he poured his whole self into this glorious music, running the field from tempestuous struggle to the explosion of joy at the end, in one of music’s great creations.

The violin concerto by Antonín Dvořák is equally bold; a fervent bohemian rhapsody, interpreted by one of the most visionary artists, activists, educators, and virtuoso violinists of our time—the world renowned Midori. It is a joyous way to kick off our Orchestra Lumos season, and a program not to be missed!

Michael Stern, conductor
Full Orchestra

Musical Program to include

Alejandra Odgers Toni alossaan (Where are you going?)

Robert Schumann Symphony No. 4

Antonín Dvořák Violin Concerto

Your Orchestra Lumos Experience

Join Us for Illuminating discussions hosted before and after concerts

Behind the Baton: Held in the theater one hour prior to each concert
Learn more about the program with Music Director Michael Stern. This pre-concert talk offers a deeper
look into the music and introduces you to the soloist.

After Hours: Held in the lower lobby café following Saturday evening concerts
Michael Stern moderates an interactive discussion after the concert with a panel of guests (musicians, composers, and community leaders). Join us for a glass of wine and feel free to ask questions and share your own thoughts!

Sharing the Joy of Music with Young Audiences

Orchestra Lumos is dedicated to broadening access to, and appreciation of, musical experiences for young
audiences. Kids ages 5 to 17 come FREE* with accompanying adult for Sunday afternoon concerts. (* $4 facility fee is applied to all tickets ordered).

Midori violin

Midori is a visionary artist, activist and educator who explores and builds connections between music and the human experience and breaks with traditional boundaries, which makes her one of the most outstanding violinists of our time. She will mark the 40th anniversary of her professional debut this season, celebrating a remarkable career that began in 1982, when she debuted with the New York Philharmonic at age 11.

In concert around the world, Midori transfixes audiences, bringing together graceful precision and intimate expression.  Midori has performed with, among others, the London, Chicago, and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras; the Sinfonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks; the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics; the Mahler Chamber Orchestra; and Festival Strings Lucerne. She has collaborated with such outstanding musicians as Claudio Abbado, Emanuel Ax, Leonard Bernstein, Jonathan Biss, Constantinos Carydis, Christoph Eschenbach, Daniel Harding, Paavo Järvi, Mariss Jansons, YoYo Ma, Susanna Mälkki, Joana Mallwitz, Antonello Manacorda, Zubin Mehta, Tarmo Peltokoski, Donald Runnicles, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Omer Meir Wellber.

This anniversary season is marked by a new recording of the complete Beethoven sonatas for piano and violin performed by Midori and the celebrated pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet – a landmark recording of two artists at the height of their careers (Warner Classics).  Coinciding with the new release, Midori and Thibaudet perform all ten sonatas over three concerts at Dartmouth College and a single concert of three of the sonatas in Chicago. Another highlight of the anniversary season is a project that combines two lifelong passions – the music of Bach and newly commissioned music – in a solo recital tour featuring Bach’s six sonatas and partitas for solo violin alongside works by contemporary composers; the tour includes a return to Carnegie Hall in February and concerts in Washington, DC, Seattle and Vancouver, and in San Francisco, Irvine and La Jolla in California.  Midori also appears this season with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, Toledo Symphony and Glacier Symphony (in Montana).

Midori’s European engagements this season include Brahms’ Violin Concerto at the Moritzburg and Schleswig-Holstein Music Festivals; a residency with the Volksoper Wien Orchestra and an appearance with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin; chamber music concerts in Köln, Hamburg and London; and solo Bach programs at major German festivals in Dresden, Bonn and Ludwigsburg. In addition to other concerts in Europe and Asia, she appears in residency at Suntory Hall in Tokyo in November.

Midori’s diverse discography includes the 2020 recording with the Festival Strings Lucerne of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and two Romances on Warner Classics; recordings on Sony Classical, Ondine and Onyx include the music of Bloch, Janáček and Shostakovich and a Grammy Award-winning recording of Hindemith’s Violin Concerto with Christoph Eschenbach conducting the NDR Symphony Orchestra as well as Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin filmed at Köthen Castle, which was recorded also for DVD (Accentus).

As someone deeply committed to furthering humanitarian and educational goals, she has founded several non-profit organizations, and last season, she was able to offer programs in person for the first time in two years. Midori & Friends, celebrating its 30th year of service this season, provides music programs for New York City youth and communities, and MUSIC SHARING, a Japan-based foundation, brings both western classical and Japanese music traditions to children and adults in Japan and throughout Asia by presenting programs in schools, institutions, and hospitals. For her Orchestra Residencies Program (ORP), Midori commissioned composer Derek Bermel to write a new piece, “Spring Cadenzas,” which was premiered (mostly virtually) by student orchestras in 2021 and continues to be performed by ORP participants. Through Partners in Performance (PiP), Midori co-presents chamber music concerts around the U.S., focusing on smaller communities that are outside the radius of major urban centers and have limited resources.

In recognition of her work as an artist and humanitarian, she serves as a United Nations Messenger of Peace. Last season, she participated in a panel discussion, hosted by The Peace Studio, about what music can teach us about peaceful communication, alongside Joyce DiDonato and Wynton Marsalis; she delivered the Kim and Judy Davis Dean’s Lecture in the Humanities at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute (about non-profit leadership and volunteering); and she was awarded the Asian Cultural Council’s John D. Rockefeller 3rd Award for her contributions to the field of arts and cultural exchange. In 2022, Midori was also awarded the Brahms Prize by the Schleswig-Holstein Brahms Society. In recognition of her lifetime of contributions to American culture, Midori is a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors and was celebrated by Yo-Yo Ma, Bette Midler and John Lithgow, among others, during the May 2021 Honors ceremonies in Washington, DC.

Last season’s concert highlights included the premiere of Detlev Glanert’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Midori’s appearance in Carnegie Hall’s benefit Concert for Ukraine.

Midori was born in Osaka in 1971 and began her violin studies with her mother, Setsu Goto, at an early age. In 1982, conductor Zubin Mehta invited the then 11-year-old Midori to perform with the New York Philharmonic in the orchestra’s annual New Year’s Eve concert, where the foundation was laid for her following career. Midori is the Dorothy Richard Starling Chair in Violin Studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and is a Distinguished Visiting Artist at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.

Midori plays the 1734 Guarnerius del Gesù ‘ex-Huberman’. She uses four bows – two by Dominique Peccatte, one by François Peccatte and one by Paul Siefried.

Program Notes

Toni Alossaan (Where are You Going)

Alejandra Odgers
b. 1967

Born in Mexico, oboist and composer Alejandra Odgers received her musical training in Mexico City and in Montreal, Canada. A prolific composer, she draws her inspiration from traditional Mexican and indigenous Native-American melodies, trying to blend them with the forms of Western Music. She currently resides in Canada.

Composed in 2007 as part of her PhD thesis and revised in 2029, Toni Alossaan is built on the legends and songs of the Abenaki, the indigenous tribes of the woodlands of New England and western Quebec Province. It incorporates Abenaki songs, each presented by a different instrument family. The title represents the first line of one of the Abenaki songs.

Odgers is currently composing an opera based on Abenaki legends.

Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120

Robert Schumann

No other composer symbolized the Romantic movement in music as did Robert Schumann. Talented both in music and literature, he used the latter to promote his romantic ideals about the future of music. He was a true elitist, pitting “us,” the enlightened (the Davidsbündler) against “them,” the masses, whom he called “Philistines.” The latter appellation has remained part of the international elitist vocabulary to this day.

Schumann’s five-year pursuit of his beloved, the brilliant Clara Wieck, had all the ingredients of a soap opera (or grand opera): A hostile father-in-law, an adoring young bride-to-be, secret correspondence, lawsuits and court battles, accusations of alcoholism, banishment from Wieck’s house, economic pressure, etc. Clara was an outstanding pianist and composer in her own right, and their eventual triumph led to a stormy but happy marriage unleashing a flood of creativity in both husband and wife – including seven children.

Although listed as Robert Schumann’s fourth symphony, the Symphony in D minor was actually his second, composed in 1841 during the happy first year of his marriage to Clara. In his diary, the composer wrote “…my next symphony will be called Clara and I will portray her with flutes, oboes and harps.”

The Symphony broke with the prevailing symphonic traditions, being more of an orchestral fantasy on several related themes that undergo transformations and variations as in a Classical symphony. In this way it forms a bridge between the Classical symphony and the later tone poems of Franz Liszt. Schumann himself referred to it as “Symphonistische Phantasie.”

The result of these innovations was a chilly reception at the premiere in Leipzig. Schumann withdrew the work and only returned to it in 1851 after the success of his Third Symphony. He revised and reorchestrated it, fusing all four movements to be played without a break, which made it even closer to a “Phantasie.” However, many conductors ignore this directive and separate the movements.

Two motifs, the theme of the introduction and a three-note hammer-blow motif in the Allegro of the first movement serve as the unifying theme for the whole work, reappearing in many guises in all subsequent movements.

The pensive mood of the Introduction, Ziemlich langsam (quite slowly) gains momentum and leads to the Lebhaft (lively) first movement, with its harsh “hammer-blow.” The second movement, Romanza, again Ziemlich langsam, introduces a melancholy theme on the oboes and cellos, alternating with the opening theme of the Introduction.

The lively Scherzo marked Lebhaft (lively) opens with the hammer-blow motif providing the rhythmic pulse to a theme again based on the Introduction. The movement ends on a poetic and gentle note that merges imperceptibly with the slow introduction to the Finale. Again, in the lively Finale, the hammer-blow motif sets the rhythm for the two lively themes until the joyous presto closing section.

Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53

Antonín Dvořák

As a member of a minority in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Antonín Dvořák was looked upon as a second-class citizen. He sensed condescension in the support and encouragement of the Austrian musical establishment and was resentful at being forced by economic necessity to accept government stipends.

In 1875 Dvořák met and became a disciple of Brahms; the admiration was mutual. Brahms urged Fritz Simrock, the most famous music publisher in Berlin, to publish Dvořák’s Moravian Dances and the first set of the Slavonic Dances. Brahms supported him when he entered – and won – the competition for the Austrian State Prize in music for young, poor and talented artists. The committee report stated that “…the applicant, who has never yet been able to acquire a piano of his own, deserves a grant to ease his strained circumstances and free him from anxiety in his creative work.”

By the time Dvořák started the Violin Concerto in the summer of 1879, prizes, honors and commissions were pouring in. The suggestion to write a violin concerto came from Simrock, and Dvořák hoped to enlist the help of the famed violinist Joseph Joachim to evaluate and edit the concerto. Joachim, who had also helped Brahms and Max Bruch with their concertos, suggested after a trial rehearsal that the composer start from scratch. Dvořák rewrote the Concerto and destroyed the original version. He finally completed it in 1882, stating, “I have retained the themes, and composed some new ones too, but the whole concept of the work is different.” But still the two friends did not see eye to eye. Joachim, although the dedicatee, did not premiere the finished work.

There is no specific information regarding Joachim’s objections to Dvořák’s Concerto. On the surface, it shares many elements with the concertos of Brahms, Bruch and Mendelssohn, frequently performed by Joachim. Unlike these works, however, the Concerto strays from the more conventional forms in the first and second movements, in which Dvořák reveals an intensely emotional, almost elegiac side of his musical personality.

The Concerto is in the conventional three-movement form, but the first two are played without interruption. A short orchestral fanfare followed by a lyrical melody on the solo violin present the material from which this extensive first movement is built, although a second theme is introduced much later. There is no formal recapitulation, only a six bar fragment that leads to the transition to the second movement.

The slow movement opens with a gentle melody on the solo violin, answered by the flute. But the initial folk-like simplicity of the melody is deceptive; Dvořák develops it, as well as the new theme in the middle section, with abrupt harmonic shifts that blatantly tug at the heartstrings. The movement is largely a personal conversation between the violin and the upper winds. It also provides the soloist with an opportunity for some delicate figurative passages, but always subdued, in keeping with the wistful mood.

In the finale Dvořák reveals his Bohemian roots; the soloist introduces a lively dance, a furiant that recurs as a refrain throughout the movement, each time with a different instrumental mix.

Program notes by:
Joseph & Elizabeth Kahn

*artists and programs subject to change