Showing posts with label Symphony Orchestra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Symphony Orchestra. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

A Brief History of the BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (BSO)

The logo of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
The logo of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As is the case with many of America's pre-eminent orchestras -- of which the Boston Symphony is clearly one -- the ensemble's history can be told as a series of stories about its conductors. These singular stars of the podium command significant salaries and enjoy considerable influence over an orchestra's schedule, the type of sound it presents to the public, and even whether or not it will perform on tour -- and where. Most principal conductors also take on the title of music director, which gives them the power to make these kinds of organization-changing decisions.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) was founded in 1881, making it one of the oldest orchestras in the United States with a continuous performing history. The founder was Henry Lee Higginson, a wealthy businessman born in New York City but raised in Boston from the age of four. He was a Union Army officer during the U.S. Civil War and acquired considerable wealth following the conflict while working in his father's brokerage firm -- having first failed on his own in both the oil business and as the owner of a Georgia cotton farm. After struggling for some years to find its audience, the BSO began to flourish in the early years of the 20th century, thanks in great part to finding a permanent home in Symphony Hall, which hosted its first concert on October 15, 1900.

The orchestra was dominated in its early days by a string of German-born conductors, among them Wilhelm Gericke, Max Fiedler, and Karl Muck. Maestro Muck served two terms as BSO music director -- his final stint took place from 1912-18 -- and left with some rancor due to a rising tide of anti-German American public opinion after the country entered World War I. Two French conductors succeeded him, and the orchestra began to emphasize the French classical tradition from that point forward. The hiring of a number of musicians trained in France encouraged the furtherance of this tradition.


In 1924, the Boston Symphony signed Russian-born Serge Koussivitsky to be its principal conductor and music director, and this dynamic individual remained in those twin posts for 25 years, an almost unprecedented situation in classical orchestra circles. Under his leadership, the BSO began a series of radio broadcasts, and he also encouraged wider exposure by taking the ensemble west to the Berkshire Mountains for annual summer concerts. This program led to the founding of Tanglewood in 1940, and the venue has served as the summer home of the Boston Symphony ever since. During his tenure with the BSO, Koussevitsky commissioned orchestral works from a number of prominent composers. These pieces included Prokofiev's Symphony No. 4, Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, and Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra (which was actually commissioned by the maestro's personal foundation but given its premiere by the BSO). The Russian director left in 1949, to be succeeded by French/Alsatian conductor Charles Munch. He remained with the orchestra until 1962, at which point Erich Leinsdorf took over as director.

For the Boston Symphony, the latter half of the 20th century was dominated by the reign of Seiji Ozawa, who led the orchestra from 1973 until 2002. Ozawa continued the ensemble's reputation for excellence -- he toured with them numerous times all around the world -- as well as making hundreds of recordings on a variety of record labels. James Levine, the first American to lead the Boston Symphony, replaced him in 2004. Levine helped revitalize the orchestra's reputation for playing new music, leading them to no fewer than 18 world premieres in six years. He continued to fulfill that role with the BSO while also remaining in charge of New York's Metropolitan Opera until a severe illness curtailed both activities.

Beginning in 2014 the BSO's music director is Andris Nelsons. He formerly held a similar post with the City of Birmingham [U.K.] Symphony Orchestra, having begun his musical career in his native Riga, Latvia, as a trumpet player in that country's national orchestra.



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Brief History of the CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (CSO)

Orchestra Hall, Michican Ave., Chicago,Illinoi...
Orchestra Hall, Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 
Formed in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is generally considered to be one of the country's finest classical music ensembles. Along with the orchestras of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Cleveland, these groups are collectively known as the Big Five, both for the quality of the music they play as well as their influence on the world of classical music.

The orchestra moved to its permanent home, Orchestra Hall, in 1904. Now a part of the overall Symphony Center complex located along South Michigan Avenue, the exterior of this edifice was designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham in the Georgian style. Above the ballroom windows that grace an upper floor are inscribed the names of five important composers: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Wagner. Starting in 1995, the building underwent a significant renovation that took three years to complete. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 1994.

As with most orchestras, their success is oftentimes best described by noting the accomplishments of the people who led them. Under the musical direction of Frederick Stock, the CSO made its first recording in 1916. He was also responsible for instituting a series of young people's concerts during the 1919-20 season that remains part of the orchestra's commitment to the community to the present day. In the period between the two world wars, Artur Rodzinski conducted the orchestra's first full-scale production of Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner, which starred Kirsten Flagstad. In the 1950s, Fritz Reiner conducted a number of historic recordings on the RCA label, including one of Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra that is considered by many aficionados the best example of its era. The orchestra has also attracted a number of high-profile guest conductors down through the years, notably many who were also composers. These have included Richard Strauss, Maurice Ravel, Edward Elgar, Leonard Bernstein, and Aaron Copland.

The person who clearly had the greatest impact on turning the Chicago Symphony into a world-class orchestra was Georg Solti. The Hungarian-born conductor served as music director from 1969 until 1991 and led the ensemble in a total of 999 performances. Many of his recordings are listed as among the best examples of each respective work. Under his baton, the CSO undertook its first European tour [1971] and recorded the soundtrack for the feature film Casino.

The current music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is Riccardo Muti, known primarily for his work in opera and as principal conductor for the La Scala Opera House in Milan, Italy. However, he also enjoys a solid reputation as a leader of various symphony orchestras, in particular having served as music director for the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1980 to 1992.

Every summer the Chicago Symphony relocates to the northern suburbs and its summer home at Ravinia, a forest-like setting in nearby Highland Park, Illinois. The annual Ravinia Festival began in 1936, and it offers a wide range of classical music-everything from "pops" to opera, and occasionally a world premiere in a pastoral setting beneath the stars. Several famous conductors have made their CSO debuts at Ravinia, including James Levine and Seiji Ozawa.



The CSO was the first American symphony to align itself with a training orchestra. The Civic Orchestra of Chicago was formed in 1919, and it continues today as one of the most prestigious venues for musicians interested in becoming professional orchestra players. This ensemble generally performs five or six concerts per year and also sponsors a chamber series that showcases its most prominent young players.

Newest information on WIKIPEDIA





Friday, December 2, 2016

The SYMPHONY through Time

Symphony is probably one of the greatest musical compositions that you can listen to. This is a versatile form of music that is mostly intended to be performed by an orchestra. Some of the classical masters who have composed outstanding symphonies are Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. When you try to look at the history of symphony, you would find out that it has been in existence since the 16th century but has gained real prominence in the 18th century.

Philharmonic Orchestra of Jalisco (Guadalajara...
Philharmonic Orchestra of Jalisco (Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the 18th century, symphonies weren’t considered as standalone performances. Back then, you cannot expect people to go to a certain venue just to see and hear a symphony being played. It was rather used as a prelude, a postlude or an interlude to some other musical event. The popular movement used was the three-movement which is a start from a fast, to a slow, to again another fast movement. Notable pieces of this form would include Mozart’s early symphonies. Soon, this three- movement became a four movement. Notable composers during this era were Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn.

Professional orchestras started to gain prominence. In the 19th century, another popular composer was born in the person of Beethoven. His famous works include the Symphony No. 3 which has a strong emotional note to it. His Symphony No. 5 was well-loved and the most famous of all. His Symphony No. 9 became a choral symphony. Other notable composers of this era were Brahms, Schubert, and Schumann.

The 20th century symphony saw some modifications to previous works. Long symphonies were created – large-scale in fact. More composers wrote such pieces and it has never ceased to grow from then on. There are still those who wrote using the traditional 4 movement. The 20th century pieces, as well as the classical ones are being played today by Toronto chamber orchestra



A symphony cannot be done justice when an incomplete orchestra performs it; this is why when being performed by Mississauga chamber orchestra, they make sure that they have all the right instruments and the right attitude.

Although there are other orchestral pieces that are being performed by Burlington chamber orchestra, the symphony would always remain as one of the best musical scores to be performed.

    Learn about our services at www.oakvillechamber.com.    

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