Giancarlo Guerrero, a native of Costa Rica, is a five-time Grammy award winning Music Director of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, a post he has held since 2009 and recently committed to through the 2024-25 season. Guerrero previously held posts as the Principal Guest Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra Miami Residency from 2011 to 2016, Music Director of the Eugene Symphony between 2002 and 2009, and Associate Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra from 1999 to 2004. The Narodowe Forum Muzyki is extremely pleased with the appointment of Giancarlo Guerrero to the position of Artistic Director of the Wroclaw Philharmonic taking effect for the 2018-2019 season! Maestro Guerrero will spend eight weeks per season with the orchestra in addition to touring and recording activities.
Yolanda Kondonassis is an American harpist. She began her advanced music education at the Interlochen Arts Academy, then went on to attend the Cleveland Institute of Music studying under Alice Chalifoux, the principal harpist of the Cleveland Orchestra, and earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees at the Curtis Institute of Music. At the age of 18, a competition win gained her the young artists' debut prize of appearing as a soloist with Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms Kondonassis performs both as a concerto soloist and recitalist throughout the United States, the Far East and Europe as well as being a devoted chamber musician. Additionally, she has gained critical acclaim for her 13 recording projects, which include most of the standard repertoire, as well as major 20th century works by Salzedo, Alberto Ginastera, Miyagi, Hovhaness, and her own transcriptions and compositions for harp. Yolanda Kondonassis’ book, On Playing the Harp, a comprehensive guide to harp technique and methodology, was published in 2003. She is the recipient of two Solo Recitalists Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and was the first harpist to receive the Darius Milhaud Prize.
Emmanuel Chabrier’s travels in Spain, in 1882, inspired him to write España. The composer was captivated by the jotas, malagueñas, and flamenco music, as well as the sensuality of the dancers. During the six month visit, he constantly jotted tunes in his composition notebook. Originally conceived as a piano piece, Chabrier later came to the realization that the score needed the colours and instrumental power of the orchestra. It was then that he rearranged and orchestrated the work. Its premiere on November 4, 1883, at the Concerts Lamoureux in Paris, was such a huge success that it had to be encored. This work remains one of the beloved scores depicting French musical impressions of Spain. The musical language is saturated with captivating energy and high spirits inspired by Chabrier’s imitations of the Spanish dances and folk music he heard in the cafes. “My rhythms, my tunes will arouse the whole audience to a feverish pitch of excitement; everyone will embrace his neighbour madly,” Chabrier wrote to a friend.
Alberto Evaristo Ginastera is a pivotal Latin American classical composer. He grouped his music into three periods: "Objective Nationalism" (1934-1948), "Subjective Nationalism" (1948-1958), and "Neo-Expressionism" (1958-1983). The distinguishing features of his compositions are their use of traditional Argentine musical elements. His writing often integrated Argentine folk themes and traditional elements in increasingly abstracted forms. Much of his work was inspired by the Gauchesco tradition, which holds that the landless native horseman of the plains is a symbol of Argentina.
Ginastera composed his Harp Concerto over a number of years. Originally, the project was commissioned by Edna Phillips, the harpist and first female member of the Philadelphia Orchestra. However, Ginastera never quite finished composing it for her. Instead, it was the Spanish harpist Nicanor Zabaleta who saw these sketches and pressed the composer to finish the piece. Zabaleta, gave the first performance on February 18, 1965, with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra. The Concerto is now one of the most frequently performed and recorded in the harp repertoire.
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor. His music reflects a fundamental tension between Classicism and Romanticism in the generation of German composers after Beethoven. He composed the Hebrides Overture after being inspired by a visit to the Hebrides islands off the west coast of Scotland in 1829. Scotland was especially appealing to Mendelssohn due to his fondness for picturesque landscapes as musical stimuli. The piece is a single movement work in sonata form, intended as a concert overture, for concert performance, rather than as a prelude to a theatrical work. It was first performed in 1830, but went through a number of revisions before being publicly premiered as Overture to the Isles of Fingal, in London on May 14, 1832. It was billed two years later, however, as Fingal’s Cave, for a performance, and seemingly the composer never did settle on a title. The individual orchestral parts, for example, are titled Die Hebriden. Nevertheless, it stands as one of the composer's utmost achievements and received praise from both Brahms and Wagner.
Ástor Piazzolla was born in Mar del Plata, located on the Atlantic coast of Argentina. He immigrated to New York with his family as a child and grew up on the Lower East Side. "The first bandoneón that I had my Papá gave me when I was eight years old," Piazzolla recalled, "He brought it wrapped in a box, and I was happy, believing that it was the skates that I had asked for many times… In place of the skates I encountered an apparatus that I had never seen in my life. Papá sat himself on a chair, placed the thing between my arms, and said to me: 'Astor, this is the instrument of the tango, I want you to learn to play it.' My first reaction was to complain. The tango was the music that he listened to almost every night when he returned from work, and which I did not like."
Piazzolla was 16 years old when his family returned to Argentina, and he was soon working in tango orchestras. By 1941, he was earning enough as a performer to pay for composition lessons with Ginastera. During that time, Piazzolla began incorporating jazz and classical into a style known as nuevo tango. Following five years of study with Ginastera, he composed Sinfonia Buenos Aires, in 1951. It is an early work that at times evokes Stravinsky, and it’s a fine example of how Piazzolla brought the bandoneón into an orchestral setting. The first performance was given by the Buenos Aires Philharmonic, in 1954, conducted by Fabien Sevitsky. The performance was part of a composition competition and Piazzolla subsequently won a scholarship to study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. Ms Boulanger later said that when writing tangos Piazzolla was really himself. She has been quoted as saying, “Here is the true Piazzolla.”
Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator