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ABOUT THE MUSIC

MOZART & MAZZOLI


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On Tonight’s Program MOZART/J. N. WENDT Suite for Winds from Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) 7. Voi che sapete che cosa è amor 6. Porgi amor 5. Non più andrai farfallone amoroso MISSY MAZZOLI Dark with Excessive Bright, Concerto for Double Bass and String Orchestra MOZART Symphony No. 38 in D major, K.504 (Prague) I. Adagio—Allegro II. Andante III. Presto


ABOUT THE CONDUCTOR

KENSHO WATANABE CONDUCTOR

Kensho Watanabe, who also plays violin, was originally headed for a career in medicine, and studied biology and music at Yale. He received his Master of Music from the Yale School of Music and served as a substitute violinist in the Philadelphia Orchestra.


ABOUT THE MUSIC

M OZ A R T / J . N . W E N D T SUITE FOR WINDS FROM LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO) 7. VOI CHE SAPETE CHE COSA È AMOR 6. PORGI AMOR 5 . N O N P I Ù A N D R A I FA R FA L L O N E A M O R O S O

P A R T I C I P AT I N G M U S I C I A N S

JONATHAN FISCHER PRINCIPAL OBOE

COLIN GATWOOD OBOE

ALEXANDER POTIOMKIN ISAAC SCHULTZ ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL BASS CLARINET AND BASSOON CLARINET

WILLIAM VERMEULEN PRINCIPAL HORN

IAN MAYTON HORN

THOMAS LeGRAND ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL CLARINET AND E-FLAT CLARINET

ELISE WAGNER BASSOON


ABOUT THE MUSIC

M OZ A R T / J . N . W E N D T SUITE FOR WINDS FROM LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO) 7. VOI CHE SAPETE CHE COSA È AMOR 6. PORGI AMOR 5 . N O N P I Ù A N D R A I FA R FA L L O N E A M O R O S O

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART

COMPOSER (1756–1791) • This suite for winds is an arrangement of three selections from Mozart’s opera Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) written in 1786. This arrangement for eight wind instruments is rooted in the Harmoniemusik tradition of Mozart’s time. Harmoniemusik is an 18th-century genre of music for wind instruments written specifically for social gatherings in the court. • Le Nozze di Figaro is based on a 1784 stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais. The premiere took place in Vienna with great success. In fact, the audience would request encores so frequently that the Emperor had to issue a decree limiting the length of the performances, lest they last all night! • Le Nozze di Figaro was written in the Italian tradition of opera buffa, characterized by comic scenes, common settings, and simple vocal parts. However, Mozart defies the light simplicity of opera buffa by introducing heartfelt laments such as “Porgi amor,” which is the second selection in this Suite for Winds.


ABOUT THE MUSIC

MISSY MAZZOLI DARK WITH EXCESSIVE BRIGHT

F E AT U R E D M U S I C I A N

ROBIN KESSELMAN PRINCIPAL DOUBLE BASS

Robin Kesselman was appointed principal double bass of the Houston Symphony when he was just 24 years old. At the time, he was among the youngest musicians to hold a principal post at a major American orchestra.


ABOUT THE MUSIC

MISSY MAZZOLI DARK WITH EXCESSIVE BRIGHT

MISSY MAZZOLI COMPOSER (b. 1980)

• Grammy-nominated composer Missy Mazzoli is one of the most celebrated living composers today. It is fitting that her concerto is featured on this program with Mozart, as she has been called “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart” (Time Out New York). • This concerto was composed for Maxime Bibeau and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Mazzoli was inspired by Bibeau’s double bass, which was built in 1580. It was stored in an Italian monastery for hundreds of years and even patched with pages from the Good Friday liturgy. • The motives, or short musical phrases, of this concerto are inspired by Renaissance dances. • When describing the title, the composer notes that it is “a phrase from Milton’s Paradise Lost, a surreal and evocative description of God, written by a blind man. I love the impossibility of the phrase, and felt it was a strangely accurate way to describe the dark but heartrending sound of the double bass itself.” • Mazzoli’s works have been performed by many major orchestras. She has also received acclaim for her operatic compositions. In 2018, she was one of the first two women, along with composer Jeanine Tesori, to be commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera. • Mazzoli has also written for film and television, including the show Mozart in the Jungle.


ABOUT THE MUSIC

M OZ A R T SYMPHONY NO. 38, PRAGUE

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART

COMPOSER (1756–1791) • Mozart wrote Symphony No. 38 in 1786 and it premiered in Prague on January 19, 1787, during his first visit to the city. For that reason, this symphony is known as the Prague Symphony. • It is believed that Mozart was invited to Prague due to the success of Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), written the previous year. • Mozart departs from the traditional four-movement symphony form in this piece—Symphony No. 38 only has three movements.


MUSICIAN BIOS KENSHO WATANABE CONDUCTOR

Emerging onto the international stage over the past two years, Kensho Watanabe is fast becoming one of the most exciting and versatile young conductors to come out of the United States. Most recently, Kensho was recognized as a recipient of a Career Assistance Award by the Solti Foundation U.S. He held the position of Assistant Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra from 2016 to 2019, and during this time, made his critically acclaimed subscription debut with the Orchestra and pianist Daniil Trifonov, taking over from his mentor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. He would continue on to conduct four subscription concerts with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2019, in addition to debuts at the Bravo! Vail Festival and numerous concerts at the Mann and Saratoga Performing Arts Centres. Recent highlights have included his debuts with the Houston Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Brussels Philharmonic, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, as well as his Japanese debut at the Matsumoto Festival. Recent returns include the Orchestre Metropolitain in Montreal. Highlights of the 2019–20 season include his debuts with the London Philharmonic and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestras, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, San Antonio Symphony Orchestra as well as his Finnish debut with the Jyväskylä Sinfonia. Equally at home in both symphonic and operatic repertoire, Mr. Watanabe has led numerous operas with the Curtis Opera Theatre, most recently Puccini’s La Rondine in 2017 and La bohème in 2015. Additionally, he served as assistant conductor to Mr. Nézet-Séguin on a new production of Strauss’s Elektra at Montreal Opera. This season Watanabe will conduct Strauss’ Die Fledermaus at the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy. Watanabe has previously been the inaugural conducting fellow of the Curtis Institute of Music from 2013 to 2015, under the mentorship of NézetSéguin. An accomplished violinist, Mr. Watanabe received his Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music and served as a substitute violinist in The Philadelphia Orchestra from 2012 to 2016.


MUSICIAN BIOS ROBIN KESSELMAN

PRINCIPAL DOUBLE BASS Musician Sponsored by Ralph Burch Robin Kesselman was appointed Principal Bass of the Houston Symphony by Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada in 2014. He has performed as Guest Principal Bass with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Israel Philharmonic, travelled internationally with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, and appeared with the National, Atlanta, and Baltimore Symphonies. Kesselman frequently performs as a soloist and chamber musician and presents recital programs and masterclasses at various universities across the country. He has appeared as soloist with the Houston Symphony in subscription performances of the Koussevitzky Concerto for Double Bass, and he was featured in Krzysztof Penderecki’s Duo Concertante during the composer’s Carnegie Hall residency in collaboration with the Curtis Institute. Recent festival engagements include leading the bass sections of the Grand Teton, Mainly Mozart, and Arizona Musicfest festival orchestras. He has also served as faculty for the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, Curtis Institute’s Summerfest, the Richard Davis Bass Conference, and the summer residency of the Filarmónica Joven de Colombia. Kesselman holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Southern California and an Artist Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music. His primary teachers have included David Allen Moore, Harold Robinson, Edgar Meyer, Paul Ellison, Chris Hanulik, and Virginia Dixon.

JONATHAN FISCHER

PRINCIPAL OBOE LUCY BINYON STUDE CHAIR Musician Sponsored by Nancy Peiser Jonathan Fischer joined the Houston Symphony as principal oboe in September 2012 and was invited to join the faculty of the University of Houston in September 2014. Prior to his appointment with the Houston Symphony, Fischer served as associate principal oboe with the San Francisco Symphony for nine seasons. He has also held positions with The Cleveland Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Grant Park Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Savannah Symphony, and the New World Symphony. Fischer has performed as a guest principal with many of the nation’s leading orchestras including the Boston, Chicago, and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the St. Louis and Atlanta Symphonies, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. He has performed as a soloist with the Houston Symphony, Grant Park Symphony, New World Symphony, and the San Francisco Symphony.


MUSICIAN BIOS Fischer currently teaches at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music and Texas Music Festival. He has taught and performed at the Aspen Music Festival and the Oberlin Conservatory. He has given masterclasses at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, the San Francisco Conservatory, Rice University, and University of Michigan, and has been a coach at the New World Symphony. He holds a degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Richard Woodhams. A native of South Carolina, Fischer now enjoys living in the Heights with his dog, a Louisiana Catahoula mix.

COLIN GATWOOD OBOE

Musician Sponsored by Leslie Barry Davidson and W. Robins Brice

Colin Gatwood was born in Cleveland, Ohio but grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where his father was principal oboist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and his mother, a violinist, was a freelance musician and teacher. He began his musical studies on the piano at age 5, but by the time he was nine, he had begun taking oboe lessons from his father. Gatwood is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio. His first orchestra job was with the Pittsburgh Symphony, playing second oboe for four years. From there, he went on to join the Guadalajara Symphony Orchestra in Mexico, and in 1991, he won the position of second oboe with the Houston Symphony.

THOMAS LeGRAND

ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL CLARINET AND E-FLAT CLARINET

Musician Sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. U. J. LeGrange

Thomas LeGrand is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Before coming to Houston, he was a member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and taught at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He joined the Houston Symphony in 1986 as associate principal clarinet and has appeared as soloist with the orchestra on several occasions. An active chamber performer, LeGrand is a member of the Greenbriar Consortium and has performed with the Da Camera Society, Texas Music Festival, and the Linton Series. He is an associate professor of clarinet at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. LeGrand spends his summers at the Grand Teton Music Festival, where he and his wife, Carol, an elementary music teacher, find time to pursue their interests in distance running, hiking, and camping.


MUSICIAN BIOS ALEXANDER POTIOMKIN

BASS CLARINET AND CLARINET TASSIE & CONSTANTINE S. NICANDROS CHAIR Alexander Potiomkin joined the Houston Symphony as Bass Clarinet/Utility in October 2012. A native of Ukraine, he moved with his family to Israel in 1991, where he attended the Rubin Jerusalem Academy of Music, while appearing as a regular substitute clarinetist with Israel Philharmonic. He came to Houston in 1995 to study at Rice University, where he earned his Master of Music Degree in 1997. He has appeared as substitute Principal Clarinet of the Alabama Symphony on their Carnegie Hall tour in spring 2012. He has also performed as guest principal clarinet with the Kansas City Symphony and as a soloist with the Tel Aviv Symphony and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. He has participated in the Mozart, Bellingham, Blossom, and Tanglewood music festivals. Equally committed to teaching, he maintains a large, private studio. His main teachers include David Peck and David Weber, with additional studies with Michael Wayne and Mark Nuccio on clarinet and Chester Rowell and Ben Freimuth on Bass Clarinet.

ISAAC SCHULTZ

ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL BASSOON Isaac Schultz earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, where he studied with Benjamin Kamins. As a chamber musician, Isaac was a medalist at the 2015 Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition and a finalist at the Coleman Competition. He has appeared in performances with the Pacifica Quartet, John Kimura Parker, and Jorja Fleezanis. He has been a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, the Music Academy of the West, and the Festival Institute at Round Top. A New Hampshire native, Isaac is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and loves fitness and the outdoors.


MUSICIAN BIOS ELISE WAGNER BASSOON

Musician Sponsored by Rita and Paul Morico Elise Wagner has been a member of the Houston Symphony bassoon section since September 2008. She also performs with the Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Wheeling Symphony, Sarasota Opera Orchestra, and Lake Tahoe Music Festival. She was also awarded fellowships to the Tanglewood Music Center and the Aspen Music Festival. When performing outside of the orchestra, Wagner is an advocate for modern music and a chamber musician. Wagner was part of the world premiere of Who am I?, a composition commissioned by the Foundation for Modern Music in March 2013. Following the premiere performance in Houston, she also performed the work at La Mama Theater in New York City in February 2014. As an active chamber musician, Wagner performs regularly with the Greenbriar Consortium and the St. Cecelia Chamber Music Series. In addition to her performance schedule, Wagner is a faculty member at the University of Houston, the Texas Music Festival, and the American Festival for the Arts. When not playing bassoon, she can be found biking, running, on the golf course, or making reeds. A native of Monroe, Wisconsin, Wagner earned her master’s degree at Carnegie Mellon University where she studied with Nancy Goeres, principal bassoon of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Temple University under the instruction of Daniel Matsukawa, principal bassoon of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

WILLIAM VERMEULEN

PRINCIPAL HORN MR. & MRS. ALEXANDER K. MCLANAHAN ENDOWED CHAIR Musician Sponsored by Muffy and Mike McLanahan Hailed as “one of today’s superstars of the international brass scene,” William VerMeulen leads a varied musical life of soloist, orchestral principal, chamber musician, master teacher, and music publisher. VerMeulen has been principal horn of the Houston Symphony since 1990 and has performed as a guest principal horn with the Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Prior to joining the Houston Symphony, he was employed with the orchestras of Columbus, Honolulu, and Kansas City. VerMeulen has been an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and participates as a performer and on faculty with the finest music festivals and chamber music presenters, among which include the Chamber Music Society of


MUSICIAN BIOS

Lincoln Center, Aspen Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Banff Centre, Da Camera of Houston, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Joshua Bell and Friends, Tanglewood, Sarasota Music Festival, Strings Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, New World Symphony, Domaine Forget, Chamber Music Northwest, and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony where he also serves as principal horn. VerMeulen has performed to critical acclaim on four continents as a soloist and chamber musician and is a popular artist at International Horn Society Symposiums where he was a member of the advisory council. He serves as a board member of the International Horn Competition of America. Along with the dozens of orchestral recordings in his discography are numerous solo and chamber recordings, including the complete Mozart Horn Concerti with Christoph Eschenbach and the Houston Symphony, Texas Horns featuring the Dallas and Houston horn sections, and The Christmas Horn which features VerMeulen combined with his students from Rice University, conducted by Dale Clevenger. He has recorded live the Brahms Trio Op. 40, Mozart Quintet K.407, Beethoven Septet, Ravel Tombeau de Couperin for wind quintet, Schubert Octet, Spohr Nonet, Ligeti Bagatelles, and the Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 1. A champion of new music, VerMeulen has had numerous pieces written for him including concerti by esteemed American composers Samuel Adler, Pierre Jalbert, Tony DiLorenzo, and the horn cantata Canticum Sacrum by Robert Bradshaw. He recorded the Canto XI by Samuel Adler for a CD called First Chairs. Among his awards and honors, VerMeulen received first prize at the 1980 International Horn Society Soloist Competition and the Shapiro Award for Most Outstanding Brass Player at the Tanglewood Festival. Regarded as one of the most influential horn teachers of all time, VerMeulen is a professor of horn at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and brass artist-in-residence at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Glenn Gould School. His students perform in numerous major orchestras throughout the world including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Canadian Brass, Cleveland Orchestra, and the San Francisco, Cincinnati, Montreal, St. Louis, Toronto, Detroit, Dallas, and Houston Symphonies. Over 250 positions of employment have been offered to his students. In 1985, he was invited to the White House to receive a Distinguished Teacher of America Certificate of Excellence from President Reagan and the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. VerMeulen received his training from Dale Clevenger at Northwestern University and the Interlochen Arts Academy and is founder and president of VerMeulen Music, L.L.C., which offers music and products for horn players worldwide at www. vermeulenmusic.com VerMeulen is married to Houston Opera and Ballet violinist Sylvia VerMeulen, and they have two lovely children, Michael and Nicole. In his rare free time, he enjoys having good friends over to share in his passion for fine cooking and wine.


MUSICIAN BIOS

IAN MAYTON HORN

Musician Sponsored by Mrs. Carolyn and Dr. Michael Mann Ian Mayton, a native of Durham, North Carolina, was appointed fourth horn of the Houston Symphony by Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada in November 2014. Mayton has performed with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the North Carolina Symphony. After completing his Bachelor of Music degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Mayton spent a year in the Master of Music program at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music studying with William VerMeulen.

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