Sibelius Violin Concerto

Sibelius Violin Concerto

                                    SIBELIUS VIOLIN CONCERTO

The 2021-2022 Masterworks Series is presented by
Paul and Linnea Bert


Robert Moody, conductor | Frank Huang, violin

Saturday, October 9, 2021 at 7:30pm
Sunday, October 10, 2021 at 2:30pm

The Cannon Center for Performing Arts


QUINN MASON                    A Joyous Trilogy
(b. 1996)                                       I. Running
                                                       II. Reflection
                                                       III. Renewal 

JEAN SIBELIUS                    Concerto in d-minor for Violin and Orchestra, op. 47
(1865 - 1957)                              I. Allegro moderato
                                                       II. Adagio di molto
                                                       III. Allegro, ma non tanto
                                                       Frank Huang, violin



You may use this time to briefly get up from your seats.


JOHANNES BRAHMS         Symphony No. 2 in D-Major, op. 73
(1865 - 1957)                              I.   Allegro non troppo
                                                       II.  Adagio non troppo
                                                       III. Allegretto grazioso (Quasi andantino)
                                                       IV. Allegro con spirito



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Meet the Musicians 


Music Director Robert Moody 

2021/2022 marks Maestro Robert Moody’s fifth season as Music Director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.  Expanded and adventurous programming, the MSO’s first commercial recording in over three decades, and a new $25-million-dollar endowment have highlighted the past two seasons.  Moody is also Music Director of the lauded Arizona Musicfest, boasting one of the finest festival orchestras in North America.  Players hail from the top orchestras in the world, including the Vienna and New York Philharmonics, Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Memphis, and San Francisco Symphonies, and the San Francisco and Metropolitan Opera Orchestras.

In 2018 Moody completed eleven-years as Music Director for the Portland Symphony Orchestra (Maine), thirteen-years as Music Director of the Winston-Salem Symphony (NC).  Prior to that he served as Resident Conductor for the Phoenix Symphony, Chorus Master for Santa Fe Opera, and Associate Conductor for the Evansville (IN) Philharmonic Orchestra.

Moody recently guest conducted the three major orchestras of South Africa in Durban, Johannesburg, and Cape Town; he was immediately invited to return for more concerts in the Summer of 2020.  Other guest conducting this season includes the orchestras of Bogota, Colombia; Aachen, Germany; Sacramento, California; and a return to the Sewanee Music Festival in the mountains of Tennessee.  Prior Guest Conducting has included Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, and the orchestras of Toronto, Houston, Indianapolis, Detroit, Seattle, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Buffalo, Columbus, Louisville, Minnesota, and Slovenian Philharmonic.  Festival conducting includes Santa Fe Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, Brevard Music Center, Sewanee Festival, Eastern Music Festival, Skaneateles Festival, Bowdoin International Festival, and the Oregon Bach Festival.

Equally at home in the opera pit, Moody began his career as apprentice conductor for the Landestheater Opera in Linz, Austria.  He conducted for the opera companies of Santa Fe, Brevard Music Center, and Hilton Head Opera.  He also assisted on a production of Verdi Otello at the Metropolitan Opera (NY), conducted by Valery Gergiev, and at The English National Opera, where he was Assistant Conductor for Kurt Weill Street Scene.  He made his Washington National Opera and North Carolina Opera debuts in 2014, and conducted Bartok Bluebeard’s Castle, Leoncavallo I Pagliacci, and Poulenc Dialogues of the Carmelites in the seasons following.  Debuts to rave reviews with Brevard Music Center for Weill Street Scene, Opera Carolina for Mozart Le Nozze di Figaro, and Des Moines Metro Opera for Strauss Die Fledermaus came in 2017 and 2018.

Moody is a champion of the works of his close friend Mason Bates, now Composer-in-Residence with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and prior in the same role with the Chicago Symphony.  Moody commissioned/conducted Bates’ first full orchestra composition, and has been instrumental in the commission and premiere performances of several of Bates’ important major works for orchestra, including OdeRusty Air in Carolina, and Desert Transport.

Moody’s work can be heard on several commercially released recordings.  He collaborated with the Canadian Brass for their Bach and Legends albums.  He is also the conductor for Native American artist R. Carlos Nakai’s Fourth World album.  In 2015 he was honored to conduct the “Cancer Blows” gala concert with Ryan Anthony, members of the Dallas Symphony, and a host of trumpet luminaries, to aid the fight against Multiple Myloma.  CD and DVD recordings of that live concert are also commercially available.  Fall of 2019 will see the release of Memphis Symphony Orchestra’s first commercial recording in several decades.  The works are Jim Stephenson’s Concerto for Hope featuring Ryan Anthony, and Song of Hope” by Peter Meechan – featuring Ryan Anthony and Scott Moore.

A South Carolina native, Moody holds degrees from Furman University and the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Donald Neuen.  He is a Rotarian, and serves/has served on the boards of AIDs Care Services, Winston-Salem YMCA, WDAV Radio, and the Charlotte Master Chorale.  Maestro Moody is an avid runner, swimmer, and snow-skier.


Music Director Frank Huang

Frank Huang joined the New York Philharmonic as Concertmaster, The Charles E. Culpeper Chair, in September 2015. The First Prize Winner of the 2003 Walter W. Naumburg Foundation’s Violin Competition and the 2000 Hannover International Violin Competition, he has established a major career as a violin virtuoso. Since performing with the Houston Symphony in a nationally broadcast concert at the age of 11 he has appeared with orchestras throughout the world including The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra of Hannover, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, and the Genoa Orchestra. He has also performed on NPR’s Performance Today, ABC’s Good Morning America, and CNN’s American Morning with Paula Zahn. He has performed at Wigmore Hall (in London), Salle Cortot (Paris), Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), and the Herbst Theatre (San Francisco), as well as a second recital in Alice Tully Hall (New York), which featured the World Premiere of Donald Martino’s Sonata for Solo Violin. Mr. Huang’s first commercial recording — featuring fantasies by Schubert, Ernst, Schoenberg, and Waxman — was released on Naxos in 2003. He made his New York Philharmonic solo debut in June 2016 leading and performing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. In 2017–18 he led the Orchestra from his Concertmaster chair in works by Mozart and Tchaikovsky, and performed with the Philharmonic as soloist in Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole at Bravo! Vail.

Mr. Huang has had great success in competitions since the age of 15 and received top prize awards in the Premio Paganini International Violin Competition and the Indianapolis International Violin Competition. Other honors include Gold Medal Awards in the Kingsville International Competition, Irving M. Klein International Competition, and D’Angelo International Competition.

In addition to his solo career, Mr. Huang is deeply committed to chamber music. He is a member of the New York Philharmonic String Quartet, established in the 2016–17 season, and has performed at the Marlboro Music Festival, Ravinia’s Steans Institute, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, and Caramoor. He frequently participates in Musicians from Marlboro’s tours, and was selected by The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center to be a member of the prestigious CMS Two program. Before joining the Houston Symphony as concertmaster in 2010, Frank Huang held the position of first violinist of the Grammy Award–winning Ying Quartet and was a faculty member at the Eastman School of Music.

Frank Huang was born in Beijing, China. At the age of seven he moved to Houston, Texas, where he began violin lessons with his mother. He commenced study with Fredell Lack at the University of Houston and at 16 he enrolled in the pre-college program at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) where he studied with Donald Weilerstein. He continued studies with Weilerstein in college and earned his bachelor of music degree from CIM in 2002. He subsequently attended The Juilliard School in New York City, studying violin with Robert Mann. He is an alumnus of the Music Academy of the West. He served on the faculties of The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and the University of Houston, and currently serves on the faculty of The Juilliard School.


Robert Moody's Notes

MSO’s 70 th Anniversary Season begins with a bang! Frank Huang, my great friend and Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, will join us in one of the most powerful violin concertos ever written. The perfect pairing of power (and joy!) for Sibelius is the Brahms 2 nd Symphony, which is also immensely famous for the “Lullaby” theme of the 2 nd movement (every baby in the worlds knows this tune!) 

Quinn Mason is a living African American composer, and his Joyous Trilogy is exactly how I’d hoped to open our first season past the Covid Pandemic. Mostly upbeat, the middle section is slower and more reflective. Healing and Joy will frame this entire concert!

- Music Director Robert Moody


Program Notes

by Michelle Pellay-Walker

Award-winning composer and conductor Quinn Mason wrote A Joyous Trilogy during the Fall of 2019, revising the work in 2021. Originally commissioned by Orchestra Seattle and Seattle Chamber Singers, and dedicated to the composer’s friend and mentor, Will White, it was premiered by Orchestra Seattle in February 2020 with the composer conducting. The following description appears on Mason’s website (written by Jeff Eldridge, principal bassoonist of the Harmonia Orchestra): “For 'A Joyous Trilogy', the composer writes that he wanted to create a composition that was the very embodiment of happiness and cheerfulness, an accessible work that would put any listener in a good mood. The first movement, ‘Running’ is so called because of its always-moving and seemingly never-waning energy that keeps going and going. The second, ‘Reflection,’ is a gentle and introspective meditation featuring a solo trombone. The third, ’Renewal,’ picks the energy back up, but a little more spirited and zestful this time, and keeps it going to the very end, complete with dynamic and vibrant interplay between all the orchestral sections.”  Scored for a large orchestra that includes woodwinds in pairs, a full 19th century brass section, timpani, percussion, harp, and strings, the work runs the gamut from exuberance through contemplative reflection, and provides an exciting opening for the MSO’s first Masterworks weekend of the 2021-22 season.

One of the best known and best loved of all early 20th century concertos, the Concerto in d-minor for Violin and Orchestra, op. 47 by Jean Sibelius, is a tour de force of the technical brilliance and gorgeous lyricism for which the violin is so justifiably famous. It was composed in 1904, and extensively revised a year later.  The premiere performance took place in Helsinki in February of 1904, featuring Victor Nováček as soloist, with Sibelius conducting the Orchestra of the Helsinki Philharmonic Society. The revised version’s first performance took place in October of 1905, featuring the Berlin Court Orchestra conducted by Richard Strauss, with Karel Halíř as soloist.  The first movement is notable for a short cadenza-like passage that eventually leads the orchestra into the second theme group;  the movement’s true cadenza precedes the recapitulation. The adagio second movement is exquisitely beautiful, beginning with a short introduction featuring the clarinets and oboes, before the entrance of the soloist.  Movement three, once described by British musicologist Donald Tovey as a “polonaise for polar bears” alternates between a rather rustic figure (that obviously inspired Tovey’s description) and a more waltz-like second theme.

It only took Johannes Brahms one summer (1877) to compose his Symphony No. 2 in D-Major, op. 73—compared to the over 20 years it took for him to complete the First!! It is frequently compared to Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony, and was premiered in Vienna in December of 1877, with Hans Richter conducting the Vienna Philharmonic. Brahms uses very traditional 19th century orchestral scoring here: Woodwinds in pairs, a full brass section, including tuba (the only Brahms symphony to include this instrument), timpani, and strings. The first movement is probably most famous for its second theme, which is very similar to the Wiegenlied, op. 49 (first published in 1868), better known as Brahms’s Lullaby. The second movement’s opening theme features the cellos, and is undoubtedly the primary reason I fell head over heels in love with both composer and symphony at the tender age of 16 (my first opportunity to hear and play his orchestral music). The third movement is rondo-like, with a primary theme that reappears several times. At turns, this movement lilts, it skitters, it broods, and is an altogether delightful treat to the ear. The deceptively quiet beginning of the fourth movement explodes into a fortissimo statement of the main theme;  it is a “surprise” of which Haydn would have been proud!! One final curiosity: Was Gustav Mahler thinking of the serene moments preceding this movement’s recapitulation whilst working on the opening of his “Titan” Symphony??