FAIRBANKS - As the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra unveils its 2012-2013 season, fans of classical music can expect a range of performances, from symphonic standards to concerts with a twist — and even some voices thrown in this year.
The symphony is unveiling the Fairbanks Symphony Chorus this year, a group of volunteer singers who will join the musical performances on pieces that call for voice. It’s a first for the symphony and one the group is looking forward to exploring, said George Rydlinski, the symphony’s marketing director.
The first scheduled performances for the symphony chorus will be the Design Alaska Holiday Concert on Dec. 2, followed by a performance on April 26 and 28 of Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9.”
“It’s the first time in history that a symphony was written with a chorus and vocalists,” Rydlinski said. “It’s been an audience favorite worldwide for many, many years. It’s a great opportunity to experience it.”
In addition to premiering the chorus this year, the symphony continues its traditions of hosting concerto competitions, bringing in renowned guest performers, offering performances for Fairbanks youth, and of course, the ever-popular Beat Beethoven 5K Race. Following is the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra and Arctic Chamber Orchestra’s 2012-2013 concert season at a glance.
• Sep. 30 — Anchorage Chamber Orchestra Concert with soloist Jun Watabe; Schubert, “Overture in D in the Italian Style;” Ibert, “Concertino da Camera;” Glazunov, “Concerto for Saxophone and Strings;” and Mendelssohn, “Symphony No. 4 Italian”
Watabe’s concert won’t be a typical symphonic performance because of what he’ll be playing: a saxophone.
“It’s unusual because it’s a saxophone with a symphony,” Rydlinski said.
Born in Japan, Jun began his professional musical career while earning his bachelor’s degree in saxophone performance at Aichi Prefectural University of Music and Fine Arts, Japan. Watabe has been an assistant professor of woodwinds at the University of Alaska Fairbanks since 2009.
• Oct. 25 — Solo piano recital, Gabriele Leporatti
• Oct. 28 — FSO concert with soloist Gabriele Leporatti; Rachmaninoff, “Isle of the Dead,” “Piano Concerto No. 4,” “Symphony No. 1.”
Italian pianist Gabriele Leporatti began his music studies at 6 years old and graduated magna cum laude from the Luigi Cherubini Conservatory in Florence at 19. He continued his musical education under world-renowned pianists like Joaquín Achúcarro, Fabio Bidini, Jerome Rose and Maria Tipo.
Based in Germany, his career has brought him to perform in Italy, Turkey, Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Estonia, Switzerland, Austria, South Africa, the United States and China. In 2009, he made his New York City debut recital at the prestigious International Keyboard Institute and Festival.
Leporatti’s October performances with the symphony stand out because they aren’t filled with Rachmaninoff standards.
“It’s all Rachmaninoff but it’s not commonly played and somewhat lesser known but still interesting pieces,” Rydlinski said.
• Nov. 7 — Annual children’s concert, 10 a.m.
• Dec. 2 — Design Alaska Holiday Concert
The December concert features the premiere of the chorus and also the Northland Youth Choir, which has become a fixture of the symphony, Rydlinksi said. “It’s become a traditional favorite to have the kids with us for the holiday songs.”
Also in conjunction with the Dec. 2 concert is an art project combining art and music, which doubles as a fundraiser. The symphony has five local artists who have agreed to create works of art out of old, unusable violins. The violin artworks will be auctioned off via silent auction. The violins will be displayed at performances throughout the season before the auction.
• Jan. 26-27 — 22nd annual concerto competition, 1 p.m.
While the concerto competition is not a bonafide concert, it boasts free admission.
• Feb. 14 — Sitka Winter Classics with Zuill Bailey, Eduard Zilberkant and friends at Davis Concert Hall.
The Sitka Winter Classics concert grew out of the Sitka Summer Music Festival and Series, of which accomplished cellist Zuill Bailey is the director. Last year, the winter classics performers came to Fairbanks for a concert and it was a huge success, Rydlinksi said.
Bailey has been featured with the symphony orchestras of Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Dallas, Louisville, Honolulu, Milwaukee, Nashville, Toronto, Minnesota, Utah, Israel, and the Bruchner Orchestra in Linz, Austria. He has collaborated with such conductors as Itzhak Perlman, Alan Gilbert, Andrew Litton, James DePriest and Stanislav Skrowaczewski and has been featured with musical luminaries Leon Fleisher, Jaime Laredo, the Juilliard String Quartet, Lynn Harrell and Janos Starker.
• March 3 — Concerto competition winners concert and FSO concert with soloists TBD
• April 7 — ACO concert with soloist James Tocco; Beethoven, “Piano Concerto No. 5 — Emperor” and Ravel’s “Mother Goose” (complete ballet music)
• April 13 — Beat Beethoven 5K Race, 11 a.m.
• April 26, 28 — FSO and chorus concert with soloists Jaunelle Celaire, Marlene Bateman, Eric Ashcraft and Leon Williams; Beethoven, “Consecration of the House Overture” and “Symphony No. 9”
The April concerts wrap up the season with the ever-popular Beat Beethoven 5K in participants try to complete a course at the University of Alaska Fairbanks before Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony ends. The classical piece, lasting about 31 minutes, is played on various electronic equipment, including boom boxes, throughout the course.
Contact Features Editor Gary Black at 459-7504.
For more information
• Individual concert tickets are on sale now as are season tickets. All information about pricing for season tickets can be found on the symphony’s website at www.fairbankssymphony.org. New season ticket subscribers can purchase a season package for 50 percent off the regular cost.
• All concerts take place on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus in the fine arts building at Davis Concert Hall.
• Season brochures are available for download from the symphony’s website. The brochure also has complete biographical information on all the guest performers.
• At all Sunday concerts (excluding the December holiday concert,) conductor Eduard Zilberkant will host free pre-concert lectures about each piece performed by the FSO, including the history of the composer and piece, how it was created and some of the history of the time in which the piece was composed.