Contributed by Fairfax Symphony Ochestra
Composer Christopher Theofandis to present Pre-Concert Presentation
FAIRFAX, VA – The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra (FSO) continues its 57th season on Saturday, October 26, 2013, featuring the world premiere of Virtue by world-renowned and award-winning composer, Christopher Theofanidis, based on Hildegard von Bingen’s allegorical morality play, Ordo Virtutem. The performance will showcase soprano, Tony Arnold, the only vocalist ever to be awarded first prize at the Graudeamus International Interpreters Competition. Both Arnold and Theofanidis have been nominated for Grammy Awards for their artistry. Also on the program are Haydn’s Symphony No. 60, “Il Distratto,” and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite. The performance will be at 8:00 pm at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax.
The Fairfax Symphony received generous support from BB&T to co-commission Virtue, along with the Adrian Symphony (Michigan) and the New Haven Symphony (Connecticut), both to perform the work later in the season. The FSO performed Christopher Theofanidis’ most popular orchestral work, Rainbow Body, in November 2008.
Maestro Christopher Zimmerman and composer Christopher Theofanidis will host a discussion at 7:00 pm prior to the performance that evening, in which they will delve into the topic of commissioning and composing a world premiere performance such as Virtue. The FSO offers these discussions at each of its Masterworks concert, presented by Maestro Zimmerman and local musicologist, Rachel Franklin, at no charge to ticketed patrons.
The Fairfax Symphony and Maestro Zimmerman are committed to commissioning new orchestral works which will have a lasting impact on the body of symphonic repertoire available to orchestras around the world. Over the course of Zimmerman’s tenure as Music Director these past four seasons, he and the FSO have commissioned new works and presented world and local premieres by composers Avner Dorman, Javier Farias, Ellen Zwilich, and Jonathan Leshnoff.
Tony Arnold, Soprano
John von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune writes, “anything sung by soprano Tony Arnold is worth hearing.” Hailed by the New York Times as “a bold and powerful interpreter,” she has gained international acclaim for sparkling and insightful performances of the most daunting contemporary scores. In 2001, Ms. Arnold was thrust into the international spotlight when she became the only vocalist ever to be awarded first prize in the Gaudeamus International Interpreters Competition. On the heels of that triumph, she claimed first prize in the 15th Louise D. McMahon International Music Competition. Since that time, Ms. Arnold has established a reputation as a leading specialist in new vocal repertoire, receiving consistent critical accolades for her many recordings, as well as performances with groups such as the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW, Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, New York New Music Ensemble, Ensemble 21, eighth blackbird, Contempo, Orchestra of St. Lukes, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Fulcrum Point, and many others.
Ms. Arnold is a frequent guest at international festivals in the USA, Mexico, Germany, Armenia, Finland, Switzerland, Italy, and Korea. She was a featured artist at the 2008 Darmstadt International Music Festival, the premier contemporary music venue of Europe. She tours regularly as a member of the George Crumb Ensemble. With violin virtuoso Movses Pogossian, she has taken György Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments to more than 30 venues across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. A DVD/CD set of their performance was released in 2009 on Bridge Records, to great critical acclaim.
In addition to Kafka Fragments, Ms. Arnold’s many recordings include a 2006 Grammy Nominated performance of George Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children on Bridge Records. Released in 2009 was a DVD of the music of Crumb with the composer. She collaborated with conductor Robert Craft on a CD of vocal works by Anton Webern on the Naxos label. She has also recorded music of Carter, Babbitt, Wolpe and Tania León for Bridge;; Berio’s Sequenza III for Naxos;; and Kaija Saariaho’s Adjö on New Focus Records.
Ms. Arnold is an active participant in the creation and commissioning of new music. As the 2009 Howard Hanson Distinguished Professor of American Music at the Eastman School, Ms. Arnold shepherded the creation and premiere performances of new vocal music by 15 student composers. Recent premieres have included works by Philippe Manoury, Jason Eckardt, David Liptak, and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon. During the summers, Ms. Arnold engages composers and singers in music written by the participants of the SoundSCAPE Festival in Maccagno, Italy. Since 2003 she has served on the faculty of the University at Buffalo, where she founded the extended vocal techniques ensemble, BABEL.
Ms. Arnold is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University. Among her many mentors, she is greatly indebted to her study with sopranos Carmen Mehta and Carol Webber, and conductors Robert Spano and Victor Yampolsky.
Christopher Theofanidis, Composer
Christopher Theofanidis (b. 12/18/67 in Dallas, Texas) has had performances by many leading orchestras from around the world, including the London Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Moscow Soloists, the National, Atlanta, Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit Symphonies, and many others. He also has served as Composer of the Year for
the Pittsburgh Symphony during their 2006- 2007 Season, for which he wrote a violin concerto for Sarah Chang.
Mr. Theofanidis holds degrees from Yale, the Eastman School of Music, and the University of Houston, and has been the recipient of the International Masterprize (hosted at the Barbican Centre in London), the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, six ASCAP Gould Prizes, a Fulbright Fellowship to France, a Tanglewood Fellowship, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Charles Ives Fellowship. In 2007 he was nominated for a Grammy for best composition for his chorus and orchestra work, The Here and Now, based on the poetry of Rumi. His orchestral concert work, Rainbow Body, has been one of the most performed new orchestral works of the last ten years, having been performed by over 100 orchestras internationally.
Mr. Theofanidis has recently written a ballet for the American Ballet Theatre, a work for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra as part of their ‘New Brandenburg’ series, and he currently has two separate opera commissions for the San Francisco and Houston Grand Opera companies. He has a long-standing relationship with the Atlanta Symphony, with whom he premiered and recorded his first full symphony. He has served as a delegate to the US-Japan Foundation’s Leadership Program and is a former faculty member of the Peabody Conservatory and the Juilliard School. He currently teaches at Yale University.
Christopher Zimmerman, Music Director
In January 2013, Stephen Brookes of The Washington Post wrote, “Watch out for Christopher Zimmerman. The music director of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra has been injecting adrenaline into this ensemble since he took over in 2009, and the resulting performances have made the Fairfax players a serious force to be reckoned with.” Zimmerman serves as the Music Director of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, and most recently of the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition, he has served as the music director and conductor of the City of London Chamber Orchestra, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, Symphony of Southeast Texas and has conducted orchestras all over the world in Europe and the Americas, with recent appearances in Venezuela, Finland, Prague and Mexico. In 2011 he was recognized as the winner of the American Conducting Prize, a new and prestigious award given for nationwide performances by orchestral conductors, choral conductors and a host of other categories. He is committed to performing music by living composers and has premiered over 25 works for orchestra. He graduated from Yale with a B.A. in Music, and received his Master’s from the University of Michigan. In 1993 he joined the conducting faculty at the College- Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati where he was Music Director of their concert orchestra, and in 1999 he was appointed as Fuller Professor of Orchestral Studies at the Hartt School as well as Music Director of the Hartt Symphony. A much sought after clinician and pedagogue, he continues to teach at workshops and festivals around the world. www.christopherzimmerman.net/
Tickets and the Orchestra
Single Ticket prices for adults range from $25 – $60.
www.fairfaxsymphony.org | 1-888-945-2468 Student tickets (ages 6-18) are $5 at the door.
Subscription packages to three or more Fairfax Symphony concerts are still available. Subscribers receive exclusive benefits, including discounted tickets, no ticketing fees, invitations to private receptions, and more.
www.fairfaxsymphony.org | 703-563-1990
Program notes, directions to the concert hall and information about the FSO and its education and outreach programs, may be found at www.fairfaxsymphony.org.
Photos of Fairfax Symphony’s musicians and artists are available upon request.
The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra has emerged over the years as one of the finest regional orchestras in the U.S. and is hailed as “the pride of Fairfax County.” The Washington Post critics have described it as a “fine ensemble” (Mark Estren), “dazzling,…organic…and brilliant, (Joan Reinthaler) “a serious force to be reckoned with” (Stephen Brookes), offering “a good program, good soloist(s) and a lot of energy and heart” (Anne Midgette).
The orchestra is supported in part through funding by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the County of Fairfax, along with generous support from corporations, foundations, and individuals. BB&T generously sponsored the co- commission Virtue by Christopher Theofanidis for this performance.
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