SONOS Chamber Orchestra - 2008/2009 Season Lineup

August 7, 2007 at 05:35 PM · Recently, I got appointed the Chairman of the Board for the SONOS Chamber Orchestra in NYC. Until now, the orchestra has been a professional orchestra focused on reaching smaller communities. It doesn't have a permanent home (mainly due to budget reasons). But we're fortunate to get Tan Dun and Robert Spano (Atlanta Symphony Music Director) on our Advisory Board and we're making proactive steps to establish a strategic alliance with either Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall.

We're starting to plan programming for our 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons and I am soliciting your feedback on some of these ideas below. We do plan to invite other instrumentalists, singers, dancers, etc but for violinists, the music director and I are thinking about the following: (keep in mind that the mission of the orchestra is to present works that are rarely heard -- not the tchaikovsky, bruch, mendelssohn concertos because there are other orchestras in the nearby area such as Brooklyn Phil, Orchestra of St Lukes, NY PHilharmonic, etc).

Concert 1: Leila Josefowicz performing a new commissioned work for violin and chamber orchestra by John Adams. (Apparently, Josefowicz wanted to "test out" a new work composed by John Adams with Adams conducting our orchestra before doing a world premiere in a big city such as London).

Concert 2: Cho-Liang Lin (work TBD)

Concert 3: Ivry Gitlis performing Beethoven's Kreutzer violin sonata (arranged for chamber orchestra and solo violin).

Concert 4: Ida Haendel (work TBD)

Concert 5: Jennifer Koh - Magnus Lindberg Violin Concerto.

Replies (25)

August 8, 2007 at 01:38 PM · Cho-liang Lin should play the Butterfly Lovers Concerto on St Valentines Day. The concert will be a great hit.

August 8, 2007 at 01:43 PM · Ida Haendel - Britten VC or Hartmann Concerto Funebre.

August 8, 2007 at 01:46 PM · That's actually a great idea re: Cho Liang Lin.

August 8, 2007 at 10:08 PM · Ah - of course - the Butterfly Lovers is in his repertoire & he also recorded it I think. Best of luck with it.

August 8, 2007 at 11:17 PM · I think Leila Josefowicz would be great. I love her!

August 9, 2007 at 02:05 AM · Wow, what a fun job!

Consider inviting Stephanie Chase. She is a consummate artist with a very broad repertoire, and she lives in NY.

August 9, 2007 at 02:20 AM · Hi Barbara:

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll let the Music Director know about this.

August 9, 2007 at 02:42 AM · I like all the recommendations but wanted to suggest another possibility for someone entirely different- the concertmaster of the Columbus Symphony, Charles Wetherbee, who gave the Maryland premiere of Johnathan Leshnoff's Violin Concerto written for solo violin and chamber orchestra. He was a marvelous soloist playing with deep emotion and as solid a technique as you could ask for.The audience gave him and the piece a standing ovation! Our Baltimore Chamber Orchestra recorded the work- not yet released, but it will be on the Naxos label. You can google Leshnoff and read about the concerto from a Baltimore Sun article.

August 9, 2007 at 02:52 AM · I know of Charlie's playing. He's very excellent violinist. Choices, choices, choices. :)

Thank you so much.

August 10, 2007 at 06:02 AM · Sung-duk, It looks like the SONOS chamber orchestra is breaking out of the conventional mold which is a very wise approach these days - when the major orchestras are all in trouble -- they are all stuck in the same old rut because they cannot risk alienating their subscriber base.

I think your choice of Leila Josefowicz is great. She plays new music with total commitment. Here in Pittsburgh she played the John Adams violin concerto a few years ago -- FROM MEMORY. Her comment - "It took a while!"

Ivry Gitlis is a great and unique artist and a controversial one. People either love him or hate him. He will definitely stir up some excitement.

Since you're already thinking out of the box, why not go a little further and consider -- you could contribute to the breaking down of the artificial barrier between "classical" and "popular" or "non-classical." Have you considered Mark O'Connor? Or Nigel Kennedy playing rock? There is a fabulous trio called "Time for Three" two violinists and a bass player out of the Philadelphia orchestra who are making a big splash all over the country playing bluegrass, gypsy, and other non-classical styles. Also Rachael Barton Pine is one of the most interesting and innovative artists around and a fantastic violinist.

August 10, 2007 at 12:56 PM · Dear Roy:

Thanks for your message. Your suggestions are very much welcome and all appreciated. Yes, I've thought about Rachel Barton Pine and Nigel Kennedy. Sometimes, booking them can be difficult due to issues beyond the control of the orchestra. Their managements are not the easiest to work with, and Mr. Kennedy doesn't come to the states alot. Also, we don't have the ability to afford the hefty fee that he asks for. (With respect, I will keep the artist fees private and undisclosed).

I've also considered Time for Three and Mark O'Connor too.

September 25, 2007 at 02:55 AM · Here are my suggestions in alphabetical order:

Alina Pogostkina: I am not a Prokofiev fan, but she changed my mind, at least regarding this concerto. See this:

Chee-yun: She is tops when it comes to un-inhibited passion, heart and love. See this: and also:

Janice Martin: She is ridiculous. How can such a talented violinist from Juilliard be such a good singer and a good pianist at the same time ? She plays a Stradivarius and probably a Steinway too. It's unfair.

Xenia Akeynikova: There is some intriguing bad-girl quality about her. Fundamentally, she is a good girl. You just have to admire her individuality.

Remember what you said earlier, that pianist Alicia de laRocha has small hands and therefore you can't really ask her to play Liszt, and hence probably something more suitable, such as Mozart or Beethoven ? Well, the challenge here is to get these 4 violinists to play to their strengths, since as you said, the chemistry is important to the performance.

Granted, all of them have the heart and passion. But there is something seductive and sensual about Chee-yun ... and while Xenia doesn't seem as open, I believe she is fully capable under the right circumstances; you just have to earn her trust. Janice is multi-talented and your creativity/originality is required to work with her here. And Alina seems to have all the nice-girl qualities.

Also, since you don't want the typical Mendelssohn, Tchaik or Bruch .... maybe you should get all 4 to play shorter pieces that fit their styles/personalities. Best if they all perform in the same concert. Talk to them and see what they like. If you do the programming right (easier said than done), these girls could be dazzling.

September 25, 2007 at 03:22 AM · I don't know how much the SONOS' budget is, but there are a couple of combinations between violinists and works that I would personally enjoy:

-Hilary Hahn And Spohr (her album is amazing)

-Josh Bell & Red Violin (i love this piece and what he does with it)

-Aaron Rosand & Sarasate (His sarasate album for myself, was a turning point in my own violin playing)

-Pinchas Zukerman & ANYTHING! (I'm just infatuated with his this guy!)

-Sarah Chang & Shostakovich (One of my personal favorite interpretations)

-Ivry Gitlis and Bartok (Amazing interpreter...someone I've been wanting to see before he...well...leaves this world)

I have been wanting to attend all of these concerts/pairings.

September 25, 2007 at 03:30 AM · Greetings,

those seem a tad mainstream for SONOS?



September 25, 2007 at 03:41 AM · Nobody ever plays Gian-Carlo Menotti's well-crafted and appealing violin concerto. If you like Hindemith, his violin concerto is underperformed. Also, Rachel Barton Pine is doing all sorts of work reviving all-but-unknown black and female composers. Plus she enthusiastically engages her audiences, and draws them into the world of her work. Check out her YouTube work and her blog here.

September 25, 2007 at 04:56 AM · Ask Mr. Lin to do Nielsen. It's very powerful and crowd pleasing, and is not often done.

Also, I think Gidon Kremer should be brought on to do Philip Glass concerto. You could make a whole evening out of it, with visual art as well. I think in a certain state this piece is very very cool. People knock it but I find something very valuable in it.

Engage Ilya Gringolts to play Shostakovich no 2. Almost never played, and quite unjustly... it's gorgeous. In some ways, I find it different than most of his work. Ilya played this brilliantly in Montreal, so I think this would be another homerun.

Finally, there's another violinist I find very interesting musically; Dan Zhu. Very sensitive, excellent player. You'd probably get him at a fraction of some of those other people.

PS. I think arranging something so precious like the Kreutzer for chamber orchestra is a bit... provincial. Something a Suzuki teacher would do... but, I will listen first. Please post dates, I will come if it is all in Manhattan.

September 25, 2007 at 04:34 AM · Cho-Liang Lin

September 25, 2007 at 08:28 AM · I might be a bad gauge of typical audiences, being a violinist, a student, and rather bookish, but I would be likeliest to pay (working on a student budget!) to see a John Adams premiere, esp. with him on the podium, and to see Gitlis play. I would also be interested in the enlargement of the Kreutzer Sonata. Just one person's reaction.

September 25, 2007 at 08:53 PM · Thank you all for your great ideas, support and suggestions.

September 25, 2007 at 09:37 PM · I just learned of Li Chuanyun. I don't know anything about him, but he's amazing, and his Paganini no. 24 is certainly inventive.

Take a look:

Oh, and congratulations on your new appointment. It sounds like you're full of enthusiasm for the project, and that will mean good things for SONOS.

September 25, 2007 at 09:41 PM · There was a whole thread about him recently. I think it was titled something like "Crazy Violinist." Crazy good.

September 26, 2007 at 05:47 AM · Oh, I think I missed the point of this thread.

I was just putting up pairings of violinists + concertos that I would want to hear live.

September 26, 2007 at 12:50 PM · " mission of the orchestra is to present works that are rarely heard..."

then you must go for the ultimate prize, one whose life/work cannot be defined by tradition:)...

September 26, 2007 at 02:40 PM · Al:

You must be an Aaron Rosand fan? :)

September 26, 2007 at 02:43 PM · mr song, i am a total music outsider, only reacting to beautiful music:):):) with mr rosand, how can one resist?

btw, i appreciate your passion and your multi-faceted talent. best of luck to your vision!

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