We are delighted to welcome you to The Chelsea Symphony’s 2022-23 concert season, Near & Far. Our concerts this season illuminate the world we live in through a dynamic lineup of historic and contemporary works. Highlights include a dramatic new concerto by Michael Boyman, borne of the pandemic; Margaret Bonds’s Montgomery Variations, a soaring tribute to the Civil Rights Movement; Become River by John Luther Adams, one of our most compelling musical advocates for environmental protection; and Dmitri Shostakovich’s epic Symphony No. 11, a searing testament to the perils of autocracy.
This season we also celebrate music inspired by travels around the globe. We are thrilled to present Shuying Li’s World Map concertos with musicians from the Four Corners Ensemble in a special performance at Merkin Concert Hall. Picturesque selections by Max Bruch, Paule Maurice, Johannes Brahms, Ernest Chausson, and Vivian Fung pay tribute to journeys near and far.
As always, we aim to radically democratize the concert experience. All of our performances offer admission by suggested donation; we never want cost to be a barrier to enjoying our programs. Every concert will showcase The Chelsea Symphony’s unique collaborative structure, with our musicians rotating as featured soloists, composers, and conductors. This year we also continue our informal chamber music series at Chelsea Market. We invite you to join us in conversation after each performance—come over and say hello!
Thank you for your support of The Chelsea Symphony. We hope you will join us often this season!
Matthew Aubin and Mark Seto
The Chelsea Symphony returns with Artistic Director Matthew Aubin in a season opener exploring works written in turbulent times. Michael Boyman’s Clarinet Concerto, featuring Angela Shankar in the world premiere performance, draws influence from the tempestuous Sturm und Drang music of Haydn & Mozart that became the soundtrack of his early months in the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 90 years earlier, Ralph Vaughan Williams was reeling with the emotional aftermath of serving in World War I and the sudden loss of a dear friend when he composed his Symphony No. 4. Both nights open with Grażyna Bacewicz’s Overture for Orchestra with Saturday also featuring Phil Rashkin on Richard Strauss’s Oboe Concerto, two works written near the end of World War II.
Movement has always held great power, both in physical form and as a means to change. Opening this all-American program, Reuben Blundell conducts the New York premiere of Sam Wu’s Wind Map, a musical exploration of Van-Gogh-esque charts that map the movement of air. Margaret Bonds’s Montgomery Variations, a powerful tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., the Civil Rights movement, and the city of Montgomery, AL, closes each performance. Each night also features a different showpiece: Samuel Barber’s true-to-self Violin Concerto with Camille Enderlin, and David Baker’s jazz-influenced Concert Piece for Trombone and Orchestra with Matthew Stewart.
As the year nears its end, The Chelsea Symphony returns home to its roots, performing light classical and holiday pops favorites from its repertoire. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Christmas Overture opens the evening in fanfare with luscious settings of traditional Christmas carols. Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy and Gerald Finzi’s Five Bagatelles feature long-time members of the orchestra, Joseph Morag and Christine Todd, respectively. Closing out the night are two long-standing TCS traditions: Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride led by a past holiday raffle winner, and Aaron Dai’s The Night Before Christmas, featuring a special guest narrator.
January: Se Souvenir
History is not always known for its preservation of women’s contributions to their fields, and music is no exception. Led by Co-Artistic Director Matthew Aubin and Artistic Director Laureate Miguel Campos Neto, this all-French program sees the US premiere of Augusta Holmès’s Roland Furieux, a fantastical work from 1867 based on Ludovico Ariosto’s epic poem Orlando Furioso that only received its first performance in 2019. Saturday evening also features two works originally written for saxophone and orchestra by women whose music is still largely under recognized today: Paule Maurice’s programmatic Tableaux de Provence, featuring Rob Wilkerson, and Fernande Decruck’s Sonata in C# for viola and orchestra, performed by Mitsuru Kubo. Camille Saint-Saens’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with pianist Candance Chien rounds out the weekend.
Travel has long been a source of inspiration for many artists, including composers. Conductor Nell Flanders opens this series on Friday with Ernest Chausson’s Poème, a work written while on holiday in Italy, performed by violinist Bryn Digney and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme, featuring Nelly Rocha. Saturday features Thomas Purcell in Vivian Fung’s Violin Concerto No. 1, which draws inspiration from the composer’s experience preparing for a gamelan tour in Bali. Both evenings conclude with Johannes Brahms’s sunlit Symphony No. 2, a work he famously wrote while vacationing in southern Austria.
May: World Map
The Chelsea Symphony, in collaboration with composer Shuying Li, presents Li’s World Map concertos, featuring members of the Four Corners Ensemble in all new orchestrations of the concertos for chamber orchestra. Originally written for and recorded by the Four Corners Ensemble, each concerto journeys to a different country or region around the world, highlighting the diverse backgrounds of each featured musician. The evening opens with a new work by Aaron Dai and closes with John Luther Adams’s Become River, bringing the theme of world exploration together through the bodies of water that connect us all.
June: Past & Present
Artistic Director Mark Seto leads The Chelsea Symphony in an examination of time and historic parallels in the orchestra’s season closer. Each program opens with an American brass concerto written within the last 15 years: Adolphus Hailstork’s Concertino for Trumpet and Orchestra, performed by Rebecca Steinberg, and Jay Krush’s Concerto for bass trombone, featuring Owen Caprell. Both evenings close with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11, a dark and complex work memorializing the Russian Revolution of 1905, written in the time of the Hungarian Uprising, and perhaps a timely reminder of humanity’s continued fight against autocracy.