Symphony San Jose presents five musical postcards depicting the vast beauty and diverse character of our nation: Ives’ patriotic celebration from New England, Still’s soulful southern soliloquy, Midkiff’s Blue Ridge Mountain tribute, Shaw’s homage to the fragrant orange groves of our home state, and Copland’s famous western masterpiece.
This is the first appearance of a mandolin as a solo instrument on our series, and Midkiff’s concerto (performed by the composer himself), is full of foot-stomping, toe-tapping, virtuosic electricity that’s just great fun to hear.
Charles Ives: Variations on “America”
William Grant Still: Darker America
Jeff Midkiff: Mandolin Concerto (From the Blue Ridge)
Caroline Shaw: Valencia
Aaron Copland: Rodeo
Christopher Rountree conductor
Christopher Rountree is an American conductor known for founding the Los Angeles chamber group Wild Up, an ensemble that blends new music, classical repertoire, performance art and pop. Wild Up was named "Best Classical Music of 2012" by the Los Angeles Times.
“The performances all evening were impressive both technically and for their unabashed spirit. Rountree punches out rhythms as if they were going out of style. He emphasizes outsize emotions.” -- Los Angeles Times
Soloist: Jeff Midkiff, mandolin
- America, also known as My Country ‘Tis of Thee, was one of the U.S.’s de facto national anthems before the Star-Spangled Banner was adopted in 1931.
- Rodeo almost didn’t happen. Choreographer Agnes de Mille approached Copland after seeing his ballet Billy the Kid. Not wanting to be typecast as a “cowboy composer,” he initially turned down the offer.
Where Have I Heard It Before:
- America used the same melody as the United Kingdom’s national anthem, God Save the King.
- The last movement of Rodeo was used in the advertising campaign: “Beef – It’s What’s For Dinner!”
Concert Length: Approximately 1 hour 50 minutes, with intermission