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New Century Plans a Star-Studded New Season

May 7, 2019

“Chamber music” is mostly on small scale, but New Century Chamber Orchestra Music Director Daniel Hope today announced a lineup of big-name guest artists for the ensemble’s 2019–2020 season.

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein returns as artist-in-residence to lead an all-Bach program, education and outreach activities, and to join Hope and cellist Lynn Harrell in a Beethoven program; mezzo Anne Sofie von Otter, pianist Maxim Lando, and the San Francisco Girls Chorus will also perform with NCCO.

“In our second season together,” says Hope, “the members of the orchestra and I welcome back old friends and look forward to making new ones as we bring together some of the world’s most accomplished artists.

“Following a hugely successful partnership in May 2018 performing Philip Glass’s Piano Concerto No. 3, I am delighted to welcome back pianist Simone Dinnerstein for multiple programs this season. I am particularly excited to join Simone, and my dear friend Lynn Harrell, to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday in the newly renovated Presidio Theatre.”

Before turning to the next season, note New Century’s great offering this week, May 9–12, in Berkeley, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and San Rafael. The program, featuring the Marcus Roberts Trio, includes Barber’s Adagio for Strings, selected works by Leonard Bernstein, Copland’s Old American Folk Songs and Gershwin’s Song Suite for Violin and Orchestra, both arranged by Paul Bateman.

A major activity following the end of this season will be the ensemble’s extensive tour of European music festivals in June.

In the 2019–2020 season, New Century will increase its reach from four to five subscription weeks in venues across the Bay Area. The season opens Sept. 26–29, 2019, with debut appearances by 16-year-old American teenage pianist Maxim Lando.

Two years ago, at age 14, Lando gained national recognition when he appeared with Lang Lang at the 2017 Carnegie Hall Opening Night Gala to perform the left-hand parts intended for Lang Lang’s injured hand.

That same year, Lando appeared with the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra and has since performed with orchestras throughout the world including the Philadelphia, Toronto, and the Russian National Orchestra. Lando and Hope will be soloists in the orchestral version of Ernest Chausson’s Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Quartet.

Exploring the theme of works written at the turn of the century, the program includes Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro, Op. 47 and “Chanson de Matin”; Massenet’s Méditation from Thaïs; Arnold Schoenberg’s Notturno for Strings and Harp; a string orchestra arrangement of Richard Strauss’s “Morgen”; and the second movement from Christian Sinding’s Suite im alten Stil, Op. 10. Greek violinist Simos Papanas will be the guest concertmaster.

Dinnerstein’s debut as the ensemble’s artist-in-residence includes an evening of Bach Keyboard Concerti (Nov. 7–10) and an event entitled “Beethoven in the Presidio” (Jan. 23–25, 2020) For the Bach program, leading from the piano, Dinnerstein will perform Concerto in E Major, BWV 1053, Concerto in F Minor, BWV 1056, Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052, and Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, BWV 1050.

New Century celebrates the holidays Dec. 18–20 with a debut appearance by the renowned Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter. She will join the ensemble for a selection of arias including “Schliesse, mein Herze dies selige Wunder” (Enclose, my heart, these blessed miracles) from J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, “As with rosy steps the morn” from Handel’s Theodora, HWV 68 and “Cara sposa” (Dear wife) from Handel’s Rinaldo, HWV 7. Von Otter will also perform traditional songs arranged for voice and string orchestra.

Hope will be the soloist for “Winter” from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons with Handel’s Concerto Grosso in D Minor, Op. 6 No. 10, and Corelli’s Concerto Grosso in G Minor, Op. 6. No. 8, the “Christmas Concerto,” completing the program.

As part of Beethoven’s 250th birthday celebrations, New Century will present a two-day event in San Francisco’s Presidio Theatre, Jan. 23–25, 2020, titled “Beethoven in the Presidio.” Hope, Dinnerstein, and Harrell will be featured on Jan. 24, in the Beethoven Piano Trio in E-Flat Major, Op. 1, No. 1, Cello Sonata No.5 in D Major, Op.102, No.2, and Violin Sonata No .9 in A Major Op. 47, “Kreutzer.”

The three artists will then share the stage with the orchestra on Jan. 25 for Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in C Major, Op. 56, alongside Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21. This program will also receive a special one-off performance at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church on Thursday, Jan. 23.

The season concludes May 13–17, 2020, with a live performance of works from Daniel Hope’s best-selling Deutsche Grammophon album Spheres. The concept behind this recording project is rooted in Hope’s fascination with the magnitude of the universe and “music of the spheres,” the ancient philosophical concept that the movements of celestial bodies are a form of music.

“My idea was to bring together music and time,” says Hope, “including works by composers from different centuries who might perhaps not always be found in the same ‘galaxy’ but yet are united by the age-old question: is there anything out there?

“When we think of space or the planets, do we hear any kind of sound associated with them, major or minor, or is it always mute? Certainly many composers envisaged the former.”

Selection of works includes Gabriel Prokofiev’s Spheres, Phillip Glass’s Echorus, Michael Nyman’s Trysting Fields, Arvo Pärt’s Fratres, Karsten Gundermann’s Faust, “Mars” and “Jupiter” from Gustav Holst’s The Planets, and “The Starkiller” from John Williams’s soundtrack to Star Wars.

Returning for its third collaboration with New Century, the San Francisco Girls Chorus will share the stage in three works: Gabriel Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine  (arr. John Rutter), Aleksey Igudesmann’s “Lento” and the Benedictus from Karl Jenkins’s The Armed Man — A Mass for Peace.

Keep in mind that admission to New Century’s open rehearsals is free, and can be reserved by emailing [email protected] or calling (415) 357-1111.

Janos Gereben appreciates news tips, corrections, and words of encouragement at [email protected].