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Fifteen Soloists

THU, APRIL 20, 2017 AT 8:00PM
Enmax Hall, Winspear Centre
Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
Robert Bernhardt, conductor (pictured)
Eric Buchmann, violin
Nora Bumanis, harp
Robin Doyon, trumpet
Virginie Gagné, violin
Allene Hackleman, horn
Rafael Hoekman, cello
Erik Hongisto, trombone
Clayton Leung, viola
Frédéric Payant, trumpet
Victor Pipkin, cello
Jeremy Spurgeon, organ
Robert Uchida, violin
Laura Veeze, violin
Neda Yamach, violin
Brian Yoon, cello


A dazzling array of orchestral miniatures and showstoppers will fill a night devoted to the talented members of your ESO. Fifteen musicians will step out from their orchestral desks to shine in favourite melodies from the 17th to the 21st centuries!

Featured Repertoire
Rimsky-Korsakov – Flight of the Bumble Bee
Vivaldi – Concerto for Two Trumpets
Dinicu – Hora staccato
Plus music from Cinema Paradiso, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Schindler's List.

Ticket Information

$79 Dress Circle (A)
$69 Terrace (B)
$59 Orchestra (C)
$39 Upper Circle (D)
$29 Gallery (E)

Tickets subject to applicable service charges.

Bill & Mary Jo Robbins
Series Supporters

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Program Info


Entry of the Gladiators – March, Opus 68

Aria in the Classic Style

Concerto for Two Trumpets in C major, RV537: III- Allegro

Sinfonia concertante in E-flat major, K364/320d: III- Presto

Andante sostenuto in D major for Horn

Divertimento in D Major: 3rd mvmt (arr. Gregor Piatigorsky/Ingolf Dahl)

Gianni Schicchi: O mio babbino caro (Arranged by Craig Leon)

Elfentanz / Dance of the Elves, Opus 39

Hora staccato (Arranged by Pancho Vladigerov)


The Tale of Tsar Saltan: The Flight of the Bumble Bee (Arranged by Joseph Strimer)

Oh, Kay!: Someone to Watch Over Me (Arranged by Calvin Custer)

Cinema Paradiso: Main Theme (Arranged by Paul Bateman)

Hollywood Hotel: Hooray for Hollywood (Arranged by John Williams)

Ladies in Lavender: Main Theme

Midway: March

Memoirs of a Geisha: The Chairman's Waltz

Schindler’s List: Main Theme

Conga del Fuego Nuevo

Program subject to change

Fifteen Soloists – Program Notes

You have to feel a little sorry for Julius Fu?ík (1872-1916). He wrote a great march with a memorable tune, and gave it the martial title of Entrance of the Gladiators. However, it has come to be associated much more with clowns piling out of a little car than with armored warriors arriving in the arena. As a jaunty and fun way to begin our evening’s concert, however, it’s perfect.
Born and educated in Paris, harp virtuoso Marcel Grandjany (1871-1975) spent much of his later career in North America. His time was mostly spent in New York, but for several years during the 1940s he was based at the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec à Montréal. He helped found and direct the American Harp Society, and we hear his delightfully backward-looking work, Aria in the Classic Style for organ and harp alone.

What Bach was to the German Lutheran church, and Handel was to the English court, so Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) was to the musical life of Venice. For many years, Vivaldi was the master of music for a number of churches, but also for the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for foundling girls, who became famous throughout Europe for their skill as musicians. For them, Vivaldi had occasion to write hundreds of concertos. It’s interesting to note that there seems to be no concerto by Vivaldi for single trumpet, but there is a C Major Concerto for Two Trumpets. Its finale has the two trumpets chasing each other throughout a series of arpreggios, until they come together in warm harmony at the end.

Nearly everything about the Sinfonia concertante Wolfgang Amadé Mozart (1756-1791) composed in 1779 is singular – except its instrumentation. After composing five violin concertos within a short span of each other in 1775, Mozart wrote no more such works for solo violin. In 1778, he completed a concerto for solo flute, and five years later, would finally write another solo concerto work. But in between, he wrote six works (that we know of) – all for multiple solo instruments and orchestra. Four have survived to us intact, and the most assured and mature of these is the Sinfonia concertante, for one solo violin, and one solo viola. The final movement is all about having fun. There are opportunities for each soloist to “show off” separately, but also to make merry together. One of Mozart’s most graceful romps, there are clever twists and turns – even some brief minor-key variations – but the overriding sense of play is everywhere.

Known best for his many amazing and brilliant film scores, Nino Rota (1911-1979) was also a prolific concert composer - and chameleon. More than once, he channeled the time and style of composers of the past to create fascinating pieces. His Andante sostenuto was written in 1958-59 to create a "bridge" between the opening Allegro and concluding Rondo of Mozart's Horn Concerto, K.142 (which does not have a central movement in its original form). Rota ingeniously re-creates Mozart's idiom, without using any of Mozart's actual music.

Similar in size and voicing to a bass viol, the baryton was an unusually-strung instrument that was in common use until about the end of the 18th century. It had six or seven strings (there was more than one type), strung along a fretboard, that would be bowed. But it also had an additional set of wire strings that could either vibrate sympathetically with the bowed strings, or could be plucked separately. Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809) wrote over a hundred chamber works which included the baryton (his patron, Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, played the thing), and in 1944, the great Russian-American cellist Gregor Piatigorsky arranged one of them, a Trio in D Major, for cello and piano. Ingolf Dahl orchestrated the work, and we will hear the third and final movement from this new version, an Allegro di molto.

O mio babbino caro is one of the most famous arias in opera. From the opera Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), the song was written for a soprano voice. Its popular melody has been transcribed by many musicians for many instruments. The particular arrangement to be heard at tonight’s performance was done by Craig Leon, originally for an album called Romance of the Violin, by the famous American violinist Joshua Bell. Tonight’s version has been prepared for solo cello.

A hora is a dance common to many countries, including Romania, homeland of composer/violinist Grigora? Dinicu (1889-1949). It is a circle dance, in which the dancers hold hands and make diagonal steps forwards and backwards, as the circle itself turns. Staccato is a musical term from the Italian word for “detached,” implying that all the notes in a phrase be heard separately. The Hora staccato, composed in 1906, was Dinicu’s most famous work – one that has been arranged for many different instrumental combinations. Tonight’s orchestral version was prepared by Pancho Vladigerov, a Bulgarian composer and contemporary of Dinicu.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's (1844-1908) opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan is not often performed. If it is known for anything, really, it is for a light instrumental interlude from the opera's third act that is meant to musically capture the frantic, chaotic nature of a bumblebee in flight. But that interlude has developed a life of its own. Because of the rapidity of its notes, the Flight of the Bumblebee has been adapted as a tour de force for any number of solo instruments. Al Hirt's famous trumpet recording became the theme song of the TV series based on the comic The Green Hornet. Tonight we hear an orchestration of the work created by Joseph Strimer.

George (1898-1937) and Ira (1896-1983) Gershwin wrote their famous song Someone to Watch Over Me for their hit musical Oh, Kay!, which premiered in 1926. The song has rightfully gone on to a life of its own, and is a cornerstone of American music. Tonight’s version, for solo trombone, was arranged by Calvin Custer.

Cinema Paradiso was a 1988 movie that was kind of a romance – about falling in love with movies. In it, a filmmaker returns to his native Italian village, and recalls how his friendship with the local theatre projectionist awakened his love for movies. The great Ennio Morricone (b. 1928) wrote the film’s bittersweet score, and Paul Bateman arranged its main theme for violin and orchestra.

Hollywood Hotel (1937) was a middling musical comedy, despite several big names attached to it. Dick Powell was the star, twin sisters Rosemary and Lola Lane played a Hollywood diva and her lookalike, Busby Berkeley directed, and gossip columnist Louella Parsons made her movie debut! Even young rising star Ronald Reagan had a small part. But pretty much all anybody remembers from it is the song “Hooray for Hollywood,” with music by Dick Whiting (1891-1938) and lyrics by the legendary Johnny Mercer. It’s become an anthem for Tinseltown ever since, and no less than film-scoring giant John Williams did the arrangement we’ll hear tonight.

The 2004 British film Ladies in Lavender was directed by Charles Dance, and based on a short story by William J. Locke. It is the story of two sisters (played by no less than Maggie Smith and Judi Dench), who nurse back to health a young Polish victim of an accident at sea. He turns out to be a skilled violinist, and soon leaves to seek his fortune on the concert stage. Nigel Hess (b. 1953) wrote the score for the film. The autumnal nature of Ladies in Lavender lends a tender poignancy to the movie’s main theme, which is dominated by an expressive and bittersweet solo for violin.

For many of us, the 1975 blockbuster Jaws, and the 1977 movie Star Wars made film composer John Williams (b. 1932) a bona fide star. But in between those projects, the World War Two movie Midway was released - also featuring a score by Williams. Starring Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, and other Hollywood heavyweights, the movie was a dramatization of the battle considered the turning point in the war in the Pacific. Like any good war movie score, a rousing march is a focal point of the music.

Memoirs of a Geisha, released in 2005 and directed by Rob Marshall, was a lavish production which was only a modest success. The story of a girl stolen from her home, eventually to become the famous geisha Sayuri, the film featured tender music written by John Williams much of it featuring poignant music for violin solo, which was certainly one of the movie’s finer aspects. We hear The Chairman’s Waltz from that score.

Steven Spielberg released two films in 1993. One was the popcorn blockbuster Jurassic Park while the other was the powerful and much lauded Schindler’s List. Its soundtrack earned one of the five Oscars awarded to composer John Williams. With music influenced by Jewish origins, the use of a solo violin evokes the sense of sorrow and suffering portrayed in the film, but also the sense of deeply-held tradition.

Arturo Márquez (b. 1950) is the son of a mariachi musician. He was born in Mexico, but raised in Los Angeles, and it was there he furthered his musical education. He went back to Mexico to attend conservatory there, earning a scholarship that took him to Paris as well. It is thought that the conga was introduced by African slaves in Cuba. It was popularized in the 1940s by Desi Arnaz and others, and enjoyed a second heyday in North American popular culture in the 1980s thanks to Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine’s hit single. Márquez’ Conga del Fuego Nuevo begins in a steady simmer, the pulsing, syncopated beat constantly underpinning the music. The work builds in intensity, its pace slowing unexpectedly about halfway through – but only briefly, as the orchestra then whips the dance up to a thrilling finish.

Program notes (c) 2017 by D.T. Baker

Artist Info

Bob Bernhardt is now in his second decade with the Edmonton Symphony as of this season, continuing to bring his unique perspective, ability, and infectious enthusiasm to all genres he conducts. It’s also a milestone with the Louisville Orchestra as he celebrates his 35th consecutive year and his 20th as Principal Pops Conductor there. Concurrently, he is Principal Pops Conductor of the Grand Rapids Symphony, and is Principal Pops Conductor with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera (where he was Music Director for 19 seasons). This season is his 24th as a frequent guest conductor of the Boston Pops which he first conducted at John Williams’ invitation in 1992. He conducted two programs at Symphony Hall in Boston in June, and another in August on tour.
He has also been a frequent guest conductor of many American orchestras. A lover of opera, he conducted productions with Kentucky Opera for 18 consecutive seasons, and for 19 seasons with his own company in Chattanooga, as well as many guest conducting engagements with the Nashville Opera. He received his Masters degree with Honors from the University of Southern California’s School of Music, studying primarily with Daniel Lewis. He received his Bachelors-Fine Arts degree from Union College in Schenectady, NY, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Summa cum laude, and an Academic All-American Baseball Player. He and his wife, Nora, both dog lovers, live in Signal Mountain, Tennessee, with their rescued cat, Shoogie.
Mr. Bernhardt last conducted the ESO in January 2017.

Venue Info

Enmax Hall, Winspear Centre
#4 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, AB
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Getting Here

The Francis Winspear Centre for Music is on the corner of 102nd Avenue and 99th Street, in the heart of The Arts District in downtown Edmonton. It is readily accessible by car, Edmonton Transit (bus and LRT), and the Pedway system.

The City of Edmonton provides over 1500 convenient parking stalls within a 5-minute walk from Winspear Centre, The Citadel Theatre and Shaw Conference Centre. The Library, Canada Place and City Hall Parkades provide heated underground parking with pedway connections to the event venues. Parking is also available at on-street meters in the vicinity.



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Dining Near the Winspear

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At the Event

What to Wear
For some, an event at a world-class facility like the Winspear Centre is a great excuse to dress to the nines. But it’s hardly necessary. If that’s your style – go for it! If it’s not – hey, you paid for the ticket, so do what makes you feel comfortable. You’ll see a wide range of dress, from casual to pretty classy, depending on the kind of event it is. Business casual is probably a great middle ground for most Edmonton Symphony Orchestra concerts.

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