The Pasadena Symphony will perform the highly anticipated world premiere of Grammy-nominated composer Peter Boyer’s Symphony No. 1 on Saturday April 27 in concerts at 2:00 and 8:00pm at Ambassador Auditorium. The concerts also feature superstar violinist Chee-Yun as soloist for the intensely passionate Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto under the baton of guest conductor Jose Luis Gomez.
Composer Peter Boyer is one of the most frequently performed American orchestral composers of his generation, with over 300 public performances of his works by more than 100 orchestras. Though Boyer’s compositional voice is his own, his musical language and symphonic style flow from the same wellspring of such iconic American composers as Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, and John Williams.
Boyer’s Symphony No. 1 is dedicated to the memory of famed composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, who had a profound influence on Boyer’s work. After accepting Boyer’s dedication, Leonard Bernstein’s daughter Jamie Bernstein wrote, “My brother Alexander, sister Nina and I are very touched that Peter Boyer has dedicated his Symphony No. 1 to our father. I know how deeply Peter relates to the music of Leonard Bernstein, as well as to the humanitarian spirit that infuses so many Bernstein compositions. It’s gratifying indeed to see our father’s influence touching succeeding generations, and continuing to make an impact on our world. We salute Peter, and wish his symphony well!”
“For any composer,” explained Boyer, “a commission for a first symphony is a special opportunity. While I’ve often been asked to compose works on historical subjects or to celebrate specific occasions, with this commission I’ve relished the great challenge of creating a purely musical symphonic work. I’ve long admired the Pasadena Symphony, whose musicians are my colleagues and friends. I’m grateful both to compose this work and to conduct this fine orchestra.” The commission of this new work has been made possible through contributions by Trustees of Claremont Graduate University.
Violinist Chee-Yun, who will perform Tchaikovsky’s indelible Violin Concerto, originally hails from Seoul, South Korea. She began performing professionally at the age of 13 and vaulted into an extraordinary career performing as soloist with countless major orchestras around the world and headlining national tours with the San Francisco Symphony and Japan’s NHK Symphony. The New York Times hailed her as “a talented instrumentalist, with the kind of high-gloss tone that pulls sensuously at the listener’s ear.”
In addition to the concerts on Saturday, April 27, the Pasadena Symphony and Pacific Asia Museum will host a party featuring Chee-Yun on Wednesday, April 24 from 6 – 8pm. Party passes for this event at Pacific Asia Museum are available through the Pasadena Symphony box office for $75 and include hors d’oeuvres, wine, gallery access, plus a ticket to hear Chee-Yun in concert with the Pasadena Symphony on Saturday, April 27.
Tickets to the final concert in the Pasadena Symphony’s 2012-13 Singpoli Classics Series at Ambassador Auditorium on Saturday, April 27 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm begin at $35 and may be purchased by visiting www.pasadenasymphony-pops.org, calling 626.793.7172 or onsite day of concert.
IF YOU GO:
- What: Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Pasadena Symphony
- Guest Artists: Jose Luis Gomez, Conductor | Peter Boyer, Conductor and Composer-in-Residence | Chee-Yun, Violin
- When: Saturday, April 27 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm
- Where: Ambassador Auditorium; 131 St. John Ave, Pasadena, CA 91123
- Cost: Tickets start at $35.00
- Parking: Valet on Green Street, $10 general parking available adjacent to the theater in Maranatha parking lots.
- Full Program: Boyer: Festivities | Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto | Borodin: In the Steppes of Central Asia | Boyer: Symphony No. 1
- Pre-Concert Conversation: Pasadena Symphony Association’s CEO Paul Jan Zdunek visits with Peter Boyer about the program, his musical journey and much more an hour before each concert (1 pm and again at 7 pm on stage at Ambassador Auditorium)
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Violinist Chee-Yun’s flawless technique, dazzling tone and compelling artistry have enraptured audiences on five continents. Charming, charismatic and deeply passionate about her art, Chee-Yun continues to carve a unique place for herself in the ever-evolving world of classical music.
Winner of the 1989 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and the 1990 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Chee-Yun performs regularly with the world’s foremost orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, and the Toronto, Houston, Seattle, Pittsburgh and National symphony orchestras. Additionally, she has appeared with the Atlanta Symphony, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and has performed with such distinguished conductors as Hans Graf, James DePriest, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Michael Tilson Thomas, Krzysztof Penderecki, Neeme Järvi, Pinchas Zukerman, Manfred Honeck and Giancarlo Guerrero. Internationally, Chee-Yun has toured with the Haifa Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Germany’s Braunschweig Orchestra and the MDR Radio Leipzig and performed with the St. Petersburg Camerata, the Bamberg Philharmonic, the Bilbao Symphony, the London Festival Orchestra, the Nagoya Philharmonic, and the KBS Symphony Orchestra. Her orchestral highlights include a concert with the Seoul Philharmonic conducted by Myung-Whun Chung that was broadcast on national network television, a benefit for UNESCO with the Orchestra of St. Lukes at Avery Fisher Hall, and her tours of the United States with the San Francisco Symphony (Michael Tilson Thomas conducting), and Japan with the NHK Symphony. Recent and upcoming engagements include return subscription weeks in Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, as well as the Colorado and Austin symphony orchestras and the National Philharmonic.
As a recitalist, Chee-Yun has performed in many major US cities including New York, Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Atlanta. Career highlights include appearances at the Kennedy Center’s “Salute to Slava” gala honoring Mstislav Rostropovich, the Mostly Mozart Festival’s tour to Japan, a performance with Michael Tilson Thomas in the inaugural season of Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, and the US premiere of the Penderecki Sonata No. 2 with pianist Barry Douglas. Other recent highlights include recitals in St. Paul, Buffalo, Washington, DC, Omaha and Scottsdale, duo recitals with cellist Alisa Weilerstein and a performance at the American Ballet Theatre’s fall gala. Firmly committed to chamber music, Chee-Yun has toured with “Music from Marlboro” and appears frequently with Spoleto USA, a project she has been associated with since its inception. Additional chamber music appearances include the Ravinia, Aspen, Bravo! Vail Valley, La Jolla, Caramoor, Green Music, Santa Fe and Bridgewater festivals in the US, the Great Mountains Music Festival in South Korea, the Clandeboye Festival with Camerata Ireland in Northern Ireland, the Opera Theatre and Music Festival in Lucca, Italy, the Colmar Festival in France, the Beethoven and Penderecki festivals in Poland and the Kirishima Festival in Japan.
Chee-Yun has received exceptional acclaim as a recording artist since the release of her debut album of virtuoso encore pieces in 1993. Her recent recording of the Penderecki Violin Concerto No. 2 on Naxos was acclaimed as “an engrossing, masterly performance” (The Strad Magazine) and “a performance of staggering virtuosity and musicality” (American Record Guide). Her releases on the Denon label include Mendelssohn’s E Minor Violin Concerto, Vieuxtemps’ Violin Concerto No. 5, Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole, and Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto No. 3, with the London Philharmonic under the direction of Maestro Lopez-Cobos, a disc of three French violin sonatas (Debussy, Saint-Saëns and Fauré), and the violin sonatas of Szymanowski and Franck. Her most recent Denon disc features the violin sonatas of Brahms and Strauss. Two compilation discs, Vocalise d’amour, and The Very Best of Chee-Yun, feature highlights of Chee-Yun’s earlier recordings. In 2007, Chee-Yun recorded the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Camerata Ireland, pianist Barry Douglas and cellist Andrés Diaz, for Satirino Records. In 2008, Decca/Korea released “Serenata Notturno,” an album of light classics that went platinum within six months of its release.
Chee-Yun has been heard frequently on National Public Radio’s Performance Today and on WQXR and WNYC radio in New York City. She has also been featured on KTV, a children’s program on the cable network CNBC, Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion”, on Public Radio International and numerous syndicated and local radio programs across the United States and abroad. She has appeared on PBS as a special guest on Victor Borge’s Then and Now 3, in a live broadcast at Spivey Hall in Atlanta concurrent with the Olympic Games, and on ESPN performing the theme for the X Games. In Fall 2009, she also appeared in an episode of HBO’s hit series, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Chee-Yun’s first public performance at age 8 took place in her native Seoul after she won the Grand Prize of the Korean Times Competition. At 13, she came to the United States and was invited to perform the Vieuxtemps Concerto No. 5 in a Young People’s Concert with the New York Philharmonic. Two years later, she appeared as soloist with the New York String Orchestra under Alexander Schneider at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. In 1989, she won the Young Concert Artist’s international competition, and a year later became the recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. In Korea, Chee-Yun studied with Nam Yun Kim. In the United States, she has worked with Dorothy DeLay, Hyo Kang, Daniel Phillips and Felix Galimir (chamber music) at The Juilliard School.
In addition to her active performance and recording schedule, Chee-Yun is a dedicated and enthusiastic educator. She gives master classes around the world and has held several teaching posts at notable music schools and universities. Her past faculty positions have included serving as the resident Starling Soloist and Adjunct Professor of Violin at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and Visiting Professor of Music (Violin) at Indiana University School of Music. In August 2007, she was appointed Artist-in-Residence and Professor of Violin at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Chee-Yun plays the Stradivarius “Ex-Strauss” (Cremona, 1708), which is on loan through the generous efforts of the Samsung Foundation of Culture of Korea and the Stradivari Society of Chicago, Illinois.
About Peter Boyer
Peter Boyer is one of the most frequently performed American orchestral composers of his generation, with over 300 public performances of his works by more than 100 orchestras, and numerous national broadcasts in the U.S. and abroad. Conductor Keith Lockhart chose Boyer for the Boston Pops’ 125th anniversary commission honoring the legacy of John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy, The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers. Its premiere in 2010, narrated by Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Ed Harris, was attended by members of the Kennedy family, and received extensive national media attention. The Boston Pops also performed the work on their Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular for an audience of over 750,000; gave it two separate telecasts; performed it at Tanglewood with narrator Alec Baldwin; and released its recording. Boyer’s major work Ellis Island: The Dream of America (2002) has received over 140 live performances by 60 orchestras, making it one of the most-performed American orchestral works of the last decade. His recording on the Naxos label was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition.
In addition to his work for the concert hall, Boyer is active in the film and television music industry. He has contributed orchestrations to more than 20 film scores by top Hollywood composers, including Skyfall (composer Thomas Newman), The Amazing Spider-Man (composer James Horner), the Oscar-winning Up, Star Trek, Mission: Impossible III, John Carter, Super 8, Cars 2 (composer Michael Giacchino); and Dolphin Tale (composer Mark Isham). Boyer has twice arranged music for the Academy Awards, and composed music for The History Channel.
As conductor, Boyer has led such orchestras as the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Hartford Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, and Richmond Symphony in concert; and the London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, and Los Angeles studio orchestras in recording sessions. Boyer holds the Helen M. Smith Chair in Music at Claremont Graduate University. He served as the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence in 2010-11, and is the Pasadena Symphony’s Composer-in-Residence this season.
About Jose Luis Gomez
The young Venezuelan-born, Spanish conductor José Luis Gomez was catapulted to international attention when he won First Prize at the International Sir Georg Solti Conductor’s Competition in Frankfurt in September 2010, securing a sensational and rare unanimous decision from the jury.
Gomez’s electrifying energy, talent and creativity earned him immediate acclaim from the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra where he was appointed to the position of Assistant Conductor, a post created especially for him by Paavo Jarvi and the orchestra directly upon the conclusion of the competition.
Gomez started his musical career as a violinist, and by the age of 11 he was Concertmaster of the Youth Orchestra of Zulia State – part of El Sistema de Orquestas Juveniles de Venezuela. He graduated in music and violin from the Manhattan School of Music in New York before embarking on a European orchestral career. Deciding to follow his dream to have more creative input and influence on musical direction he took conducting lessons from Lu Jia, Muhai Tang and John Nelson. After just six months of studying conducting he went on to win the Georg Solti competition.
Since then he has worked with the RTVE National Symphony Orchestra of Madrid, Houston Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra of Ottawa, Hamburg Symphony, Basel Sinfonietta, Orchestra of Castille y Leon, Orquesta Sinfonica do Porto, Grand Rapids Symphony, Macao Symphony and the Orchestra 1813 Teatro Sociale di Como with whom he also led performances of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro as part of the ASLCIO Opera Association throughout the region of Lombardia, Italy.
Symphonic highlights of the 12/13 season include debuts with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Colorado, Vancouver, Edmonton and Pasadena Symphony Orchestras as well as reinvitations to Orquesta Sinfonica de Castilla y Leon, Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira and Elgin Symphony Orchestra. José will also conduct the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra in their New Year concert and several educational projects. Opera highlights include a full run of La Bohème at Frankfurt Opera and Rossini’s La Cenerentola at Stuttgart Opera, with a revival already planned in the following season. Future engagements will feature his debuts in Taiwan, Alabama and Winnipeg and will return to Weimar, Frankfurt and Stuttgart.
José Luis Gomez is the Principal Conductor of the orchestra of the Teatro Social di Como. He continues assisting Paavo Jarvi at Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, on tour in Europe, Asia and beyond.