Fri., Nov. 13, 2020
Sat., Nov. 14, 2020
Sun., Nov. 15, 2020
Dvořák, Cello Concerto in B minor
Walker, Lyric for String Orchestra
Grofé, Grand Canyon Suite,Synchronized imagery assembled by Stephen Lias
John DeMain, Conductor
Thomas Mesa, Cello
Read the Program Notes
Program Notes will be available in August.
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The majesty of the Grand Canyon unfolds musically and visually in the spectacle of Ferde Grofé’s expansive musical palette accompanied by stunning projected imagery. Cuban-American cellist Thomas Mesa, a hit in his Madison recital last year, balances the program with the equally expansive and expressive Cello Concerto of Antonin Dvořák. Two Madison premieres, Arthur Honegger’s Rugby and Lyric for String Orchestra by African-American composer George Walker complete the program.
The Grand Canyon in Wisconsin? The debut of Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite was scheduled for November 22, 1931, at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago. With just two weeks to go, Ferde Grofé knew that he wanted to end the suite with a cloudburst, but he had no idea how to write it. A musician friend invited him up for a stay at Lake Chippewa in Wisconsin’s north woods, where an obliging storm was the inspiration. “It just shook the cabin,” Grofé wrote. “It was early in the evening but it didn’t last very long, and the storm subsided. I went out, and the moon was just coming out from behind a cloud . . . Gee, it was beautiful then. You could see the moon’s reflection in the undergrowth and the bushes just glistening.”
– Norman Gilliland
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About Thomas Mesa
Thomas Mesa, Cuban-American cellist, is the winner of the 2017 Astral Artists Auditions and the 2016 Sphinx Competition. He has performed in a wide variety of solo engagements across the United States including with The Cleveland Orchestra and the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl as well as at the Mainly Mozart Festival, Carnegie Hall, The Supreme Court of the United States, and at the International Beethoven Project. As an enthusiastic interpreter of music for choir and cello, Mr. Mesa was one of the featured instrumentalists on The Crossing Choir’s album called “Bonhoeffer” that was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2017. As a chamber musician, Mr. Mesa has toured with Itzhak Perlman both nationally and internationally and is a member of St. Petersburg Piano Quartet who are in high demand for the most important series in America. Mr. Mesa received his bachelor’s degree from the Juilliard School and his master’s degree from Northwestern University where he was the recipient of the Richard and Helen Thomas Fellowship and Graduate Program Honors for extraordinary contributions to the String Department. Currently, he is a doctoral candidate at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.
. . . Mr. Mesa’s playing had a musical intensity that was commanding in every detail. – New York Concert Review
Walker’s musical language is richly communicative . . . music that deserves to be celebrated and performed. – The Guardian
The Dvořák Cello Concerto is a piece of epic proportions that has made it an audience favorite since 1896 when it was first premiered. – The Columbian
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