February 1, 2020 (February 28, 2020 update)

Two Madison Symphony Orchestra Debuts — Violinist Blake Pouliot Plays Mendelssohn and Kenneth Woods Conducts
Concerts Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 6, 7 and 8

Madison, Wis. “The Miracle” features the Madison Symphony Orchestra debuts of Canadian Violinist Blake Pouliot performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor and the dynamic guest conductor, Kenneth Woods leading the orchestra for the MSO premiere of Haydn’s Symphony No. 96, Miracle plus Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life).

Performances will be held on Friday, March 6th at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 7th at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, March 8th at 2:30 p.m. in Overture Hall, at 201 State Street.

Maestro John DeMain shares his insights on the world-renowned violinist: “Meet Madison born, and now internationally renowned guest conductor Kenneth Woods, as he makes his Madison Symphony debut, which also includes, what we expect to be an equally auspicious debut from Canadian Violinist Blake Pouliot playing the beloved Mendelssohn violin concerto. Kenneth opens with the MSO premiere of Hayden’s Symphony no. 96, the Miracle, and closes with the massive and virtuosic orchestral tone poem by Richard Strauss — Ein Heldenleben. This all Germanic program is sure to provide the most delicate, and at the same time, the most powerful of sonic thrills.”

Popularly called the Miracle Symphony, Haydn’s work remains a legend ever since a chandelier crashed to the floor from the ceiling of the concert hall during its premiere. Luckily, the audience dodged the chandelier and lived to tell the tale, thus the nickname.

The Violin Concerto in E minor is Mendelssohn’s last large orchestral work. It is an essential component of standard violin repertoire and is the most commonly performed violin concerto in history. Although the concerto follows standard classical structures, novel features such as an almost instant introduction of the solo violin giving the work an incredibly innovative spin.

Ein Heldenleben is a tone poem, or a piece of orchestral music on a descriptive or rhapsodic theme. The work is abundant in horns to convey a strong sense of heroism and consists of over thirty quotations from Strauss’s earlier works, including his other tone poem Don Quixote whose composition overlapped with Ein Heldenleben.

About Kenneth Woods

Hailed by Gramophone as “a symphonic conductor of stature,” American conductor Kenneth Woods was appointed Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra in 2013 and has quickly built up an impressive and acclaimed body of work and recordings with them. Woods was also recently appointed Artistic Director of both the Colorado MahlerFest — the only US organization other than the New Year Philharmonic to receive the International Gustav Mahler Society’s Gold Medal — and the Elgar Festival in Worcester.

As a guest, Woods has conducted ensembles including the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia and the English Chamber Orchestra, and has made numerous broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, National Public Radio and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He has appeared on the stages of some of the world’s leading music festivals, such as Aspen, Scotia and Lucerne.

About Blake Pouliot

Establishing himself as one of Canada’s most promising young artists, twenty-four-year-old violinist Blake Pouliot is the Grand Prize winner of the 2016 Orchestra Symphonique de Montréal (OSM) Manulife Competition. Mr. Pouliot has been described by the Toronto Star as, “One of those special talents that come along once in a lifetime,” and after his performance of the Korngold Violin Concerto at his debut with the Montreal Symphony and conductor Vasily Petrenko in February 2017, he was described by Montreal’s La Presse as “Clearly. Absolutely. Undoubtedly virtuoso.”

Concert, Ticket and Event Details
The lobby opens 90 minutes prior to each concert. The Symphony recommends concert attendees arrive early for each performance to make sure they have time to pass through Overture Center’s security stations, and so they can experience the Prelude Discussion that takes place one hour before each concert led by Randal Swiggum. You can view program notes fo this concert online at http://bit.ly/msomar2020programnotes

Discounted seats are subject to availability, and discounts may not be combined.  

The Madison Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 95th season in 2020–2021. The MSO has grown to be one of America’s leading regional orchestras, providing Madison and south-central Wisconsin with cultural and educational opportunities to interact with great masterworks and top-tier guest artists from around the world.

Major funding for the March concert is provided by: Capitol Lakes, Madison Symphony Orchestra League, Cyrena and Lee Pondrom and Skofronick Family Charitable Trust. Additional funding provided by The Burish Group of UBS, Chuck Bauer and Chuck Beckwith, Marian and Jack Bolz, Martha and Charles Casey, Friends of Kenneth Woods, Stafford Rosenbaum LLP, and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Orchestra and John DeMain photos: http://bit.ly/mso19-20symphonyphotos
March concert photos: http://bit.ly/msomar20photos

Peter Rodgers, Director of Marketing
Phone: (608) 260-8680 x226
Mobile: (415) 713-0235
Email: prodgers@madisonsymphony.org

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