Pro Mu­sica,

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

by Bach, Vi­valdi, Rameau, and Tele­man. Tra­di­tional carols are also part of the pro­gram.

The New Year sees the re­turn of Pro Mu­sica’s Clas­si­cal Week­end, held at the end of Jan­uary. “This is a big project, and a big deal, for us,” O’Con­nor said. “This year we wanted to fo­cus on Beethoven’s out­put from the time when the Clas­si­cal era came to an end and Beethoven al­most sin­gle-hand­edly ush­ered in the Ro­man­tic era.” The pro­gram­ming “fea­tures two of Beethoven’s sym­phonies — the sixth (his ‘ Pas­toral’) and the sev­enth — and two soloists, pi­anist Per Tengstrand and vi­o­lin­ist Colin Ja­cob­sen.” Per­form­ing these great sym­phonic works with a cham­ber-sized or­ches­tra is one of the things O’Con­nor is most look­ing for­ward to this sea­son. “I think you get more trans­parency when you play with this size of an en­sem­ble,” he said. “There’s less of a blend be­cause you have fewer play­ers. The smaller the en­sem­ble, the larger the space is that you have to fill. In a big­ger or­ches­tra, there are places where you can hide, so I like cham­ber orches­tras be­cause of the trans­parency and be­cause you can hear the in­ner voices, so to speak, of a piece much more clearly.”

In Fe­bru­ary, Pro Mu­sica wel­comes the Jasper String Quar­tet and flutist Red­man for the one-night-only Quar­tets! pro­gram, fea­tur­ing works by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven and the New Mex­ico pre­miere of a piece by Tao. “Our pro­gram­ming tends to be con­ser­va­tive, but we do have a cou­ple of unique things mixed in, like Con­rad’s String Quar­tet, which was com­mis­sioned by Jasper. The fact that they had com­mis­sioned him was com­pletely un­be­knownst to me, but it’s great for our au­di­ence this sea­son to have a chance to hear Con­rad as both a pi­anist and a com­poser,” O’Con­nor said.

The penul­ti­mate pro­gram, in March, called Bach and More, fea­tures Red­man once again, as well as vi­o­lin­ist Stephen Redfield. Jo­hann Se­bas­tian’s Vi­o­lin Con­certo in A Mi­nor is per­formed along with a work by his sec­ond son, C.P.E. Bach, as well as pieces by Brit­ten and Men­delssohn.

And what’s left for the grand fi­nale? An all-Amer­i­can pro­gram called Lenny and Friends, said O’Con­nor. “Leonard Bern­stein’s Ser­e­nade is a spiky, se­ri­ous piece of mu­sic, but it’s this kind of un­mis­tak­able lan­guage that Amer­i­can com­posers — like Bern­stein, Co­p­land, and Bar­ber — crafted.” The mu­sic on this pro­gram, which in­cludes Bern­stein’s Sonata for Clar­inet and Strings and Co­p­land’s Ap­palachian Spring, “is uniquely our clas­si­cal mu­sic,” O’Con­nor con­tin­ued. “We wanted to cel­e­brate the fact that, as Amer­i­can artists, we have a point of view, and that comes from liv­ing here and be­ing a part of this so­ci­ety and cul­ture.

End­ing the sea­son with these great Amer­i­can works fits in with O’Con­nor’s over­all vi­sion for Pro Mu­sica and what the or­ches­tra brings to the lo­cal com­mu­nity. “The mis­sion is to play great mu­sic and, as a group, to play at the high­est level pos­si­ble. I’m not re­ally in­ter­ested in un­cov­er­ing sec­ondary com­posers or lesser works by great com­posers. And while this can be per­ceived as be­ing limited in my ideas, I think it’s im­por­tant that we have a point of view — that we fo­cus on per­form­ing the great­est mu­sic that we can with the re­sources we have. We want the mu­sic to speak to our au­di­ence.”

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