Mozart & Dvořák’s New World

In 2012, I enlisted the help of composer Jennifer Higdon to commission a piece inspired by Chicago’s dynamic architecture that was created by four emerging composers for the Chicago Sinfonietta. The piece, later called Chi-Scape, included a movement, Aqua, by Canadian composer Vivian Fung. John von Rhein, the classical music critic for the Chicago Tribune, best described the electric work, “a sound portrait of architect Jeanne Gang’s 82-story apartment tower in downtown Chicago. The building’s gracefully curving concrete balconies and silken lines are evoked by undulating strings, contrasted with the whooping horns and rumbling trombones that suggest the brawniness of the structure. A roaring improvisatory passage gives way to a magical close: soft, glinting timbres disappearing into the ether.”

This work, and Darren Fung’s Sesquie for Canada’s 150th (receiving it’s KWS premiere here), celebrate not only North America, but the beauty and energy of contemporary classical music.

These works provide an intriguing contrast to two well-known works – Dvořák’s masterpiece, the New World Symphony, with its captivating rhythms and stirring melodies premiered in 1893 while the composer lived in New York City, considered among the most popular works he ever composed; and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, composed in 1786 – a period that was monumental and very prolific for Mozart – he also wrote The Marriage of Figaro, Piano Concerti Nos. 23 and 24, and Symphony No. 38 “Prague”  – Concerto No. 25 is full of emotion and drama, a wonderful vehicle to introduce KWS audiences to rising star pianist Rémi Geniet, who makes his KWS debut with this concert.

I hope you enjoy the concert!