The Alabama Symphony Orchestra's Winter Dreams Festival has received a great response in the press. The festival features music from many Russian composers, from the unforgettable melodies of Tchaikovsky to the dark power of Shostakovich, from the sharp intellect of Stravinsky to the orchestral mastery of Rimsky-Korsakov.
Commenting on the opening concert at Alys Stephens Center, Michael Huebner from Arts BHam wrote:
"Izcaray and ASO assembled a performance that was subtly expressive and impeccably balanced ... Izcaray seized the opportunity to mold ASO into an intricate, though highly expressive entity, taking full advantage of its excellent woodwind soloists, horns and crisp strings. This was Izcaray’s finest single performance yet with ASO, largely due to the conductor’s vivid gestures, measured pace, well-proportioned silences and crisp communication across the entire stage.”
As well as conducting the ASO, I also performed as cellist in the Concertmaster & Friends Series with ASO Concertmaster Daniel Szasz and acclaimed pianist Yakov Kasman. Arts BHam commented:
"Izcaray the cellist has had extensive experience as a chamber musician, and that came through in the opener, a short but sweet arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s Andante Cantabile ... it requires a great deal of lyricism, which Izcaray abundantly provided."
Michael Huebner at Arts BHam also reviewed the ASO Masterworks 7 concert at the close of the two-week festival, commenting:
"Stravinsky’s Song of the Nightingale straddles three of the composer’s best-known ballet scores – The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring – yet it has never garnered the attention of those iconic works. Listening to Izcaray guide the ever-curious ASO musicians through Stravinsky’s brilliant, but craggy landscape, perhaps it’s time for that to change."
The clip below was a short promotional trailer for the concerts on 29 and 30 January, "Carlos Conducts Tchaikovsky", courtesy of Alabama Symphony Orchestra.