The second half of January and early February will mark a very exciting period for me as I embark on a great Russian music journey with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. It’s amazing how many great composers and masterpieces have come to our attention from that region of the world, and the fact that we’re performing their music during this time of the year makes the name of our celebration, Winter Dreams Festival, very fitting. 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, and other immortal names such as a Prokofiev and Rachmaninov, I believe we’re all in for a treat.
It’s a unique (and challenging!) opportunity for me, as I will not only lead two Masterworks concerts with the great Alabama Symphony Orchestra, but also share the smaller stage as cellist in our Concertmaster & Friends Series, with ASO Concertmaster Daniel Szasz and acclaimed pianist Yakov Kasman. I’m very happy to see great Russian chamber music featured in this Festival!
But even with all this great music I believe that the experience isn’t complete without adding some further elements that enhance our sensory experience. Therefore, we have partnered with the Altamont School, Portraits Inc., and the Beverly McNeil Gallery, so that we can present many other different facets of Russian culture and therefore provide a much broader scope. There’ll discussions on the influence of classical music on the visual arts by artist Marc Chatov, and panel discussions and interventions related to Russian literature, cultural interpretation, history, and of course music, by scholar experts such as Dr. Randall Law from Birmingham Southern College, and Drs. Howard Irving and Yakov Kasman from UAB.
So with artworks, literature, history, and of course music, now we can get a real immersive feeling as we explore an infinitely rich culture.
Top it up with some Vodka cocktails and we’ll all enjoy a special warmth in the middle of Winter!