The Princeton Symphony Orchestra is slated to pay homage to the legacy of Founder Portia Sonnenfeld in light of the organization’s 35th anniversary season, “Celebrating the Creativity of Women.”
PSO Music Director Rossen Milanov is the brains behind this forthcoming season’s ambitious programming, which only reinforces the company’s commitment to new music as one of the rejuvenating forces in classical music today.
Marking this season, Milanov’s sixth with PSO, the director continues down the adventurous path of artistry and leadership initially set off by Sonnenfield.
Sonnenfeld, an all-around musician – pianist, cellist, conductor and teacher – first taught and conducted the orchestra at Princeton High School where she inspired generations of young musicians.
In 1980, Sonnenfeld founded The Little Orchestra of Princeton, the pre-cursor to today’s PSO.
Leading PSO for seven years, Sonnenfeld not only programmed and conducted world premieres, but also introduced internationally known soloists.
She further shaped the orchestra’s organizational underpinning to be strong and vibrant, attracting leading philanthropists and civic leaders to champion her cause.
Sonnenfeld’s programming earned PSO its first ASCAP award, laying the groundwork for the legacy of unique programming that are all hallmarks of today’s PSO.
“Our anniversary theme has particular significance to our organization as we were founded by a woman of great vision, and have been led by several women since, including these many past seasons with Executive Director Melanie Clarke,” Milanov said. “Our featured artists, like them, are inspirational women at the forefront of their respective fields.”
Season highlights are said to include performances of works by five powerhouse soloist composers, all of whom are uncommonly gifted women with flourishing careers in music. The line-up includes Jennifer Koh, Anna Clyne, Jing Jing Luo, Caroline Shaw and Sarah Kirkland Snider.
The anniversary celebration also features symphonies by Rachmaninoff, Schubert, Edward T. Cone, Mozart, Brahms and a variety of works by Kodály, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss and Johann Strauss Jr.
Each classical series concert will be preceded by a pre-concert talk hosted by Milanov, and ancillary events to enrich the live concert experience and encourage community dialogue regarding women’s contributions to the arts.
The season will kick off Sunday, Sept. 27 with “A Graceful Pairing” when guest Composer Anna Clyne’s ongoing collaboration with violinist Jennifer Koh spins forth another beautiful piece fitted for solo violin.
“The Seamstress” weaves together the composer’s keen interest in assorted art forms, finding inspiration from W.B. Yeats’ poem that begins with an image of fine craftsmanship.
In tandem with this performance, a poetry reading will take place, which will later include Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Symphony No. 2. One of Rachmaninoff’s most popular pieces, this symphony evokes a festive Russian Spirit.
PSO Classical Series 2015-2016 Calendar:
Heartfelt Virtuosity: Edward T. Cone Concert
Sunday, Nov. 8, Richardson Auditorium, 4 p.m. Pianist, Joyce Yang performs.
Sunday, Jan. 31, Richardson Auditorium, 4 p.m. Guest Composer, Jing Jing Luo and Soprano, Dawn Upshaw perform.
Sunday, March 13, Richardson Auditorium, 4 p.m. Guest Composer and Violinist, Caroline Shaw performs.
Passion and Affection
Sunday, May 15, Richardson Auditorium, 4 p.m. Guest Composer, Sarah Kirkland Snider performs.