Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic
52nd Season 2023/2024
All concerts take place at George Washington Masonic National Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria VA.
The Rhythm of Christylez Bacon is a concert inspired by American composers that have embraced the point of musical intersection between different cultures throughout our country. We are honored to present Migrations in Rhythm: a Concerto for Beatbox and Rhyme with music by Evan Meier and lyrics and beats by Christylez Bacon, a GRAMMY-nominated Progressive Hip-Hop Artist based in Washington DC. The concerto provides a musical setting for Christylez Bacon's storytelling and virtuosic rhythmic explorations in the styles of Hip-hop, Agbadza, ring shout, rumba, New Orleans jazz, funk, and Go-go. This program includes other works by two female composers. Valerie Coleman’s Umoja, Anthem of Unity is the Swahili word for "unity" and is the first day in the African American celebration of Kwanzaa and was first meant to be a simple family sing-along song. The concert concludes with Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1, her first full-scale composition and first symphony by a Black woman to be performed by a major American orchestra in 1933. This work is inspired by both the Western classical tradition and Black musical idioms such as the Juba dance and spirituals.
Proudly featuring WMP artists, Crystal Lee and Heidi Sturniolo in Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp, our production of ‘Mozart and the Movies’ will be a crowd favorite! This concert brings to life many moments inspired by dramatic scenes in film such as Pulitzer Prize Winner, Caroline Shaw’s deeply-affecting Entr’acte for string orchestra which is a soulful work inspired by the classical traditions of Haydn. Shaw says, "I love the way some music (like the minuets of Haydn's Op. 77) suddenly takes you to the other side of Alice’s looking glass, in a kind of absurd, subtle, technicolor transition". For those drawn to mid-century Hollywood film, Bernard Hermann’s (composer extraordinaire) Scene d'Amour from 'Vertigo' is a lush, timeless classic sure to jog some movie memories. The program will conclude with Erich Korngold’s music from The Sea Hawk – a film score that continues to captivate listeners and bring audiences together for a heroic, victorious finale.
As we celebrate 275 years of this terrific city entrenched with a vibrant, rich history, we are delighted to perform an All-American program to include favorites new and old. Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral has become a staple in the modern-day orchestral repertoire known for its spiritual expression and symbolism for life’s journey. Barber’s Symphony in One Movement is an expressive and lyrical, yet synthetic treatment of the traditional four-movement scheme compressed into one movement. By contrast, John Alden Carpenter’s Krazy Kat was one of the earliest works to incorporate jazz and Latin/Spanish-flavored “popular” music into the symphonic genre that brings verve and panache to the popular Concertino for piano and orchestra. Also influenced by jazz idioms, our finale includes a timeless, iconic, American masterpiece – Rhapsody in Blue featuring local sensation, Thomas Pandolfi. Gershwin’s epic concerto presents forthright thematic material from an oscillating bluesy tune, a brazen march-like melody, and finally, a grandly romantic, jubilant theme enjoyed by all.
WMP’s electrifying season finale ‘Music of the Americas’ features a splendid array of music from North, Central and South America. Puerto Rican composer Angélica Negrón’s (currently based in Brooklyn, New York) work has been described as “wistfully idiosyncratic and contemplative". Her piece Tornasol (Spanish for sunflower) is a work that focuses on the vibrancy of color and how it changes through scientific experimentation, all portrayed in various sections of the orchestra. In contrast, guest artist Colin Davin will perform Concierto del Sur, a masterpiece for guitar and orchestra by Mexican composer Manuel Ponce. The second half of the program includes music that is lively, rhythmic, and exciting. El Salón México by Aaron Copland depicts scenes and imagery from his experience at a popular dance hall in Mexico City. Four Dance Episodes from Alberto Ginastera’s ballet La Estancia incorporates Argentinian folk music that represent dance, character, and settings of life on the ranch. We conclude the program with Danzon No. 2 by Arturo Marquez – a seductive, yet melancholy and irresistible ballroom dance inspired by the Cuban Habanera performed by full orchestra.
Our season opener ‘Celebrating A New Season!’ features cello sensation Nicholas Canellakis ("impassioned... with the audience seduced by Mr. Canellakis's rich, alluring tone" -The New York Times) in the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1 and continues to honor the progressive orchestral tradition of 19th century France. Louise Farrenc was a piano virtuoso and trailblazing composer who was the only female to hold a position at the esteemed Paris Conservatory during this time. Her overtures and symphonies have upheld their significance in the standard Romantic repertoire of today. To compliment the French influence, we will close the program with Berlioz’ masterpiece, Symphonie Fantastique. A work that transpired great advancement in the world of orchestration, musical story-telling, and compositional techniques that continue to captivate audiences of all ages today, and the final movement ‘The Witches Sabbath’ will be sure to capture the upcoming Halloween spirit for all!