November 7, 2011

Günther Herbig Conducts Dvořák’s "New World" Symphony

This is music that captures the energy, the exuberance, the promise of a great nation. This Thursday and Saturday at Kodak Hall, Günther Herbig conducts the RPO in one of the most beloved symphonies in the entire repertoire: Dvořák’s love letter to America, the "New World" Symphony.

Born and raised a Bohemian peasant, Antonín Dvořák never strayed far from his simple roots. During his three years as director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York, he developed a particular interest in the music of African-Americans and Native Americans, reflecting his love for his homeland’s native culture.

“I am convinced that the future music of this country must be founded on what we call Negro melodies,” Dvořák told the New York Herald. “This can be the foundation of a serious and original school of composition. They are pathetic, tender, passionate, melancholy, solemn, religious, merry, gracious, or what you will. There is nothing in the whole range of composition that cannot find a thematic source here.”

Wildly popular, the “New World” Symphony helped legitimize American music to the rest of a skeptical world and paved the way to acceptance of twentieth century American cultural exports. Read more of Don Anderson's program notes here. And for an audio preview, click here.

American immigrant Günther Herbig, a nationally and globally prominent conductor, is particularly suited to lead the New World Symphony. Originally from East Germany, Günther Herbig left behind a challenging political environment and moved to the United States in 1984, where he has since conducted all of the top-tier orchestras, including New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco.

Thursday and Saturday's concerts will also feature the beguiling Fifth Symphony of the 19-year-old Schubert, and Mozart's delightful Fourth Horn Concerto, with the RPO's Principal Horn Peter Kurau (The Cricket & Frank Luellen Chair).

Kurau also performs Mozart’s Rondo, which was reconstructed in its original form by Professor Marie Rolf of the Eastman School of Music, who added back in 66 measures that had been missing. Peter Kurau first played the complete work in 1991 at a concert at the Eastman School. Use this link to read a story about it in the New York Times.

Experience these classical masterpieces on Thursday, November 10 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, November 12 at 8:00 pm at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre! Tickets start at $15. Order your tickets online today or call 454-2100 to order by phone.

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