May 1, 2016

From the Stage: RPO violinist Thomas Rodgers

The RPO presents the last Sunday Matinee concert of the 2015-16 season on Sunday, May 29, at Hochstein Performance Hall at 2 PM. You might consider the program an ode to spring, opening with Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending, featuring a solo violin emulating a skylark in flight, and closing with Beethoven's light and playful eighth symphony. Filling the middle of the program is a piece for solo flute by the late Jon Lord, an English composer known as the keyboard player from the rock band Deep Purple. The RPO is pleased to highlight musicians Thomas Rodgers (violin), and Rebecca Gilbert (flute, The Charlotte Whitney Allen Chair) on this program, conducted by Michael Butterman (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair).

We caught up with Thomas Rodgers to learn more about his reactions toward the The Lark Ascending, which British journalist Simon Heffer once called "pastoral romance for orchestra."
Vaughan Williams wrote the piece based on a 19th century poem by English poet George Meredith.

Thomas Rodgers, violin
Thomas Rodgers
credit Roger Mastroianni

"I am very much looking forward to my first-ever performance (and, hopefully many more) of Ralph Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending, as I unfortunately never studied the piece during my student days. Much of Vaughan Williams' music is influenced by English folk songs and evokes a certain nostalgia for his homeland. The Lark Ascending and Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (one of Vaughan Williams' most popular works that the RPO just performed in March) are great examples. His works often convey vivid emotions, therefore making his music very accessible and popular among both performers and audiences.

"Whenever I listen to or play The Lark Ascending, I cannot help but feel moved and invigorated by the sheer beauty of this work. I have an affinity for slower, more intimate music, and The Lark Ascending is one of the works near the top of my list. The lark's melodies imitated by the solo violin combined with the magical, velvet-like texture of the orchestra just rip my heart out.  I am excited to get to perform and share such gorgeous music!"  

If you go:
Vaughan Williams and Beethoven
Sunday, May 29 at 2 PM
Hochstein Performance Hall
Tickets are $25
Visit for more details

Preview The Lark Ascending as performed by the London Philharmonic with David Nolan on violin.

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