The Williams College Department of Music presents the Berkshire Symphony in concert on Friday, March 14, at 8 p.m. in Chapin Hall on the Williams College campus. There is a pre-concert talk with guest conductor Michael Adelson before the concert at 7:15 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, adjacent to the main venue. Both of these events are free and open to the public.
Mr. Adelson continues the Berkshire Symphony’s tradition of programming that compares and contrasts the great works of yesterday and today. This concert includes works of Keith Fitch, Bernard Rands, and Ludwig van Beethoven.
Keith Fitch’s In Memory is a new chamber orchestra work commissioned by the League of Composers Orchestra. Mr. Fitch currently heads the composition department at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he holds the Vincent K. and Edith H. Smith Chair in Composition and also directs the CIM New Music Ensemble. Called “gloriously luminous” by The Philadelphia Inquirer, his music has been noted for its eloquence, expressiveness, dramatic sense of musical narrative, and unique sense of color and sonority.
The composer Bernard Rands offers his own contribution to the repertoire of the modern orchestra. The single movement London Serenade (1988) is a gift composed in honor of Rands’ friend, composer and conductor Edwin London.
Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, calls Beethoven’s “Eroica” symphony the “first obviously revolutionary music.” Even removed from the current events of Beethoven’s time, this masterwork is irresistible. Heroic in many senses, Beethoven’s work is one of the best reasons that the symphony orchestra, for all of its fusty traditions and archaisms, is alive and kicking in the 21st century.
About Michael Adelson, conductor
Conductor, composer, writer, and educator, Michael Adelson made his debut with a major American orchestra in 1992, conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He served on the conducting staff of the New York Philharmonic and has conducted many orchestras and opera companies including the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, the Helsinki Philharmonic, and the Stockholm Folkopera. Deeply committed to modern music, Mr. Adelson was Conductor of the Auros Group for New Music and frequently guest conducts other major new music ensembles. He led world premieres at the Venice Biennale and the Ultima Festival, and his own works have been performed by ensembles and soloists worldwide, including the New York Philharmonic. As an educator, Mr. Adelson teaches conducting, leads international youth festivals, is a conductor/clinician for New York Philharmonic, and guest conducts at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He teaches at the Mannes College of Music, has taught chamber music at Helsinki University, master classes at the Accademia di Musica in Sassari, and has conducted at Harvard, Columbia and Brandeis Universities. Mr. Adelson has written and conducted young people’s concerts with the New York, Helsinki, and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras. He also lectures widely on diverse subjects such as mathematics and music, great historical cities as centers of culture, and twentieth-century art. Currently he is writing a book for non-musicians on the art of conducting. Michael Adelson studied at the New England Conservatory, the Mannes College of Music, and graduated with Highest Honors from Jorma Panula’s conducting class at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.
About the Berkshire Symphony
The Berkshire Symphony is a very special orchestra that offers an extraordinary opportunity for both student and professional musicians, as well as the audience. The Berkshire Symphony pairs Williams students with their teachers and mentors throughout the rehearsal period and season, exposing the students to a level of professionalism and discipline that is rare in an educational setting. At the same time, the students’ infectious enthusiasm contributes to the Berkshire Symphony’s remarkable energy and rich sound. This makes the Berkshire Symphony unique and very exciting.