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Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Presents Ten Centennial Celebration Commissions
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and ten American composers collaborate to celebrate a rich history and a vibrant future of music-makingCreated By: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Jonathan LeshnoffTowson, MD
Named by the Washington Post as one of the “gifted young composers” of this generation, Jonathan Leshnoff is a leader of contemporary American lyricism. His compositions have earned international acclaim for their accessible melodies, structural complexity and weighty themes.
The New Jersey-born, Baltimore-based composer’s works have been performed by classical music’s most celebrated stars, including Marin Alsop, Robert Spano, Gil and Orli Shaham and Manuel Barrueco. His works have been performed by orchestras around the world including the Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Kansas City, Nashville, and Buffalo Symphony Orchestras. Leshnoff’s orchestral works have also been performed by over 40 additional orchestras including the Reno, IRIS, Santa Barbara, Tucson, Amarillo, Fort Wayne, Asturias, Memphis, Harrisburg, Fairfax, Reading, Grant Park and Columbus symphony orchestras, as well as by the Concert Opera de Toulon, Kyoto Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia
With four significant world premieres, the 2015-16 season will be an exciting one for Leshnoff. In April 2016, the Philadelphia Orchestra will premiere a clarinet concerto the orchestra commissioned from him in 2015. Performed by principal clarinetist Ricardo Morales, it will be conducted by the renowned Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
That same week, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO), under the direction of celebrated conductor Robert Spano, will premiere Zohar, an oratorio co-commissioned by the ASO and Carnegie Hall. Later that month, the orchestra will take Zoharto Carnegie Hall, marking Leshnoff’s first performance at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage.
The spring will also usher in a new violin concerto for legendary violinist Gil Shaham and the Knights Orchestra. Commissioned by Baltimore-based Shriver Hall Concert Series, the group will premiere the work in February 2016 before it goes on tour.
Commissioned by the Kansas City Symphony, Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 3 will premiere May 2016 in Kansas City. The piece, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of America’s entrance into World War I, includes excerpts from soldiers’ letters to their loved ones sung by baritone Stephen Powell.
Last year included many highlights for Leshnoff, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra debut of his Guitar Concerto, under Music Director Marin Alsop and renowned guitar soloist Manuel Barrueco. The performance was repeated in Oviedo, Spain, with the Asturias Symphony under the baton of Andrew Grams, and subsequently with the Nashville Symphony, under the baton of Giancarlo Guerrero, and the Reno Philharmonic, under the baton of Laura Jackson. The season also included a five-city tour of Leshnoff’s new song cycle, Monica Songs, with soprano Jessica Rivera and conductor Robert Spano at the piano. The tour culminated with Leshnoff’s Carnegie Hall debut on October 29, 2013.
Jonathan Leshnoff has released three albums to date, all on the Naxos American Classics label. His recording of Violin Concerto, performed by Charles Wetherbee with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, led by Markand Thakar, was selected among Naxos’ Top 40 CDs of 2009. Other Naxos releases feature his Symphony No. 1, conducted by Michael Stern with the IRIS Chamber Orchestra, along with Leshnoff’s chamber music.
Named by the Fanfare magazine as “the real thing,” Jonathan Leshnoff’s music has been lauded by Strings magazine as “distinct from anything else that’s out there,” and by the Memphis Commercial Appeal as “a fluid, thoughtful work, superbly textured and unafraid to be intellectual,” and by the Baltimore Sun as “remarkable assured, cohesively constructed and radiantly lyrical.” The New York Times concluded in a concert review that “the afternoon’s keenest discovery was Mr. Leshnoff.”
Leshnoff’s catalogue includes four string quartets, two oratorios, seven concerti, trios, a string sextet, three symphonies and numerous solo and chamber works. Leshnoff is a Professor of Music at Towson University and a composer-in-residence with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra.
Clarinet Concerto Opening
Jonathan Leshnoff discusses his clarinet concerto commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra which will premiere in April 2016 with Ricardo Morales. Hear Jonathan play the opening on piano.
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