FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
18 May 2017
Contact: Diane Handler
Program Change for ESO 2017-18 Season Classics 2 Concerts-
Guest Artist Amy Dickson Cancels; Jennifer Frautschi to Appear
The Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO) announces a program change to the 2017-18 Season Classics 2 concerts November 4 & 5, 2017. Guest artist, saxophonist Amy Dickson, has withdrawn due to personal reasons, and so the saxophone arrangement of Philip Glass’s Violin Concerto has been replaced with American composer James M. Stephenson’s “Tributes” Concerto for Violin & Orchestra, featuring violinist Jennifer Frautschi. The revised program for November 4 & 5 now holds Copland’s Our Town, Stephenson’s “Tributes” Concerto for Violin & Orchestra, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. “You may recall that Ms. Frautschi was with us in January 2013 for two sell-out concerts of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons,” says Mark Mallamo, Director of Operations & Artistic Administration. “We’re hoping that composer James Stephenson, who lives in the Chicago area, will attend the performances and other activities that week. This is the same Stephenson whose program Compose Yourself was presented by the ESO to almost 9000 students at our Ainsworth Concerts for Youth a few weeks ago. We’re looking forward to introducing his music to our regular ESO audiences!” “Tributes” received its world premiere on April 11, 2012 by Ms. Frautschi and the Minnesota Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä, Music Director. Listen to the piece on Soundcloud here:https://soundcloud.com/james-m-stephenson/stephenson-tributes-concerto. For more information, contact the ESO Box Office at 847.888.4000.
Composer James M. Stephenson describes his work: “‘Tributes’ is a conscious nod to all of the people who have contributed to the creation of this work: Composers and soloists – past and present – who have written/performed timeless and inspiring violin concertos. Jennifer Frautschi – for whom the work was written – for her wonderful technical mastery and musical elegance on the violin. David Schiff (a wonderful composer) – who consistently offered words of guidance as I busied myself on this task. Louis Armstrong, who every day would “compose” improvised solos of incomparable form and structure. The 2nd movement is based entirely on his spontaneous solo (skat-singing) from a 1920s recording of “Hotter Than That” – when he was just in his mid-20s.”
Two-time GRAMMY nominee and Avery Fisher career grant recipient Jennifer Frautschi has garnered worldwide acclaim as an adventurous musician with a remarkably wide-ranging repertoire. As the Chicago Tribune noted, “violinist Jennifer Frautschi is molding a career with smart interpretations of both warhorses and rarities.” Equally at home in the classic and contemporary repertoire, her recent seasons have featured innumerable performances and recordings of works ranging from Brahms and Schumann to Berg and Schoenberg. She has also had the privilege of premiering several new works composed for her by prominent composers of today.
Ms. Frautschi has appeared as soloist with Pierre Boulez and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Christoph Eschenbach and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival, and at Wigmore Hall and Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival. Selected by Carnegie Hall for its Distinctive Debuts series, she made her New York recital debut in 2004. Her discography includes three widely-praised CDs for Artek: an orchestral recording of the Prokofiev concerti with Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony, and highly-acclaimed discs of music of Ravel and Stravinsky, and of 20th century works for solo violin. She has also recorded several discs for Naxos, including the Stravinsky Violin Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, conducted by the legendary Robert Craft, and two GRAMMY-nominated recordings with the Fred Sherry Quartet, of Schoenberg’s Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra [nominated for ‘Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (with Orchestra)’ in 2006] and the Schoenberg Third String Quartet [nominated for ‘Best Chamber Music Performance’ in 2011].
Born in Pasadena, California, Ms. Frautschi began the violin at age three. She was a student of Robert Lipsett at the Colburn School for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles. She also attended Harvard, the New England Conservatory of Music, and The Juilliard School, where she studied with Robert Mann. She performs on a 1722 Antonio Stradivarius violin known as the “ex-Cadiz,” on generous loan to her from a private American foundation
Leading American orchestras, instrumentalists, and wind ensembles around the world have performed the music of Chicago based composer James M. Stephenson, both to critical acclaim and the delight of audiences. The Boston Herald raved about “straightforward, unabashedly beautiful sounds,” suggesting “Stephenson deserves to be heard again and again!” He enjoys a steady stream of commissions and ongoing projects. Most recently, Charles Vernon, Chicago Symphony bass trombonist, asked Stephenson to write a new concerto, a work to be premiered in their 2018/2019 season under the direction of Riccardo Muti. A second bass trombone concerto will receive its orchestral premiere with the St. Louis Symphony and soloist Gerry Pagano, in 2017. “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band commissioned a symphony (the composer’s second in this genre) and gave the work its premiere in 2016 at the prestigious Midwest Clinic, and subsequently recorded the work. Additionally, Compose Yourself!, Stephenson’s landmark young-audience work has now been performed over 300 times since its creation in 2002, engaging children in New Zealand and Canada and across the U.S. Additional premieres include Carnegie Hall in May, 2017 (Chamber Music Charleston) and in the summer, 2017, a Music Academy of the West premiere of “Martha Uncaged” – with the composer conducting – and a west-coast premiere of his violin concerto at the famed Cabrillo Music Festival. The 2017-18 season will see a new “Low brass concerto” with the Minnesota Orchestra and Osmo Vänskä.
James M. Stephenson came late to his full-time composing career, having performed 17 seasons as a trumpeter in the Naples Philharmonic in Florida. As such, the composer is largely self-taught, making his voice truly individual and his life’s work all the more remarkable. Colleagues and friends encouraged his earliest efforts and enthusiasm followed from all directions. As his catalog grew, so did his reputation. That catalog now boasts concertos and sonatas for nearly every instrument, earning him the moniker “The Concerto King” from Chicago Symphony clarinetist John Yeh. With such prolific output, Stephenson’s music is well represented in recordings. Nearly all of his solo brass works (over 50) have been professionally recorded, and in total, his extensive catalog for all instruments can be heard on over 30 CDs. Stephenson originally hails from the Greater Chicago area, as does his wife Sally. In 2007 the couple, along with their four children, returned to the region to pursue the life they now share.
Now at the end of its 66th season, the ESO offers programming unmatched for an entertaining, informative and relaxing cultural experience. The ESO has won Illinois Professional Orchestra of the Year an unprecedented four times – in 1988, 1999, 2005 and 2016. The ESO works to create an enjoyable entertainment experience that goes beyond the magnificent music performed by some of the best musicians in the region. There is accessible, free parking around the Hemmens Cultural Center and valet service available. Area student musicians often perform in the lobby before concerts and patrons can purchase gifts at the Elgin Symphony League Boutique. Pre-concert chats are given by Andrew Grams, guest artists and others one hour before most performances and Saturday night patrons are invited after concerts to Mingle with the Musicians at the Elgin Public House. In addition, free Listeners Club lecture/discussions presented by music historian Jim Kendros are offered before ESO concert weekends on Wednesdays at 1 pm at the Gail Borden Public Library. The ESO is a world-class orchestra providing quality musical explorations that are entertaining, hassle-free and conveniently located close to home in the western suburbs. For more information, see ElginSymphony.Org.
Diane K. Handler
Director of Marketing
Elgin Symphony Orchestra
847.888.0404 (ext. 234)