On Saturday, September 20th, the new Avalon Theatre opens with world-famous cellist Lynn Harrell joining the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra for an all-Tchaikovsky program entitled Lynn Harrell at the Avalon. The inaugural concert at the Avalon begins at 7:30pm and will feature the rousing 1812 Overture, the stirring 4th Symphony and Harrell performing Variations on a Rococo Theme.
The 1812 Overture was written in 1880 by Tchaikovsky to commemorate Russia’s defense of its motherland against Napoleon’s invading Grand Army in 1812. The overture is best known for its climactic volley of cannon fire, ringing chimes, and brass fanfare finale. All of which lend themselves to the perfect coronation of the newly renovated hall.
Variations on a Rococo Theme for cello and orchestra was the closest Tchaikovsky ever came to writing a full concerto for cello and orchestra. The style was inspired by Mozart, Tchaikovsky’s role model, and makes it clear that Tchaikovsky admired the Classical style very much. The piece is scored for a reduced orchestra consisting of pairs of each of the four basic woodwind instruments, two horns and the usual strings, like the typical late 18th-century orchestra without trumpets or drums.
Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony was written around 1877 and dedicated to his patroness Nadezhda von Meck. He had begun composing the symphony not long after von Meck had entered his life. He would complete it in the aftermath of his catastrophic marriage. In Russian society, dedications of works to patrons were not gestures of humble gratitude but expressions of artistic partnership. By dedicating the Fourth Symphony to her, he was affirming her as an equal partner in its creation.
Cellist Lynn Harrell’s presence is felt throughout the musical world. A consummate soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, conductor and teacher, his work throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia has placed him in the highest echelon of today’s performing artists.
Mr. Harrell is a frequent guest of many leading orchestras including Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, and the National Symphony. In Europe he partners with the orchestras of London, Munich, Berlin, Tonhalle and Israel. He has also toured extensively to Australia and New Zealand as well as the Far East, including Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Lynn Harrell’s experience as an educator is wide and varied. From 1985-93 he held the International Chair for Cello Studies at the Royal Academy in London. Concurrently, from 1988-92, he was Artistic Director of the orchestra, chamber music and conductor training program at the L.A. Philharmonic Institute. In 1993, he became head of the Royal Academy in London, a post he held through 1995. He has also given master classes at the Verbier and Aspen festivals and in major metropolitan areas throughout the world. Since the start of the 2002-03 academic year, Mr. Harrell has taught cello at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.
Lynn Harrell was born in New York to musician parents. He began his musical studies in Dallas and proceeded to the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the first Avery Fisher Award.
Mr. Harrell previously played a 1720 Montagnana cello he bought with the proceeds of his parents’ estate and also a 1673 Antonio Stradivarius cello that belonged to the late British cellist Jacqueline du Pré. His current instrument is a 2008 cello by Christopher Dungey. Mr. Dungey, originally maintained his cello making shop in Idaho, but now lives in Grand Junction, Colorado and serves on the Board of Directors of the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra. He graduated from The Newark School of Violin Making in England with ‘Distinction’ in 1982. Dungey was instrumental in securing Lynn Harrell as the guest artist for the September 20th concert.
Lynn Harrell at the Avalon is sponsored by Bob & Adele Suydam, Alpine Bank and the Grand Junction Symphony Foundation.
Ticket prices range from $20-$40 for adults and $5 for students with an ID. They can be purchased online at gjso.org, by calling 243-6787 or visiting the Grand Junction Symphony office at 414 Main Street.
Don’t miss Lynn Harrell at the Avalon on Saturday, September 20th at 7:30pm