Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Opens Second Classical Season

Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park
Saturday, June 20, 2009

Music Director Robert Spano
and The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus to perform excerpts from Barber of Seville, and Carmina Burana

Concert To Feature Soprano Georgia Jarman,
ASO Debuts of Tenor Nicholas Phan and Baritone Matthew Worth,
and the Gwinnett Young Singers

Music Director Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will open the second classical season at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park, the Orchestra’s new 12,000-seat state-of-the-art facility located in Alpharetta, GA (north of Atlanta), on Saturday, June 20, 2009, at 8:00 p.m. The concert will be led by Mr. Spano and feature Soprano Georgia Jarman, the ASO debuts of Tenor Nicholas Phan and Baritone Matthew Worth, and the Gwinnett Young Singers in excerpts from Rossini’s Barber of Seville, and Orff’s complete Carmina burana. Mr. Spano, who is currently rehearsing for Seattle Opera’s Ring Cycle in Seattle, is making the trip back to Atlanta especially to open the season.

“The Orchestra’s inaugural season at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park last summer was exhilarating. Audiences reaching far across North Georgia, and into neighboring states, have greatly expanded our footprint, with our attendance averaging at double the capacity of Atlanta Symphony Hall,” said Atlanta Symphony Orchestra President & CEO Allison Vulgamore. “This summer, we look forward to again offering the best musical talent on stage, and co-creating anew, with our committed new audiences, great concert experiences of all kinds in our new summer home.”

The Amphitheatre — nominated by Pollstar Concert Industry Awards as 2008 “Best New Major Concert Venue” and “Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue,” — serves as the outdoor home to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The scope of Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park has brought a new dimension to the region’s seasonal artistic offerings by featuring concerts with the internationally-recognized Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, leading popular presentations, as well as an emphasis on community events — including high school graduations, local fundraising events, and collaborations to create family-themed days, high school music concerts, and competitions.

Additional Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Concerts

In addition to the June 20 opening concert, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will perform seven concerts in the summer of 2009:

· On Saturday, June 27, 2009 at 8:00 p.m., an all-Mozart evening will be led by Grant Llewellyn in his ASO debut, and feature pianist Pedja Muzijevic in Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor. Also on the program is the Overture to Marriage of Figaro, and Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter.”

· On Saturday, July 4, 2009 at 8:00 p.m., Bridget Reischl will lead the Orchestra in an Independence Day concert featuring The U.S. Army Chorus. Fireworks will follow the concert.

· On Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 8:00 p.m., ASO Assistant Conductor and League of American Orchestras Fellow Mei-Ann Chen will lead the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus in the music of Star Wars. Also on the program is R. Strauss’s Prelude to Also sprach Zarathustra, and Holst’s The Planets, which will feature NASA footage of the solar system.

· On Saturday, July 25, 2009 at 8:00 p.m., Hugh Wolff will lead the Orchestra in an all-Beethoven concert featuring pianist Juho Pohjonen in his ASO debut performing the Piano Concerto No. 2. Also on the program will be Leonore Overture No. 3, and the Symphony No. 3.

· On Saturday, August 1, 2009 at 8:30 p.m.¸ Richard Kaufman will lead the ASO in “Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Movies,” a Turner Classic Movie Night hosted by TCM Host Robert Osborne. The program will feature footage from Rodgers and Hammerstein classics such as State Fair, The King and I, South Pacific, Oklahoma, The Sound of Music, and Carousel.

· On Saturday, August 15, 2009 at 8:00 p.m., sixteen-year-old conductor Ilyich Rivas will make his U.S. debut leading the ASO in Verdi’s Vespri Overture, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto featuring Elena Urioste as soloist.

· As part of the annual Starbucks Free Parks Concerts, the ASO will perform a free concert for the community at the Amphitheatre in September 2009. Details will be announced.

* The gates for all ASO concerts will open one hour before the start of each concert.

Community Concerts and Events

As part of the annual Starbucks Free Parks Concerts, the ASO will perform a free concert for the community at the Amphitheatre in September 2009. Details will be announced.

On Saturday, May 23, 2009, the local Alpharetta High School Class of 2009 will hold their graduation at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park, one of a number of community events planned to take place at the venue.

On Saturday, April 18, 2009, the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce held its 36th Annual Chairman’s Gala at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park.

The Amphitheatre Experience

“When a cool breeze whisked away the muggy air at sunset, the north Atlanta suburbs felt a little like summer classic music festivals at Tanglewood, Aspen or Santa Fe,” said The Birmingham News after the ASO’s all-Beethoven concert last summer.

The Amphitheatre opened on May 10, 2008 with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, including a 700-musician grand-finale performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. The 2008 inaugural classical concert season also featured Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in an array of programs including a concert-staged production of Puccini’s La Bohème, a 4th of July spectacular, a free concert for the community, and artists including Garrick Ohlsson, Robert McDuffie, Julie Andrews, Robert Osborne (Turner Classic Movies), and the Marcus Roberts Trio.

Each Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park offers table-seating in the main Orchestra section of the venue, reserved seating throughout the pavilion, and lawn seating. Complementing this seating variation is an experience influenced by the repertoire and theme of the Orchestra: Live on-site broadcasts, Top of the Lawn conversations, and themed cuisine allow audiences to create their own unique evening of enjoyment at the ASO’s summer home.

Live On-Site Broadcast & Text-Message Questions from Audience

The Atlanta Symphony continues the tradition of introducing members of the ASO to the audience with an evening-long live, on-site broadcast of the concert on large 15′x20′ screens, which are permanently affixed on either side of the stage. The live feed will include a pre-concert show, as well as live intermission interviews of guest artists and musicians from the Orchestra, fueled by text-message questions sent by the audience the night of the concert.

Top of the Lawn

Pre-concert Top of the Lawn events will continue in 2009. ASO Insider and Program Annotator Ken Meltzer will take his pre-concert conversations to the tree-lined lawn of the Amphitheatre prior to each Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert at the venue. Mr. Meltzer’s conversations with ASO musicians will take place at the top-center of the lawn one hour before each concert, and include a Q&A with the audience. All Top of the Lawn events begin at 7:10 p.m. before each 8:00 p.m. ASO concert. This event will begin at 7:40 p.m. on Saturday, August 1 (Rodgers & Hammerstein at the Movies) when the concert begins at 8:30 p.m.

Themed Cuisine

Ovations, the on-site caterer for Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, will offer themed cuisine to complement the programming of all ASO concerts at the Amphitheatre. For the ASO’s June 20 concert, Spanish-themed cuisine will complement the regular fare offered at the venue. Concertgoers may pre-order a $30 picnic basket (which serves two people) of traditional Gazpacho, marinated olives, Manchego cheese, fresh baked bread, and almond cakes in advance of the concert. Concertgoers may also enjoy almond cakes from the concessions the night of the concert.

To pre-order a picnic basket, or to view the full menu available for each concert, visit the General Info/Food and Beverage section online at

Popular Concerts

The ASO recently presented two sold-out concerts of the Dave Matthews Band on April 27 and 28, 2009. Other scheduled concerts include a sold-out Kenny Chesney performance on May 28, 2009; Chicago/Earth Wind & Fire on June 6, 2009; Styx and REO Speedwagon on June 21, 2009;Stevie Wonder on June 24, 2009; StarFest featuring Jason Mraz on July 27, 2009; Incubus on August 14, 2009; Judas Priest/Whitesnake on August 20, 2009; O.A.R on August 21, 2009; and Journey on September 19, 2009, among others. Additional concerts will be announced. For up-to-date concert listings and information, visit

The 2009 venue sponsors include Verizon Wireless, Bud Light, AirTran Airways, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Georgia Natural Gas, Belvedere, Vineyard Brands, Publix, Shoreline Limousine and North Fulton Regional Hospital.


Music Director Robert Spano, currently in his eighth season as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, is recognized internationally as one of the most imaginative conductors today. Since 2001 he has invigorated and expanded the Orchestra’s repertoire while elevating the ensemble to new levels of international prominence and acclaim.

The Orchestra and audiences together explore a creative programming mix, recordings, and visual enhancements, such as Theater of a Concert, the Orchestra’s continuing exploration of different formats, settings, and enhancements for the musical performance experience, including the first concert-staged performances of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic in November 2008. The Atlanta School of Composers reflects Mr. Spano and the Orchestra’s commitment to nurturing and championing music through multi-year partnerships defining a new generation of American
composers, including Osvaldo Golijov, Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Theofanidis, and Michael Gandolfi. Since the beginning of his tenure, Mr. Spano and the ASO have performed nearly 100 contemporary works (composed since 1950), including seven ASO-commissioned world premieres, two additional world premieres, and one U.S. premiere.

Last season, Mr. Spano conducted and recorded the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Puccini’s La Bohème, the first American recording of the opera since 1956. It was released by
Telarc in conjunction with the semi-staged performance he led at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park, the Orchestra’s new state-of-the-art 12,000-seat venue in Alpharetta, GA, where he conducted all of the orchestral concerts in the venue’s inaugural season.

Mr. Spano continues to expand the discography of the Atlanta Symphony to include the music of Atlanta School composers Christopher Theofanidis, Jennifer Higdon, and Michael Gandolfi, as well as John Adams, David Del Tredici, Sibelius’ Kullervo, Brahms’s Requiem, a recently-released live recording of La Bohème and the Grammy® Award-winning recordings of Vaughan Williams’s A Sea Symphony and Berlioz’s Requiem. Mr. Spano and the ASO have also recently
recorded two discs of the music by Atlanta School composer Osvaldo Golijov for Deutsche Grammophon: one including Three Songs and Oceana, and the other including the chamber opera Ainadamar, which was awarded two Grammys. In 2008, Robert Spano was named Musical America Conductor of the Year.

Soprano Georgia Jarman has been hailed by the New York Times for her “luminous, appealing, and agile voice, and crystalline coloratura.” She now returns to New Orleans Opera for the role of Violetta in La Traviata, and to the Opera de Colombia for Mimi in La Bohème. She also sings the Three Heroines in Les contes d’Hoffmann with Boston Lyric Opera, in a return to Polish National Opera and Rozenn in Lalo’s Le roi d’Ys with the American Symphony Orchestra in her Avery Fisher Hall debut, and joins the Metropolitan Opera roster. Ms. Jarman most recently performed with the ASO at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater at Encore Park for a concert-staged production of Puccini’s La Bohème — she also appears as Musetta on the Telarc recording with the Orchestra.

Tenor Nicholas Phan joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for performances of Stravinksy's Pulcinella both in Chicago and in New York and appeared with the Music of the Baroque in
performances of Hercules. He will also be presented in recital by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation), and the University of Chicago. Upcoming engagements include his debuts with the San Francisco Symphony, returns to the Marlboro Festival and the Rheingau Festival, and his debut at the Edinburgh International Festival. These performances will mark his Atlanta Symphony Orchestra debut.

Baritone Matthew Worth has been noted for his “dashing, fine bright baritone” by the Dallas Morning News, and by the The New York Times for a voice that is “fully powered and persuasively expressive.” His engagements in 2008-09 include the title role in Britten's Owen Wingrave in a return to Chicago Opera Theater, Silvio in I Paglacci with Opera Company of North Carolina, Belcore in L'elisir d'amore with Opera Grand Rapids, Danilo in The Merry Widow with Dayton Opera, and Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette with Syracuse Opera. These performances will mark his Atlanta Symphony Orchestra debut.

The Gwinnett Young Singers of Atlanta was organized in 1990 to provide an advanced choral opportunity for singers in second through twelfth grade. Under the direction of Founder and Music Director, Lynn Urda, the choir is a nationally recognized children's chorus, well-known for its mastery of challenging repertoire and high musical standard. The Gwinnett Young Singers have performed for ten holiday seasons with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in Christmas with the ASO, and are featured in the PBS National Television Broadcast of Christmas with Robert Shaw. Other performances with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra include Bizet's Opera, Carmen, Kid's Holiday Concerts, Hallelujah Handel, Carl Orff's Carmina burana, Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, Pucinni's La Bohème, Howard Shore's The Lord of the Rings, and John Adams' El Nino and On the Transmigration of Souls. The Young Singers will be featured on the upcoming CD release of La Bohème and On the Transmigration of Souls with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. The choir has performed for thousands of music educators at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) conferences in Charleston, South Carolina and Nashville Tennessee. They have also had the distinct privilege of performing three joint concerts with the world renowned American Boychoir of Princeton, New Jersey. The new Georgia Young Men's Ensemble, under the direction of Phillip Shoultz, has gained accolades from Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, Music Director of the American Boychoir who states, “I am so very impressed with your new young men's ensemble. In such a short time they have become an excellent choir!”
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