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  • WDCH
  • Mar. 29, 2003
  • Saturday, March 29 at 8 PM; Sunday, March 30 at 2:30 PM

    On March 29 and 30 Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the orchestra in the world premiere of Augusta Read Thomas' Canticle Weaving for trombone and orchestra, a work commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, featuring the orchestra's principal trombonist Ralph Sauer. Also on the program is Strauss' Serenade in E-flat major, Op. 7, and Brahms' Concerto for Violin and Cello, featuring Philharmonic Associate Concertmaster Bing Wang and Assistant Principal Cellist Ben Hong. Throughout the 2002/2003 season, more than half a dozen musicians of the orchestra bid farewell to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion by taking solo turns - Sauer, Wang, and Hong are part of this "farewell" celebration.

    Upbeat Live, a free pre-concert event with Ed Yim, the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Director of Artistic Planning, takes place in the Pavilion's Grand Hall one hour before each of these performances.

    Richard Strauss composed the first piece on the weekend's program - the Serenade in E-flat major, Op. 7 - in Munich in 1881, when he was 17 years old. The Strauss most know best - the composer of massive tone poems and of blockbuster operas - had not yet come of age at the time of this Serenade. Instead, the young Strauss who created this piece was conservative. His musical voice was strongly influenced by his father, the Munich court orchestra's principal horn player and a man who hated Wagner and the modernism he stood for. Strauss' Serenade, in a single, sonata-form movement, received its first performance in Dresden in November 1882.

    Also on the program is the world premiere of Augusta Read Thomas' Canticle Weaving for trombone and orchestra with Philharmonic Principal Trombonist Ralph Sauer. Thomas is known as a passionate and original voice among American composers. Her musical inspirations come not only from music, but also from literature, especially poetry. Various images - the sun, light, voice, song, bells, and stars - run through Thomas' works. The score for Canticle Weaving gives the orchestra, conductor, and soloists directions such as "Fiery," "Ablaze," and "A Little Dreamy" - all of which reflect the images that define the spiritual world Thomas seeks to convey in her music. This work was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic as part of a series of works giving a solo role to orchestra members.

    The program concludes with Brahms' Concerto for Violin and Cello, featuring violinist Bing Wang and cellist Ben Hong. The Double Concerto - Brahms' last work for orchestra - was composed to mend a broken friendship with his longtime friend and collaborator, violinist Joseph Joachim. In 1887, Joachim's string quartet cellist Robert Hausmann approached Brahms for a new work, a concerto for violin and cello. Brahms sent Joachim a letter explaining his intentions to create the new work and Joachim responded warmly, further prompting the composition. The threesome - Brahms conducting with Joachim and Hausmann on violin and cello, respectively - premiered the work in October 1887 in Cologne.

    ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, the tenth conductor to head the Los Angeles Philharmonic, began his tenure as Music Director in October 1992. Salonen made his American debut conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic in November 1984, and he has conducted the orchestra every season since. Among the many highlights of Salonen's activities with the Philharmonic have been world premieres of new works by composers John Adams, Bernard Rands, Rodion Shchedrin, Steven Stucky, and Salonen himself, well-received Ligeti and Stravinsky Festivals, appearances at the Ojai Festival, eight critically acclaimed international tours since 1992, and his extensive discography with the Philharmonic for Sony Classical. Salonen was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1958. He made his conducting debut with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 1979, and he has been one of the world's most sought-after conductors since his debut in London with the Philharmonia Orchestra in September 1983. He served as principal guest conductor of the Philharmonia from 1985 to 1994 and as principal conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1985 to 1995.

    Trombonist RALPH SAUER joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1974 after six years as principal of the Toronto Symphony. The Philadelphia-born musician is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Emory Remington. Sauer has appeared as soloist with many orchestras and has given master classes and recitals in Europe, Japan, Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada, and the United States. Recently, he was visiting professor at the Eastman School while on leave from the Philharmonic.

    Violinist BING WANG joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the 1994/95 season as associate concertmaster. A native of China, Wang began studying the violin with her parents before entering the middle school of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. She was concertmaster of the school orchestra and graduated with the highest honor. When her future teacher Berl Senofsky visited China, he invited her to come to the United States to study on a four-year scholarship at the Peabody Conservatory. Wang completed her graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music, where her teacher was Glenn Dicterow, concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic. In 1991, Wang joined the Cincinnati Symphony and became principal second violin in January 1993. As a soloist, she has appeared with the Cincinnati Symphony, the Manhattan Symphony, and most recently, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in community concerts. Since moving to Los Angeles, Wang has performed with the Philharmonic's New Music Group and Chamber Music Society and given a master class as part of the Corwin Seminars.

    BEN HONG joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic's cello section at the start of the 1993/94 winter season at the age of 24. He has served as the orchestra's assistant principal cellist since the beginning of the 1994/95 winter season. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1968, Hong came to the United States at the age of 13 to study at the Juilliard School of Music. He was enrolled in the Juilliard's Pre-College Division from 1982 to 1987. He was a member of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra from 1988 to 1991. He also participated in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, serving as principal cello in the Institute Orchestra in 1988 and 1990. He came to the Philharmonic after six years with Lynn Harrell at the USC School of Music, from which he received his Artist Diploma in 1993. Hong has performed frequently as a soloist with orchestras and as a chamber musician.

    AUGUSTA READ THOMAS studied with Jacob Druckman at Yale University and with Alan Stout and Bill Karlins at Northwestern, as well as at the Royal Academy of Music in London. She came to international attention when her work Wind Dance premiered as part of the New York Philharmonic's Horizons '90 series in 1989. Her chamber opera Ligeia, after a story by Poe, premiered in France in 1995 and won the International Orpheus Prize. Thomas previously taught at the Eastman School of Music and was composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra through May 2000. She is currently a professor of composition at Northwestern and is on the board of directors at the American Music Center.


    Saturday, March 29, 8 PM

    Sunday, March 30, 2:30 PM



    ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, conductor

    RALPH SAUER, trombone

    BING WANG, violin

    BEN HONG, cello

    STRAUSS: Serenade in E-flat major, Op. 7

    THOMAS: Canticle Weaving for trombone and orchestra (world premiere; Los Angeles Philharmonic commission)

    BRAHMS: Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor, Op. 102

    Upbeat Live, a free pre-concert event with Ed Yim, the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Director of Artistic Planning, takes place in the Pavilion's Grand Hall one hour before each of these performances.

    Tickets ($14 - $82) are on sale now at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion box office, all Ticketmaster outlets (Robinsons-May, Tower Records, Ritmo Latino, and selected Wherehouse locations), and by credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. Tickets are also available online at A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available two hours prior to the performance at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion box office. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person. Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for special discounts. For further information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Elizabeth Hinckley, 323.850.2047; Melanie Gravdal, 323.850.2021; for photos: Scalla Sheen, 323.850.2015