My fascination with the upcoming Annapolis Symphony Orchestra’s November 1 & 2 concerts began well before I attended the dress rehearsal.  Who can resist Peter Serkin?!  And, how clever, the “Three B’s”! Here is the spoiler alert: the Three B’s are not what you might have been expecting (Bach, Beethoven and Brahms); once again they take their own creative twist on the Three B’s: Brahms, Bridge and Britten.  I was hooked, that was for sure.  Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I am an advocate of live music.  There is no technology out there, in my opinion, which can replace the true brilliance and experience of a live music performance.

Continue reading

ASO Extends Music Director Contract

Jose-Luis Novo

José-Luis Novo, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (ASO) is pleased to announce the extension of its contract with José-Luis Novo, engaging him for another five years as Music Director. Under the direction of Maestro Novo since 2005, the ASO has experienced unprecedented artistic growth and enthusiastic reviews from audiences, press and music critics.

“It is a tremendous coup for our organization and the community that Maestro Novo will continue his career here in Annapolis,” remarks Katharene Poston Snavely, ASO Executive Director. “He is a great asset to not only the orchestra but to the arts community at large.” Continue reading

Juggling, Balance, and the Musical Experience – An ASO Musician’s Perspective

Guest Post from Sarah Hart, Principal Viola, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra:

Earlier this month at the ASO Family Concerts, I was blown away by the artistry of Bob Brown Puppets.  I found myself wondering what the puppeteers were thinking as they guided their animals about the stage.  Were they focused on timing the cuckoo’s exit from the clock with the music?  Thinking about interacting with each other to work both arms of the magician kangaroo?  Concentrating on the mechanics of maintaining contact between the swan’s ice skate and the floor?

Perhaps you, our ASO audience, wonder the same things about where musicians’ minds go during performances.  This certainly varies among people and circumstances, but a few elements that might occupy my awareness include physical technique, listening for blend and intonation, interacting with José Luis Novo and colleagues, feeling an inner pulse, and engaging emotionally with the music.

On the surface, attending to these factors seems like multitasking.  Orchestral musicians have many balls to juggle at any given moment.  If we devote our full attention to just one, the others could drop, so we develop a type of gentle focus, balancing each as it relates to the whole musical experience.  This integration of factors means that music-making requires our entire being: body, mind, and soul.

As we rehearse this week’s Schumann and Symphonic Storytelling program, I’ll be noting the unique physical, mental, and emotional challenges of these works by Lutoslawski, Frank, and Schumann.  Look for an update later this week with some of my observations.

Hope to see you at the concert this weekend! You can get tickets here.

Written by Sarah Hart, Principal Viola, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra: Violist Sarah Hart, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, is an active chamber musician, soloist, and educator in the Washington, D.C. area. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri in 2006, Ms. Hart pursued graduate studies in music. She received her Master of Music degree in Viola from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where she studied with Atar Arad, formerly of the Cleveland Quartet, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Maryland in College Park with Dan Foster, Principal Violist of the National Symphony Orchestra. An active string educator, Ms. Hart maintains a private violin and viola studio in Hyattsville, Maryland where she resides with her husband, Nicholas Hart. She is currently Principal Viola with the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra.

ASO Presents Its 2013 Family Concert

Bob Brown Puppets will perform with the ASO on February 9.

Bob Brown Puppets will perform with the ASO on February 9.

Need a family-friendly activity for Saturday, February 9? The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra presents its Family Concert – Carnival of the Animals with the Bob Brown Puppets. Concerts are at 2 and 3:30 PM. Tickets are just $12. Music by the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra combined with charming, oversized puppets, props and scenery, all enhanced by special lighting effects. Get more details and tickets here.

The ASO’s February Concert – One the Whole Family Will Love

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra will present two beloved classics featuring The Bob Brown Puppets and a special slideshow presentation.  Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Camille Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals will be presented in matinees on Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 2:00 and 3:30pm at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.  These concerts are designed for the entire family to enjoy. Parents are encouraged to bring their children.

The Bob Brown Puppets join the ASO for the humorous zoological tale of Carnival of the Animals with oversized puppets, props, and scenery, all enhanced by special lighting effects.  Jonathan Palevsky, Program Director of WBJC 91.5 FM, will join the ASO as narrator of Carnival of the Animals.  Families are invited to attend ‘Meet the Musicians’ sessions at 1:15pm or 4:30pm and learn about the different instruments.

Tickets to the Family Concerts are $12 in all sections, and the performances are recommended for ages 4 and up.  Tickets are available by calling the ASO Box Office at 410-263-0907 or online at www.annapolissymphony.org.

The ASO will also perform four additional sold-out concerts for elementary school students of Anne Arundel County on February 6 and 7.  The ASO gratefully acknowledges M&T Bank and Target Foundation for their generous sponsorship of this program.  Additional support for the ASO education programs generously provided by Maryland State Arts Council, Elizabeth Richebourg Rea, Friends of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Anne Arundel Arts Council, The Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, and The Helena Foundation.

Bob Brown Puppets have been a major children’s theater company for the past fifty years, offering the finest in children’s education and entertainment and performing to over 300,000 children a year.  When invited to create the Smithsonian Puppet Theater in 1967 Bob and Judy Brown moved from New York and settled in Virginia. Since then, they have presented their outstanding productions to millions of young people throughout the metropolitan area. It’s impossible to separate the work of these two master puppeteers into separate and exclusive categories, as each serves a vital role in the other’s creative process. This progression from the embryo of an idea to the full-blown product is the result of the Browns’ willingness to accept that each brings a separate yet equal contribution to the projects they’ve created together for many years.

ASO Presents Swingin’ Season’s Greetings with Tony DeSare

Tony DeSare, guest artist for the ASO’s Holiday Pops concert

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra continues its 2012-2013 season at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis, MD on Friday December 14, 2012, at 8 PM with its holiday pops concert. Under the musical direction of Maestro José-Luis Novo, the ASO will be accompanied by acclaimed singer, pianist and songwriter, Tony DeSare.  This show is a wonderful blend of festive holiday favorites and original music by Mr. DeSare that will get you in the mood for the holiday season.

Check out an entertaining version of Jingle Bells by Mr. DeSare here: Tony DeSare Jingle Bells

Tony DeSare performs with infectious joy, wry playfulness, and robust musicality. His takes on classic standards and sophisticated original compositions have earned him a reputation as one of country’s hottest young singer/pianists. His sound is romantic, swinging and sensual, but what sets Tony apart is his ability to write original material that sounds fresh and at the same time blends seamlessly with the great American songbook. Tony has the capability to glide from a standard by George Gershwin to a contemporary classic by Bob Dylan or Phil Collins to one of his inventive original songs with ease.

Adult tickets are $45 and student tickets are $10. Tickets can be purchased through the ASO website at www.annapolissymphony.org, by calling 410-263-0907, or by stopping by the ASO Box Office in room 204 at Maryland Hall in Annapolis, Monday through Friday, 9:30am – 5:30pm.


Wow! What A Concert!

Cellist Zuill Bailey (left), ASO Executive Director Katharene Snavely (center), and Maestro José-Luis Novo (right)

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (ASO) performed with guest artist – acclaimed cellist Zuill Bailey – on Friday, November 2 and Saturday, November 3 at MD Hall for the Creative Arts. The reviews are still coming in, but by all accounts thus far, this performance – full of energy and drama – was an absolute hit with audiences! The concert – the second in the ASO’s 2012-2013 season – not only delivered an incredible performance by Maestro José-Luis Novo, his musicians and guest artist Bailey, but also featured the premier of Requiem for a Magical America: El Día de los Muertos – a piece created by ASO Composer-in-Residence Gabriela Lena Frank. Commenting on Frank’s composition, The Capital writes, “Her piece for the last weekend’s concert is one of her best efforts to date.” Read the full article here.

The ASO’s next concert is Friday, December 14, 2012. This “Holiday Pops – Swingin’ Seasons Greetings” show will feature singer, pianist, and songwriter Tony DeSare with the ASO. It will be a wonderful blend of holiday cheer and swing standards with an energetic flair that only a big band can provide. One night only! More information can be found at the ASO’s website here.


The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra Prepares for its Season Opener

Maestro José-Luis Novo and the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra prepare for this weekend’s concerts

José-Luis Novo and the approximately 70 other musicians from the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra have been diligently practicing this week to perfect their performance for Friday, September 28th/Saturday, September 29th’s 2012-2013 season opening concert. The concert will feature guest artist British Pianist Michael Roll. The concert will be held at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis, Maryland and tickets are as low as $10 for students and $25 for the general public.

SPECIAL OFFER FOR CONCERT-GOERS: Visit PALADAR LATIN KITCHEN AND RUM BAR (located in the Annapolis Towne Centre) within seven days of this weekend’s concert, present your ticket stub, and get $10 OFF YOUR CHECK. (One per table.)

Don’t have a ticket yet? Call the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra Box Office today at 410-263-0907 or visit the ASO website here.