The never-ending quest to build audiences often forces symphony orchestras to rely on big-name artists, but the inaugural season of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic has taken that strategy and successfully turned it upside down. Though the Philharmonic has brought some big names (William Wolfram, Scott Yoo, and, last spring, Rachel Barton), some of the most remarkable concerts have featured local soloists, proving that world-class musicians live right here in our community and can draw equally enthusiastic audiences.
As such, local talent is tops again at the Philharmonic's weekend concert featuring concertmaster Michael Hanson performing Dvork's violin concerto. Hanson, who was concertmaster of the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra from 1992 to 2003, and his wife Catherine (principal violist of the CSPO) are co-founders of the Hanson Music Academy, a school for young musicians here in Colorado Springs.
Dvork is perhaps better known for his Symphony No. 9 ("From the New World") and his cello concerto, but his violin concerto ranks along with the Mendelssohn and Bruch concertos for virtuosi performance and true musical passion.
The remainder of the program includes Brahms' "Variations on a Theme by Haydn," Ravel's "Pavane," and Debussy's "La Mer" -- selections representative of two important shifts in classical music history; the Brahms "Variations" serve as a musical bridge from the classical period to the romantic, while Ravel's and Debussy's careful, almost abstract orchestration portray the impressionist sensibilities popular in all art forms at the turn of the 20th century.
-- Bettina Swigger
The Colorado Springs Philharmonic featuring Michael Hanson, violin and Lawrence Leighton Smith, conductor
Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.
Saturday, April 3 at 8 p.m.; Sun., April 4 at 2:30 p.m.
$12-$48; 520-SHOW or www.ticketmaster.com