Conductor Allen Gross
Welcome To Our 59th Season!
We have an exciting year ahead of us at the Santa Monica Symphony, and so of course do you, our audience. I have always been delighted with your enthusiastic response to unfamiliar music, as well as by your appreciation of the "classics". This year we are embarking on a new project, entitled "Santa Monica Symphony from Around the Globe", which presents music evoking the homelands of their composers. You may be surprised at how much wonderful music is written in countries that you may not associate with traditional "concert music." The oft-repeated adage that "music is a universal language" in nowhere more in evidence than in this coming season of our orchestra.
It is of course fitting to begin with the U.S.A., and so we are presenting the West Coast premiere of Rewind, by Jonathan D. Kramer, subtitled "A Semi-Suite" (pun intended). Its musical influences draw upon American dance idioms and the blues. The young and very talented Cuban pianist Javier González is making his Los Angeles debut with Liszt's formidable Second Piano Concerto, and we end with Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Our second concert, however, goes literally around the world, from Mexico (Carlos Chávez' symphony on indigenous Indian themes) to Australia and back to Vienna, to the tuneful waltz sequence of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. And for those of you who know and love this music, but wondered where Richard got his love for the horn, we present our principal hornist Joseph Meyer performing the Horn Concerto of his father, Franz Strauss. This will truly be a concert of many colors!
Our third concert features only one work, Mahler's epic Fifth Symphony. The Santa Monica Symphony musicians love to play Mahler, and if you attended last year's performance of his First Symphony, you will know why.
Roger Wilkie is the violin soloist in Prokofiev's lyrical Second Violin Concerto, which we present along with Ravel's "Le Tombeau de Couperin", his gracious homage to one of France's classic composers, and Mozart's ""Jupiter" Symphony to end the season.
I look forward to seeing you at all our concerts this year!
Allen Robert Gross
Music Director/Conductor of the Santa Monica Symphony since 1991, Allen Gross continues to delight the public with enthusiastic and well-prepared performances of a challenging and diverse repertory that embraces the new and the old, the familiar and the unfamiliar. A native New Yorker, he studied with Pierre Monteux, Walter Susskind, Sandor Salgo and Hans Swarowsky, beginning at Queens College and UC/Berkeley before earning his doctorate at Stanford and continuing at the Vienna Music Academy and the American Institute of Orchestra Conducting. From 1972-1978, he directed the Heidelberg Castle Festival, also serving as conductor of the Junges Kammerorchester Heidelberg and in the opera houses of Freiburg and Aachen. Back in the United States, Gross directed the orchestra and opera programs at the University of Louisville before joining the music faculty at Occidental College in 1983 to serve as Director of the Occidental-Caltech Symphony Orchestra. He has since served as Music Director/Conductor of the Pasadena Young Musicians Orchestra and the Pasadena Summer Youth Chamber Orchestra and has appeared with the Los Angeles Monday Evening Concerts, the Minnesota Composers Forum, broadcast concerts from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and honors orchestras in California and Nevada. Last Season, Mr. Gross returned from China, where he conducted a concert with the orchestra of the Shenwang Conservatory of Music. The past two summers, he has traveled and concertized in Italy, the Czech Republic and other Eastern European countries with members of the Santa Monica Symphony.
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