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November 4, 5 & 6, Music Director Candidate Mei-Ann Chen conducts "Exhilarating Journey" with Nareh Arghamanyan playing Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1

Santa Rosa Symphony, September 28, 2017

Santa Rosa Symphony welcomes the return of Mei-Ann Chen, this time as one of five Music Director Candidates for the 2017-2018 90th Anniversary season. She will conduct the orchestra on November 4, 5 and 6, 2017 with a program Musicologist Kayleen Asbo describes as exploring the power to music to heal and transform. It’s been several years since Chen last led the Santa Rosa Symphony as guest conductor and patrons still remark about energetic and personable conducting style. Her program, “Exhilarating Journey,” features Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, played by critically-acclaimed, Armenian pianist Nareh Arghamanyan.
 
Chen’s thoughtfully prepared program begins with Shostakovich’s Festive Overture and ends with Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, Italian. Patrons will also hear a modern work by Jennifer Higdon to open the second half, a piece that attempts to relate Higdon’s musings about the afterlife upon the death of her brother.
 
Musicologist and cultural historian Kayleen Asbo provides a preview of “From Beethoven to Bates” in this short, professional video. Learn more about Mei-Ann Chen and the other four Candidates in this short video.
 
Mei-Ann Chen’s received the 2012 Helen M. Thompson Award from the League of American Orchestras and was First Prize Winner of the 2005 Malko Competition in Copenhagen (the first woman to do so). Currently Music Director of the 2016 MacArthur Award-winning Chicago Sinfonietta, she is acclaimed for infusing the orchestra with energy, enthusiasm and high-level music-making, and galvanizing audiences and communities alike.
 
“Spanning more than 160 years of symphonic repertoire, this program is an example of the wide spectrum of orchestral sonic experience. It demonstrates how beautifully-crafted music can create a memorable and emotional aural journey through different, relatable feelings and aspects of life,” says Chen. “All these pieces of music are, to me, timeless in expression, emotionally powerful and meaningful, and I hope the audience will enjoy this journey!”
 
In the 2016-2017 season, Nareh Arghamanyan performed with the Trondheim Symphony and Krzysztof Urbanski, as well as Helsingborg Symphony Orchestras, under the baton of Stefan Solyom, for their season opening concerts. In recital she appears in Lucerne, Sacile, Friedrichshafen, Corvallis and Montreal. Since September 2016, Nareh holds the title of artist in residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, under the direction of Louis Lortie, who she appears with at a number of public performances and festivals throughout the season.She studied with Arie Vardi in Hannover and is a laureate of many international piano competitions including first prize winner at the 2008 Montréal International Music Competition, 2007 Piano Campus International Competition in Pontoise, as well as the 2005 Josef Dichler Piano Competition Vienna.
 
The opening passage of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 is one of the most recognizable and revered piano concertos. Its popularity grew when it was converted in the 40s, with a change to a swing rhythm, into a Tin Pan Alley song called “Tonight We Love.”
 
The 90th Season is set apart with the Symphony’s search for the next Music Director. Each of the five final contenders will conduct one concert set this season October 2017-February 2018. They will also be interviewed by popular musicologist Kayleen Asbo in the pre-concert talks. Audiences will also have an opportunity to provide feedback, which will be taken into consideration by the Music Director Search Committee.
 
Program Notes are available on the Symphony website to further enhance the patron’s experience.
 
Concert Times and Location
Saturday, November 4 and Monday, November 6 at 8 PM, and Sunday, November 5 at 3 PM.
Discovery Open Rehearsal Saturday, November 4 at 2 PM.
Performances are at Weill Hall, Green Music Center, Sonoma State University
 
Tickets
Single tickets start at $29 and can be purchased by calling SRS Patrons Services at (707) 546-8742, or online at www.srsymphony.org, or in person at the Symphony Patron Services Office at 50 Santa Rosa Avenue from 9 AM to 5:00 PM. Monday-Friday, except Wednesdays 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM, and on Saturdays of performance weekends from 10 AM to 1 PM. Tickets may also be purchased at the door 1 1/2 hours before each performance.
Student Rush tickets (student I.D. required) can be purchased for $10 30 minutes before performance. Discovery Open Rehearsal tickets are $17 for adults and $10 for youth (under 18).
 
Free tickets for youth, ages 7-17. Patrons may request ONE FREE ticket for a youth 7-17 with each paid adult ticket to a Classical Series concert. This offer is not available online; please contact Patron Services by phone or in person.
 
Sponsors
Concert underwritten by Dr. Larry Schoenrock Endowment Fund
Concert Media Sponsor: The Press Democrat
Guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen is underwritten by David & Corinne Byrd
Nareh Arghamanyan is underwritten by Jim Lamb
The Discovery Open Rehearsal Series is sponsored by The Stare Foundation and
David Stare of Dry Creek Vineyard
Pre-concert talks are sponsored by Jamei Haswell and Richard Grundy & Ellen and Chuck Wear
Special thanks to Doubletree by Hilton Sonoma Wine Country for guest artist lodging and
The Press Democrat for media sponsorship
 
-Photos of Mei-Ann Chen and Nareh Arghamanyan provided upon request-
 
BIOS

Mei-Ann Chen, conductor
Innovation, imagination, passion and dynamism are the hallmarks of conductor Mei-Ann Chen. Music Director of the 2016 MacArthur Award-winning Chicago Sinfonietta, she is acclaimed for infusing the orchestra with energy, enthusiasm and high-level music-making, and galvanizing audiences and communities alike. In December 2015, Musical America, the bible of the performing arts industry, named Mei-Ann Chen one of its 2015 Top 30 Influencers (people, described by MusicalAmerica.com editor Susan Elliot as “…folks about whom you could say “When they speak, we listen.”). A sought-after guest conductor, Chen’s reputation as a compelling communicator has resulted in growing popularity with orchestras both nationally and internationally.
 
Named Conductor Laureate following a successful six-season tenure (2010-2016) as Music Director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra in 2016, Ms. Chen recently served as Artistic Director and Conductor for the 2016 National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Summer Festival.
 
Among her guest engagements in the 2016-2017 season are debuts and returns to the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra at the Concertgebouw, Sweden’s Malmö SymfoniOrkester, Austria’s Grosses Orchester Graz, Finland’s Tampere Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony, Tucson Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra in Houston, as well as both the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan (Taipei) and the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra (Taichung).
 
Recent performance highlights include leading the Sweden’s Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra,  Germany’s Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, Taiwan’s National Symphony Orchestra, return engagements to symphonies of Grand Rapids, Toledo and Tucson, and making debut appearances with Santa Rosa Symphony and at the Ravinia Festival, as well as the Netherlands Philharmonic at the Concertgebouw, Canada’s Calgary Philharmonic and Edmonton Symphony, Brazil’s São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Orquestra filarmônica de Minas Gerais, and the symphony orchestras of Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, Fort Worth, Houston, Indianapolis, Oregon, and San Diego. Among her many notable North American guesting credits are appearances with the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Colorado, Columbus, Florida, Nashville, North Carolina, Pacific, Phoenix, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, and the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. Overseas guesting credits include Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestras of Denmark’s Aalborg, Aarhus, Odense and South Jutland, the BBC Scottish Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Mexico, Norrland's Opera (Sweden), Norwegian Radio Orchestra and Trondheim Symphony (Norway). U.S. summer music festival credits include Aspen, Britt, Grand Teton, Ravinia, National Repertory Orchestra, Texas Music Festival, Wintergreen, and the Chautauqua Institute.
 
For her skills on and off the podium, Chen has been recognized as someone who has redefined the orchestra experience and as a music educator. Among her honors and awards are the 2012 Helen M. Thompson Award from the League of American Orchestras and First Prize Winner of the 2005 Malko Competition in Copenhagen (the first woman to do so). As recipient of the 2007 Taki Concordia Fellowship, she appeared jointly with Marin Alsop and Stefan Sanderling in highly acclaimed subscription concerts with the Baltimore Symphony, Colorado Symphony and Florida Orchestra. Chen served as Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony and Baltimore Symphony under the aegis of the League of American Orchestras, and with the Oregon symphony. In 2002, Chen was unanimously selected as Music Director of the Portland Youth Philharmonic in Oregon, the oldest of its kind and a model for many youth orchestras in the United States. During her five-year tenure with the orchestra, she led its sold-out debut in Carnegie Hall, received an ASCAP award for innovative programming, and developed new and unique musicianship programs for the orchestra’s members. She was also the recipient of a Sunburst Award from Young Audiences for her contribution to music education.
 
Nareh Arghamanyah, piano
Highly-acclaimed for her unique style, colorful tone and dazzling virtuosity, Nareh Arghamanyan is one of the promising talents of her generation. Having given debuts with numerous orchestras such as the Vienna Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Tonhalleorchester Zurich, hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the Vancouver and Utah Symphonies, she also regularly performs at prestigious venues such as Wigmore Hall, Philharmonie Berlin, Laieszhalle Hamburg, Herkulessaal Munich, Konzerthaus Vienna, Musikverein Vienna, Piano Festival Lucerne, Lincoln Center New York, Kimmel Centre Philadelphia and Gardner Museum Boston.
 
In the 2016-2017 season, she performed with the Trondheim Symphony and Krzysztof Urbanski, as well as Helsingborg Symphony Orchestras, under the baton of Stefan Solyom, for their season opening concerts. In recital she appears in Lucerne, Sacile, Friedrichshafen, Corvallis and Montreal. Since September 2016, Nareh holds the title of artist in residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, under the direction of Louis Lortie, who she appears with at a number of public performances and festivals throughout the season.
 
In 2011 Nareh Arghamanyan signed an exclusive recording contract with Pentatone releasing a CD of solo works by Rachmaninov and a disc featuring the Liszt concertos, recorded with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and Alain Altinoglu (2012). Her latest recording includes the piano concerto by Khachaturian as well as Prokofiev’s third piano concerto.
 
Born in Armenia in 1989, she studied with Alexander Gurgenov at the Tchaikovsky Music School for Talented Children in Yerevan and became the youngest student to be admitted to the University for Music and Performing Arts Vienna, where she studied with Heinz Medjimorec and Avedis Kouyoumdjan. She studied with Arie Vardi in Hannover and is a laureate of many international piano competitions including first prize winner at the 2008 Montréal International Music Competition, 2007 Piano Campus International Competition in Pontoise, as well as the 2005 Josef Dichler Piano Competition Vienna. Since the 2015-2016 season, Arghamanyan has been a Bösendorfer Artist.

CALENDAR LISTING  
What:   Symphony Concert “Exhilarating Journey
 
WhoSanta Rosa Symphony
Mei-Ann Chen, guest conductor
Nareh Arghamanyan, piano
 
SHOSTAKOVICH: Festive Overture
TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1
JENNIFER HIGDON: blue cathedral
MENDELSSOHN: Symphony No. 4, Italian
 
When:
Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 8 PM
(Discovery Open Rehearsal, Sat., November 4 at 2 PM)
Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 3 PM
Monday, November 6, 2017 at 8 PM
 
Pre-concert interviews with guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen, facilitated by Musicologist Kayleen Asbo start one hour before each performance and will include Q&A.
(no interviews prior to Discovery Rehearsal).
 
Where:  Weill Hall, Green Music Center
 
Cost:  Single tickets from $29
 
Tickets
Online:              srsymphony.org
Phone:             54-MUSIC (707-546-8742)
In person:          SRS Patron Services Office, 50 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa, First Floor
            Monday-Friday, 9 AM - 5 PM, (Wednesdays 10:30 AM - 5 PM)
Saturdays of performance weekends 10 AM - 1 PM
At the door:       beginning 1½ hours before each performance
 
About the Santa Rosa Symphony
Santa Rosa Symphony, the Resident Orchestra of the Green Music Center, is the third-oldest professional orchestra in California, and the largest regional symphony north of Los Angeles. Bruno Ferrandis, who began his tenure in 2006, is the fourth Music Director in the organization’s history. The Santa Rosa Symphony (SRS) is committed to core values of artistic excellence, innovative programming and community service. This year the SRS contributed over $4 million into the local economy.
 
Currently in its 90th season, the Symphony’s performance schedule includes 21 Classical Series concerts (7 sets), 7 Discovery Dress Rehearsal concerts, a 3-concert Family Series and a 4-concert Pops Series, as well as special concerts. The Symphony is also recognized for having one of the most comprehensive music education programs in California, serving nearly 23,000 youth annually.
 
Collaborations with schools and organizations across Sonoma County have gained SRS national attention and support. Awards include an American Symphony Orchestra League MetLife Award for Community Engagement and a first place award for adventurous programming in the 2012-2013 season from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

Media Contact: 
Sara Mitchell
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
707-546-7097 ext.218
smitchell@srsymphony.org

Contact Us

Santa Rosa Symphony
Administrative Office:
50 Santa Rosa Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Administration: 707.546.7097

Patron Services Hours: 
M-F - 9 am – 5:00 pm,
W – 10:30 am – 5:00 pm
Patron Services: 707.546.8742