Joseph Schwantner, Misha Dichter and Gerard Schwarz
Palm Beach Symphony presents the world-premiere of “Sojourn: Reflections on Thoreau,” a work commissioned from Pulitzer Prize-winner Joseph Schwantner, in its Masterworks concert featuring acclaimed pianist Misha Dichter with conductor and Symphony Music Director Gerard Schwarz at the Kravis Center on Tuesday, March 14 at 8 p.m.
“Joseph Schwantner is one of the world’s leading composers,” said Maestro Schwarz. “His music has touched so many of us for many years as his output is extensive and always on the highest level. We are so very lucky that Ambassador Bonnie McElveen-Hunter has facilitated the commission for ‘Sojourn: Reflections on Thoreau.’ The work is dedicated to a remarkable medical doctor and dear friend, Dr. Joel Kassimir. The music is extraordinary– full of imagination, color, poignancy, depth and real beauty. We at the Palm Beach Symphony are so fortunate to be able to present the premiere of this magnificent work.”
The world premiere is the first of five works the Symphony has commissioned from American composers in celebration of its upcoming 50th Anniversary Season. This historic concert’s program includes Dichter performing Gershwin’s “Piano Concerto in F” followed by the Symphony performing Webern’s “Adagio,” in an arrangement by Maestro Schwarz and Stravinsky’s “The Firebird.”
Schwantner, known for his dramatic and unique style and as a gifted orchestral colorist, is one of the most prominent American composers today. His compositional career has been marked by many awards, grants and fellowships, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for his orchestral composition Aftertones of Infinity and several GRAMMY® nominations. Among his many commissions is his Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra, commissioned for the 150th anniversary season of the New York Philharmonic and one of the most performed concert works of the past several decades. Christopher Lamb, soloist in the recent Naxos recording of Schwantner’s music by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, received a 2012 GRAMMY Award for “Best Classical Instrumental Solo” with Schwantner’s Percussion Concerto.
One of America’s most popular artists, Dichter is now in the sixth decade of a distinguished global career. He has performed and recorded with some of the most illustrious conductors of the 20th and 21st centuries, among them Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Colin Davis, Lawrence Foster, Valery Gergiev, Carlo Maria Guilini, Bernard Haitink, MarissJansons, KirilKondrashin, Erich Leinsdorf, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Neville Marriner, Kurt Masur, Riccardo Muti, Eugene Ormandy, Carlos Prieto, André Previn, Simon Rattle, Gerard Schwarz, Robert Shaw, Leonard Slatkin, Robert Spano, William Steinberg, Michael Tilson Thomas, Hans Vonk, Edo de Waart, David Zinman and Pinchas Zukerman, while notable chamber music collaborations have included violinists Itzhak Perlman, Mark Peskanov and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, cellists Lynn Harrell and Yo-Yo Ma and the American, Argus, Cleveland, Emerson, Guarneri, Harlem, St. Petersburg and Tokyo string quartets. Dichter’s discography on the Philips, RCA, MusicMasters and Koch Classics labels are legendary, iconic and musically omnivorous, encompassing the major scores of Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Gershwin, Liszt, Mussorgsky, Schubert, Schumann, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky.
The Los Angeles Times reported, “The pianist commands a wide dynamic and emotional range, finds nuances as well as new insights in all the music he plays, and places his details carefully. Dichter’s tremendous authority at the keyboard is the result of a comprehensive technique combined with an astute musicality.”
Internationally recognized for his moving performances, innovative programming and extensive catalog of recordings, Maestro Schwarz is also the Music Director of the Frost Symphony Orchestra and the Distinguished Professor of Music, Conducting and Orchestral Studies at University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. Nationally, he is the Music Director of the All-Star Orchestra, Eastern Music Festival and Mozart Orchestra of New York as well as Conductor Laureate of the Seattle Symphony and Conductor Emeritus of the Mostly Mozart Festival.
A prolific recording artist with 14 GRAMMY Award nominations, Maestro Schwarz’s extensive catalogue of more than 350 recordings on 11 labels includes “The Gerard Schwarz Collection,” a 30-CD box set. In his five decades as a respected classical musician and conductor, Maestro Schwarz has received hundreds of honors and accolades including nine Emmy® Awards, eight ASCAP Awards and numerous “Stereo Review” and Ovation Awards. He holds the Ditson Conductor’s Award from Columbia University, was the first American named Conductor of the Year by Musical America and has received numerous honorary doctorates. His memoir, “Behind the Baton,” was released by Amadeus Press in March 2017.
The Masterworks concerts continue at the Kravis Center with Joshua Bell, violin (April 16) and Maria João Pires, piano (May 15).
Tickets are $25-$95 and may be purchased at PalmBeachSymphony.org, by calling (561) 281-0145, and at the Palm Beach Symphony Box Office weekdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at 400 Hibiscus Street, Suite 100, West Palm Beach. The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts is located at 701 Okeechobee Blvd. in West Palm Beach.
Proud sponsors of Palm Beach Symphony include Max and Christine Ansbacher, Mrs. James N. Bay, Alan Benaroya, JoAnne Berkow, David C. and Eunice Bigelow, Leslie Rogers Blum, James R. Borynack and Adolfo Zaralegui/Findlay Galleries, Braman Motorcars, Thomas and Carol Bruce, CIBC Private Wealth, The Colony Hotel, The David Minkin Foundation, The Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation, Echo Fine Properties, Bill and Kem Frick/The Frick Foundation, Inc., Paul and Sandra Goldner, Peter and Felicia Gottsegen/Gottsegen Family Foundation, Irwin and Janet Gusman, Thomas E. Harvey & Cathleen P. Black Foundation, Doris Hastings Foundation, John Herrick, Addison Hines Charitable Trust, George Hines, HSS Florida, IYC, Charles and Ann Johnson/The C and A Johnson Family Foundation, Barbara and William Karatz Fund/William Karatz and Joan G. Smith, Leonard and Norma Klorfine Foundation, Gary and Linda Lachman/The Lachman Family Foundation, Patricia Lambrecht, Tova Leidesdorf, Lugano Diamonds, The Honorable Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, The McNulty Charitable Foundation, David Moscow, NetJets, Palm Beach Design Masters, Patrick and Milly Park/Park Foundation, Nancy and Ellis J. Parker, III, PNC Private Bank, Lois Pope, Provident Jewelry, Ari Rifkin/The Le-Ari Foundation, Karen and Kenneth Rogers, Ronald Rosenfeld, David Schafer, Seth Sprague Foundation, Robin B. Smith, Kimberly Strauss, Dodie and Manley Thaler and the Thaler/Howell Foundation, Jerome and Carol Trautschold, SieglindeWikstrom/The Wikstrom Foundation, and The Ann Eden Woodward Foundation/James and Judy Woods. Programs are also sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.
ABOUT PALM BEACH SYMPHONY
Palm Beach Symphony is South Florida’s premier orchestra known for its diverse repertoire and commitment to community. Founded in 1974, this 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization adheres to a mission of engaging, educating, and entertaining the greater community of the Palm Beaches through live performances of inspiring orchestral music. The orchestra is celebrated for delivering spirited performances by first-rate musicians and distinguished guest artists. Recognized by The Cultural Council for Palm Beach County with a 2020 Muse Award for Outstanding Community Engagement, Palm Beach Symphony continues to expand its education and community outreach programs with children’s concerts, student coaching sessions and master classes, instrument donations and free public concerts that have reached more than 64,000 students in recent years. For more information, visit www.palmbeachsymphony.org.