The Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, along with the Repertory Chorus and Concert Choir, will be performing onstage in the grand hall of the Music Center at Strathmore on Friday night. It is, indeed, a great honor for these serious students of the School of Music.
"We go once a year out of Pittsburgh," said Maestro Ronald Zollman, conductor and director of orchestral studies. "Last year we were in Carnegie Hall. ... The year before, the Kennedy Center, then Carnegie Hall. This is my fourth year as the director of the orchestra, and we're coming to Strathmore. We're happy about that."
Belgian native Zollman and his students present a program featuring an Austrian masterpiece and a German classic: Anton Bruckner's "Te Deum," an early Christian hymn of praise, and Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 4.
|Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic and Choirs|
|» Where: Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda|
|» When: 8 p.m. Friday|
|» Info: $20; 301-581-5100; strathmore.org|
Bruckner's "Te Deum" combined his gifts of writing for large orchestra and chorus (about 80 of each will be on the Strathmore stage) with the spirituality he found in his Catholic faith.
"He fought to be himself; he was of a very genuine and independent mind," Zollman continued. "He wrote music from his heart, and that's really the way he presents himself to the listeners."
Although Bruckner was employed as an organist for a large part of his life, the "Te Deum" need not necessarily be performed in a church, as Zollman explains. "His piece is quite interesting in that [he writes in the] organ as optional. But if you do it without the organ, then you go much more for a symphony performance. Obviously, he thought the piece could either be performed in church or in a concert hall. The organ is not there to replace the chorus or orchestra -- it's just an added color." And Zollman has chosen to leave it out of the Strathmore performance.
The soloists for the "Te Deum" are composed of four School of Music alumni: soprano Katy Shackleford Williams, mezzo-soprano, Chrystal Williams, tenor Theodore Chletsos and baritone Dimitrie Lazich.
Composed in the early 1840s, Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 4 reflects a period of prosperity, happiness and personal triumph.
"Bruckner, an Austrian, and Schumann, a German, come from the same musical tradition; they are close geographically and culturally," Zollman observed. "Schumann is anything but religious -- his is a symphony and a beautiful piece."