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ASO: Alexandria Symphony Crosses Musical Eras
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ASO: Alexandria Symphony Crosses Musical Eras

The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra continues its 75th anniversary season on Saturday, Feb. 9, 8 p.m. at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center and on Sunday, Feb. 10, 3 p.m. at the George Washington Masonic Memorial. The ASO is celebrating its milestone birthday throughout the year along with the introduction of Music Director James Ross to the community and other special events.

As a continuation of the recent Bach, Brandenburgers & Brews concert presented on Jan. 11 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, February’s program opens with J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1, the grandest of the concertos. Bach dedicated the six Brandenburg Concertos in 1721 to Christian Ludwig-Margrave of Brandenburg, and they have since been regarded as some of the finest orchestral compositions of the Baroque era. “These performances start a cross-era conversation — a clash between the old and new,” says Maestro Ross. “Bach’s 300-year-old concerto is paired with Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks Concerto. Bach’s concerto references the worlds of hunting and court dancing; Stravinsky’s concerto, while inspired by Bach, is filtered through (an occasionally jarring) 20th-century prism.”

The second portion of the program explores the relationship between Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 (nicknamed “Classical”) and Mozart’s Prague Symphony. “Prokofiev makes fun of the classical form, and Mozart blurs the boundaries between symphony and opera,” relates Ross. “The middle movement of the Prague Symphony is Mozart’s greatest orchestral andante, just crying out for operatic text setting.”

Prior to each performance there will be a pre-concert chat, offering insights into the music. On Saturday the talk will be held at 7 p.m. with Dr. Jonathan Kolm, associate professor of Music at Northern Virginia Community College. On Sunday Maestro Ross will present “As the Baton Swings” at 2:15 p.m., which is geared toward younger attendees and novice symphony-goers. Both talks are open to all concert attendees.

The Alexandria Symphony is a fully-professional orchestra drawing from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region’s wealth of musical talent. Many musicians perform with other orchestras and top military bands. The ASO performs Saturday evenings at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center and Sunday matinees at the George Washington Masonic Memorial. Single tickets are $20-$80 for adults, $5 for youth (18 and under), and $10 for students (with ID). The ASO also offers senior, military, and group discounts. For tickets and more information, visit www.alexsym.org or call 703-548-0885.