William Eddins Conductor
Lara Downes Piano—PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA DEBUT
Strayhorn/Walden The Strayhorn Concerto—First PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA PERFORMANCE
Price Piano Concerto in One Movement
Brahms Symphony No. 2
Making her Orchestra and SPAC debuts on this program is American pianist Lara Downes, a trailblazer on stage and off and an acclaimed NPR host. As a chart-topping recording artist, a powerfully charismatic performer, a curator, and tastemaker, she is recognized as a cultural visionary on the national arts scene.
Downes will perform two SPAC premieres: The Strayhorn Concerto, co-commissioned by SPAC, Downes, and the Boston Symphony and featuring three selections from the music of Billy Strayhorn (also an Orchestra premiere), as well as Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement, which evokes Price’s experiences as a Black woman raised in the post-Civil War South. This stunning Concerto includes references to spirituals, call-and-response, and the juba—a lively, syncopated plantation dance that predates the Civil War.
Closing the program is Brahms’s Second Symphony, possibly his most popular, and said to be his personal favorite. Its pastoral aura surely accounts for some of its appeal, but there is tension and drama as well, building to an extraordinary, triumphant finale.