Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Daniel Meyer conducts the FSO

Greetings from the heart of Fairfax County, Virginia. My name is Daniel Meyer, and I am honored to be a finalist for the position of Music Director of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra. My program this week includes the Three Dance Episodes from On the Town by Leonard Bernstein, the Bruch Violin Concerto in G minor with Jennifer Frautschi as soloist, and Brahms' First Symphony.

This program represents what I like in a good classical concert in many ways. As an American conductor and composer, I believe it is important for me to be a passionate exponent of music from my time and my culture. The good news is that I have so many great works from which to choose. Bernstein's music is brash, bold, filled with life, sparkling energy, and it really cooks! I wanted to see how well the FSO could swing, and after the first rehearsal with the fantastic solo players of the winds, brass, and percussion, I am happy to report that we are well on our way to bringing this score to life. It is striking to experience the high the level of collective talent in this orchestra...

The Bruch Concerto in many ways represents the finest in the Austro-German tradition of a beautifully-crafted solo concerto that is as tuneful as it is structurally and emotionally satisfying. I intentionally chose a "standard" concerto with Jennifer Frautschi so that we would spend the bulk of our time together shaping and interpreting the music rather than plowing through difficult, unfamiliar notes. I love this concerto, and it has the right blend of virtuosity and memorable melodies to complement the Bernstein on the first half.

After intermission, we will perform one of my favorite pieces in the repertoire. Brahms' First Symphony represents a watershed moment in Brahms' life and in all of music history. Here is a composer who was widely renowned to be the heir to Beethoven's throne, yet was admittedly overwhelmed by the prospect of following in those revolutionary footsteps. For me, Brahms' First Symphony is a masterful combination of soul-searching, celebration, exasperation, and ultimate joyful affirmation. Brahms somehow knew the weight of expectation that was heaped on his shoulders, and he delivered on what I think became the best first symphony ever written.

I have really enjoyed the exploration and the journey the musicians of the FSO and I have already taken, and I look forward to celebrating the fruit of our collaboration together with you on Saturday night at GMU. Thank you for inviting me to share in this special season, and I hope to have the honor of returning to Fairfax County and the FSO very soon.


Daniel Meyer