Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
Press Release

Edo de Waart Conducts Rachmaninoff with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

Performances feature violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

By - Mar 12th, 2015 11:42 am

MILWAUKEE, WIS. 03/12/2015 – The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Edo de Waart present de Waart Conducts Rachmaninoff on April 3-4, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. The performances feature Barber’s Essay No. 2, Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, and Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg.

Both concerts include Meet the Music, a free, interactive pre-concert discussion held one hour prior to concert start time in Anello Atrium at 7:00 p.m.

Barber’s Essay No. 2, Opus 17was composed and premiered in 1942. Bruno Walter asked Barber to write a work for the centennial of the New York Philharmonic, and Barber turned to a single-movement paradigm, resulting in Essay No. 2. Barber remarked that it should be noted that the piece was “written during war time,” which is signaled throughout by an often menacing timpani line.

Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Opus 99 was composed in 1947-48 and premiered in 1955. Most of Shostakovich’s career up until the end of the war had been dedicated to writing symphonies. At that point, Shostakovich began turning his attention to other genres, including concertos for solo instruments. The Violin Concerto No. 1 represents the first concerto Shostakovich completed and absorbs many symphonic elements, including the four-movement formal structure of a symphony.

Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, Opus 45 was composed in 1940 and premiered in 1941. With World War II raging throughout Europe, Rachmaninoff decided to move back to the United States for the last time, first settling on Long Island. It was on Long Island that Rachmaninoff completed his Symphonic Dances for Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, an orchestra he felt particularly close to throughout his career. Symphonic Dances would serve as Rachmaninoff’s final work, and it fully demonstrates his evolved mastery of orchestration.

Edo de Waart is in his sixth season as the sixth music director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in 2014.15. He also serves as chief conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic and conductor laureate of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. Regular guest conducting appearances include the Chicago Symphony, NHK Symphony, and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic orchestras as well as the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra where, as with the San Francisco Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic, he has previously held a post. At the end of the 2013.14 season, he returned to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

As an opera conductor, de Waart has enjoyed success in a large and varied repertoire in many of the world’s greatest opera houses. He has conducted at Bayreuth, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Opera de Bastille, Santa Fe Opera, and The Metropolitan Opera. His most recent appearance at The Met received rave reviews for Der Rosenkavalier, and he will return to the house in future seasons. In addition to semi-staged and concert opera performances with his orchestras in the United States, he regularly conducts opera with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw’s Zaterdag Matinee series, most recently Richard Strauss’s Salome.

Edo de Waart’s extensive catalogue encompasses releases for Philips, Virgin, EMI, Telarc, and RCA. His most recent recording is with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic; Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 was released in April 2013. Future releases include Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde: Nachtgesang und Isoldes Liebestod (arr. Henk de Vlieger) with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic.

At the age of 23, de Waart won the Dimitri Mitropoulos Conducting Competition in New York which resulted in his appointment as assistant conductor to Leonard Bernstein at the New York Philharmonic. On his return to Holland, he was appointed assistant conductor to Bernard Haitink at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In 1967, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra appointed him guest conductor and, six years later, chief conductor and artistic director. Since then, he has also been music director of the San Francisco Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra, chief conductor and artistic director of the Sydney Symphony, and chief conductor of De Nederlandse Opera.

Passion, excitement, and innovation are the hallmarks of internationally-acclaimed soloist and chamber musician Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg’s artistry. Highly regarded for her compelling performances, daring interpretations, and dedication to her craft, she is one of today’s leading violinists, renowned for her work on the concert stage, in the recording studio, and in her role as music director of the San Francisco-based New Century Chamber Orchestra, which she joined in January 2008. A United States tour with the Moscow State Symphony, performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Oregon, Milwaukee, and Colorado symphonies and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra are just some of her 2014.15 season highlights.

A powerful and creative presence on the recording scene, Nadja continues to add to the offerings of her own record label, NSS Music, which she started in 2005. The label’s roster of artists includes Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg, pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, horn player John Cerminaro, pianist/composer Clarice Assad, conductor Marin Alsop, the American String Quartet, the Colorado Symphony, Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo, and the New Century Chamber Orchestra. Nadja has also made several recordings for NSS MUSIC, featuring both concerto and chamber pieces. The latest release, From A To Z (May 2014), is an all-commissions CD featuring violin concertos by Clarice Assad, William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, all commissioned by New Century since Nadja joined the ensemble. Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg’s professional career began in 1981 when she won the Walter W. Naumburg International Violin Competition. In 1983, she was recognized with an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and in 1988 was Ovations Debut Recording Artist of the Year. In 1999, Nadja was honored with the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, awarded to instrumentalists who have demonstrated “outstanding achievement and excellence in music.”

de Waart Conducts Rachmaninoff
Edo de Waart, conductor
Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin
Uihlein Hall, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Friday, April 3 | 8:00 p.m.
Meet the Music, Anello Atrium | 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 4 | 8:00 p.m.
Meet the Music, Anello Atrium | 7:00 p.m.

Tickets range from $25-105. For more information, please call 414.291.7605 or visit Tickets may also be purchased through the Marcus Center Box Office at 414.273.7206.


The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, under the dynamic leadership of Music Director Edo de Waart, is among the finest orchestras in the nation and the largest cultural institution in Wisconsin. Now in his sixth season with the MSO, Maestro de Waart has led sold-out concerts, elicited critical acclaim, and conducted a celebrated performance at Carnegie Hall on May 11, 2012. The MSO’s full-time professional musicians perform over 135 classics, pops, family, education, and community concerts each season in venues throughout the state. Since its inception in 1959, the MSO has found innovative ways to give music a home in the region, develop music appreciation and talent among area youth, and raise the national reputation of Milwaukee.

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