The California Symphony begins its 32nd season and its sixth under the baton of Music Director Donato Cabrera with BEETHOVEN & BERNSTEIN at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek on Sunday September 23rd at 4pm. The 2018-19 season opener honors the music and legacy of legendary American composer, conductor, pianist, teacher, writer and celebrity Leonard Bernstein, and features a return visit by star pianist Charlie Albright performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Music by local composer Gabriela Lena Frank rounds out a high-energy concert to start the new season.
In selecting the music for this program, Music Director Donato Cabrera explains that the works not only celebrate Bernstein the composer, but the impact he had on what it means to program a concert as an American Music Director.
Cabrera says: “I can’t think of a more joyous curtain-raiser than his Overture to Candide. And what celebration of Bernstein’s music would be complete without a performance of Symphonic Dances from West Side Story! This suite is basically the 'greatest hits’ from this ever-popular musical.”
The inclusion on the program of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, performed by Charlie Albright, is a nod to Bernstein’s prowess as a pianist and communicator. According to Cabrera: “Charlie Albright’s charismatic approach to music making, paired with one of the most dramatic piano concertos ever written, is a perfect way to remember Bernstein, the pianist.”
A multi-award-winning musician and the recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2014, Charlie Albright made his California Symphony debut in the jazz-themed American Roots concert in 2016, when he brought the house down with his performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and his Great Balls of Fire encore.