Alexandria Symphony Celebrates Strings with an American Premiere

Posted Jan 13, 2023 | ASO News, Events, Press Releases, 

Alexandria, VA— The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will present a program entitled Banner on Saturday, February 11, 2023 (7:30 p.m.) at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center and Sunday, February 12, 2023 (3:00 p.m.) at the George Washington Masonic Memorial.

Lauded for his creativity and inventiveness, Jeffrey Ching completed Mozart’s unfinished Sinfonia Concertante by adding material from other works by the composer; ASO’s performance marks the first time this piece has been performed in the United States. The premiere will be paired with one of the most loved and greatest symphonies in the canon: Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 in D major. Commonly known as the London Symphony, it’s the last among his 12 symphonies composed for English audiences while in residence in London.

“Begun in 1779, the Sinfonia Concertante’s 138 increasingly sparse bars were left dangling for a few centuries until my friend and composer Jeffrey Ching completed it with other movements by Mozart to constitute this American premiere,” says Maestro James Ross. “It’s brought lovingly to light for the first time in the U.S. by the estimable Thalea String Quartet, who specialize in bringing old and new together in genre-defying ways.”

Barber’s Adagio for Strings transcends time and genre, composed as a movement for string quartet, extracted as an arrangement for string orchestra, and has since been adapted numerous times, including as a sacred vocal rendition. Commissioned for the 200th anniversary of The Star-Spangled Banner, Jessie Montgomery’s Banner incorporates her own complex relationship with the anthem while reflecting on the milestones and progress that our country has achieved over the last two centuries. Montgomery’s Banner and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante feature members from Thalea String Quartet.

The Thalea String Quartet brings their signature vibrancy and emotional commitment to dynamic performances that reflect the past, present, and the future of the string quartet repertoire while celebrating diverse musical traditions from around the world. Fueled by the belief that chamber music is a powerful force for building community and human connection, the Thalea String Quartet has performed across North America, Europe, and China. Christopher Whitley (violin) is originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Kumiko Sakamoto (violin) is from Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada; Lauren Spaulding (viola) is from San Antonio, Texas; and Alex Cox (cello) is from West Palm Beach, Florida.