Alexandria Symphony Orchestra Performs Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with New English Text

Posted Sep 08, 2022 | ASO News, Events, Press Releases, 

Alexandria, VA—Under the direction of Music Director James Ross, the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra opens its 2022-2023 season on October 1 and 2, 2022 with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (Ode to Joy). The concert is presented in partnership with the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts (CAAPA) and features the Fairfax Choral Society with Chorus Master Victoria Gau.

Beethoven’s magnus opus takes on new life with ASO’s contemporary performance of a new English text by former U.S poet laureate and Pulitzer prize-winner Tracy K. Smith. Ms. Smith’s text shines new light for our times just as Beethoven’s interpretation brought relevance to Schiller’s original poem.

Soloists appear courtesy of CAAPA, the Washington, D.C. based nonprofit seeking to create performance opportunities for African American performing artists and provide a platform to give back to their community, their motto being “Bring color to the classics!” This collaboration was born nearly two years ago when the ASO originally scheduled the monumental program for the 2020-2021 (postponed) season.

“This beautiful collaboration with CAAPA, the Fairfax Choral Society, our four wonderful soloists, and the ASO is something I’ve been looking forward to since before COVID made our lives so challenging,” says Maestro James Ross. “We at the ASO do our best to remove any barriers to the vital impact of great music from the past, so I’m especially proud to include Tracy K. Smith’s inventive adaptation; her re-imagining has captured a fresh and true sense of joy for our times—unabashed and complex.”

The quartet featured in the Ninth Symphony features world-class vocalists. Tenor Rodrick Dixon has graced the stages of the Los Angeles Opera, Ravinia Festival, Atlanta Symphony and Sydney Arts Festival as well as appeared in several PBS specials. Soprano Dara Rahming has performed roles with the Washington National Opera and the New York-Harlem world tour. Mezzo-soprano Marquita Raley-Cooper has debuted at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center and has appeared at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Baritone Daniel Rich has appeared with Opera Delaware, Maryland Opera and The Spoleto Festival; he appears by kind permission of The Metropolitan Opera Lindermann Young Artist Development Program. Mr. Rich and Ms. Raley-Cooper are CAAPA alumni.

“This historic collaboration is a hallmark of ASO’s commitment to broadening our reach and deepening the relevance to our entire community, bringing great music to new listeners,” says ASO Executive Director George Hanson.