Category Archive: Reviews

  1. The Zebra: José-Luis Novo Ably Conducts the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra in a Rousing Nationalistic Concert

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    Two years ago when Kim Kluge left his post as conductor of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra (ASO) after a brilliant 28 year tenure, he left gigantic shoes to fill. Judging by the concert I heard on February 11, there are several young, as well as seasoned conductors, who appear to be ready and able to fill that vacancy. Starting in 2015 when they knew that Maestro Kluge would be leaving in the spring of 2016, the ASO board began the search for a new conductor by sending out a call for applications. They received 170 applications and after due consideration, they selected 25 candidates. Then, in January, 2017, they narrowed the field to four finalists. All of those conductors were asked to program and conduct one of four concerts for the 2017-2018 Season.Three of the four finalists for this greatly prized position have now conducted concerts beginning in September, 2017. Each of those candidates programmed the concerts, rehearsed with the orchestra, and performed before large, enthusiastic audiences. Following those concerts audience members were invited to fill out a Conductor Evaluation Form and return it to the orchestra management by a deadline. Announcements were made from the podium about filling out the surveys online as well. After the fourth and final concert on April 8, the Board will meet to tally up all the results of the handwritten and online surveys. Then the board should be able to make a final decision on whom they feel would be the best fit for the ASO. The goal is for the new conductor to lead the orchestra in the Alexandria Birthday Concert in July.

    To read the original article published February 15, 2018 in The Zebra, click here.

  2. Washington Post: Ross Emphasizes the New and the Forgotten with Alexandria Symphony

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    James Ross is already making a mark as the new music director of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra. Known for innovative programming with the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra and the National Orchestral Institute, Ross is infusing new energy into the ensemble for its 75th season. His latest program, heard on Saturday night at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall, had a first half devoted entirely to American composers and also put a spotlight on music by women.

    The marquee event was the world premiere of a new Cello Concerto by Washington composer Jessica Krash. Written for a small orchestra of limited strings and single woodwinds, horn and trumpet, the piece is a vivid series of fantasy landscapes limned with canny economy. Bluesy turns and hints of Latin rhythms dot the texture, with especially wistful melodic writing in the slow movement.

    To read the original article published November 4, 2018 in the Washington Post, click here.

  3. Washington Post: Alexandria Symphony offers a sensuous ‘Rite of Spring’ at National Gallery

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    May 29 marks the 100th anniversary of the wonderfully scandalous premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” when a near-riot broke out in the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. Performances of this still-spectacular work are being staged all over the world this month, and one of the most striking may have been Sunday evening’s performance by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, in the Atrium of the National Gallery of Art’s East Building. With its slashing angles, kinetic spaces and eruptive heights, the Atrium echoes “Rite’s” own brash and fearless modernism — and from that perspective, at least, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect setting.

  4. Michael Paarlberg Effusive in Praise of Midori

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    Midori is one of those people who are so famous they don’t need a last name, like Madonnaor Ronaldinho. So it was a major coup when the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, an otherwise low-profile regional ensemble, snagged the superstar violinist for a pair of performances this weekend at Schlesinger Concert Hall on the Alexandria campus of Northern Virginia Community College.

  5. The Washington Post Reviews Midori and Praises the ASO

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    The Stravinsky “Firebird Suite” that opened the evening was a showcase for the orchestra’s power and its sharp-edged responses. The world premiere of conductor Kim Allen Kluge’s “Meibuki — Regeneration,” written to memorialize the victims of last year’s Japanese earthquake and tsunami, was the culmination of a week of violinist Midori’s residency with the orchestra and five local high schools.

  6. Stephen Brookes Describes ASO’s 2011 Opening Weekend as “A Jaw-Dropping Performance.”

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    The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra might not be considered among the world’s top orchestras, but don’t tell its players that. Opening this year’s season Saturday night under the baton of Music Director Kim Allen Kluge, the ASO turned in a jaw-dropping performance, premiering a virtuosic cello concerto by David Balakrishnan and infusing Hector Berlioz’s venerable old war horse, the “Symphonie Fantastique,” with so much vitality, electricity and excitement that it sounded like it was written last week.

  7. Joan Reinthaler Reviews ASO and Pianist Garrick Ohlsson

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    Garrick Ohlsson was the soloist in the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, giving a beautifully thought-out performance that highlighted the care and clarity he is so well known for. In the few places where thundering was called for, he thundered magnificently, but for the most part he spoke most eloquently through the transparency and agility of the cascades of notes in fast passages and the carefully weighted and released individual notes in the slow and quiet moments. After a few minutes of mutual adjusting at the beginning, Ohlsson and the orchestra found a comfortable working partnership.