Sedona News – The Verde Valley Sinfonietta presents its second concert of the 2022-2023 season under the direction of guest conductor William White, one of four finalists in the Sinfonietta’s season-long search for a new music director. The concert also features guest violinist Rachel Priday, performing the Violin Concerto in F# minor of Joseph White (no relation to William White), on Sunday January 15, at 2:30 PM in the Sedona Performing Arts Center. Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 and Rossini’s Overture to the Barber of Seville round out the program.
William C. White is a conductor, composer, teacher, writer, and performer based in Seattle, WA. Equally known for his original music as for his bold interpretations, Mr. White is an innovative programmer and conscientious leader in the musical community.
In Seattle William White currently serves as music director of Harmonia, a unique performing ensemble comprised of a chorus and orchestra that concertize as one. For four seasons (2011-15) he served as assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Mr. White maintains a significant career as a composer of music for the concert stage, theater, cinema, church, radio, and film. His music has been performed throughout North America as well as in Asia and Europe.
Mr. White earned a master’s degree in conducting from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and a BA in Music from the University of Chicago. In 2004, he began attending the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors, later serving as the school’s Conducting Associate, then as its Composer-in-Residence.
Rachel Lee Priday has appeared as soloist with major international orchestras, among them the Chicago, Houston, National, Pacific, St. Louis and Seattle Symphony Orchestras, Boston Pops Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Germany’s Staatskapelle Berlin. Her distinguished recital appearances have brought her to eminent venues, including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Mostly Mozart Festival, Chicago’s Ravinia Festival and Dame Myra Hess Memorial Series, Paris’s Musée du Louvre, Germany’s Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival and Switzerland’s Verbier Festival.
Ms. Priday began her violin studies at the age of four in Chicago. Shortly thereafter, she moved to New York City to study with the iconic pedagogue Dorothy DeLay; she continued her studies at The Juilliard School Pre-College Division with Itzhak Perlman. She holds a B.A. degree in English from Harvard University and an M.M. from the New England Conservatory, where she worked with Miriam Fried. In the fall of 2019, she joined the faculty of the University of Washington School of Music as Assistant Professor of Violin.
The January 15th concert begins with Rossini’s Overture to the Barber of Seville. Even if concertgoers have never heard the opera itself, they will recognize the overture from cartoons, film, and television. This iconic music often accompanies comical chase scenes or characters madly scrambling and was recycled from two of Rossini’s earlier works to replace the original, which was lost shortly after the opera’s premiere.
Cuban composer and violinist Joseph White wrote the Violin Concerto in F# minor in 1864, after Paganini’s expansion of the violin’s technical possibilities. Its virtuosity is demonstrated with wide leaps, double-stops, and other impressive feats. The first movement’s main theme evokes the heated romanticism of Felix Mendelssohn or Robert Schumann, but the challenging solo writing puts it in league with the works of Henryk Wieniawski.
Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 91 was composed in 1833. It is known as the Italian Symphony because it was intended to evoke the sights and sounds of Italy that Mendelssohn experienced during a 10-month trip that he took in 1830. His impressions were recorded in a series of watercolors and sketches (Mendelssohn was a decent amateur artist). The work strives to convey a series of impressions of Italy: Mediterranean sunshine, religious solemnity, monumental art and architecture, and the open countryside. The four-movement work begins with a joyful first movement, in sonata form, and is followed by the second movement, which gives an impression of a religious procession that the composer witnessed in Naples. The third movement is a minuet and trio (in which French horns are introduced in the trio), while the fourth movement incorporates dance figurations from the Roman saltarello and the Neapolitan tarantella. The symphony features individual melodies for woodwinds and a broad dynamic range.
This concert is co-sponsored by Neil and Mary Pope, and Scott Kummerfeldt and Mary Morris. Ticket prices are $15-$65 (half price for children) and are available on the Sinfonietta website: VVSinfonietta.org. END