A little less than seven years ago, Christoph Eschenbach conducted his debut performance as the National Symphony Orchestra’s new music director in a program featuring a contemporary orchestral work (Matthias Pintscher’s Hérodiade-Fragmente) and an exciting interpretation of Beethoven’s timeless Symphony No. 9. This June 2017 concert sees the great German maestro bring his tenure to a reflective and complimentary close: the program opens with contemporary Chinese American composer Bright Sheng’s Concerto for Orchestra: "Zodiac Tales"—a work commissioned by Eschenbach during his tenure as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra—and continues with another performance of Beethoven’s Ninth.
Bright Sheng is one of today’s foremost composers, whose stage, orchestral, chamber and vocal works are performed regularly throughout North America, Europe and Asia. The New York Times has described the work of Bright Sheng as “an exquisite blend of the musical East and West… the orchestra writing is brilliant.” His 2005 orchestral work "Zodiac Tales" is inspired by traditional Chinese legends about the astrological animals of the zodiac.
For Beethoven’s “Choral Symphony,” Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra are joined by the Choral Arts Society of Washington (under the direction of Scott Tucker) as well as a cast of established and rising star singers: mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges, tenor Joseph Kaiser, bass Soloman Howard, and soprano Leah Crocetto.
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Photo: Christoph Eschenbach © Luca Piva