Esther Yoo, Violinist Visits Annapolis as Guest Artist for Annapolis Symphony Orchestra

Annapolis Symphony Orchestra presents Prokofiev, Brahms, and Ranjbaran on Friday, March 31st  and Saturday, April 1st at 8 PM at Maryland Hall and Sunday, April 2nd at 3 PM at Music Center at Strathmore. Esther Yoo, violinist, will accompany the orchestra.

Press Release: For Immediate Release

March 30, 2023

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (ASO), under the direction of Artistic Director and Conductor José-Luis Novo, will present “Two Romantics: Brahms & Prokofiev” at Maryland Hall and Strathmore, with guest artist violinist Esther Yoo. The ASO will perform on Friday, March 31st, and Saturday, April 1st at 8 PM at Maryland Hall in Annapolis, Maryland, and Sunday, April 2nd at 3 PM at Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland.

A 19th-century depiction of Esther (born Hadassah), the queen of Ahasuerus and the heroine of the Biblical Book of Esther.Credit…Fine Art Images/Heritage Images, via Getty Images

The performance opens with Behzad Ranjbaran’s composition “Esther,” a piece inspired by ancient mysticism, the number seven and themes of bravery, tolerance, conspiracy, and compassion in the ancient Biblical story of the Jewish heroine Esther. Ranjbaran’s music reflects his Persian roots and love of storytelling through music. 

The second piece in the evening’s repertoire features Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with guest artist Esther Yoo. Envisioned as a modest violin concertino, Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 1 became an important symphonic work in both scope and complexity. Prokofiev combined the harsh dissonances and spiky melodies that scandalized his professors at the Moscow Conservatory with romantic passages of elegant lyricism. 

Esther Yoo began playing the violin at four years old and made her concerto debut aged eight. At sixteen, she became the youngest prizewinner of the International Sibelius Violin Competition and two years later was one of the youngest ever prizewinners of the Queen Elisabeth Competition. In 2014 she became a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, and in 2018 was selected as one of Classic FM’s Top 30 Artists under 30. In 2020 WQXR named her one of twenty Artists to Watch.

Esther Yoo, violinst

We finish the evening with Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 2. The D major Symphony by Brahms seems to reflect the composer’s relaxed state of mind during the happy summer of 1877. The lyrical character of the work—sometimes referred to as Brahms’s “Pastoral” Symphony—is remarkably intricate and unified, resulting in a composition that radiates energy and optimism from start to finish.

The symphony’s sunny spirit – especially the last two movements – and relatively transparent orchestration induced one of the composer’s friends to exclaim: “It is all rippling streams, blue sky, sunshine, and cool green shadows.”  The premiere in Vienna on December 30th, 1877, under the baton of Hans Richter, was an unqualified success. 

Maestro José-Luis Novo says: “I am very much looking forward to this program for the complementing aspects of the three different works we are performing: Prokofiev and Ranjhbaran have a comparable evocative writing, one that draws you in with their use of a vibrant orchestral palette. Brahms’s Second Symphony is always a pure joy to experience live because of its genuine connections to nature, the solemnity of its intimate second movement and the festive character of its finale.”

About the ASO

The mission of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra is to inspire, educate, and enrich lives near and far by creating extraordinary musical experiences with uncompromising artistic excellence. As we celebrate our 61st year in Annapolis, we are more intent than ever on bringing More Music, To More Places, For More People.

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra offers subscription packages, both for in-person and virtual viewing, as well as tickets for single in-person programs. For more information and purchase tickets or subscriptions, see AnnapolisSymphony.org/events or contact the box office at 410-263-0907.

Media Inquiries

Please contact Diana Love, Director of Marketing and Communications. Phone: 410-267-3631. Email: DLove@AnnapolisSymphony.org