Annapolis Symphony Orchestra hosts World Première of Michael Foumai’s “Living Pono”, Guest Artist Grammy-winning Violinist James Ehnes, Harpist Charles Overton and Organist Daniel Aunes, Friday – Sunday, May 5-7th at Maryland Hall in Annapolis, Maryland and at Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland
For Immediate Release
The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (ASO), a non-profit organization in Annapolis, Maryland, presents the final concert of the 2022-2023 season: Masterworks VI, featuring Hawaiian composer Dr. Michael Thomas Foumai, Harpist Charles Overton, Grammy – winning Violinist James Ehnes, and Organist Daniel Aune for Saint Saëns “Organ Symphony”. Masterworks VI will be performed on Friday, May 5th and Saturday, May 7th in Annapolis at Maryland Hall and Sunday, May 7th at Music Center at Strathmore. Tickets are available at AnnapolisSymphony.org/events. Masterworks VI will be a powerful performance, one that Artistic Director and Conductor José-Luis Novo has envisioned for a long time.
Dr. Michael-Thomas Foumai
World Première of “Living Pono”, by Hawaiian composer Dr. Michael Thomas Foumai with Harpist Charles Overton. “Living Pono” is a co-commission earned through the partnership “Embracing 21st Century Voices” between the ASO and Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music. The Hawaiian word “pono” has many definitions but generally refers to being balanced and doing what is right. Dr. Foumai says the call to live pono, rings strongly today: “”Living Pono” speaks to the act of living righteously, to live in balance with the environment.” “Living Pono” is an expression of Dr. Foumai’s journey to finding purpose to advocate environmental awareness through music and the lens of indigenous knowledge. Featuring harp as the main protagonist, the work is in one continuous dramatic narrative, a musical journey that illustrates the search to live pono in the climate crisis.
Artistic Director and Conductor José-Luis Novo
Maestro Novo says of Dr. Foumai’s composition: “It is always incredibly exciting to perform a symphonic work for the first time, when nobody else has yet heard it. I am particularly thrilled to present Living Pono by Michael- Thomas Foumai with solo harpist Charles Overton to our audiences because it speaks passionately about the importance of living in balance with the environment. Michael is a brilliant exponent of a new generation of American composers who understand the significance of bringing public awareness to issues of wide community interest through their art—a truly honorable position for an artist.”
Harpist Charles Overton
Charles Overton began his harp studies at the age of ten under the direction of Lynelle Ediger, at her “American Youth Harp Ensemble”. He is a 2016 graduate of Berklee College of Music, Boston, where he was the first harpist to be accepted to Berklee’s Global Jazz Institute – a prestigious and highly specialized program at the school in which students are able to study and work intimately with master jazz artists. Mr. Overton currently performs internationally and serves on the faculty of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee.
Award- Winning Violinist James Ehnes
Grammy winning Violinist James Ehnes will join the ASO for a performance of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Concerto for Violin in D major, op. 35. Mr. Ehnes began his violin studies at age five and made his orchestra debut with L’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal at age 13. Mr. Ehnes won a Grammy Award (2019) for his live recording of Aaron Jay Kernis’ Violin Concerto with the Seattle Symphony and Ludovic Morlot, and for ‘Best Instrumental Soloist Performance’ for his recording of the Korngold, Barber and Walton violin concertos. He won a Gramophone Award for his live recording of the Elgar Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis, and a JUNO award for ‘Best Classical Album of the Year’. Mr. Ehnes plays the “Marsick” Stradivarius of 1715.
Organist Daniel Aune
Daniel Aune will join ASO musicians on Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78, was completed by Camille Saint-Saëns in 1886 at the peak of his artistic career. It is popularly known as the “Organ Symphony”. Mr. Aune is the Coordinator of Organ Studies and serves on the faculty at The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, the oldest music conservatory in the United States. He is also the Director of Music and Organist at Christ Lutheran Church at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore.
José-Luis Novo, Artistic Director & Conductor
The Philip Richebourg Chair
James Ehnes, violin
Charles Overton, harp
Living Pono * (World Première) Michael-Thomas Foumai (b. 1987)
Charles Overton, harp
* Co-commissioned by the ASO and the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music
Violin Concerto in D major, op. 35 Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957)
- Moderato nobile
- Romance: Andante
- Finale: Allegro assai vivace
James Ehnes, violin
– INTERMISSION –
Symphony No. 3 in C minor, op. 78 “Organ” Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)
- Adagio—Allegro moderato, Poco adagio
- Allegro moderato—Presto, Maestoso—Allegro
Daniel Aune, organ
About the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra
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.
About Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music
Founded in 2017 by internationally acclaimed composer and pianist Gabriela Lena Frank, GLFCAM helps composers of any aesthetic and demographic, and from emerging through mid-career levels, to develop self-determined 21st century lives. GLFCAM’s mission centers on the creative habit, community, and eco-citizenship, forming years-long relationships with composers. As a result, composers are provided a rich array of opportunities such as collaborating on new works with renowned performer-mentors; taking online classes and practicums; composing large scale symphonies under fair commission rates with readings of the work-in-progress (graciously supported by Justus and Elizabeth Schlichting); teaching in youth music programs in underserved rural areas; participating in a multi-year peer-supported study group on climate intelligence and the arts; and becoming skilled communicators – cultural witnesses – in both spoken and written word. GLFCAM alumni are leading composers in the international music fields as well as teachers and professors, non-profit administrators, therapists, hospice workers, environmentalists and civic volunteers.
Please contact Diana Love, Director of Marketing and Communications. Phone: 410-267-3631. Email: DLove@AnnapolisSymphony.org