MOZART & FRIENDS

Saturday, January 28, 2023 | 8PM | MICHIGAN THEATER

This concert is generously sponsored by the Rebecca Sue Horvath Concert Endowment Fund

Relive the music of Mozart and his contemporaries in this vibrant program from the Michigan Theater. The golden soundscape of Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 4 takes center stage, with soloist Adam Unsworth negotiating the composer’s famously impish score with its high-spirited, hunt-inspired finale. Described as “a landmark … personal in tone, indeed perhaps more individual in its combination of an intimate, chamber music style with a still fiery and impulsive manner”, Mozart’s Symphony No. 29 joins the horn concerto on the program, a glimpse into Mozart’s early symphonic talents that stands among his most popular works.

Two composers share the spotlight with the Viennese master, notably among them Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, perhaps the best-known classical composer of African ancestry and a prodigiously talented violinist. A pivotal figure in Parisian musical circles (he commissioned Haydn’s “Paris” symphonies for performance under his direction), Saint-Georges’s symphonies, concertos and miscellaneous works were highly regarded in their day. Rounding out the program is Haydn’s Symphony No. 49, a dramatically turbulent example of the composer’s Sturm und Drang (“storm and stress”) period. Incessantly propulsive and motivically colorful throughout, this symphony delivers the composer at his charismatic best.

PROGRAM

Saturday, January 28, 2023 | 8PM | Michigan Theater

Adam Unsworth, horn
Tong Chen, conductor

Saint-Georges Symphony No. 2
Haydn Symphony No. 49 “La Passione”
Mozart Horn Concerto No. 4
Mozart Symphony No. 29

Adam Unsworth, horn 

BIOGRAPHY

Adam Unsworth is Professor of Horn at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance. Prior to his appointment in Ann Arbor, Adam was a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra (1998-2007) and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (1995-1998). He has toured Asia and Europe with the San Francisco Symphony, is a frequent guest with the Detroit Symphony. Currently he serves as Principal Horn of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra and is a member of the Bay Area horn quartet, Quadre.

Adam has five recordings as a leader to his credit: Balance (2014), a jazz recording for horn, jazz sextet and chamber orchestra, Snapshots (2013), a recording of contemporary classical music in collaboration with composer/pianist Catherine Likhuta, Just Follow Instructions (2009), featuring the chamber music of saxophonist/composer Daniel Schnyder, Next Step (2008) and Excerpt This! (2006) – jazz recordings which received critical acclaim from both jazz and classical reviewers. He was soloist on the premiere of Mondrian’s Studio, a concerto by Paul Dooley for horn and wind ensemble, and the premiere recording of Dana Wilson’s Concerto for Horn and Wind Ensemble with the University of Michigan Symphony Band.

Adam is a member of the New York based Gil Evans Centennial Project, which has received two Grammy nominations for its recordings Centennial and Lines of Color, and won the 2013 Jazz Journalist Association Award for Large Jazz Ensemble of the Year. He is part of Japanese big band leader Miho Hazama’s M-Unit Band and has appeared on the most recent Grammy nominated recordings, Dancer in Nowhere and Time River. He has appeared alongside new music ensembles Alarm Will Sound, the Meridian Arts Ensemble, Ensemble Signal, Ensemble Linea, and the Slee Sinfonietta.

A former faculty member at Temple University, Adam has appeared as a recitalist and clinician at many universities across the United States, and has made several solo and chamber appearances at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. Unsworth received his formal training at Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Tong Chen, conductor 

BIOGRAPHY

Tong Chen has established herself as one of her generation’s most promising and exciting young conductors. Currently the Assistant Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Chen is a prizewinner of the prestigious International Malko Conducting Competition and a proud participant in the 2020 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, postponed to March 2022.  Highlights of the 2022-23 season include debuts with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. In the 2021-22 season, Tong made her conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic, subscription concerts with the New Jersey Symphony orchestra, and worked as cover conductor with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, DC. 

Born in Shanghai, China, Tong Chen is a guest conductor of numerous orchestras internationally and throughout China including the Shanghai Philharmonic; Leipzig Symphony Orchestra; Qing Dao Symphony Orchestra; Charleston Symphony Orchestra; the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in 2015, for her Lincoln Center debut, and the Shanghai Opera House, where she worked as the Assistant Conductor from 2004-2009. In addition, Tong has worked for Gustavo Dudamel of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Ivan Fischer of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, as a cover conductor. 

An education advocate, Chen taught orchestral conducting and led the Copland School of Music orchestral program from 2012-2018. She is a regular guest conductor at the Manhattan School of Music and a guest lecturer at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

Founder of the new music project, “NOW!”, Tong has commissioned and performed new compositions throughout different cultural backgrounds and genres. Recently world premieres include Allen Shawn’s Concerto for Clarinet and Cello, Ellis Marsalis’ “The Fourth Autumn,’ “Thu Diếu” by Viet Cuong, and “Queenie Pie Suite” by Duke Ellington.

by the numbers

Completion date, Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 4

Haydn Symphony No. 49 approx. length in minutes

Saint-Georges' age when he first traveled to France

SEE YOU AT THE SYMPHONY!

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