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ASO preparing for U.S. premiere of Salonen’s ‘Nyx’ in Atlanta, on to Carnegie Hall; new VP announced

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has released a few more details about program that includes the U.S. premiere Esa-Pekka Salonen’s “Nyx,” that it will perform in Atlanta on Oct. 27 and 29 before heading to New York’s Carnegie Hall for a Nov. 5 concert.
Music director Robert Spano will lead the ASO in the concerts that feature “Nyx,” a work co-commissioned by the ASO, Finnish Radio Symphony, Radio France, Carnegie Hall and London’s Barbican Centre.
The Atlanta Symphony Hall program will also include Scriabin’s “Poem of Ecstasy” and Rachmaninov’s “The Bells.” Soprano Tatiana Monogarova, tenor Sergey Romanovsky, bass Denis Sedov and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus will join the ASO for “The Bells.”
In the Carnegie concert, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concert No. 3, featuring pianist Garrick Ohlsson, replaces “The Bells.” ASO Media, the orchestra’s new label, plans a fall release of Ohlsson playing the Rachmaninov. Also on the CD, due Oct. 25, will be Rachmaninov’s “Symphonic Dances,” with Spano conducting the ASO.
As for “Nyx,” Salonen has written that he named the composition for the “shadowy” and “nebulous” figure in Greek mythology.
“I’m not trying to describe this mythical goddess in any precise way musically,” the Finnish-born composer said. “However, the almost constant flickering and rapid changing of textures and moods as well as a certain elusive character of many musical gestures may well be related to the subject.
“I have always enjoyed the unrivaled dynamic range of a large symphony orchestra,” he continued, “but ‘Nyx’ seems to take a somewhat new direction from my earlier orchestral music: There are many very delicate and light textures, chiaroscuro instead of details bathing in clear direct sunlight. I guess this is symptomatic of growing older as we realize there are no simple truths, no pure blacks and whites but an endless variety of half shades.”
Tickets for the Atlanta concerts, $21-$79, are available via the Woodruff Arts Center box office, 404-733-5000,  www.atlanta symphony.org or www.ticket master.com.

In other ASO news …

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra on Thursday announced the appointment of Evans Mirageas as vice president for artistic planning, effective Jan. 1. Mirageas joined the ASO in 2006 as artistic adviser and has served as director of artistic planning since 2007. In his new role, he will be based in Atlanta, but while remaining Cincinnati Opera’s artistic director, a position he has held since 2005.

 “I am honored to be entering a new phase of working with the Atlanta Symphony,” he said in a prepared statement. “Having known and worked with Robert Spano for over two decades, it is a joy to be able to now live in Atlanta” and help the music director chart the ASO’s future. HOWARD POUSNER

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