With a rousing “fanfare”, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra opens its 2021-2022 Orpheum Theater season on Thursday (November 4) with its first public performance in person at its home venue in 18 months, presenting, as an opening piece, the famous Aaron Copland play “Marching Band for the Common Man.”
Familiar to many for the thundering, dramatic, horn-infused opening bars heard at countless TV commercials and sporting events, Copland’s 1942 classic was composed to honor the men and women of the United States military. Since then it has been covered by musical artists outside the classical realm, most notably by the British progressive rock group Emerson Lake and Palmer in 1977.
After the âFanfareâ, the LPO will perform two other notable works from the classical repertoire: the âViolin Concerto in D majorâ in three movements by Beethoven and the âSymphony No. 2 in D majorâ in four movements by Brahms. Beethoven and Brahms’ pieces, each lasting over 40 minutes, will be performed in their entirety by the full orchestra.
23-year-old violin prodigy Aubree Oliverson will star in Beethoven’s concerto.
Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. City-imposed COVID-19 restrictions will be in place. A vaccination certificate or proof of negative test results within 72 hours will be required for entry, as well as the wearing of the mask.
However, don’t expect social distancing. There will be no rows of ropes or restricted individual seats.
Commenting on his first concert at the Orpheum since taking the helm of the LPO three months ago, Executive Director Anwar Nasir said: âI am incredibly excited about this. It’s a great program. This is the main repertoire of the orchestra, and it’s really good to bring the orchestra back to play such well known and awesome music. It’s exciting for me, and I have no doubts that it will be exciting for the community as well.
Nasir, who came to the LPO from the Omaha Symphony after appearances at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl and Atlanta Ballet, added that there would be no dress code for the opening of the season. His predecessor, James Boyd, was hoping to start a tradition of bringing in patrons in formal dress for the season openings, and this was done for the first concert of the season in 2019.
âWe don’t intend to do this. At least not this time, âNasir said. âWe want it to be as inviting as possible for everyone to return to the Orpheum. â¦ We thought it was more important to just open the doors and bring in people dressed as they feel most comfortable. We have gone too long without our music as a larger community. “
The two major pieces of the opening night performance will undoubtedly be familiar to classical music lovers and laymen alike. The third movement “Rondo” from Beethoven’s concerto has been featured in numerous television commercials. And in the scattered passages of Brahms’ first movement, astute listeners will recognize accents of the composer’s famous “Lullaby and Good Night”.
For Oliverson, a Utah native who is making his New Orleans debut with a full orchestra, the occasion marks a reunion with LPO musical director Carlos Miguel Prieto, who will lead the performance. She performed Beethoven’s concerto and other works with Prieto on a 12-city tour across Mexico with the Orchestra of the Americas in the summer of 2019.
âHe’s wonderful to work with and he’s the perfect director for this play,â she said.
As for the piece itself, which she will play standing for 45 minutes without any musical score in front of her, she commented, âYou have to have a high level of endurance as a violin soloist. But it is both emotional and physical endurance. I don’t see it as exhausting because it’s so happy. I love the way the melodies and themes flow between the instrument and the different members of the orchestra as I play it. It’s an uplifting feeling.
NEXT LPO CONCERTS FOR 2021
“Die WalkÃ¼re” by Wagner: Act I (with New Orleans Opera)
Mahalia Jackson Theater, Louis Armstrong Park
7:30 p.m. Nov. 12 and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 14
“Heroes, dreamers and pioneers”
7:30 p.m. November 18
7:30 p.m. December 3
With excerpts from Handel’s âMessiahâ
7:30 p.m. on December 16