The Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra accompanies great composers and Bugs Bunny in a new season
Donato Cabrera bridges the artistic chasm between Beethoven and Bugs Bunny.
“When I think of ‘Bugs Bunny at the Symphony,’ I think of the fact that it was those cartoons that got me interested in classical music, before I even knew classical music existed,” said the music of the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra. said the director. “I think most Americans, for many generations, see Bugs Bunny rubbing Elmer Fudd’s scalp at the opening of ‘The Barber of Seville’ and they don’t even know it’s a piece of music classic.”
The January 7 return to the music superimposed on those great Warner Bros. cartoons, “Bugs Bunny at the Symphony,” is just one slice of the nine-piece pie that is the 2022-23 season. Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra. The symphony series kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on September 17 with “American Classics.” The showcase celebrates a quartet of American composers: William Grant Still (“Festive Overture”), George Antheil (“Hot-Time Dance”), Wynton Marsalis (Violin Concerto in D) and Ferde Grofé (“Grand Canyon”) suite.
Another celebration of American composers, “Appalachian Spring,” featuring the Time for Three string trio, will follow on October 15. Artist-in-Residence Joshua Roman, an inspiring and inventive cellist, will be featured in “Cabrera Conducts Elgar & Sibelius” on November 19.
Other highlights include “Handel’s Messiah” (December 3), “Cabrera Conducts St. George, Chopin and Mozart” (February 11), “The Music of John Williams” (March 4), “A Night at opera” (April 1) and the closing of the season “Cabrera conducts Tchaikovsky” (May 6).
Since being named Music Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014, Cabrera has advanced familiarity and adventurism in his selections each season. This is why we find Bugs, and the celebration of the soaring scores of John Williams (with “Jaws”, “Superman”, “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter at the Sorcerer’s Stone” on the program), and above all the two first performances of the season.
“The music I chose is a reflection of who we are and who we would like to be, institutionally and artistically,” says Cabrera. “Going forward, there’s a definite leaning toward American music, and that’s totally reflected in the first two shows, by design. ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ is playing all the time, ‘American in Paris’ is playing, and “’West Side Story’ is too.
“These are staples of what might be considered the American symphonic tradition, but there’s so much more music out there.”
After Beethoven’s heavy slate of 2021-22, the idea is to present a season that allows the Philharmonie to recover from its COVID-19 break.
“Like all arts organizations, the Philharmonie is always finding its way,” says Cabrera. “The music that was chosen last year, trying to submit all of Beethoven’s symphonies in one season, plus something by a living American composer, was a great statement.”
This message continues through 2023, as Cabrera and the symphony attempt to balance artistic merit with earning money.
“It’s an interesting question, how do we strike that balance. But I don’t think about ticket sales and marketing first,” says Cabrera. “We want to bring the best shows. Look at something like the John Williams concert, which of course meets the needs of marketing and ticket sales. But so many classical musicians consider John Williams the greatest living American composer, period, for everything he did. So, I look at it from that angle, and it works for us.
John Katsilometes’ column airs daily in Section A. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.