Music Director Donato Cabrera will lead the California Symphony in the earliest symphony by Mozart, and the last one written by his friend and mentor, Joseph Haydn this weekend. And in between those bookending symphonies will be the flute concerto by Kevin Puts, the Pulitzer Prize-winner who was a previous Young American Composer in Residence with the ensemble.
There’s more information at the California Symphony website.
“I’ve always felt that I should celebrate the entire history of the California Symphony, not just since I’ve been music director,” Cabrera says. “And there were so many wonderful things that had happened before I was there. And to bring back these composers when possible.” Since he was in residence from 1996 to 1999, Kevin Puts has gone on to great acclaim, winning the Pulitzer for his opera Silent Night. “I had been wanting to do a piece, and I had just been listening to his flute concerto. And I thought this is such a wonderful concerto, and such a great vehicle for an instrument that doesn’t always get a chance to play in front of the orchestra. And I told him my idea is to do the flute concerto. And he said, you know, I have to tell you, it’s one of my favorite pieces, if you do it, I’ll come out and see it.” The soloist for the work is Annie Wu, the Bay Area born flutist who’s now living in Manhattan, following a dual degree program at Harvard and the New England Conservatory. The symmetry of pairing the early Mozart and late Haydn appealed to Cabrera. “Most people think they know the symphonies of Mozart, but they really don’t, because most orchestras only perform about six of the 41 with any regularity. I thought, well, how wonderful would it be to do his first symphony? He was 8 years old, he has a first symphony, and no one ever does it! And it’s not that long, it’s only about 15 minutes long, so it almost serves the function of an overture… And contrast that with the last symphony of Papa Haydn, who was in Mozart’s day the most famous living composer, Franz Joseph Haydn. And this symphony, from the first note to the last, you can just sense this master of writing something that… every note makes sense.”