The Peninsula Symphony explores space in their final concerts of the season, with two works inspired by planets, and in between, they feature a young bass player as the soloist for a Bottesini concerto. Music Director Mitchell Sardou Klein says they’ll also have recent NASA images to accompany the celestial works, and guest astronomer Andrew Fraknoi to provide context for the performance.
There’s more information about the concerts (Saturday’s is sold out) at the Peninsula Symphony website.
The concert will open with the work The Transit of Venus by area composer Nancy Bloomer Deussen, part of the orchestra’s season theme called “Fortissima” of including works by living women composers on every program. Gustav Holst’s masterpiece will end the concert and the season. Klein describes it this way: “The Planets, which is blockbuster orchestral tour-de-force, pulling out all the stops, using almost every instrument that ever gets on an orchestral stage, woven together to depict the planets less in an astronomical exhibition, and more in an astrological context. So we really hear the personalities of the planets a little bit more than the geography of the planets.” The theme of the concert seemed inevitable, given the nearby Ames Research Center in Mountain View. “There’s so much recent NASA photography,” Klein explains, “And our orchestra has a number of members who in their other lives are scientists working on those kinds of projects. One of our bassoonists, our longtime principal bassoon was a NASA Project Manager for many years. He managed several of the big interplanetary missions.” The soloist for the Bottesini was the winner of last year’s Irving M. Klein International String Competition. “In the 31 years of the Competition…we’ve never had a bass player get a top prize. And this year, we had a young bass player studying at Curtiss named William Langley-Millitich, who just knocked everybody out… We’re really very excited to see him, and I think our audience will just love it. “