South Florida Symphony Orchestra will present a bold and daring evening of Dvořák Masterworks, featuring Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World”, Op. 95, B. 178 and Cello Concerto in B minor, performed by Grammy Award-winning cellist Zuill Bailey. Bailey appeared during the symphony’s inaugural concert 25 years ago.
Led by Music Director Sebrina María Alfonso, the concerts will take place at 7:30 p.m. on March 22, at The Parker in Fort Lauderdale; March 23, at New World Center in Miami Beach; and on March 25, at Tennessee Williams Theatre at The College of the Florida Keys in Key West.
“Twenty-five years ago, my dream of bringing the music I love to my community in Key West came to be. As we celebrate our silver anniversary, bringing these cherished works to our expanded audiences throughout South Florida is an absolute thrill. And what an even greater joy it is to have my dear friend and acclaimed cellist, Zuill Bailey, back with us to mark this momentous occasion,” said Alfonso. “‘From the New World’ may be Dvořák’s love letter to America, but this program is our love letter to you, the many supporters who have journeyed with us, helping us to become the region’s preeminent orchestra. It takes a village, and we are grateful to have you with us.”
Maestra Alfonso and Bailey have known each other since their days at Peabody Conservatory. Over the years, Bailey has become a frequent guest artist and a favorite among audiences. He is considered one of the premier cellists in the world and is an internationally renowned soloist, artistic director, and teacher. His illustrious recording career consists of over 20 titles. His CD, Dvořák Cello Concerto is listed in Penguin’s Guide as one of the Top 1000 Classical Recordings of All Time. He also won a GRAMMY for Best Solo Performance for his live recording of Tales of Hemingway by composer Michael Daugherty.
In 1892, Dvořák was recruited to be the director for the National Conservatory of Music in New York City, which opened in 1888 to make music education available to talented students from every background, including marginalized communities and fostering the creation of American national music. In his quest to bring the sounds of America into European classical music, his most famous work was born, the four-movement Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, better known as “New World Symphony.” In the lead-up to its 1893 premiere by the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, Dvořák commented that he thought the core of an American sound could be found in Native American communities and African American spirituals, which you can hear in the composition. Upon its premiere, a reporter for the New York Herald observed that the new symphony was “a noble composition… of heroic proportions.”
Bailey will also perform Cello Concerto in B minor, the most widely regarded and also the last solo concerto by Dvořák. Written in 1894 for Dvořák’s friend, cellist Hanuš Wihan, it premiered in London in 1896 by the English cellist Leo Stern. Dvořák wrote the concerto while in New York City for his third term as the director of the National Conservatory. After hearing composer Victor Herbert’s Cello Concerto No. 2 in E minor, Op. 30, Dvořák was inspired to complete a cello concerto of his own. Herbert had been principal cellist in the New York Philharmonic that premiered Dvořák’s “New World Symphony” in 1893.
Tickets are available here or by calling (954) 522-8445.