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Rhapsody in Blue

Iceland Symphony Orchestra

Melodic, entertaining, and ever-popular works by some of America’s finest composers.

Leonard Bernstein: Candide Overture
Samuel Barber: Adagio for Strings
George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
Kenneth Fuchs: Bass Trombone Concerto
George Gershwin: Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture

Keru-Lynn Wilson

Andrew von Oeyen
David Bobroff

This programme features iconic works from the 20th-century American canon. George Gershwin was a pioneer in blending jazz rhythm and classical form. Rhapsody in Blue and the opera Porgy and Bess, both of them ground-breaking works in this regard, are still popular the world over. Leonard Bernstein’s overture to Candide is a brisk and lively introduction to the operetta based on Voltaire’s novella, and Samuel Barber’s elegiac Adagio for Strings provides a poignant contrast in mood.

Also on the programme is a new concerto for bass trombone by Kenneth Fuchs, whose music is widely respected and earned him a Grammy Award for Best Classical Compendium in 2018. BBC Music Magazine refers to him as a “master of orchestral writing” who “writes tonal orchestral music of great imagination.” An international group of leading bass trombonists got together and commissioned his new concerto, which has been heard widely in the past two years.

Both the conductor and one of the soloists on this evening’s programme have close ties to Iceland. David Bobroff was born and raised in the US but has been bass trombonist with the Iceland Symphony since 1995. The conductor, Keri-Lynn Wilson, is of Icelandic-Canadian heritage. Her
grandmother was Winnipeg’s leading West Icelandic pianist in her day and still sits down at the instrument on a daily basis, at the tender age of 100!

The soloist for Rhapsody in Blue is American pianist Andrew von Oeyen, whose sound recordings have garnered rave reviews, not least his interpretation of Gershwin. “Indisputable gifts and an extravagantly thorough and effortless technique,” was the Los Angeles Times critic’s assessment of this “most captivating” pianist, who made his debut with the LA Philharmonic at age 16.

Further information on the concert can be found on the Iceland Symphony Orchestra website.