After 22 seasons at the helm, music director Arthur Shaw will bid farewell to the Rogue Valley Symphony as he leads the orchestra in the final concert series of its 41st season. The two concerts will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 25, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 26, at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford. There will be no performances in Ashland or Grants Pass.
Shaw will conduct "Carmina Burana," by Carl Orff, as the orchestra shares the stage with the Rogue Valley Chorale. Soprano Lindsey Cafferky from Portland, baritone Benjamin Harris from Seattle, and tenor Andrew Brock of Medford will be the featured soloists.
The program will begin with a short work that Shaw says is especially meaningful to him. "It is a gorgeous piece, only about 10 minutes long, that I've wanted to perform for quite some time," he said in a press release. Shaw will reveal details about his special selection at the concerts. After the opening music, Shaw will speak about interesting aspects of "Carmina Burana" in his commentary, "Beyond the Score."
After the intermission the Craterian will resound with Orff's masterwork. Staging the enormous production is an achievement in itself. It is scored for full orchestra, six percussionists, two pianos, adult chorus, youth choir and solo vocalists. Shaw joked that he has the best seat in the house. "I've looked forward to doing this piece with this orchestra for 22 years," he said. "I love the driving rhythm of the percussion section "¦ like wild animals "¦ and the classic theme 'O Fortuna,' with the massive sound of the chorus at the beginning and at the end."
The Rogue Valley Chorale, southern Oregon's oldest and largest public choral ensemble, has prepared for the performances under the direction of its conductor, Lynn Sjolund, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arts Council of Southern Oregon in 2002.
Soprano Lindsey Cafferky, a native of Portland who received her Master of Music from the University of Michigan, will be returning to the Rogue Valley after her role last year in "The Merry Wives of Windsor" with Rogue Opera.
Baritone Benjamin Harris of Seattle is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University, where he recently performed "Carmina Burana" with the PLU Symphony Orchestra.
Tenor Andrew Brock earned Masters Degrees from the University of Oregon in Voice and Music Education, and was a full scholarship recipient at the Aspen Music Festival. Brock is an adjunct professor of music at Southern Oregon University and teaches music at Talent Elementary School. He has performed previously with the Rogue Valley Symphony, as well as with the Eugene Symphony, the Eugene Opera, and the Rogue Opera.
German composer Orff (1895-1982) considered "Carmina Burana" his greatest musical achievement. "Everything I have written to date," he wrote to his publisher following its completion, "can be destroyed. With 'Carmina Burana,' my collected works begin." Inspired by a collection of medieval poems, Orff's 1935 secular cantata covers a range of topics timeless in humanity, including the capricious nature of fortune. The idea of the turning wheel of fortune — of joy turning to bitterness, of hope turning to grief, and the wheel forever turning —- is the basis of the piece.
Pat Daly, former Jefferson Public Radio music director, will offer a free pre-concert talk one hour prior to each performance at the Craterian.
Tickets are $33 premium, $26 general, and $5 for students. All seats are reserved.
For tickets please call the symphony box office at 552-6398, open in the music building of SOU from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday-Friday. See rvsymphony.org for details.