COMING UP: Shostakovich, Gottsch World Premiere & Great Opera Arias -- Jan. 24-28

In celebration of the 70 th Anniversary of the State of Israel and in culmination of the 20 th Anniversary of the South Florida Symphony Orchestra, world class Founder | Music Director Sebrina María Alfonso introduces the United States premiere of Nimrod Borenstein’s If You Will It, It Is No Dream. The title of this composition is based on a phrase in the Theodor Herzl book, Old New Land, which soon became a popular Zionist movement slogan. Herzl, an Austro-Hungarian journalist, playwright, political activist, and writer, formed the Zionist Organization and promoted Jewish immigration to Palestine to
establish a Jewish National Home.
Borenstein wrote If You Will It, It Is No Dream in 2012 in homage to his native Israel for the Philharmonia Orchestra (UK). The world premiere of the composition took place to great acclaim on June 13, 2013 at the Royal Festival Hall under the musical direction of legendary pianist and composer Vladimir Ashkenazy. Maestro Ashkenazy, a champion of Borenstein’s music, later recorded the piece in an album of Borenstein’s orchestral works for Chandos label (2017 release). Borenstein explains:

“… I have used the wind, brass and strings as three contrasting forces in a manner not unlike a piano trio. An example is at the start…: after a short string outburst, the main theme is given to the brass, quickly followed by the wind and then the strings alone. In addition, I use instruments of the winds and brass as solo instruments for their specific timbre, color and tessitura. I am interested in using the complex juxtaposition of rhythms to create a multiple of different atmospheres and enhance the characteristic of each of the components. In the same way that you experience cold more strongly after heat, the slow is more defined following the fast. The piece is full of contrasts: changes of speed, dynamics, texture, length. Sometimes the differences occur at the same time in a personal use of counterpoint that could be described as ‘multimelodic’.” (Multimelodic meaning eternal but ever-changing flow of time.) “One … aspect …is the way a theme or phrase can be sometimes light and optimistic or dark and inescapable, depending on its context. The changes in the orchestration, the accompanying figures of counterpoint or theharmony behind the melody completely alter our perception and is the musical expression of the complexity and ambiguity of our world.”

When asked “What is Jewish about the work?” Borenstein responds “What is Jewish about it is that I am Jewish! If you want great music from great composers like Beethoven …, then you have to let them write as the people they are … If they are Jewish, there will be something Jewish in their work just as there is something German about Beethoven … It’s part of you.”

Borenstein’s compositions are widely performed in prestigious venues and festivals throughout Israel, Europe, Canada, Australia, the Far East, South America, Russia, and the United States. His music receives hugely enthusiastic reviews and appears in the repertoires of many ensembles and orchestras.Borenstein became a Laureat of the Cziffra Foundation in 1984, moved to London in 1986 for violin studies with Itzhak Rashkovsky at the Royal College of Music, and was awarded the highest scholarship from the Leverhulme Trust to study composition with Paul Patterson at the Royal Academy of Music.
Currently an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, Borenstein’s substantial catalogue of over 70 works includes orchestral and chamber music, instrumentals, vocal works, and ballets.

BBC Music Magazine (December 2017) wrote, “The overriding sensation here is of an exuberantly inventive composer with a symphonic instinct exhilarating in the concerto medium.” From Classica (October 2017), “Nimrod Borenstein …possesses a solid craftsmanship but more importantly a true personality. Finally, music full of happiness.” Also on the program Guest Artist, Aldo López-Gavilán makes his stellar Symphony debut. Designated a “formidable virtuoso” by The Times (London), this renowned Cuban pianist and composer excites the senses with Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G. A child prodigy, he made his Carnegie Hall debut (November 2012) by invitation for the prestigious “Voices de Latino América.” Lauded by The Seattle Times for “dazzling technique and rhythmic fire”, he excels in the classical and jazz worlds as a recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber-music collaborator, performer of his own electrifying jazz compositions, and recording artist (six albums). López-Gavilán’s distinguished career includes appearances in prestigious concert halls and venues worldwide; collaborations with great classical, popular, and jazz music artists including Maestro Claudio Abbado, Carlos Varela, and the Harlem Quartet; and a United States/Cuban cultural exchange through the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, collaborations in Cuba with renowned US artists Joshua Bell, Usher, Dave, Matthews, and Smokey Robinson.
Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G premiered triumphantly in 1932. Its three movements treat the audience to Basque folk dances, a romantic night in a Spanish garden, a Satie waltz, and a circus of mocking wind instruments. With Debussy, Ravel established a distinctly French school of music and left a legacy of brilliant and witty compositions of kaleidoscopic orchestral color.

Completing the program is the Hector Berlioz spectacular Symphonie Fantastique, an epic played by the full orchestra telling the autobiographical story of the artist’s self-destructive passion for a beautiful woman. Its five movements redefined the symphony genre and ushered in the Romantic Era with its extraordinary innovation in using the orchestra to produce sounds never heard before. Even today, 188 years later, the power, originality, and radical edge of this landmark work set our spines tingling.

Sunday, April 15: 7:30 pm, Boca Raton | Spanish River Worship Center. $30-70.
Tuesday, April 17: 7:30 pm, Fort Lauderdale | Broward Center for the Performing Arts|Amaturo
Theater. $35-$85. TicketMaster 954-462- 0222.
Wednesday, April 18: 7:30 pm, Miami | Adrienne Arsht Center | Knight Concert Hall. $40-$125. 305-949- 6722
Thursday, April 19: 7:30 pm, Key West | Tennessee Williams Theatre. $25-$85. 305-295- 7676.