Violin Piece by Behzad Ranjbaran Dedicated to Famed Bloomington-Born Virtuoso
INDIANAPOLIS - Renowned violinist Joshua Bell, a Bloomington native who made his professional debut at age 14 with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, returns to Indianapolis to perform the American Premiere of a violin concerto written and dedicated to him by longtime friend and Indiana University alumnus Behzad Ranjbaran in Lilly Classical Series concerts Thursday, March 31, through Saturday, April 2, at the Hilbert Circle Theatre. Performance times are at 11 a.m. on Thursday, 8 p.m. on Friday and 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Eli Lilly and Co. is the Title Sponsor of the entire 2004-2005 Lilly Classical Series season. The Ranjbaran Violin Concerto was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Ticket prices for the Thursday morning Coffee Classical performance range from $12-$38, with Friday and Saturday evening prices from $18-$62 each, and may be purchased by calling the Hilbert Circle Theatre Box Office at (317) 639-4300. Outside Indianapolis call toll free (800) 366-8457, or visit the Orchestra's website at www.IndianapolisSymphony.org.
Music Director Mario Venzago will lead the upcoming performances that also will include Carl Nielsen's powerful Symphony No. 4 ("The Inextinguishable"). As an added treat, Mr. Bell will perform once of the great violin showpieces in the repertoire, the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A Minor as part of the Friday and Saturday evening concerts only. The Saint-SaŽns piece will not be performed in the Thursday, 11 a.m. program.
An Indianapolis audience favorite, Mr. Bell has continued to expand his artistic horizons and to gain worldwide attention since his last appearance as a concert soloist with the Orchestra in March 2003 at the Hilbert Circle Theatre. His most recent recording, Romance of the Violin, topped the Billboard magazine classical charts and led to his selection as the "2004 Billboard Classical Artist of the Year." The concerto he will premiere is based on the composer's musical impressions of an ancient Persian violin-like instrument, the kamancheh, and Persian themes from his homeland, Iran, which he left in the early 1970s.
Mario Venzago is in his third season as Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony. Originally a pianist, Venzago toured and recorded for nearly 10 years as a concert artist before focusing on conducting. He also serves as Artistic Director of the Baltimore Symphony's summer music festival (since 2000), and recently began his first season as Principal Conductor of the GŲteborg Symphony Orchestra in Sweden. Previous posts include Principal Conductor of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (1979-1986) and Music Directorships with the Heidelberg Opera House (1986-1989), Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie (1989-1992), Graz Opera House (1992-1997), and Basel Symphony Orchestra (1997-2004). Maestro Venzago's discography includes more than 25 titles, and several have won major prizes including the Grand Prix du Disque, the Edison Prize and the Diapson d'Or.
Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell has been performing for more than 20 years, and has become one of the great classical artists of our time. A native of Bloomington, Mr. Bell returns for his 15th set of appearances presented by the Orchestra since his debut on the very first Marsh Symphony on the Prairie Series concert in June 1982 (at age 14). He came to national attention a few months after his ISO debut when he made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut with Riccardo Muti that same year. Over the years, he has expanded his artistic horizons and has continued to earn international honors and accolades in classical, cross-over repertoire, and even films, when he recorded the sound track and was the body double in The Red Violin, and as himself in the film Music of the Heart. His discography currently contains 27 albums, including many prizewinners, and his most recent recording - Romance of the Violin - topped the Billboard charts and led to his selection as "2004 Billboard Classical Artist of the Year"
Composer Behzad Ranjbaran was born and raised in Iran. His homeland and its history have deeply influenced his musical thinking via many ancient Persian themes that are prevalent within his works, thus melding Eastern themes within the context of Western classical tradition. He came to the United States in 1974, where he studied composition at Indiana University and later earned a doctorate at The Juilliard School, where he currently is on the faculty. During his years at the IU School of Music, he became friends with Joshua Bell and over time, a desire to collaborate ultimately came to fruition with the creation of this Violin Concerto, which has been dedicated by the composer to his longtime friend.
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