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Phil Channing

Music Academy Festival Orchestra Finale

James Gaffigan Conducted Shepherd, Brahms, Rimsky-Korsakov


The coincidence that this final event of the Music Academy of the West (MAW) season happened to fall on the Saturday night of Fiesta made for a more than usually celebratory atmosphere in the Granada, and there was a lot to celebrate. Over the course of just eight weeks in 2016, MAW offered more than 200 concerts or other public events, drew more than 35,000 audience members to those events in person, and live-streamed to another 100,000 or more people online all over the world. Ten outstanding musicians from the MAW class of 2016 were there, basking in the news that in January they would be the 2017 Zarin Mehta Fellows with the New York Philharmonic. Anna Han, winner of the concerto competition for solo piano, soared in a gripping interpretation of the “Maestoso” movement of Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15. Before and after the Brahms, we heard a wonderfully matched pair of works, one seminal in the establishment of the Russian musical tradition (Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Op. 35) and the other a brilliant contemporary reflection on it (Sean Shepherd’s Magiya).

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