Windham Orchestra: Russian Festival in Putney
Wednesday, June 06 2012 @ 10:18 AM EDT
Contributed by: Pam Lierle
Three Russian composers and a brilliant young artist, violinist and guest conductor Mathew Woodard, provide the inspiration for Russian Festival. The spirited program includes Stravinsky's Violin Concerto in D and The Firebird Suite, Tchaikovsky's Overture-Fantasy Romeo and Juliet, and Glinka's Ruslan and Lyudmila Overture.
Matthew Woodard, a 17-year-old from South Hadley, Massachusetts, will play Stravinsky's Violin Concerto, a touching and invigorating masterpiece that references the circus' crisp, frolicking rhythms, and Bach, through glowing melody and extravagant ornamentation. Brattleboro violinmaker and Windham Orchestra member Douglas Cox created the instrument Matthew will play for this performance.
Matthew will also conduct the lively overture to Glinka’s magical opera Ruslan and Lyudmila. Little sense of the opera’s dark arts or skullduggery is present in the overture, which lures us in with its bright youthful vigor and innocently romantic second theme. The overture is brief, very tightly organized and with exquisitely orchestrated contrapuntal writing.
Tchaikovsky's glorious symphonic poem Romeo and Juliet, all youthful ardor and passion, and Stravinsky's 1919 Firebird Suite complete this sumptuous program. The Firebird perfectly complements the Violin Concerto: aching, magical tenderness, infernal dances and breathtaking climaxes in Stravinsky's early work, wry subtle humor and warmest affection in his later violin concerto.
Matthew Woodard began his violin studies at the age of four under Amanda Provost. For a time, he studied with Acadian fiddler Donna Hébert, who taught him both standard classical repertoire and French-Canadian fiddle tunes. He next studied under Linda Laderach, chair of the music department at Mount Holyoke College, who advised him to attend the New England Conservatory’s Preparatory Program. There, he studied for two years with Marylou Speaker Churchill, before her untimely death in 2009. He currently studies with James Buswell at the New England Conservatory.
Between the ages of 8 and 12, Matthew was in both the Mount Holyoke College Orchestra and Springfield Symphony Youth Orchestra (SYO), serving periodically as concertmaster of SYO. At the New England Conservatory’s Preparatory Program, Matthew is the principal violist of the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra.
An avid chamber musician as well, Matthew has attended numerous summer chamber music festivals, including Point Counterpoint, Greenwood Music Camp and Yellow Barn Young Artists’ Program.
Join the Windham Orchestra for Russian Festival on Friday, June 8, 7:30 pm, at Landmark College in Putney, Vermont; or Sunday, June 10, 3 pm, at Latchis Theatre in Brattleboro, VT.
Tickets, $15 / $10 students and seniors, are available by calling the Brattleboro Music Center at 802-257-4523, on-line by visiting www.bmcvt.org, at Mapleleaf Music in Brattleboro and Village Square Booksellers in Bellows Falls.
For more information about the Orchestra please visit www.windhamorchestra.org.