No Sarasota Orchestra concerts in Bradenton due to COVID protocols
Susan L. Rife, special for the Herald-Tribune
A newcomer to the Sarasota Orchestra podium, and in Sarasota itself, will lead the fourth Program of the masterpieces of the season with performances by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Gabriella Smith next weekend.
“I heard it’s a great orchestra,” said Yaniv Dinour. “I heard it was a beautiful place.”
But Dinur won’t be directing as many performances as originally planned. Two weeks ago, the Sarasota Orchestra announced it was scrapping concerts at the Neel Performing Arts Center on the State College of Florida campus in Bradenton where it may not attend all COVID safety protocols it has agreed with dozens of other arts organizations in the area.
These protocols require patrons to present a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination and wear a face mask while inside the venue.
The SCF follows a recommended mask policy “but prohibits other users, such as the Orchestra, from imposing face coverings while performing” on Neel, the organization said in a letter to customers.
The decision eliminates the concerts scheduled for February 3, February 25 and March 10.
The orchestra previously had to cancel their third Masterworks program hours before the first performance because of the positive cases of COVID, then changed its Great Escapes series programs for the same reason.
A first conductor in Sarasota
Dinur, originally from Jerusalem, is resident conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and musical director of New Bedford Symphony Orchestra. A New Bedford Symphony Orchestra board member who lives part-time in Sarasota connected Dinur with the Sarasota Orchestra.
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Dinur will lead the soloist Augustin Hadelich in Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, as well as orchestral renditions of Smith’s “Field Guide” and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4.
“The Beethoven is a perfect piece, I would say,” Dinur said in a phone interview from his in-laws’ home in Atlanta before traveling to Italy for performances in Padua and Milan earlier this month. “Every note is in place.”
He and Hadelich, who won a Grammy Award in 2016 for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for his recording of Dutilleux’s Violin Concerto with the Seattle Symphony, made music together on stage in Milwaukee – Dinur playing the piano, his first instrument – but the Sarasota concerts will mark the first time that Dinur will be on the conductor’s podium with him.
Hadelich said the process of merging soloist, guest conductor and orchestra is not difficult with such a well-known piece as Beethoven’s Concerto, which he has performed many times.
“We meet everyone with a lot of knowledge about the piece and certain expectations, things that are usually done,” Hadelich said.
The concerto, commissioned by violinist Franz Clement in 1806, is notable for its emphasis on the lyricism of the music itself, not the ability of the soloist.
It’s one of Hadelich’s favorite pieces of music, one he’s performed probably 100 times.
“In my adult career, it was pretty quickly one of the plays that I liked to suggest and program,” he said. “After doing it a few times and spending a lot of time in it, you start to get a better sense of what it expresses, what it means.”
The piece has evolved in its performance over the centuries. Initially unpopular, perhaps because the manuscript was completed just days before its premiere and was technically difficult, it flourished with musicians and audiences, especially after German violin prodigy Joseph The 12-year-old Joaquin performed it 38 years later under the direction of Felix Mendelssohn and became its champion.
“He single-handedly made sure this piece finally got recognition,” Hadelich said.
Even in recent decades, the concerto has changed.
“What happened in the second half of the 20th century, performances became slower and slower, more and more romantic,” spanning between 50 minutes and an hour, Hadelich said. “It’s very, very beautiful, but it almost feels like it’s all a dream.”
Lately, violinists and orchestras have upped the tempo and lightened up the concerto.
“The differences between slowest and fastest performance are just amazing,” he said. “It has to have a certain depth and gravity. I think if it’s too fast the opening starts to sound a bit too much, it doesn’t really have the depth. When it’s too slow, you start to lose the sense of architecture in the first movement.
“Beethoven & Tchaikovsky”
Sarasota Orchestra Masterworks 4. Yaniv Dinur, guest conductor, Augustin Hadelich, violin soloist. 8 p.m. Feb. 4-5, 2:30 p.m. Feb. 6, Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets $35-$98. Classic Conversation with Dinur at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 3, Holley Hall, Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets $11 in advance, $16 at the door. 941-953-3434; www.sarasotaorchestra.org
Read more art stories by Susan L. Rife