The Orchestra of The Bronx, founded and conducted by Michael Spierman, returns for a free concert at Lehman College’s Lovinger Theatre on Sunday, Oct. 22, performing Mozart’s “Clarinet Concerto” and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 3 (the Eroica).”
Spierman leads a 40-member orchestra of musicians drawn from other major orchestras and Broadway shows. Concerts continue to be free of charge, in accordance with the company’s mission to enable people of all income levels to experience the beauty of the orchestral repertoire.
“Clarinet Concerto” is the last completed composition of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, finished just weeks before his death. The date of its first performance is not certain, but may have been Oct. 16, 1791, in Prague. The concerto was written to be played on the basset clarinet, an invention of virtuoso clarinettist and friend of Mozart, Anton Stadler. After Mozart’s death, the composition was published with changes to the solo part to allow performance on conventional instruments. The Orchestra of The Bronx is proud to present clarinettist Monte Morgenstern, an Orchestra member since 1971, as soloist.
The “Symphony No. 3 (Eroica),”one of Ludwig van Beethoven’s most celebrated works, is a large-scale composition that marked the beginning of the composer’s innovative “middle period.” Composed mainly in 1803-04, the work broke boundaries in symphonic form, length, harmony, emotional and cultural content. It is widely considered a landmark in the transition between the Classical and the Romantic era, and is also often considered to be the first Romantic symphony. Beethoven first conducted private performances in 1804 in Prince Lobkowitz’s palace, and later the first public performance on April 7, 1805 in Vienna.
Beethoven originally dedicated the third symphony to Napoleon, but withdrew his dedication lest it cost him the fee paid to him by a noble patron. He re-dedicated the work to Prince Joseph Franz Maximilian Lobkowitz, but titled it “Bonaparte,” who was at the time first consul. The composer was furious when Bonaparte declared himself emperor, fearing that he would become a tyrant, and withdrew that title. Finally the work was labeled “Heroic Symphony, Composed to celebrate the memory of a great man.”
A New York native, Spierman founded The Orchestra of The Bronx 50 years ago with the mission of bringing music to people of all walks of life and financial incomes. The Orchestra performs works from all periods, including Baroque, Classical, Romantic and 20th century. The unique spirit and level of excellence of the Orchestra makes for some of the most exciting concerts presented in the New York City area. Spierman, also artistic director of the Bronx Opera, was on the music faculty at Hunter College for 38 years, chaired the music panel at the New York State Council on the Arts and has guest conducted with orchestras in the U.S., England, Bulgaria and South America.
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