The Orchestra of the Bronx plays Tchaikowsky and Mendelssohn

Keeping perfect time
The Orchestra of the Bronx returns on Sunday, June 11 for a concert of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, “Scottish,” and the Tchaikowsky Violin Concerto in D Major.
Photo courtesy Getty Images

Michael Spierman, founder/conductor of the Orchestra of the Bronx, returns for a Sunday June 11, 3 p.m. concert of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, “Scottish,” and the Tchaikowsky Violin Concerto in D Major, featuring guest violinist Patrick Doane. 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.

Described as a “Compelling Violinist” by the New York Times, Doane appears with ensembles including Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Harrisburg Symphony, Hartford Symphony, New Haven Symphony and American Contemporary Music Ensemble. A sought-after performer, he plays recitals and chamber concerts throughout the United States and has served as concertmaster on international orchestral tours. He has appeared alongside artists such as Savion Glover, Keith Lockhart, as well as members of the Muir, Portland and Attacca Quartets. Doane received his bachelor and master’s degrees from Juilliard, studying with Sally Thomas and Naoko Tanaka. As a composer he has had works commissioned for string quartet and chamber orchestra. He is currently working on his doctorate at The Graduate Center, CUNY in New York City where he studies with Daniel Phillips and Lara Lev.

Tchaikowsky’s only violin concerto, premiered in 1881 in Vienna, is one of the best known violin concertos. The piece was written in Clarens, a Swiss resort on the shores of Lake Geneva, where the composer had gone to recover from the depression brought on by his disastrous marriage. He was joined there by violinist Iosif Kotek, with whom he enjoyed playing duets for piano and violin.  Tchaikowsky then made swift, steady progress on the concerto and the work was completed within a month. Writing to his brother Anatoly, Tschaikowsky acknowledged  that “It goes without saying that I would have been able to do nothing without him (Kotek).”

Symphony No. 3 was composed between 1829 and 1842 by Felix Mendelssohn, who was initially inspired to create the work during his first visit to Britain in 1829. That July, the composer and his friend Karl Klingemann visited the ruins of Holyrood Chapel in Edinburgh, where, as he related to his family in a letter, he received his initial inspiration for the piece. He wrote: “In the deep twilight we went today to the palace where Queen Mary lived and loved…The chapel below is now roofless. Grass and ivy thrive there and at the broken altar where Mary was crowned Queen of Scotland. Everything is ruined, decayed, and the clear heavens pour in. I think I have found there the beginning of my “Scottish” Symphony.” The work’s premiere took place March 3, 1842 in the Leipzig Gewandhaus.

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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