Vallejo Symphony Rises
…living in the Benicia/Vallejo area during the Great Depression, before the freeways, bridges and industry transformed the landscape to what we see today. Vallejo Symphony was launched during that difficult time, providing the growing community with concerts, operas and other musical events, and establishing itself as a cornerstone of Vallejo and the adjacent communities’ cultural life in the decades since.
…is part of 22 Philharmonic and Opera Companies in the Northern California area. These 22 companies range from as far north as Santa Rosa, as far south as the San Jose area, and east to the San Joaquin Valley. The 22 companies also share the local talent: one musician might be in as many as six different companies. These musicians also might be music instructors at local colleges and universities, leading to the nickname of “The Freeway Philharmonic”.
Concerts are held at the Empress Theatre, a historical landmark in downtown Vallejo that was originally a 1911 vaudeville theatre. Located at 330 Virginia St., this charming edifice has ample street parking, and is adjacent to eateries and shops. The Empress also has a beautiful cocktail lounge.
For many years concerts were held on Sunday, but recently attendance has doubled so that Saturday concerts are now offered as well. This big change in patronage was due to the leadership and efforts of Maestro Marc Taddei, Vallejo Symphony’s most recent Music Director.
…was appointed Music Director of Vallejo Symphony in 2016 and Orchestra Wellington (New Zealand) in 2007. He creates engaging, erudite and innovative programs, and has a close audience connection. Maestro Taddei has earned an unsurpassed public following and continuous critical acclaim. Marc guest-conducts the major Australian orchestras every year and returns each year to conduct in the United States. Marc’s debut with the New York City Ballet led to an immediate re-invitation for three Balanchine ballets the following year, and last year he made his mainland Chinese debut with the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra.
On April 16, 2018 Maestro Taddei initiated a new program, Music for The Schools, which invited 800 students (aged 6 to 18) from Vallejo, Benicia and American Canyon, to a special performance/talk about Mozart and his Symphony No. 41. Members of the VSO performed twice in one day at the Empress Theatre and were enthusiastically received. The 2019 school concerts featured violin soloist Alina Kobialka playing Mozart’s Violin Concerto No.3. This season’s program will be March 2, 2020. These mini-concerts by a trio of professional musicians, who are also experienced educators, introduce children to classical music in a fun and engaging way.
This season’s closing concert…
…features the most famous symphony ever written— Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” composed in the U.S. and inspired by African-American folk traditions. American maverick Charles Ives wrote his Symphony No. 3 just 15 years later, but it was not premiered until 1947, when it won the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Last, it is a great pleasure to welcome one of the orchestra’s own, Principal Horn Meredith Brown, to join Adler Fellow Zhengyi Bai in one of the great song cycles of the 20th century: Benjamin Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings. Pre-concert talks are presented one hour before each orchestra performance and feature conversations between Maestro Taddei and guest artists, offering insights into the program. Maestro Taddei will also present videos called A Minute with Marc through the online newsletter, website, and Facebook page. If you cannot attend the concert, there will be a rebroadcast on KZCT 89.5 FM on May 1, 2020 at 10:30 am.
Email : VallejoSymphony@gmail.com | Phone : 707.643.4441
Empress Theatre: 330 Virginia St., Vallejo, CA 94590