The Aiken Symphony Orchestra's new Chamber Series will open with a program featuring music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Donald Portnoy, will perform Mozart's “Exsultate Jubilate, K. 165,” “Concerto for Flute and Harp, K. 299, C Major” and “Symphony No. 29, K.201, A Major.”
The concert will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, in St. John's United Methodist Church at 104 Newberry St. N.W.
Tickets are $40 and are available online at www.aikensymphonyorchestra.com or by calling the Aiken Symphony Orchestra office at 803-220-7251.
Tickets will be sold at the door depending on availability. Chamber Series tickets are not sold at the Etherredge Center box office at USC Aiken.
In its fifth season, and for the first time, the orchestra has added the Chamber Music series to its repertoire, rounding out its classical, pop and Christmas programs. The addition is only possible because of the success the orchestra enjoys through the generosity of local business and the public at large, according to a news release from the symphony.
Mozart was 16 when he wrote the “Exsultate Jubilate,” a religious motet, a short piece of sacred choral music, composed while he was staying in Milan during the production of his opera “Lucio Silla,” according to the release. Mozart composed the motet for his singer, Venanzio Rauzzini, a castrato, whose technical excellence he admired.
Its first performance took place at the Theatine Church on Jan. 17, 1773, while Rauzzini was still singing in Mozart’s opera at night. Mozart made some revisions around 1780.
In modern times, the motet is usually sung by a female soprano.
Soprano Dr. Diana Amos will be the soloist for the Aiken Symphony's performance. Amos has performed with the Aiken Symphony Orchestra in the past at its “very well received” performance of Dvorak’s “Te Deum” in April 2019, according to the release.
Amos has performed more than 60 leading roles on the stages of 35 European opera companies and was awarded the North Rhine Westphalia Young Artist Award in Dusseldorf. She holds the associate professor of voice and musical theatre and program chair at Columbia College.
Mozart’s “Concerto for Flute and Harp” was composed during a sojourn in Paris by Mozart in April 1788 and is one of only two double concertos that he wrote, according to the release.
At the time Mozart wrote the work, the harp was not considered a standard orchestral instrument. The modern concert harp wasn’t invented until 1810, according to the release. Therefore, the harp and flute duo, was considered a very unusual combination.
It is the only piece that Mozart wrote using the harp. Although written for a novel combination of instruments, the concerto’s composition is typical of Mozart’s other concerti from the period.
The guest musicians for the concerto, Wendy Cohen and Vonda Darr, known as the “Duo Venandi,” have been performing together for more than 15 years as principal harpist and flutist of the Symphony Orchestra Augusta and began playing together as a duo in 2011. They are annual performers on the Chase Concert Series in Augusta, and they continue to perform in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia.
Mozart’s “Symphony No. 29” in four movements was completed in 1774 and is one of his better-known early symphonies. The work is included in his “so-called Salzburg symphonies,” composed while Mozart was court musician for the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, according to the release.
The work is a landmark, personal in tone, indeed perhaps more individual in its combination of an intimate, chamber music style with a still fiery and impulsive manner, according to the release.
The Aiken Symphony Orchestra, conceived and formed in 2015, comprises professional musicians from throughout the region. In addition to its classical, chamber and pops concerts, the Aiken Symphony Orchestra is presented by the Aiken Symphony Guild at youth concerts in February each year.