Las Vegas Philharmonic celebrates its 20th anniversary by drawing upon a range of musical traditions — from classical standards to cinematic scores and popular holiday music — for the symphony orchestra coming season.
Musical director Donato Cabrera announced the Philharmonic’s 2018–2019 lineup at the private golf club TPC Summerlin on Thursday, April 5.
“In planning the programming this season, we wanted to touch on a lot of themes,” said Cabrera. “But one of the most important ones is to celebrate the great music this orchestra has performed over the last 20 years and bring back the key people that were, from the very beginning, part of this institution.”
The season launches Sept. 15 at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts with Celebrating Bernstein, which marks the 100th birthday of legendary composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein. Pianist Joyce Yang, a guest musician, will perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2.
“What made Leonard Bernstein so special is the he wasn’t just a great conductor,” said Cabrera. “He wasn’t just a great composer or pianist. He was an educator, and he did all four of these things at the very best level.”
Presenting classic films while a live orchestra performs the score has become increasingly popular throughout the country in recent years. Las Vegas Philharmonic will be performing the score to Psycho Oct. 6 with the the film projected onto a large screen behind the musicians. Bernard Herrmann composed the music for the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock-directed classic horror film.
“Why not bring back all of our fear of getting in the shower?” asked Cabrera with a laugh. “I have done Psycho before. It is incredibly effective. When you hear this music live, you understand how important Bernard Herrmann’s theme is.”
Glass, Mozart & Bach will be performed Nov. 3, featuring pianist Simone Dinnerstein playing composer Phillip Glass’ newest piano concerto. Mozart’s opera Cosi fan tutte — which loosely translates to “they are all like that” — and two pieces by Bach, Concerto for Keyboard No. 7 and Symphony No. 40, also will be performed.
On Dec. 1, the final performance of 2018 will be A Classic Holiday, which offers a range of popular music, including “Ave Maria,” “Santa Baby,” “Hanukkah Suite” and “White Christmas,” all under the direction of guest conductor Richard McGee.
“I am grateful to people — many in this room — for keeping the dream alive, keeping the orchestra going” said McGee during the rollout. “We have had so many wonderful collaborations and friendships. I think the future is very, very bright for the orchestra.”
The Music of John Williams is featured Jan. 12. Las Vegas Philharmonic will perform music from some of the film composer’s most popular scores, including “Theme from Jurassic Park,” “Star Wars Suite” and “Sayuri’s Theme from Memoirs of a Geisha.”
An Evening with Brahms will be presented Feb. 9, which will feature three pieces from the master composer. Concertmaster and violinist De Ann Letourneau and cellist Andrew Smith will be guest musicians.
“It is one of the biggest pieces for violin and cello together,” said Letourneau of Brahms’s final symphony, Symphony No. 4. “Brahms features these two instruments, and it is very interesting to play this piece. The more we play it, the more interesting details, musically, we get to explore.”
The American trio Time for Three will join the orchestra March 2 to play an eclectic mix of music that draws from classical, bluegrass, hip-hop and pop.
Music Unwound: Dvorak in America will be presented April 6, featuring three pieces by the 19th-century Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, and will include a performance by acclaimed bass-baritone Kevin Deas.
Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center will be the venue for all of the above performances. Las Vegas Philharmonic also will present Star-Spangled Spectacular July 4 at TPC Summerlin, as well as the continuing Spotlight Concert Series.
Subscriptions for the 2018–2019 season are now available, with single event tickets going on sale this summer.