Stories » The main attraction of RPO's 'American Rapture' is the Jennifer Higdon harp concerto dedicated to Yolanda Kondonassis / The Rehearsal Studio

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The main attraction of RPO's 'American Rapture' is the Jennifer Higdon harp concerto dedicated to Yolanda Kondonassis / The Rehearsal Studio

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This Friday Azica Records will release its first recording of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. The ensemble is led by Ward Stare, who became its Music Director on September 1, 2014. The title of the new recording is American Rapture; and, as is usually the case, it is currently available for pre-order through its Web page on Amazon.com. 

The Rochester band became recognized nationally (if not internationally) as a platform for the performance of new compositions, particularly works by American composers. I was therefore delighted to see that the ensemble's Azica debut featured two world premiere recordings by two generations of American composers. The "main attraction" of the album is the harp concerto that Jennifer Higdon (born in 1962) completed last year, written for and dedicated to the virtuoso harpist Yolanda Kondonassis. This concerto begins the album, which concludes with one of the young American composers currently on the rise, Patrick Harlin (born in 1984). He is represented by "Rapture," inspired by experiences described by James Tabor in his book Blind Descent, which explores the practices of "extreme" cave exploration. Between these two offerings is a new recording of one of the pieces that Hanson had previously recorded on Mercury, Samuel Barber's Opus 9 (first) symphony.

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