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67th CONCERT SEASON 2023-2024 • Symphonic Adventures


Saturday, March 2, 2024 • 8pm | Regent Theatre Oshawa

a quick look

Eckart Preu


A prodigious composer, Haydn wrote more string quartets than Mozart and Beethoven combined. And of his astonishing 104 symphonies, we present Symphony No.104 ‘London’, his final (and noted as surpassing all of his creative genius) symphony, indeed the last of the twelve (12) ‘London’ focused symphonies.
Brazilian composer MARIA-EDUARDA MENDES MARTINS is in apt company with their Echoing Mendelssohn symphony merging the past with the present in an echoing pattern.
MENDELSSOHN takes his place in this compelling wrap up.  Mendelssohn’s Symphony No.3 ‘Scottish’ was completed over 13 years capturing the immensity and darkness of Scotland with its distinctive culture.
Three master works with guest conductor, Maestro Eckart Preu and celebrated, Ontario Philharmonic.
Echoing Mendelssohn

Symphony no.3 “Scottish”, op.56 in A minor
Symphony No.104 “London” in D major
Franz Joseph HAYDN

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ECKART PREU • biography

Eckart Preu is Music Director of the Long Beach Symphony, the Portland Symphony, and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.

Previously, he held positions of Music Director with the Spokane Symphony (WA) and Stamford Symphony (CT), and served as Associate Conductor of the Richmond Symphony (VA), and Resident Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra (NY). In Europe, Mr. Preu was Music Director of the Orchestre International de Paris from 1993-1995.

His guest conducting engagements have included concerts with the the Jerusalem Symphony (Israel), Auckland Philharmonia (New Zealand), Philharmonic Orchestra of Jalisco (Mexico), Philharmonic Orchestra of Bogota (Columbia), State Orchestra in Halle (Germany), Christchurch Symphony (New Zealand), and multiple appearances with the Symphony Orchestra of Chile, and the Symphony Orchestra of Tenerife (Spain).

A sought-after guest conductor in the US he has appeared with the American Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, Eugene Symphony, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Delaware Symphony, Duluth Superior Symphony, Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, Wichita Symphony, and others.

Career highlights include performances at Carnegie Hall, the Sorbonne in Paris, and projects with Violins of Hope in Cincinnati, Long Beach, and Portland.

His first commercial recording was the world premiere of “Letters from Lincoln”, a work commissioned by the Spokane Symphony from Michael Daugherty, featuring baritone soloist Thomas Hampson.

His next commercial recording will be with the Portland Symphony of works by Arturo Marquez, Ana Lara, and Enrico Chapela.

He has collaborated with internationally renowned soloists including Sarah Chang, Pepe Romero, Stephen Hough, Evelyn Glennie, Anne Akiko Meyers, Jeremy Denk, Leila Josefowicz, Louis Lortie, and Richard Stoltzman and many others.

A native of Germany, Mr. Preu earned a masters degree in conducting from the Hochschule für Musik in Weimar studying under Gunter Kahlert. He also studied under Jean-Sebastien Bereau at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris in France. Mr. Preu’s education was made possible by scholarships from the Herbert von Karajan Foundation, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, and the French Ministry of Culture.

Eckart Preu’s early musical training was in piano and voice. At the age of 10, he became a member of the Boys Choir Dresdner Kreuzchor and went on to work with them as soloist, rehearsal pianist, and Assistant Conductor.

by John Green

Symphony No. 104 “London”
The genesis of Haydn’s 12 “London” symphonies is of considerable historical interest. In 1790, following the death of his court patron Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy, with whom he had been employed as court musician for 30 years, the composer found himself at loose ends. With no plans in mind, he journeyed to Vienna where he came in contact with German violinist and conductor Johann Peter Salomon. The message Haydn received from Salomon was short and to the point:

“I am Salomon from London, and have come to fetch you with me. We will agree on the job tomorrow.”

Finding Salomon’s abruptness somewhat amusing Haydn met with the violinist and agreed to return to England with him where, between 1791 and 1795, he was commissioned to write 12 symphonies written exclusively for English audiences. The 104th was the last of the twelve and whether Haydn intended it to be the last of his creations is not known; however, there is plenty of evidence to suggest the 104th was at the pinnacle of his creative genius.
The May, 1795 premiere of the 104th symphony was given as a benefit concert for the composer and was enthusiastically received. English music historian Charles Burney writing in the Morning Chronicle commented, The symphony for fullness, richness, and majesty, in all its parts, is thought by some of the best judges to surpass all of his other compositions.”

Echoing Mendelssohn

Originally from Brazil, Maria-Eduarda Mendes Martins is a composer, conductor and arts administrator residing in Toronto where she is currently pursuing her doctorate degree. Their compositional work explores the connections between present and past musical eras that draw attention to human creation in art.
Mendes Martin’s music has been performed by a variety of orchestras, choirs and ensembles both in Canada and abroad. After becoming a permanent resident of Canada in 2019 they received the Friends of Canadian Music Award in 2021.
Echoing Mendelssohn is based on the main theme of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor. Mendes Martin’s comments on the work explain its rationale: “Similar to some of my previous works, this piece attempts to bring past and present together in music by exploring familiar ideas in experimental formats.”
Starting in the middle of the orchestra Mendelssohn’s melody emerges from within itself. It becomes increasingly more recognizable as it circles around in an endless echo. Ultimately, Echoing Mendelssohn is how past familiar music can sound new.

Symphony No. 3 “Scottish”

Born into a wealthy and influential family, Felix Mendelssohn, encouraged by his father, showed an early sensitive and musical intuition far beyond his age. At nine years old, he played publicly as a concert pianist. A year later he was composing, and by age fifteen had composed his first symphony for full orchestra. Although it represents a youthful work it signaled what was to come: four more symphonies including the No. 3 nicknamed the “Scottish”. The actual numbering of Mendelssohn’s symphonies is hopelessly confusing; what is known is that the No. 3 was the last of the five and was inspired by Mendelssohn’s visit to Scotland in 1829. On an evening in July of that year he wrote in his journal, “…we went today to the palace where Queen Mary lived and loved…the chapel close to it is now roofless…everything around is broken and mouldering…I believe I found today in the old chapel the beginning for my Scottish symphony.”
The work then is a reflection of his travels to Scotland, music that employs themes and rhythms with distinct Scottish characteristics. Although darker that some of his other symphonies it is pioneering in that there is no break between the movements which creates a single-movement tone poem.
Of interest is that the “Scottish Symphony” was actually not completed until 1842. It wasn’t until thirteen years after it’s inception that Mendelssohn was able to recreate the Scottish mood that had originally inspired him.