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The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony Celebrates Mozart's 250th Birthday!
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The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony Celebrates Mozart's 250th Birthday!

- Classical and Cultural Connections

The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony

All Mozart Program
To Honor Mozart’s 250th Birthday

David Bernard, Music Director and Conductor
Catherine Cho, Violin
Todd Phillips, Viola

Andrea Berger, Administrative Director

All Saints Church
230 East 60th Street
New York, New York 10022

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 28, 2006

(See December 17, 2005, David Bernard Conducting The Lawyers’ Orchestra).


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (January 27, 1756 – December 5, 1791)

Symphony No. 1, K. 16 (1764 - 1765, London): Molto allegro, Andante, Presto.

Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra, K. 364 (1779 – 1780, Salzburg): Allegro maestoso, Andante, Presto , Catherine Cho, Violin, and Todd Phillips, Viola.

Symphony No. 41 (Jupiter), K. 551 (1788, Vienna): Allegro vivace, Andante cantabile, Menuetto, Molto allegro.

The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony was founded in 1999, and its mission is philanthropic, as its musicians, drawn from high level worlds of business, government, architecture, law, education, and medicine, target these events to raise funds for not-for-profit organizations, such as Juilliard and Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education. These professional-level musicians have been trained at Juilliard, The Eastman School of Music, The Curtis Institute, and other renowned music schools. David Bernard has conducted in twenty countries in symphonic repertoire, musical theater, and opera, and his performances have been broadcast on WQXR and WNYC. Maestro Bernard is also a professional keyboard soloist.

Catherine Cho has brought her violin to concerts around the globe, including those in Korea, Montreal, and Buenos Aires, and participates in the Marlboro Music Festival in VT. Todd Phillips performs on violin and viola and helped found Orion String Quartet with Daniel Phillips, his brother. Orion is the resident quartet at Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Mr. Phillips appears, both solo and with his quartet, on stages around the world and on network television, as well as at music festivals and special celebrations. (PACS Notes).

Symphony No. 1 opened the evening with All Saints Church’s superb resonance, and the orchestra was full and rich. The five repetitive notes, composed by the eight year-old Mozart, had muted horns heralding ensemble and orchestral echoes. It was Sinfonia Concertante that highlighted the pre-intermission performance, and Andante was enchanting and engaging. Both Catherine Cho, on violin, and Todd Phillips, on viola, performed with outstanding confidence and charisma, never overpowering their orchestra and always entering or exiting at precision timing and tone.

The mid-movement duet included crisp contrasts and connected themes for both soloists, and they passed the melody back and forth or transposed the music over the other’s solo, in versatile variations and rapturous repetitions. The duet repeats at Andante’s end, and the soloists complete the movement with togetherness. Presto also included scintillating solos, a bit lower in register, and Maestro Bernard used facial expressions to lead his musicians to correct mood, tempo, and volume. This final movement ended with merged violin, viola, and orchestral flourishes.

Post-intermission, Jupiter Symphony, composed three years before Mozart’s untimely death, began with majesty and vigor. This work seemed to find Maestro Bernard and his buoyant orchestra most relaxed and refreshed. A waterfall of notes, mellow and meandering, were heard time and again, as Allegro vivace came to a close. Andante cantabile included a superb, soaring flute, notable in its wistfulness. This movement exuded elasticity and elegance. Menuetto was literally danceable, in ballet terms, and I envisioned a courtly, regal ball in white wigs and hoops, as the accented rhythms resounded. Molto allegro brought exciting and energized richness, with elongated strings and passionate percussion.

Kudos to Maestro David Bernard, Ms. Cho, Mr. Phillips, and The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony for a fitting tribute to Mozart’s 250th Birthday.

Todd Phillips, Violist, and Catherine Cho, Violinist, At Leisure
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

David Bernard, Conductor and Music Director, At Leisure
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Orchestra, End of Concert at All Saints Church
Photo courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at