The Newark Academy Winter Orchestra Concert, directed by Amy Larkey-Emelianoff, took place on Thursday, January 12, 2017 in the Dining Room and included Artist-in-Residence Amadi Azikiwe. Highlights were provided by senior soloists Matthew Melillo and Eric Jacobson. Enjoy listening to this stupendous performance.
Continue reading for program notes and information about the musicians and our Artist-in-Residence.
Upper School Orchestra
Hornpipe from the Water Music……………………………………………..George F. Handel
Romance for Bassoon and Orchestra………………………………………….Edward Elgar
Matthew Melillo ‘17, bassoon
Intermezzo from Cello Concerto in d minor………………………………..Édouard Lalo
Eric Jacobson ’17, cello
Concerto #3 in G Major for Violin and Orchestra…………Wolfgang A. Mozart
Amadi Azikiwe, violin
Middle School Strings
Symphony #1……………………………………………………………………………..William Boyce
Monica Zhang, viola solo
Nikhil Kumra, drum
Upper School Orchestra
Symphony #5 in Bb Major………………………………………………………….Franz Schubert
Andante con moto
Menuetto; Allegro molto
Upper School Orchestra
Rebecca Slater #
Christopher Pyo *
Amogh Anakru *
William Cen *
Peter Lu *
Eric Jacobson *
Szu Tsay ^
Shaan Pandiri *
Sophia Chen #
Julius Tolentino ^
Matt Melillo *
Rohan Bendre *
Kyle Hoyt ^
Nancy Tipnis ^
Middle School String Ensemble
# North Jersey Region Band/Orchestra
^ Guest Musician
Middle Schoolers in italics
Meet our Artist-in-Residence
A native of New York City, Amadi Azikiwe was born in 1969. After early studies with his mother, he began his formal training at the North Carolina School of the Arts as a student of Sally Peck. He continued his studies at the New England Conservatory with Marcus Thompson and conductor Pascal Verrot, receiving his Bachelor’s degree. Mr. Azikiwe was also awarded the Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University, where he served as an Associate Instructor, and received his Master’s Degree in 1994 as a student of Atar Arad.
Violist, violinist and conductor Azikiwe has been heard in recital in major cities throughout the United States, such as New York, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Houston, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., including an appearance at the U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. Azikiwe has also been a guest of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at the Alice Tully Hall in New York, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. He has appeared in recital at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, the “Discovery” recital series in La Jolla, the International Viola Congress, and at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Since then, he has performed throughout Israel, Canada, South America, Central America, Switzerland, India, Japan, Nigeria, Hong Kong, and throughout the Caribbean.
As a soloist, Mr. Azikiwe has appeared with the Prince George’s Philharmonic, Delaware Symphony, Virginia Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Fort Collins Symphony, Virginia Beach Symphony, Roanoke Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony, Western Piedmont Symphony, Salisbury Symphony, Richmond Philharmonic, SUNY Fredonia Symphony Orchestra, Indiana University Symphony Orchestra, Gateways Music Festival Orchestra, Hot Springs Music Festival Orchestra, City Island Baroque Ensemble of New York, National Symphony of Ecuador, and at the Costa Rica International Music Festival. He has also toured with Music from Marlboro, and performed at the Sarasota, Tanglewood, Aspen, Norfolk, and San Juan Islands Festivals, El Paso International Chamber Music Festival, Salt Bay Chamber Festival, Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival, Virginia Arts Festival, Maui Classical Music Festival, Missouri Chamber Music Festival, Yachats Music Festival, Staunton Music Festival, Carolina Chamber Music Festival, and the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. Mr. Azikiwe’s performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today”, “St. Paul Sunday”, on WNYC in New York, WGBH in Boston, WFMT in Chicago, and the BBC, along with television appearances in South America.
As a chamber musician, Azikiwe has appeared in concert with the Chicago Chamber Musicians, the Kandinsky Trio, the Harlem Chamber Players, the Chester, Miro, St. Lawrence, Anderson, Arianna, Harrington and Corigliano quartets. He has also performed extensively with the Ritz Chamber Players and the Concertante Chamber Players, with whom he recorded Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, released on the Helicon label. On the MSR label, Mr Azikiwe has recorded the Sonata for viola and piano by American composer James Cohn. Among Mr. Azikiwe’s prizes and awards are those from the New York Philharmonic, Concert Artists Guild, the North Carolina Symphony, the National Society of Arts and Letters, and the Epstein Young Artists Award from the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, with whom he still maintains a strong artistic and mentoring association.
Mr. Azikiwe was previously the conductor of the Old Dominion University Chamber Orchestra and the Atlanta University Center Orchestra. He was also a visiting faculty member of Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, IN. Most recently, he was on the faculty of James Madison University and University of Maryland Baltimore County. Currently, he is a Teaching Artist for ClassNotes, the Noel Pointer Foundation, a member of the Harlem Chamber Players, the Pressenda Chamber Players, and Music Director of the Harlem Symphony Orchestra. He has guest conducted for the Intercollegiate Music Association, Tennessee Music Educators Association All-Collegiate Orchestra, Third Street Philharmonia, Gateways Music Festival, and Trilogy Opera Company.
Mr. Azikiwe has appeared as artist faculty at the Brevard Music Center, Hot Springs Music Festival, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, Killington Music Festival, Manchester Music Festival, Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, Mammoth Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Bennington Chamber Music Conference, University of North Carolina School of the Arts Summer Session and the Aria International Academy in London, Ontario.
As an orchestral musician, he has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, as principal violist of the SHIRA Jerusalem International Symphony Orchestra and guest principal violist of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra. He has performed under the baton of conductors Lorin Maazel, James DePriest, Christoph Eschenbach, Gerard Schwarz, Marek Janowski, Leonard Slatkin, Seiji Ozawa, Michael Morgan, Pinchas Zukerman, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Sixten Ehrling, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Charles Dutoit, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kurt Masur, and Leonard Bernstein.
…and our Senior Soloists
Eric has been playing cello since he was three, having attended Newark Academy Orchestra Concerts since before his first birthday, when his siblings began playing here. His cello teachers have included Carl Baron, Nick Canellakis, and Steve Fang. Eric also plays with the New Jersey Youth Symphony, played with New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra for almost a decade and loves performing chamber music. He has attended Interlochen Arts Camp the last 2 summers and has toured In Europe 3 times. He mentors the NJYS prep orchestra and is looking forward to playing in the NA musical this spring, his 2nd NA musical and 5th pit band. Eric is grateful to his NA teachers and mentors for their inspiration and support over the years including Mrs. E, Mr. Lal and Mr. Emelianoff.
Matt began his musical career at the age of 8 when he started studying piano. Five years later, his search for a secondary instrument led him to the bassoon. It wasn’t long before it became his primary passion. Since his introduction to the bassoon, Matt has studied at the New England Music Camp, Interlochen Arts Camp, and Interlochen Advanced Bassoon Institute. He currently studies with Marc Goldberg at the Juilliard Pre-College, and plays in both the Pre-College Orchestra and the New Jersey Youth Symphony. Matt can also be found in the NA Concert Choir, and playing keyboard in the pit of the Winter musical. He would like to thank the entire NA community, especially Mrs. E, Mr. T, and Mr. Lal for creating an environment where the arts can flourish, and students can experience true music making.
Handel’s Water Music was written for a big party given by King George I of England on the Thames River. King George just happened to be Handel’s boss in Germany and some people think that Handel wrote Water Music to return to the King’s good graces. However, it’s more likely that the King simply wanted to impress his guests and asked Handel to write music especially for the occasion. The party rode down the river on a huge barge and the musicians were on another boat right next to them. One report said that the King liked the music so much that he had the musicians repeat it three times. The original performance included 50 musicians playing recorders, oboes, bassoons, horns, trumpets and tympani. We will be playing six movements from the original 3 this coming spring.
Edouard Lalo spent most of his career struggling for acceptance. Born in Belgium, in 1823, he ran away from home at 16 to pursue a musical career in Paris. Lalo was a violinist, and a founding member of the fine Armingaud Quartet, which was largely devoted to the works of Beethoven, Mozart, and Haydn, hardly part of the public taste in mid-19th-century Paris. He was in fact often criticized for being too German in his tastes and compositional style. In 1866, Lalo wrote an opera, Fiesque, which was never performed, and most of his early works, primarily chamber music, were played infrequently. France suffered a humiliating defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, and one of the government’s responses was to pump money into the arts, to reinvigorate French music, dance, and theatre, and to give French Art pride of place in Europe. Lalo benefited enormously from the government’s support and his music also began to attract attention from other composers and from a few of the virtuoso performers of the day. He started the concerto just months after the end of the First World War, and this great elegiac melody is Lalo’s lament for all that the war had cost – millions of lives, and, with them, a way of life.
Composed in 1910, Edward Elgar’s short Romance, Op. 62 came from one of his most prolific and richly creative periods, sandwiched between the First Symphony (1908) and the Second Symphony (1911), written in the same year as the Violin Concerto. Yet, the work has links with the composer’s humble beginnings as a young musician in Worcester, when he played the violin in local orchestras, conducted the Glee Club, and played the bassoon in a wind quintet with two flutes and no horn, also composing a number of works for this unusual combination. His love for and understanding of the bassoon is evident in all his major orchestral works, and it was the playing of his friend Edwin F James (principal bassoonist in the London Symphony Orchestra) that inspired Elgar to compose this lyrical, somewhat reflective work. The rather melancholy character of the Romance may well be a reflection of Elgar’s sadness following the recent deaths of two close friends. Beautifully written for the instrument, with a sensitive and imaginative accompaniment, this is undoubtedly one of the great miniature masterpieces for the solo bassoon.
Mozart’s talents, over and above musical composition, included proficiency on the piano, organ, violin and viola. He was indisputably one of the greatest keyboard virtuosos of his day. His violin playing was cultivated by his father Leopold, himself a famous pedagogue who encouraged young Wolfgang with the words, “If you would only play with boldness, spirit and fire, you would be the finest violinist in Europe.” At the age of nineteen he spent most of 1775 in the service of Count Colloredo, Archbishop of Salzburg. Here, within the period of six months, he wrote four of his five authentic violin concertos. In style, these works grow out of the Italian violin tradition of Tartini, Geminiani, Nardini and Boccherini, steeped in the qualities of the style galant – grace, elegance, charm and gentle sentiments. The third of the set, completed on September 12, 1775, just three months after the second, represents an enormous advance over the mere rococo prettiness of the first two concertos. The great Mozart biographer Einstein, wrote; “Suddenly the whole orchestra begins to speak, and to enter into a new, intimate relation with the solo part. Nothing is more miraculous in Mozart’s work than the appearance of this concerto at this stage in his development. The Adagio seems to have fallen straight from heaven.” Edward Downes calls it’s music “of such ravishing beauty that one can only bow one’s head and be thankful.” The final movement is a cheerful rondo filled with smiling, insouciant melodies, suave orchestration and suggestions of Austrian and German folksongs.
William Boyce was made Master of the King’s Music in 1755. The first ‘royal’ work he composed was his Ode for His Majesty’s Birthday on 10th November 1755. Hi first Symphony was composed shortly afterwards and was first performed as the overture to the Ode for the New Year of 1756, entitled ‘Hail, hail, auspicious day’ with words written by the poet Colley Cibber.
Libertango is a composition by Argentinian tango composer Ástor Piazzolla, recorded and published in 1974 in Milan. The title is a portmanteau merging “Libertad” (Spanish for liberty) and “Tango”, symbolizing Piazzolla’s break from Classical Tango to a new style termed Tango Nuevo, incorporating elements from jazz and classical music. The composer wrote; “Libertango stands for the freedom which I allow for my musicians.”
Franz Schubert was 19 years old in 1816 when he wrote his 5th Symphony. He was a prodigious but not precocious youth, composing many pieces but producing little of any real originality. His early output was an impressive mimicking of Haydn and Mozart with a healthy dash of Rossini and Bach thrown in for color. Indeed none of his teachers would ever have predicted that Schubert would create anything that would distinguish him from the multitude of composers working in Vienna at the time. However, in the autumn of 1814, Schubert’s yet untapped talent burst on the scene and, over the next 15 months, resulted in one of the most intensely creative periods of any Western artist’s life. During his 18th year, he composed 150 songs, and roughly 65 bars of music per day for full orchestra. Considering his day job as a school teacher, private teaching, vigorous concert attendance, and enthusiastic socializing are his output was extraordinary. The pace of 1815 tapered a little the following year but only just. Schubert still found time for 110 songs, a mass setting, two-thirds of an opera, Symphonies 4 and 5, a string quartet and three sonatas for violin and piano. Despite this massive amount of material and large circle of friends, neither Schubert nor his supporters had enough money to hire the musicians necessary to perform most of it. As such, very little of his work was performed during his lifetime. His fifth symphony was an exception in that it received its first performance in August of 1817 as part of a house concert series put on by a prominent violinist in whose amateur orchestra Schubert often played viola. Although a youthful work, the 5th symphony represents a significant advancement in originality and style from the fourth even thought they were composed in the same year. A heavy debt is owed to Mozart, particularly in the third movement where Schubert quotes the third movement of the 40th Symphony. Schubert’s 5th is full of good humor, great melodies and sparkles with the promise of things to come.