Gerard Schwarz, Conductor
Julian Schwarz, Cello
Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra
About the Show
Father and son Gerard and Julian Schwarz return to Charleston following their crowd-pleasing performance with the CSO during the 2022-24 season. In this concert, the CSO will present favorites from Johannes Brahms and Antonín Dvořák – two immensely talented composers who were friends.
Maestro Gerard Schwarz is internationally recognized for his moving performances, innovative programming, and extensive catalogue of recordings. In his nearly five decades as a respected
classical musician and conductor, Schwarz has received hundreds of honors and accolades including Emmy Awards, Grammy nominations, ASCAP Awards, and more.
Johannes Brahms‘ Academic Festival Overture begins serenely but quickly becomes a lively celebration. It often alludes to and captures the energy of beer hall songs sung by students and is
supplemented with marches and folk tunes. Though brief, it is an orchestral tour-de-force and has long been an audience favorite for good reason.
Antonín Dvořák‘s Cello Concerto, thought of by many as the best of his work, is a masterful composition. Not only is it a celebration of the instrument and the soloist’s skill, it is also full of the
folksy yet rich sounds unique to Dvořák inspired by folk music of Europe and America. Upon hearing the Cello Concerto, Brahms said, “Why in the world didn’t I know one could write a cello concerto like this? If I’d only known, I’d have done it long ago!”
The concerto features guest cellist Julian Schwarz, an admired soloist and recording artist who performs frequently with leading symphony orchestras and chamber music ensembles. Heralded from a young age as a cellist destined to rank among the greatest of the 21st century, Julian’s powerful tone, effortless virtuosity, and extraordinarily large color palate are hallmarks of his style.
Johannes Brahms’ First Symphony, in a nutshell, is full of drama. The boldness of the first and fourth movements suggests Beethoven, yet Brahms manages to maintain his First Symphony’s own magnificent identity. In the second and third movements, he engages euphoric violins and playful expressions with woodwinds and horns. It is said that Brahms took his time composing Symphony No. 1 (at least 14 years), but it was worth the wait; in fact, it would pave the way for the future symphonies of the Romantic period and beyond.
MORE ON THE MUSIC:
- “No conductor has been a greater advocate of American music.” – National Review, writing about Gerard Schwarz.
- “I shall never write a symphony. You have no idea how the likes of us feel when we hear the tramp of a giant like him [Beethoven] behind us,” said Johannes Brahms to a friend.