Conductors: Isaiah Castro, Michael Huynh, Maranda Li
September 25, 2021 | 7:00 PM
International Pentecostal Church
PLEASE WEAR A FACE MASK
In response to Los Angeles County's recent reinstatement of masks, we will be asking all guests to remain masked when inside the venue throughout the duration of the performance.
SYNESTHESIA (N) - when the stimulation of one sense triggers an automatic experience in another sense.
At Synesthesia Sinfonietta, our purpose is to evoke in our audiences an experience of orchestral musical selections which goes beyond the mere enjoyment of sound production. By showcasing selections from the familiar to the lesser known, from the past to the relevant present in a thematic format, we invite listeners to find personal connections within the programming that takes them on journeys to imagined sights, smells, and feelings. Additionally, we seek to unite audiences within these multi-sensory experiences while working with up and coming musicians, composers, and artists in our unique programming approach.
CORIOLAN OVERTURE, OP. 62
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Maranda Li, assistant conductor
Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Michael Huynh, associate conductor
ONLY IN SLEEP
Ēriks Ešanvalds (1977)
Maranda Li, assistant conductor
SYMPHONY NO. 1 IN C MAJOR, OP. 21
Ludwig van Beethoven
Isaiah Castro, artistic director
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Juxtaposition (noun): the act or an instance of placing two or more things side by side often to compare or contrast or to create an interesting effect
Synesthesia Sinfonietta is excited to present Juxtapositions as our final concert of the Summer 2021 season. In a sense, music itself is formed from a juxtaposition of two opposites: sound and silence. Composers creatively combine these two elements to communicate their ideas to the audience. In the first half of tonight’s program, we tell stories through music and allow the contrasting themes of the narrative to take the spotlight. In the second half, a modern work reflects on the past while the oldest work looks to the future.
CORIOLAN OVERTURE OP. 62 (1807)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethoven captures the tragedy of Coriolanus, a powerful Roman general, in a compact symphonic work. Filled with rage and revenge after being exiled from Rome, Coriolanus leads the Volscian army (Rome’s enemies) in a merciless siege against his former home city, illustrated by a menacing eighth-note theme in C minor. Coriolanus realizes his mistake with horror only when his own wife and mother are sent to plead for peace with an imploring, song-like melody. In the music’s final moments, Coriolanus’s rage dissipates into regret and his theme frays apart; three pizzicato notes - his final heartbeats as he kills himself - close the overture.
APPALACHIAN SPRING SUITE FOR 13 INSTRUMENTS (1945)
Copland’s suite presents the principal themes of the original ballet in a condensed form, retaining the original instrumentation. In the ballet, a bride-to-be and her young farmer husband settle in a newly-built farmhouse. The inexperience of the young couple is contrasted with the wisdom of an older neighbor; the joy of starting a new life juxtaposed with the apprehension of the unknown future.
ONLY IN SLEEP (2010)
Ēriks Ešenvalds, arr. Isaiah Castro (2021)
“Only in sleep I see their faces, children I played with when I was a child . . . Do they, too, dream of me, I wonder? And for them am I too a child?” Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds originally set Sara Teasdale’s beautiful poem Only In Sleep for solo soprano and choir. In the poem, an elderly woman dreams of playing with her childhood friends, the simple, worry-free recollections of the past juxtaposed with the wisdom of reminiscence. Isaiah Castro’s arrangement for chamber orchestra uses orchestral color to capture the innocence of childhood in a dream without words, calling to mind the music-boxes and memories of a simpler time.
SYMPHONY NO. 1 IN C MAJOR, OP. 21 (C.1800)
Ludwig van Beethoven
The earliest composed work of tonight’s program is presented last, the bright key of C Major bringing us home after a journey that began with the Coriolan Overture in C Minor. The First Symphony follows many of the conventions of the Classical period; however, Beethoven’s personality shines through the form. Elements that would later be recognized as his compositional hallmarks can already be seen in this work, such as sforzandi, sudden subito shifts between loud and soft dynamics, and the use of a third-movement scherzo in place of the typical minuet. The juxtaposition of Beethoven’s innovative writing with the conventions of his predecessors results in a work that is firmly rooted in tradition yet grants the listener a glimpse into what the future holds.
Program Notes by Maranda Li, Assistant Conductor
Artistic and Music Director
Responsible for overseeing all programs and events, Isaiah Castro is an award-winning conductor, composer, and founding member of the Synesthesia Sinfonietta. Castro studied instrumental conducting and composition at California State University Fullerton’s School of Music. His love for music began at the age of 10 with piano and various brass instruments, later inspiring him to express interest in conducting and composing at the age of 12. His most recent accomplishments feature:
• Commissioned to compose original music for the San Jose Youth Symphony
• Received recognition through the American Harp Society for his work "Love Is" written for harp and choir.
• Scoring music for Embark Dance Theatre's first full-length production, "LOST/find.”
• Achieving status on the Grammy Awards ballot for his piece "Dios Mío", written for award-winning soprano, Sarah Lonsert.
• Writing arrangements for Pacific Symphony Orchestra's program "OC Can You Play?"
Concurrently, Castro enjoys collaborating with solo artists, and ensembles, creating new music one work at a time. He is in high demand by several organizations throughout California as both a composer and conductor. Not only is he artistic and music director of Synesthesia Sinfonietta, but he is also the conductor of Buddha's Light Youth Symphony Orchestra (BLYSO) at Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, CA and serves as the primary pianist and organist at International Pentecostal Church in Bellflower, CA. Presently, he rides in Chino, CA where he is dedicated to the development and success of the Synesthesia Sinfonietta.
Responsible for overseeing chamber programs, Michael Huynh, conductor and clarinetist, is a recent graduate of Azusa Pacific University where he studied orchestral conducting with Christopher Russell.
As a conductor, Huynh has an interest in the orchestral and operatic repertoire. In 2018, he was selected to appear at the College Orchestra Directors Association National Conference with Alan McMurray in a master class setting. Recent conducting engagements include assistant conducting Opera UCI’s 2019 production of Die Fledermaus, where he also served as the chorus master, leading the California Solisti in collaboration with the Arts at St. Margaret’s, and performances with the Community Youth Orchestra of Southern California. Future engagements are scheduled in 2021 with his new appointment as Associate Conductor of Synesthesia Sinfonietta.
Huynh holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Clarinet Performance from the University of California, Irvine and a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from Azusa Pacific University where he studied with Christopher Russell. He also holds professional affiliations with College Orchestra Directors Association and Mu Phi Epsilon Professional Music Fraternity.
Trained as a cellist, Maranda Li received her B.A. in Music from the University of California, Irvine, where she studied with Dr. Margaret Parkins. She has been deeply engaged with classical music from a young age and has performed both solo and in ensembles of varying size, but her first love is the Symphony Orchestra.
From 2016-2019, Li lived in Amami, Japan where she served as conductor of the Amami Orchestra. There, she oversaw the development of the orchestra through its early formative period, prepared them for performances under guest conductors, created and taught classes for beginner string players, and frequently collaborated with local soloists as both a conductor and a cellist. She also expanded the scope of Amami Orchestra's educational outreach efforts through a series of side-by-side performances with local high school wind bands that continued even after her return to the US.
Li currently studies conducting with Dr. Stephen Tucker. When not on the podium or playing in the orchestra as a cellist, Li enjoys performing chamber music, teaching, and arranging. She concurrently holds a position as community program coordinator for OC Music & Dance, Orange County's premier non-profit music school, which is dedicated to making performing arts accessible to every child.
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Guerry Collins and Rena Stone
Mark and Noriko Malaby
Bill Rogers and Camille Dixon
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