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Seattle Symphony Premiers Vita Accademica

Ruzan Haruriunyan's picture

Symphony lovers Charles and Benita Staadecker decided to honor their 25th wedding anniversary in a unique and special way – by commissioning a brand new piece of music from Seattle Symphony Composer in Residence Samuel Jones.

This April, Music Director Gerard Schwarz and Seattle Symphony will present the world premiere of this new work, entitled Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra, Vita Accademica, featuring Symphony Principal Trombonist Ko-ichiro Yamamoto as the soloist. The program will also include David Diamond’s Rounds for String Orchestra and Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77, featuring violinist Vadim Repin. Performances will take place on Thursday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, April 4, at 8 p.m. A Musically Speaking performance will take place Sunday, April 5, at 2 p.m. and Diamond’s Rounds for String Orchestra will not be performed. All performances will take place in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium at Benaroya Hall.

About the World Premiere Commission

When Charles and Benita Staadecker decided to sponsor the commissioning of a new piece of music in honor of their 25th wedding anniversary, Samuel Jones responded by creating a very personal work based on various aspects of Charles Staadecker’s life, from his college years to his inspiring love for his wife, Benita. For Charles and Benita Staadecker, who were deeply involved throughout the composition process, the commission is a gift to the community. The Staadeckers said, “For us, this is a legacy gift. The returns on this investment will bring joy to audiences for years to come. Samuel Jones composed a passionate and triumphant piece of music that means the world to us. What a great way to salute the Symphony and our city, and to honor our 25th wedding anniversary.”

The Staadeckers were inspired to commission new works after the late Sandra Crowder, who commissioned Jones’ earlier Tuba Concerto, relayed her experience to them at a chance meeting. They began with Becky’s New Car, which premiered at ACT in October 2008 and now, Samuel Jones’ Trombone Concerto. The Staadecker’s believe that “people have a choice, whether to spend their money on safaris, trips to Europe or a new car; or to invest in the arts. The thing a lot of people don’t realize is that anyone who so chooses could do this.” The concerto is dedicated to Charles Staadecker’s alma mater, Cornell University.

Ko-ichiro Yamamoto

Ko-ichiro Yamamoto is currently Principal Trombonist of Seattle Symphony and the Saito Kinen Orchestra in Japan. He is a former trombonist for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Yamamoto is an active soloist who has given recitals and master classes in Japan and the U.S., including appearances at the 2007 Eastern Trombone Workshop and as a featured soloist and faculty at the 2008 International Trombone Festival. As a freelancer, he has performed with the New York Philharmonic, MET Chamber Orchestra, and in numerous sound and TV recordings in both New York and Tokyo. He has recorded two albums, Proof and Family Tree, both on the Kosei Publishing label.

Yamamoto has been a faculty member at the University of Washington School of Music since 2005. He has won several awards, including fourth place at the International Trombone Association Competition; first prize at the Japan Wind and Percussion Competition; and the diploma prize at the Prague International Music Competition. Born in Tokyo, Yamamoto began studying trombone at age 12 with his father; in 1990, he was accepted to the Franz Liszt Music Academy, where he studied with Gusztav Hona and Sztan Tivador and performed with the Budapest Festival Orchestra. He later studied with New York Philharmonic principal trombonist Joseph Alessi at The Juilliard School. Yamamoto has been a Yamaha artist and clinician since 2008, and is currently performing on the 8820RV Prototype Trombone.

Vadim Repin

The Daily Telegraph calls Vadim Repin “one of today’s most compelling musicians.” At age 11, Repin won the gold medal at the Wienawski Competition; at 15, he made his Carnegie Hall debut and, two years later, won the prestigious Reine Elisabeth Concours Competition. Today, Repin is a frequent guest at the Tanglewood, Ravinia, Rheingau, Gstaad and Verbier Festivals, and the BBC Proms. Last season, he toured with the Royal Concertgebouw and appeared with major orchestras in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia. He also celebrated the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel with the Israel Philharmonic and Riccardo Muti. Other orchestral engagements include with the Berlin, Israel, Los Angeles, New York and St. Petersburg philharmonics; Boston, Chicago, London and San Francisco symphonies; NDR Hamburg; Orchestra de Paris; Royal Concergebouw and La Scala; and with conductors, including Ashkenazy, Boulez, Eschenbach, Fedoseyev, Gergiev, Neeme and Paavo Jarvi, Levine, Marriner, Masur, Mehta, Muti, Nagano, Rattle, and Temirkanov.

This season, Repin will give 25 recitals in cities, including Vienna, Geneva, London, Brussels, Paris, Luxembourg, Milan, New York, Washington, D.C., and Tokyo; tours to Italy, Germany, Japan and the U.S. with the London Symphony Orchestra and Valery Gergiev; and collaborations with Christian Thielemann, Gustavo Dudamel and Jonathan Nott. He has recorded concertos by Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky on Warner Classics and his critically acclaimed debut recording on the Deutsche Grammophon label features the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic and Riccardo Muti, coupled with Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” Sonata with Martha Argerich. --

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