The Peabody Symphony Orchestra’s second commercial recording in four years, highlighting the music of composer Aaron Jay Kernis, features flute soloist and Peabody professor Marina Piccinini and conductors Marin Alsop, Peabody director of graduate conducting and music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Leonard Slatkin, music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The CD, released on the NAXOS label in September, was recorded and produced by the students and faculty of the Conservatory’s Recording Arts and Sciences Department.
“For our students to be able to work with not one, but two major conductors on this project, and to create the premiere recording of such an important composer, is really pretty extraordinary,” says Dean Fred Bronstein. “Making this recording, at this level, with these artists, would be a feather in the cap of many professional orchestras; it’s really special for an ensemble of promising young musicians to have this kind of opportunity.”
Piccinini is featured in the world premiere recording of Kernis’ Flute Concerto, which was co-commissioned for her by the Peabody Institute and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, among others. The PSO’s performance and recording of the concerto, in April 2017, followed the January 2016 world premiere performance given by the Detroit Symphony — both under Slatkin’s baton.
“It was my pleasure to give the world premiere of the Kernis Flute Concerto in Detroit. When the opportunity to perform and record the work with the outstanding musicians of the Peabody Symphony occurred, I jumped at the chance,” notes Slatkin. “This is a true virtuoso work for everyone and having Marina Piccinini as soloist only reinforced the strength of the work.”
Alsop led the performance and recording of the other work on the CD, Kernis’ Second Symphony, in October 2016. The symphony was written in 1991, shaped by the composer’s reactions to the Persian Gulf War, and signifies, Kernis says in his notes on the work, “a loss of innocence.” Its three movements, though not meant to be programmatic, are titled Alarm, Air/Ground, and Barricade.
The Peabody Symphony Orchestra’s new all-Kernis recording on NAXOS is available for purchase at naxos.com.
— Tiffany Lundquist