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Classical 101

The Columbus Symphony Presents A World Premiere And A World-Renowned Violinist

The Columbus Symphony welcomes composer Andreia Pinto Correia this weekend for the world premiere of her Ciprés (Cypresses)a work for orchestra inspired by the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca.

Following the premiere, violinist Jennifer Koh joins the symphony as the soloist for Jean Sibelius' Concerto in D Minor. The Columbus Symphony program closes with Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique.

Born in Portugal, Pinto Correia studied in Lisbon and later eared a master's and doctorate in music from the New England Conservatory. Her Timaeus, "Concerto for Orchestra,"commissioned by the Boston Symphony in memory of composer Elliott Carter, premiered at the Tanglewood Music Center's 75th anniversary celebrations.

The League of American Orchestras and the Columbus Symphony — with the generous support of the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation — commissioned Ciprés. The work is dedicated to conductor Rossen Milanov and the Columbus Symphony.

I asked Pinto Correia why she chose Lorca's poetry as the inspiration for Ciprés:

"This is the fifth or sixth work I've written inspired by Lorca," she says. "I love his magical atmospheres and the dark settings.

" 'Ciprés' is the shortest Lorca poem I've used. The text pairs each type of tree with a corresponding form of water. It's a very rhythmical poem, and I like the idea of pairings, of water and trees, and then at the end a real turn. We compare trees to water. The imagery and the symbolism are tremendous. But remember, this is a short poem. And my composition, Ciprés, takes about 13 minutes.

"I'm very much attracted to the idea of Lorca's poetry, to all the symbolism. There's always a little bit of darkness. But his words are always so musical. They inspire me in the musicology of the words and the rhythm of the phrases. We have this idea of the tress — cypress, poplar and willow — and then the water: static, crystaline and profound. I like the music to travel in vertical (trees) and horizontal.

The music begins with one note, the E on the string, and then opens, as if from the roots to the full flowering of the tree. Sometimes it gets massive as the tree grows. I hope you'll get the real 'opening' in each section of the piece."

I asked, what should people expect hearing your music for the first time?

"I could never say," she said with a laugh. "I want to be surprised! If you give the audience too much information in advance, they start to hear the music through my ears. I'm a composer from Portugal writing this music for Ohio. The audience will have a much different landscape than mine. I want the audience to bring their own ideas and listen with their own ears."

I also had the chance to sit down with Koh in advance of this weekend's Columbus Symphony concerts. We talked about Sibelius' work, her chance first meeting with violin, what she's working on now and more.

The Columbus Symphony takes the Ohio Theatre stage at 8 p.m. April 6 and 7. Rossen Milanov conducts Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. Jennifer Koh is the soloist for Sibelius' Violin Concerto. The concerts open with the world premiere of Ciprés by Andreia Pinto Correia.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.