The upcoming concert season is especially significant for the Norfolk-based Virginia Symphony Orchestra, as it celebrates 25 years with the same music director, JoAnn Falletta. The New York-born conductor also has a busy schedule as the music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, along with other conducting engagements around the world.
Between 2011 and 2014, Falletta was the principal conductor of Northern Ireland’s only full-time professional orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra. During her tenure there, she and the orchestra recorded a two-volume set of orchestra music by John Knowles Paine, an important American composer who lived from 1839 to 1906. The senior member of the “Boston Six” (New England composers Paine, Chadwick, Foote, Beach, MacDowell and Parker), Portland, Maine-born Paine was the first professor of music in the United States, earning that position at Harvard in 1875.
He wrote two symphonies, and this week’s CD Pick features the first of them, along with two Shakespeare-inspired works: an overture to Shakespeare’s As You Like It, and the symphonic poem Shakespeare’s Tempest. Next week, as we are celebrating the national holiday, we’ll feature his second symphony, “Spring,” and two shorter works inspired by Greek mythology.