If you love the violin, Alabama Symphony Orchestra has a number of unforgettable and moving performances on tap in April.
This month, the symphony is celebrating concertmaster Daniel Szasz’s 20th Season, sponsored by PNC, with a special performance of Scheherazade, a work that has some of the most important violin solos in orchestral history.
Along with Scheherazade in a span of eight days, Szasz will be performing five concerts with three different programs, including performances honoring the lovingly restored Violins of Hope instruments musicians played during the atrocities of the Holocaust.
Tickets for each performance can be purchased online or at the Alys Stephens box office.
In the midst of Szasz’s preparation for this special month, we asked him to reflect on his past 20 years and the upcoming performances.
Bham Now: Congrats on your 20th Anniversary. How does it feel?
Szasz: I am very honored and proud to be the concertmaster and a member of the ASO, and I would like to thank everybody for the support and appreciation I have received during the last 20 years!
I still cannot believe that so much time has passed since I joined the ASO! My children were 3 and 4 years old at the time, and now one is already married and the other one will be married by the end of this year. Time really flies, but I am very happy and excited to be celebrating my 20th year with the orchestra along with 3 of my colleagues who also joined the orchestra at the same time: principal oboist Jim Sullivan, and two of our horn section members, assistant principal Jeff Solomon and Nina Adair.
Bham Now: Tell us about this month’s concerts. You have a full slate of performances in front of you!
Szasz: The month of April is going to be special for me, not only for being honored and celebrated for my time with the orchestra but also because it will be very intense and challenging.
In a span of about 8 days I will be performing 5 concerts with 3 different programs (two as a soloist with the orchestra and one in a chamber music concert), so I will be quite busy!
The first concert, on Thursday April 12th, will be a chamber music concert in the Concertmaster & Friends series, part of the Violins of Hope events. The program will feature Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time,” one of the most important chamber works of the 20th century.
Two days later, on Saturday April 14th, I will perform 2 other soulful solo works with the orchestra in a special Violins of Hope concert: Bloch-Nigun and Williams-Theme from Schindler’s List.
The following week, on the Masterworks series (Friday and Saturday, April 20-21), I will perform the American premiere of a contemporary work “Transylvanian Seasons” by Romanian composer Cristian Bence-Muk, a piece commissioned by Music4Romania.
In the second half of that program I will be back in my concertmaster seat for Scheherazade, a work that has some of the most important, difficult and beautiful concertmaster solos in the entire orchestral literature. It is a piece that violinists are always excited to play and audiences always love to listen to – I hope you will enjoy it too!
Take an unforgettable journey with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and their beloved concertmaster Daniel Szasz. From the Scheherazade to the Violins of Hope celebrate Szasz’s two decades of playing music in the Magic City.