The Modesto Symphony Orchestra is ready to bring on the baroque.
Though if you want to play along, think air cello instead of air guitar. The orchestra will bring out the best in baroque chamber music for its shows today and Saturday at the Gallo Center for the Arts. The often ornamental style of music came after the Renaissance and was chiefly composed from the 17th century to midway into the 18th century.
Music Director David Lockington will lead the orchestra, along with 23-year-old cello prodigy Julian Schwarz. The soon-to-be Juilliard School graduate began playing cello at age 6. He grew up in Seattle in a musical family – mother a flutist, father a conductor – and made his orchestral debut at age 11. In 2010, he was the featured soloist on a U.S. tour with the Moscow State Radio Symphony Orchestra; in 2012, he recorded the Samuel Jones Cello Concerto, which was written for him, with the newly formed All Star Orchestra, composed of musicians from major American orchestras.
Now a senior at the prestigious Juilliard set to graduate in May, Schwarz lives with his family in New York.
“I love to play baroque music and classical music,” Schwarz said. “It’s difficult as a cellist to find solo repertoire from the baroque and classical period. There aren’t staples.”
He will perform Luigi Boccherini’s Cello Concerto in B-flat major in the program. This will be his first time performing with the Modesto orchestra.
“I think this is a special gem of the cello literature. And it is something for me I’ve not done before,” he said. “So it is an exciting thing to come to Modesto. I know the orchestra in Modesto is fabulous.”
Also featured will be MSO principal oboist Denis Harper, who will perform Georg Philipp Telemann’s Concerto for oboe in E minor. Also on the program are Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and George Frideric Handel’s Concerto grosso No. 12.
Harper has been playing principal oboe with the orchestra since 1991. The Yale School of Music graduate is a recipient of a Hewlett Foundation Fellowship and the Marian Anderson Young Artist Award.
He has performed as a soloist with the Haifa Symphony in Israel, the Berkeley Symphony, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and the Orquesta Sinfonica de Monterrey, Mexico among others.