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Santa Rosa Symphony’s "SRS @ Home May 16" Celebrates Sonoma County with Zwilich's Peanuts® Gallery, featuring pianist Elizabeth Dorman, and Santa Rosa native Paul Dooley's Sonoma Strong

Santa Rosa Symphony, April 19, 2021

(Santa Rosa, Calif.) — Santa Rosa Symphony (SRS) presents a virtual concert experience, conducted by Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong, celebrating Sonoma County on May 16, 2021 at 3:00 PM on the Symphony's YouTube channel. The orchestra will be joined by acclaimed, San Francisco-based pianist Elizabeth Dorman for SRS Artistic Partner Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's Peanuts® Gallery in a concert that also features a reprise of Santa Rosa native Paul Dooley's Sonoma Strong.
 
Lecce-Chong said, "Our season concludes with a bit of fun, gratitude and optimism. From Rossini's slapstick comedy overture to Zwilich's comics-inspired piano concerto, listeners of all ages will be smiling and chuckling along to the music with us. From a work inspired by our community's recovery from the 2017 Tubbs fire to one celebrating medical workers, we honor those who have kept our community safe through this time. And, ultimately, my colleagues and I will be performing with the fervent hope that this will be the last time we perform in the Green Music Center without our beloved audience."
 
Zwilich met Santa Rosa icon and cartoonist Charles Schulz as she thanked him for featuring her flute concerto in one of his Peanuts® comic strips. As Composer Chair at Carnegie Hall, Zwilich wrote Peanuts® Gallery for a family concert to be performed by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. "I would never, ever write down to a child," she said in an interview with Lecce-Chong, adding that she would maybe write something shorter, but definitely something she herself would want to hear. Zwilich, who was the first woman to earn the Pulitzer Prize in Music in addition to a very long list of prestigious awards, highlights a different Peanuts® character in each of the work’s six movements. During the course of composing the light-hearted, yet complex piece, she and Schulz formed a close and lasting friendship.
 
Pianist Elizabeth Dorman, who will perform Peanuts® Gallery on stage with the orchestra, has performed with the Louisville Orchestra, the Leipzig Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and Symphony Parnassus, as well as for interdisciplinary projects at the New World Symphony. Her live solo performances have been nationally broadcast on NPR and public radio. San Francisco Chronicle music critic Joshua Kosman has praised her “elegance and verve.” Read her full bio.
 
Continuing with the local theme, the orchestra will perform a new arrangement by Paul Dooley of his Sonoma Strong to accommodate the smaller orchestra necessitated by COVID restrictions. The work, commissioned by the Santa Rosa Symphony, pays tribute to Dooley’s hometown's experience of the 2017 Tubbs fire, even calling for string players to assist with playing the increased number (22) of whirlies. A whirly is a flexible, tuned hose made of corrugated plastic that, when whipped around, makes an eerie, sustained tone reminiscent of a siren or the wind. The second part of the two-part work, according to Dooley, "expresses hope and rebirth and builds to a heroic climax."  
 
Lecce-Chong added, “I think Sonoma Strong was always about something even bigger than our recovery from the horrific wildfires. It is a work that celebrates the strength of our community. Paul created a piece that focuses on our collective resiliency and creative capacity in the midst of tragedy. The support and commitment of our community to the arts has helped the Santa Rosa Symphony innovate and thrive during the pandemic, bringing the restorative power of music to all. I cannot think of a more perfect work to sum up our gratitude and hope as we complete this most unusual season of music.”
 
Also included in the program are Gioachino Rossini's Overture to Il signor Bruschino and acclaimed American composer Michael Daugherty's Asclepius, Fanfare for Brass and Percussion.
 
Fittingly capping this final 2020-2021 SRS @ Home Season concert is Franz Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 45, Farewell, in which the orchestra members gradually peel off the stage in the last movement, leaving just two musicians on stage to finish the piece.
 
Recorded on May 1, 2021, in Green Music Center's Weill Hall, the concert premieres May 16 at 3:00 PM, preceded by a live, 30-minute pre-concert talk with Lecce-Chong and Zwilich at 2:00 PM and followed by a live post-concert Q&A with Lecce-Chong and special guests—all on YouTube. All three elements of this event are free, though donations to support the ongoing music and outreach programs of the Symphony are gratefully accepted during the event.
 
INVERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES:
Francesco Lecce-Chong, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich
 
AT A GLANCE / CALENDAR LISTING:
 
WHAT: Santa Rosa Symphony concert SRS @ Home May 16
 
WHO: Santa Rosa Symphony  
 
WHEN: Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 3:00 PM
Pre-concert Talk 2:00 PM-2:30 PM
 
WHERE: Santa Rosa Symphony’s YouTube Channel (also accessible from the event page)
 
COST: Free, with donations gratefully accepted
 
INFORMATION: Leave message at (707) 546-8742 (Weekdays 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM)
 
ENHANCEMENTS:
Close-ups of musicians and conductor
Introduction to works by SRS musicians
Thirty-minute pre-concert talk on YouTube with Lecce-Chong & Zwilich at 2 PM on concert day
Post-concert Q&A on YouTube with Lecce-Chong & guests
Program book (online flipbook and printable version) available on concert event page
 
Sponsors
Classical Concert Series underwritten by Sara and Edward Kozel, in memory of Laura Tietz
SRS @ Home Lead Sponsor: Charles M. Schulz Museum, dedicated to the Peanuts Creator
SRS @ Home Supporting Sponsor: Victor and Karen Trione
SRS @ Home Supporting Sponsor: The Stare Foundation and David Stare of Dry Creek Vineyard
SRS @ Home Supporting Sponsor: County of Sonoma – Board of Supervisors
 
April 25 Concert Sponsor: Viking Cruises
Concert Supporting Sponsor: The E. Nakamichi Foundation
Francesco Lecce-Chong underwritten by The Alan and Susan Seidenfeld Charitable Trust
Pre-concert talks Sponsor: Jamei Haswell and Richard Grundy
Media Sponsor: The Press Democrat
 
-High-res photos available upon request-
 
About the Santa Rosa Symphony
Santa Rosa Symphony, the Resident Orchestra of the Green Music Center, is the third-oldest professional orchestra in California, and the largest regional symphony north of Los Angeles. Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Symphony's fifth music director in its 93 years, began his tenure in 2018. The Symphony is committed to core values of artistic excellence, innovative programming, comprehensive music education and community service. The organization infused the local economy with more than $4 million in 2019.
 
The Symphony is recognized for having one of the most comprehensive music education programs in California, serving nearly 30,000 youths annually. Collaborations with schools and organizations across Sonoma County have gained the Santa Rosa Symphony national attention and support. Awards include an American Symphony Orchestra League MetLife Award for Community Engagement and a first-place award for adventurous programming from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

Media Contact:
Ann Hutchinson
Marketing Associate
707-953-1663 (mobile)
ahutchinson@srsymphony.org 

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