By Special to the Daily World
Recently, the Grammy Award-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra released its second recording on its record label, ASO Media. Distributed by Naxos of America, this release features Music Director Robert Spano leading the Orchestra in Atlanta School of Composers member Christopher Theofanidis’s Symphony No. 1 and the late Peter Leiberson’s Neruda Songs with mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor.
Theofanidis’s Symphony No. 1 was commissioned by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with the generous participation of the Savannah Music Festival and the Immanuel & Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival. Spano led the world premiere at Atlanta Symphony Hall in April 2009.
O’Connor was the first artist to perform Lieberson’s Neruda Songs after the death of his wife, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. She has since performed the work with numerous orchestras around the world. Spano led Ms. O’Connor in the work at Atlanta Symphony Hall last summer in June 2010. The Orchestra’s inaugural release on ASO Media, which was launched in February 2011, featured Spano leading the Orchestra in Atlanta School of Composers member, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, Jennifer Higdon’s new concerto, On A Wire, featuring the chamber ensemble eighth blackbird. A new choral work of Michael Gandolfi, also an Atlanta School member, was on this recording — his QED: Engaging Richard Feynman highlights the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus, which celebrated its 40th anniversary during the 2010-11 season. Both works were commissioned by the Atlanta Symphony, and given world-premiere performances in June 2010 at Atlanta Symphony Hall.
The third release on ASO Media is scheduled to arrive in fall 2011, and will include two works by Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 3 with Garrick Ohlsson, and Symphonic Dances. The 2010-11 season marked Spano’s 10th year as Music Director. Since the beginning of Spano’s tenure in 2001, he and the Orchestra have performed more than 100 concerts featuring contemporary works (composed since 1950).
ASO Media is the latest in a growing list of American orchestras to bring their own labels to Naxos for distribution. The ASO Media production team includes long-time Atlanta Symphony Orchestra collaborators Elaine Martone and Michael Bishop.