The Helena Symphony presents a special TANGO! concert on Sunday, November 4 at 3:00 p.m. in St. Paul’s United Methodist Church featuring critically-acclaimed Violinist Robyn Bollinger. This special chamber orchestra performance (separate from the Masterworks Concert Series) includes the colorful Danses Concertantes of Stravinsky, and a homage to Rossini with Benjamin Britten’s playful dances in Soirées Musicales, and ASTOR PIAZZOLLA’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.
Stravinsky’s Danses Concertantes proclaims its character in the very title. It is music that reflects traditional dance genres, composed in a concert style, or “concertante” style, meaning much solo work from the various corners of a small orchestra.
Written in 1942, it was explicitly intended to serve as an abstract concert piece, not a ballet work. Because, however, the work was filled with references to and parodies of the ballet tradition, choreographer George Balanchine used the score for his ballet companies, and it remains one of Stravinsky’s wittiest and most charming works.
While English composer Benjamin Britten is often remembered for intense, dramatic works, his Soirées Musicales shows off is light-hearted and fun sense of humor. The work is divided into five movements that are all dance-inspired (and have been choreographed). From a 90-second cheeky March and two-minute Spanish bolero to an upbeat Italian dance – Soirées Musicales is perfect for intimate settings.
Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires relates directly to Vivaldi’s masterpiece – meaning for solo violin and string orchestra. Composed in a late-night recording session in 1970 for his own ensemble, The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires are associated with the seasons occurring simultaneously in Vivaldi’s Italy. This arrangement for solo violin and string orchestra, remove bandoneon and electric guitar, and Piazzolla’s “new tango” emerges as one of the most exciting newer works for virtuoso solo violin. Piazzolla’s electrifying blend of fire and passion with the traditional tango coupled with modern harmonies and edgy textures produced over 750 works – from intimate to theatrical, from violent to sensual, and from witty to melancholy. By 1985, Piazzolla was hailed as the musician who revitalized one of the quintessential genres of Latin music, and a true revolutionary figure for tango. While he died of a stroke in 1992, the popularity and excitement of his music is still growing.
Proclaimed as “daring, versatile, charismatic, and passionate,” Violinist ROBYN BOLLINGER is recognized for her musical creativity, rich tones, and technical mastery. She came to national attention with her 2014 residency on PRI’s “Performance Today” and several appearances on NPR’s “From the Top.” She is recipient of a prestigious 2016 Fellowship from the Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship Fund for her multimedia performance project, “CIACCONA: The Bass of Time,” which she began touring nationally in 2018.
Having made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut at age twelve, Ms. Bollinger has since performed with orchestras, in recital, and at festivals nationally and internationally, among them the Boston Pops, Japan’s Phoenix Hall, Oji Hall, and Tokyo National Arts Center, the Grand Tetons Music Festival Orchestra, and the music festivals of Aspen, Lake Champlain, Maui, Marlboro, and Rockport. Ms. Bollinger also performed in Boston with the Grammy-nominated string orchestra, A Far Cry, of which she is a member, as well as with Chameleon Arts Ensemble, the Lydian Quartet at Brandeis University, Mistral Music, and in concert for Boston’s Music For Food concert series.
From July 2013 to May 2017, Ms. Bollinger played a 1778 Joseph and Antonio Gagliano violin on generous loan from the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute Instrument Bank. As of May 2017, she now performs on a beautiful 2017 violin made by the world-renowned luthier Samuel Zygmuntowicz, on loan from a private collection.
Tickets for this special concert are all $20 (plus $5 transaction fee) with opening seating and can also be purchased online, by calling the Symphony Box Office (406.442.1860), or visiting the Symphony Box Office located on the Walking Mall at the Livestock Building (2 N. Last Chance Gulch, Suite 1) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets for Christmas in the Cathedral (which is almost sold out) are also on sale now.