Concert 1 – “Gershwin”

Saturday, October 15th – 7:30 PM – Peace United Church, Santa Cruz

Sunday, October 16th – 7:00 PM – Cypress Community Church, Salinas 

Our gala season begins with the original jazz band version of the Rhapsody in Blue.  With Lucy Faridany as soloist we perform this classic the way Gershwin first composed it for the Paul Whiteman Jazz Orchestra in 1924.  It’s not the suave, elegant masterpiece you are used to! Instead, prepare for a bold, daring and brash icon of the roaring 20s!  Our opening concert also includes two other masterworks of the era.  Darius Milhoud’s The Creation of the World is an African creation story told for the first time in “concert” jazz.  For a perfect finish we include Kurt Weill’s Suite from the Threepenny Opera. Beware, Mack the Knife is definitely “back in town!”

Concert 2 – “Tchaikovsky”

Saturday, November 12th – 7:30 PM – St. Philip’s Lutheran Church, Carmel

Sunday, November 13th – 7:00 PM – Peace United Church, Santa Cruz

Our second concert features one of the all-time concert favorites, the Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings. Next, Tenor Soloist Jacob Williams (the Britten War Requiem) returns with Principal Horn Scott Hartman to solo in Benjamin Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings.  It is a haunting masterwork that probes the very meaning of life and implications of death at the deepest level.  And we are proud to present the world premiere of Barry Phillips’ latest composition, Suite for Flute, Harp and Strings. Barry is an award winning cellist, composer, and world music expert.  This exciting premiere features solos by Ensemble Monterey favorites Lars Johannesson and Jennifer Cass.

Concert 3 – “The Happy Workshop”  

Saturday, March 11th – 7:30 PM – St. Philip’s Lutheran Church, Carmel

Sunday, March 12th – 7:00 PM – Peace United Church, Santa Cruz

In 1945, the final year of his life, the great German Romantic composer Richard Strauss returned to his first love for his last composition.  The Symphony for Winds in B Flat is one of the most monumental and challenging works ever written for wind instruments.  Strauss inscribed the score with a message of gratitude for a full life, and ended with the phrase From a Happy Workshop.”  The title stuck.  This will certainly be the first, and likely the only performance of this piece ever to be presented in our area.  Paired with the Strauss we present another immortal composition –  Beethoven’s Octet, Op. 103.

 Concert 4 – “Premiere”  

Saturday, April 29th – 7:30 PM – Cypress Community Church, Salinas

Sunday, April 30th – 7:00 PM – Peace United Church, Santa Cruz

To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of both Ensemble Monterey and our traditional concert partner, Cantiamo! Cabrillo, we have jointly commissioned a major composition for chorus, orchestra, children’s chorus and soloists.  The commissioned composer is Latvian Ēriks Ešenvalds.  At the young age of 40 he is one of the most award-winning and sought-after composers working today, and has achieved both fame and overwhelming acclaim in the musical world.  The yet-to-be-named composition is already guaranteed publication and is scheduled for an East Coast premiere in Carnegie Hall later in 2017.  To add to the celebration we are proud to present a loving memorial to one of our greatest friends and long-time collaborators – the Stephen Tosh Piano Concerto will share the program with our exciting 25th Anniversary premiere.