Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major “Emperor”
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor
Welcome to the 125th Season of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra! We open this season with an all-Beethoven program, beginning with his powerful fifth piano concerto, featuring internationally renowned pianist Jorge Federico Osorio. After intermission, we will welcome Michelle Areyzaga, soprano; Naomi Louisa O’Connell, mezzo-soprano; Rodrick Dixon, tenor; Ryan Speedo Green, bass-baritone; and the Apollo Chorus of Chicago for Beethoven’s ninth symphony. This work is a musical journey — from the mysterious, atmospheric opening, through a massive scherzo and a sublime slow movement. The culmination is Beethoven’s enormous choral finale, setting the ecstatic words of Fredrich Schiller’sOde to Joy. This celebration of human dignity and freedom is as relevant in 2022 as it was at its first performance in 1824.
Hoping to learn a little bit more about the music, composers, and guest artist? Join Maestro Stelluto for a relaxed pre-concert lecture called, Symbolism and Message in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony beginning at 6:30 pm.
Join musicians and fellow concert-goers after the concert for a P.S. Party at The Missing Zither. Drinks will be available to purchase.
Recipient of the prestigious Medalla Bellas Artes, the highest honor granted by Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts, Jorge Federico Osorio has been lauded throughout the world for his superb musicianship, powerful technique, vibrant imagination, and deep passion. He has performed with many of the world’s leading ensembles, including the symphony orchestras of Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico; the Israel, Warsaw, and Royal Philharmonics; RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (Dublin), Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai (Torino), São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), Moscow State Orchestra, Orchestre Nationale de France, Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Concertgebouw Orchestra. Highly revered in his native Mexico, Osorio resides in the Chicagoland area, where he serves on the faculty at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts.
As a coveted performer with a diverse repertoire, American soprano Michelle Areyzaga is held in high regard by orchestras and opera companies throughout the United States and abroad. She has performed operatic roles with New York City Opera in Telemann’s Orpheus as well as in their VOX series and has appeared in leading roles with Chicago Opera Theater, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s In the Neighborhoods programs, Opera Birmingham, Ravinia Festival, and Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México. Areyzaga was the PSO’s 2020-2021 Artist-in-Residence and has appeared on numerous PSO orchestral concerts, chamber music programs, and television broadcasts.
Hailed by The New York Times as “radiant,” Naomi made her professional debut in 2012 starring on the West End in Terrence McNally’s play Master Class. Her work encompasses both theatrical and operatic repertoire, ranging from straight plays to operas, recitals, and cabarets to sound sculptures and virtual reality performance art. Lauded by The New York Times as “a natural in the recital format” for her Carnegie Hall debut recital Witches, Bitches & Women in Britches at Weill Recital Hall, she performs regularly in concerts internationally, and her recitals have been featured on WQXR and the Met Live Arts Series. Previous engagements with the Peoria Symphony include Martucci’s song cycle La canzone dei Ricordi with Maestro George Stelluto, and a resident artist week with pianist Brent Funderburk in 2018.
Rodrick Dixon possesses a tenor voice of extraordinary range and versatility that has earned him the respect and attention of leading conductors, orchestras, and opera companies. Notable operatic engagements include Los Angeles Opera in the title role of Zemlinky’s Der Zwerg conducted by James Conlon and as Walther von der Vogelweide in Tannhauser. At Michigan Opera Theater and Todi Music Festival, Dixon appeared as Tonio in La Fille Du Regiment. He also appeared as Lenski in Todi’s production of Eugene Onegin. At Portland Opera, he performed the title role of Les Contes d’Hoffmann; Prince in Opera Columbus premiere of Vanqui; Sportin’ Life in Virginia Opera’s Porgy & Bess; the Duke in Rigoletto for Cincinnati Opera; and Opera Southwest in the title role of Rossini’s Otello. Recordings include (Sony/BMG), PBS Great Performances Cook, Dixon & Young Volume One released in (2005), Follow That Star Christmas CD (2003), Liam Lawton’s Sacred Land (2006), and Rodrick Dixon Live in Concert (2008) and a Christmas album with the Cincinnati Pops. This is Dixon’s debut with the PSO with this season’s performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.
Grammy Award-winning bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green has quickly established himself as an artist of international demand at the world’s leading opera houses. In the 2020 – 2021 season Mr. Green makes his house debut as Jake in Porgy and Bess with Theatre an der Wien, as well as his house debut with Palm Beach Opera singing Colline in La bohème and Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte, both directed by James Robinson and conducted by music director David Stern. In the fall of 2016, Little, Brown published Sing for Your Life, by New York Times journalist Daniel Bergner. The book tells the story of Mr. Green’s personal and artistic journey: from a trailer park in southeastern Virginia and from time spent in Virginia’s juvenile facility of last resort to the Met stage. The New York Times Book Review called the book “one of the most inspiring stories I’ve come across in a long time,” and the Washington Post called it a “vital, compelling, and highly recommended book.” Sing for your Life has been honored with a number of recognitions including the New York Times bestseller and editor’s choice, a Washington Post Notable Book, and a Publishers Weekly Book of the Year. A native of Suffolk, Virginia, Mr. Green received a Master of Music degree from Florida State University, a Bachelor of Music degree from the Hartt School of Music, and was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. This is Green’s debut with the PSO with this season’s performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.
Founded just after the Chicago Fire in 1872, the Apollo Chorus of Chicago is one of the oldest auditioned volunteer choral societies in the United States and the oldest performing-arts organization in Illinois. Year after year, critics and audiences alike delight in the artistry and passion of Apollo’s performances. Under the direction of Music Director and Conductor Stephen Alltop, the Chorus regularly presents choral masterworks in illustrious Chicago venues such as Symphony Center and the Harris Theater. The 2021-22 season marks the 150th Anniversary of the Chorus and includes Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St. John Passion, and the Chicago premiere of Stacy Garrop’s oratorio, Terra Nostra. One of the most active presenters of contemporary choral music in the Midwest, the Apollo Chorus has collaborated with many prominent composers, including Jeff Beal, Jeremy Beck, Eleanor Daley, Keith Hampton, and Eric Whitacre.
Stephen Alltop serves as Music Director of the Apollo Chorus of Chicago, the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, and the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra. A specialist in oratorio and historical performance practice, he is been a member of the conducting and keyboard faculties at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University where he conducts the Alice Millar Chapel Choir and the Baroque Music Ensemble, and offers a variety of courses for singers, instrumentalists, and graduate conducting students.
This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.