Making news

American conductor leads concert at HCM City Opera House

American conductor Christopher Zimmerman, music director of Fairfax Symphony Orchestra in the US, will lead a concert of classical music at the HCM City Opera House on October 26.

The concert’s highlight will be Concerto Grosso No 1 written by Russian-born German composer Alfred Schnittke in 1976-1977.

The six-movement work premiered in 1977 in Leningrad. The premiere featured violinists Gidon Kremer and Tatiana Grindenko and the Leningrad Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Estonian conductor Eri Klas.

The 30-minute performance in HCM City will feature two of Vietnam’s leading violinists Vu Viet Chuong and Bui Cong Duy, who will perform along with the HCM City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO).

Chuong earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in violin performance from the University of Houston, and a doctorate from the University of North Texas.

He has appeared as a soloist with orchestras in the US and Vietnam including the San Angelo Symphony, Odysseus Chamber Orchestra, the Richardson Symphony Orchestra, Hanoi Symphony Orchestra and HBSO.

Chuong, who has also performed at international music festivals in the US, UK and Brazil, is co-founder of the Vietnam Connection Music Festival, which attracts leading classical artists from Vietnam and around the world.

Duy, 38, is a graduate of the Tchaikovsky National Music College in Moscow. He won first prize and the gold medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in St Petersburg in 1997.

He has performed at concerts in many European and Asian countries, as well as in prestigious halls such as Berliner Symphoniker in German and Capella Concert Hall in Russia.

Since 2015, he has been deputy rector for concert activities at the Vietnam National Academy of Music, artistic director of the Vietnam Classical Players and executive director of the Vietnam Connection Music Festival.

The concert will include Appalachian Spring orchestral suite by American composer Aaron Copland.

Copland wrote the composition for the ballet of the same name at the request of American choreographer and dancer Martha Graham. The ballet premiered in 1944. A year later, Copland rearranged the ballet as an orchestral suite for 13 instruments.

The performance will feature HBSO soloists including Meritorious Artist and cellist Nguyen Tan Anh, violist Pham Vu Thien Bao and violinist Tang Thanh Nam.

The concert will also include Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, and excerpts from Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky.

Conductor Zimmerman graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, and received his Master’s degree from the University of Michigan. He has worked with numerous orchestras, such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra of the UK, Prague Symphony Orchestra and National Orchestra of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Zimmerman was formerly the music director of the Symphony of Southeast Texas, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and the City of London Chamber Orchestra.

Since 2009, he has been music director of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, which was the winner of the Best Classical Orchestra Ensemble given by the Washington DC Area Musical Awards 2013.