Sinfonia says hello Dali in first-ever collaboration
The renowned Dali Quartet accompanies the Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra in the ensembles’ first-ever collaboration, “Dazzling Dalí,” 7:30 p.m. April 6, First Presbyterian Church, Cedar Crest Boulevard and Tilghman Street, Allentown.
It is the first time the two organizations have worked together, according to Bethlehem native and Dali first violinist Domenic Salerni.
The Sinfonia, conducted by Sinfonia Music Director Allan Birney, welcomes the Philadelphia quartet as featured soloists on composer Edward Elgar’s “Introduction and Allegro for String Quartet and Strings, Op. 47.”
The Elgar piece was written in 1905 for the newly-established London Symphony Orchestra. Elgar, nearing the age of 50, had already composed the popular “Enigma Variations” and “Pomp and Circumstance” marches.
In the “Introduction and Allegro,” Elgar wanted to demonstrate to full advantage the virtuosity of the London Symphony’s string musicians. The work is characterized by polyphony, with multiple themes and fugues coming forth, then entwining into a rich texture.
“This is a piece that is dear to our hearts,” says Salerni. “It is a lush beautiful piece that is like a conversation between the orchestra and the quartet.”
Salerni says it made perfect sense for the quartet, in residence on the faculty of West Chester University Wells School of Music, to join forces with the Sinfonia.
Salerni, a son of Lehigh Universtiy composer Paul Salerni, says the Dali often performs in the Lehigh Valley, most recently for the February world premiere at Lehigh U. of his father’s one-act dance opera, “Haunted,” which featured a libretto by Dana Gioia, California Poet Laureate.
In addition to Salerni who joined the Dali in 2016, Quartet members are Carlos Rubio, second violin; Jesús Morales, cello, Adriana Linares, viola.
Salerni says audiences will get a special treat with the quartet’s “fun little encore.
“Our mission is to promote composers from Latin America and we will be doing something a little off the beaten track. There are wonderful classical compositions from countries like Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. Beautiful music is being written in addition to the established masters.”
The program includes Sergei Prokofiev’s charming “Symphony No. 1 in D, Op. 25,” known as the “Classical Symphony,” composed in 1915 during a time of musical turbulence just before World War I; and Maurice Ravel’s “Le Tombeau de Couperin,” written in 1917 in memory of friends who had died in World War I. Ravel’s transcription for small orchestra appeared a few years after the premiere of the piano version.
The concert opens with the delightful “Overture: La Scala di Seta” by Gioachino Rossini, a comic opera first performed in Venice, Italy, in 1812.
The Dalí Quartet brings its signature mix of Latin American, classical and romantic repertoire to stages and audiences across the United States and Canada. The group has received critical and audience acclaim for its classical roots Latin soul. The Dali has worked with percussionist Orlando Cotto and acclaimed pianist Vanessa Perez.
Recent engagements include performances at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and Centro de Bellas Artes, Puerto Rico.
This season, the quartet has a busy touring schedule, which includes a U.S. and Canadian tour with Van Cliburn Competition gold-medal-winning pianist Olga Kern, and performances and a recording project with renowned clarinetist Ricardo Morales, principal of The Philadelphia Orchestra.
As part of the residency at West Chester University, Salerni will be a featured faculty soloist with the West Chester University Orchestra and will appear in his first faculty recital with guest pianist Efi Hackmey, as well as chamber music collaborations with faculty. Salerni also is a member of the multi-genre septet Foundry, the Chiarina Chamber Players, Iris Orchestra, and the Bellingham Festival Orchestra.
The quartet runs the Dalí Quartet International Music Festival, a chamber music and orchestral program founded in 2004 which develops the performance skills of young musicians up through semi-professional level.
The goal of Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra, which celebrated its 35th anniversary in the Lehigh Valley last year, is to present live classical music in enjoyable and accessible ways to a diverse and expanding audience.
“Dazzling Dalí,” 7:30 p.m. April 6, First Presbyterian Church, 3231 W. Tilghman St., Allentown. The audience is invited to meet the musicians during a reception following the concert. There are a limited number of economy tickets for all ages for seating in rear rows. Economy tickets must be ordered by phone at 610 434-7811 by April 5. Tickets: LVArtsBoxOffice.org; PASinfonia.org; 610 434-7811.