Concert season reaches peak

The Athens Festival’s concert season reaches a peak this week, with Britain’s prestigious London Symphony Orchestra’s three concerts at the Herod Atticus Theater tomorrow, Sunday and Monday. Conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, the orchestra will interpret Berlioz’s «Nuits d’ete» tomorrow, Jean Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5 in E flat major and Periklis Koukos’s Nocturnes for mezzo-soprano, choir and orchestra from the opera-ballet «A Midsummer Night’s Dream,» along with mezzo-soprano Stella Doufexis and the Athens Festival Choir. Koukos’s work was commissioned by the orchestra and was sponsored by the British Council. Conducted again by Sir Andrew Davis and joined by legendary cellist Mstislav Rostropovich (also a conductor), on Sunday the orchestra will play works by Czech composer Antonin Dvorak, including his much-loved «New World» Symphony No. 9 in E minor, in commemoration of the centenary of the composer’s death. Dvorak composed the symphony shortly after his arrival in New York, which coincided with celebrations for the 400-year anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of America. Finally on Monday, August 9, led by Rostropovich, the London Symphony Orchestra will interpret Tchaikovsky’s Concerto for violin and orchestra in D major with award-winning violinist Vadim Repin and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in D minor. Leading cellist Rostropovich has worked as a conductor for over 40 years and is head of Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra. Numerous highly regarded 20th century composers have dedicated works to him, including Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Britten and others. Sir Andrew Davis, the Conductor Laureate of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, became its musical director in 1989. Since 2000 he has been musical director and principal conductor of Chicago’s Lyric Opera. The London Symphony Orchestra, England’s first independent and self-governing orchestra, was founded in 1904 by a group of musicians from the Queen’s Hall Orchestra who fell out with their conductor. It was the first European orchestra to tour the United States, in 1912; during its career it has collaborated with a great number of leading conductors and composers, including Richter, Elgar, Beecham and Abbado and has also performed international premieres of works by 20th century composers Elgar, Henze, Knussen and others. The concerts will take place tomorrow, Sunday and August 9 at the Herod Atticus Theater (Dionysiou Areopagitou) and start at 9 p.m. Tickets are available at the Hellenic Festival Box Office (39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.928.2900) and the theater box office.

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