Since the San Jose Chamber Orchestra’s (SJCO) 1991 founding, Music Director and Conductor Barbara Day Turner has reliably marched the South Bay group through a weave of orchestral masterpieces, chamber ensemble adaptations and symphony works in addition to newly commissioned scores written by living composers.
The 19-plus player string-based ensemble will encore four concerts arriving Feb. through May.
The wide-ranging repertoire presents live performances that regularly include selections from the classical music canon as well as world premieres of contemporary works by renowned composers. Its 32 seasons have led to more than 200 new works, seven CDs and five ASCAP/League of American Orchestras Adventurous Programming Awards.
Feeding the pipeline for the next generation of stars, the SJCO Youth Orchestra Program, founded in 2001, consists of seven orchestras that provide mentoring, instruction and performance opportunities for 130 young string and flute players. The chamber ensemble program offers sectional coaching led by SJCO musicians, numerous performance opportunities, free concerts and side-by-side concerts performed in partnership with the SJCO.
Turner has long championed new music and came to SJCO after 18 years as artistic administrator and conductor of Opera San José. Having conducted operas, musicals and new works around the globe, Turner’s eclecticism adds variety to the ensemble, with lively repertoire drawn from artists, cultural music traditions and histories worldwide.
Feb. 11 kicks off with Fantasia conducted by Alyssa Wang and performed with flutist James Blanchard and pianist Matthieu Cognet. The program includes Daniel Kidane’s “Be Still;” Germaine Tailleferre’s “Concertino for Flute, Piano and Strings;” Dobrinka Tabakova’s “Fantasy Homage a Schubert” and Benjamin Britten’s “Young Apollo.”
March 17 is an ideal time for SJSO’s Mandolin Madness concert. And, arguably, there is no better pairing of two talented mandolinists than the featured guest musicians, Mike Marshall and Catarina Lichtenberg. Turner conducts the program that showcases Concerto for Two Mandolin by Evan Price, a co-commission by San José Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Savannah Music Festival and the Lakeland Symphony Orchestra. Also in the evening performance is a world premiere coming from the accomplished duo, “A Tale of Cat and Mike.”
Returning by popular demand, according to the SJCO, is the annual and opaquely titled Chamber Music concert on April 27. Likewise, the TBA program keeps under wraps the repertoire to be performed. But there’s nothing cloudy or vague when it comes to the two groups featured, the Julius Quartet and SJCO Quartet. Expect brilliant rendering and concise pacing, along with a remarkable demonstration of something so lacking in society today: infinitely attentive listening and adaptability to real time, in-the-moment conversations between artists and instruments.
Wrapping up the season is Concerto Night and will be on May 19 led by conductor Anthony Quartuccio. With impressive and often surprising verve, the young artists and winners of the International Klein String Competition will display both potential and achievement in a new work by the to-be-determined winner of the Allan Strange Memorial Composition Contest.
Feb. 11–May 19
St. Francis Episcopal Church
1205 Pine Ave, San Jose