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Baltimore Chamber Orchestra sets 34th season; closes 33rd stylishly

Tim Smith
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
You'll get to hear the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra more often next season.

The Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, which wrapped up its 33rd season last weekend (more on that in a moment), will do some expanding for its 34th. There will be five concerts, up from the current four, offering a colorful assortment of mostly standard repertoire, conducted by music director Markand Thakar at Goucher College's Kraushaar Auditorium.

The 2016-2017 season will open Oct. 2 with a program featuring concertmaster Madeline Adkins in Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2. Also on the lineup: Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony and Bartok's "Romanian Folk Dances."

Although Adkins is due to start her new job as concertmaster of the Utah Symphony next season after several years as associate concertmaster of the Baltimore Symphony, she is due back in town April 9 for another Baltimore Chamber Orchestra gig. She'll play a Haydn concerto with the ensemble, as well as a Brahms sonata with pianist Lura Johnson.

On Nov. 27, the orchestra will address works by Bach, Mozart and Corelli ("Christmas" Concerto). A Vivaldi concerto will showcase principal bassoonist Brian Young.

For something offbeat, there's Morton Gould's Tap Dance Concerto, with soloist Max Pollak, on Feb. 12. This program also holds Bernstein's Three Dance Episodes from "On the Town" and Beethoven's Symphony No. 4.

The season will close May 28, 2017, with Brahms' Serenade No. 2; violinist Yaegy Park will perform a concerto by Mozart and Sarasate's "Zigeunerweisen."

For more information, call 410-685-4050, or go to thebco.org.

The 2015-2016 season finale last Sunday began with the BCO's assistant conductor Joshua Hong leading a supple, buoyant account of J.C. Bach's deftly written Symphony in D, which points the way toward Mozart and even early Beethoven.

The ensemble's smooth, well-balanced playing continued throughout the afternoon, with Thakar taking the podium.

There was a sensitive collaboration with guest artist Zlatomir Fung in Schumann's poetic Cello Concerto. A rich, warm tone, impeccable intonation and thoughtful phrasing suggested a good future for the 17-year-old soloist. His appreciation for dynamic shading proved especially rewarding.

Thakar overlooked possibilities for underling the audacious spirit of Beethoven's Symphony No. 1, stressing instead the graceful, lyrical side. That yielded very elegant results in the Andante (the woodwinds supplied lovely tone color here). If the other movements could have used more bite, the transparency and clarity of the orchestra's response proved admirable.

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