Cellist ready to step into new role as soloist


Cellist Suzanne Orban may well be the most recognizable musician in our area.

Whether you've done your annual "Messiah" at St. Anne's with the Annapolis Chorale, or at the Naval Academy with John Barry Talley presiding, chances are you've been privileged to hear her hold forth on the continuo.

Annapolis Symphony audiences know her as the orchestra's principal cellist, a post she has held since Peter Bay appointed her section leader in 1989.

The 29-year-old Severna Park native also has held the principal chair in the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra, the ensemble founded by conductor J. Ernest Green to operate in conjunction with his Annapolis Chorale.

A graduate of Northwestern University and the University of Maryland, Ms. Orban is poised to reveal another side of her musical personality; this consummate orchestral player is about to make her mark as a concerto soloist.

5l Next season, she will play Camille Saint-Saens' A-minor Concerto with Gisele Ben-Dor and the Annapolis Symphony on a pair of Maryland Hall subscription concerts. Tomorrow night, she will perform the Haydn D-major Concerto with Mr. Green and the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra at St. Anne's Church in Annapolis.

Once thought to be the work of the cellist Anton Kraft, who played in Haydn's Esterhazy orchestra in the 1780s, the Concerto No. 2 in D is now viewed as vintage Haydn: tuneful, inventive, vivacious music that emanated from one of the greatest artists who ever lived. When a cellist auditions for a slot in a major symphony orchestra, there are but two concertos a conductor wants to hear: the great Dvorak B-minor and the second Haydn.

"Every cellist worth his salt must play this concerto," said Ms. Orban. "I could play the other Haydn concerto -- the C-major -- pretty nicely when I was in college.

"But in the D-major, there are still things that make me hold my breath.

"I've been working on it for 10 years now, and have never played it publicly. It's a challenge. It's an adventure. And it's just gorgeous music."

Mr. Green harbors described his soloist as a "a wonderful" cellist. "I'm thrilled that she is playing the concerto with us," he said. "It should be a very exciting concert."

The program includes the Chorale Chamber Chorus in the Jesu Meine Freude motet of Bach, as well as choral selections from Purcell, Dvorak and Randall Thompson. Organist Daniel Hathaway of Cleveland's Trinity Cathedral will play the F-major Concerto of Joseph Rheinberger accompanied by the Chamber Orchestra.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad