Opening Night: VIGIL

Teddy Abrams, conductor
DaVÓNE TINES, Bass-Baritone
StreamED Live on Saturday, October 3 at 7:30 pm

Link to

Since the time when this opening night concert was first conceived as a tribute to Beethoven’s 250th birthday, the program has evolved together with the events and needs of our city. It would, perhaps, be more appropriate to re-title the performance “A Concert for Healing” or simply take the title of the work that has become the focus of our concert:  VIGIL.

A vigil is defined as “a period of keeping awake during the time usually spent asleep, especially to keep watch or pray.” The work “VIGIL,” composed by our soloist Davóne Tines, will receive its world premiere as an orchestral piece at the performance on Saturday, October 3 at 7:30pm (Live-stream at ). A short piece with an incredible emotional impact, VIGIL grieves even as it keeps watch and prays.

The piece, as a work for voice and piano, makes its video debut under the auspices of Lincoln Center on Wednesday, Sep 30 at 8PM. LINK TO VIEW

“This song came out of a spontaneous collaboration with dear friend-colleagues Igee Diedonné and Matthew Aucoin,” says Mr. Tines. “It was originally created by me and Igee in an improv session. And very uncommonly, the song came out fully formed in one try. It blends our various sensibilities including gospel, contemporary classical, French impressionism, and experimental pop. I describe the feeling of the sound world as a Monet watercolor with some added soul. Matthew Aucoin’s orchestration of the song added what I call a ‘tiny bird,’ whose admonitions fly about that watercolor and, in an elegantly subtle way, focus the luminous spirit of the piece.”

The concert program both grieves and celebrates bravery with music regularly heard at funerals of Black people, “I’ll Fly Away” and “O Death.” To open the concert, Teddy Abrams chose “Starburst” by Jessie Montgomery who wrote it as a reflection of the “rapid formation of large numbers of new stars” – those “stars” being the rising talents of Black and Latinx classical soloists.

Classical composer Samuel Barber’s song for baritone and string quartet is titled “Dover Beach.” Reflecting on the stoic beauty of the coast of England, the music has an elegiac mood very similar to the composer’s beloved “Adagio for Strings.”

And ultimately we arrive at Beethoven’s Third Symphony. Beethoven wrote the symphony in his first flush of enthusiasm over the democratic progress of Napoleon. His fury over Buonaparte’s betrayal of these ideals is well documented. Tyranny enraged Beethoven and we heard that evidenced in the Third Symphony.

Please join us for this exceptional concert.