Conversations with Creators: Shakespeare's Sonnets

TUE, FEB 9, 2016 (1:16:32)

Part of the Boston Symphony Orchestra's fifth annual Insights series, centering on Shakespeare in 2016 to commemorate the 400-year anniversary of the Bard's death, this conversation focuses on George Tsontakis's Sonnets, a Shakespeare-inspired Concerto for English horn and orchestra.

Tsontakis, Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor Andris Nelsons, and English horn soloist Robert Sheena discuss Sonnets with Professor Gordon Teskey and moderator, Professor Thomas Kelly. The talk aims to engage audiences more deeply with Sonnets and the creative processes that gave rise to it just prior to the piece's premiere performance by the Boston Symphony Orchestra on February 11, 2016.

(Image: William Shakespeare [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, image cropped)

+ BIO: Thomas Forrest Kelly

Tom Kelly received his B.A. from Chapel Hill; spent two years on a Fulbright in France studying musicology, chant, and organ. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard (1973) with a dissertation on office tropes. He has taught at Wellesley, Smith, Amherst, and at Oberlin, where he directed the Historical Performance Program and served as acting Dean of the Conservatory. He was named a Harvard College Professor in 2000 and the Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music in 2001.

Professor Kelly's main fields of interest are chant and performance practice. He won the Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society for The Beneventan Chant (Cambridge University Press, 1989). Other books include First Nights: Five Musical Premieres, (Yale University Press, 2000) and First Nights at the Opera (Yale, 2004). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an Honorary Citizen of the city of Benevento, and a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres of the French Republic.

+ BIO: Andris Nelsons

Andris Nelsons, originally from Latvia, debuted as the Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in March 2011. In January 2016, he recorded Hans Abrahamsen's let me tell you with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and soprano Barbara Hannigan, and in February 2016 he conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of George Tsontakis's concerto, Sonnets.

+ BIO: Robert Sheena

Robert Sheena was named the principal English horn player for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops Orchestra in 1994. In 2016, he performed as a soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of George Tsontakis's concerto for English horn and orchestra, Sonnets.

+ BIO: George Tsontakis

George Tsontakis is an American composer and conductor. He wrote Sonnets, a Shakespeare-inspired concerto for English horn and orchestra, which the Boston Symphony Orchestra premiered in 2016.

+ BIO: Gordon Teskey

Gordon Teskey is a Professor of English at Harvard University. Dr. Teskey is particularly interested in English Renaissance poetry.

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