Carmel Symphony Orchestra Presents: Masterworks 2

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The Palladium // Saturday, Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m. ET

September 2022

Experience the exceptional as Carmel Symphony Orchestra under Artistic Director Janna Hymes welcomes acclaimed violinist Alexi Kenney to the Palladium stage. The young California-born musician appears with major orchestras throughout the U.S. as well as abroad and recently released his inaugural recording. The New York Times praised a Kenney performance, noting “… he made it seem … as if this were the only possible way to play the music.” Experience his genius for yourself as he joins the CSO for the “Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1.” Also on the program are “Colas Breugnon Overture” (Kabalevsky) and the glorious “Pines of Rome,” the tone poem for orchestra by Respighi, written as a tribute to various scenes in and around Italy’s beloved capital. 

CSO is poised to have its most magnificent season to date, and I spoke with both Janna Hymes and Alexi Kenney about the importance of creating an energy that is welcoming and captivating to all ages and walks of life when programming and performing.

Programming for the Community

“It’s all about the community right now,” Hymes expressed. “This season is a very different season — I came at it from a different angle. This season is about acknowledging that we are here in Carmel, in this beautiful place, and we have people from all over the world in the community. So, what we want to do is represent everybody — not just specific parts of the community but everybody in the community.”

Hymes shared how she continues to listen to the community and that what she hears and learns from the community plays a large part in how she programs a season.

Carmel Symphony Orchestra Masterworks 2

“I’m not thinking about what I want, I program for the community,” Hymes said. “CSO has a great team of people who get the vision, and yes, we have all these amazing guests performing this season, but the orchestra will be shining on their own. That’s very important that we don’t ever lose sight of that, and I always want to feature the ‘band,’ so to speak.”

Experience the Wonders of Italy without a Passport

“We’re having a lot of fun this season,” Hymes stated. “Our second concert is more of a classical concert featuring the ‘Bruch Violin Concerto,’ which is gorgeous, and we open up with a sizzling ‘Colas Breugnon Overture’ [Kabalevsky] and then we do the ‘Pines of Rome’ [Respighi], which is a huge orchestra piece — four movements — and it’s about different places in Rome and the different landmarks. You feel that you’re in Italy when you hear this piece!”

Alexi Kenney graciously shared some of his thoughts on playing with CSO, the cathartic attributes of music and the importance of performing in front of live audiences again.

“God knows we all have a lot on our minds and on our plates,” Kenney said. “I definitely do, and that is why I do what I do, to heal myself and others through music. That is how I approach everything I do. The particular piece that I’m playing [‘Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1’] is one of the most beloved pieces in the violin repertoire and one of the most recognizable. It is one of the most joyous, deep and love-filled pieces that I can think of. There’s a lot of fireworks for the violin and a lot to listen for and to look at both in the violin solo — which is playing through most of the piece — but also for the orchestra. [The piece] interweaves the lines between the solo violin and at times the rest of the string section, who will join in with me or will respond to me at times. The oboe, flute and clarinet will do the same. It’s kind of a perfect composition in that way, and not all concertos are that collaborative. It sparks a collaboration with the orchestra as well as with the conductor, and I think that’s really fun and moving for an audience to see. Which is why we play live music — to find that human connection, that spontaneity and vulnerability that you can only get in the moment of a live performance.”

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