New Century Chamber Orchestra announces 2010-11 season

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg
Mercury News

By Richard Sheinin

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra begin their 2010-11 season Sept. 23-26 with a program featuring bass viol soloist Edgar Meyer. He's the Grammy-winning crossover artist and composer whose works have been premiered by everyone from Béla Fleck and Zakir Hussain to Joshua Bell and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

With New Century, Meyer will stick to his bass, performing Bottesini's demanding Concerto for String Bass No. 2 in B minor. The program, which opens in Berkeley and repeats in Palo Alto, San Francisco and San Rafael, also includes Mahler's Adagietto from his Symphony No. 5 and an arrangement of Shostakovich's Chamber Symphony in C minor.

This will be violinist Salerno-Sonnenberg's third season as music director and concertmaster of the 18-member string orchestra, which has been playing with special fire and polish since her 2008 appointment.

The 2010-11 season will also feature Mark O'Connor, another popular artist with crossover appeal and classical credentials. On a Nov. 18-21 program, he will perform as soloist for his "Strings and Threads," and will be on hand as the orchestra plays two more of his Americana-tinged works.

Later in the season — May 19-22, 2011 — the orchestra will present the world premiere performances of a work it has commissioned from O'Connor.

Other soloists will include Salerno-Sonnenberg herself, performing Schubert's Rondo in A major for Violin and Strings. That piece is part of an all-Schubert program, which will run March 24-27, 2011, and include soprano Melody Moore, a recent Adler Fellow and former Merola Opera Program participant at San Francisco Opera, who will sing four Schubert songs.

Each of the four subscription programs will be performed at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, First Congregational Church of Berkeley, First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto, and the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center in San Rafael. Additionally, on Jan. 29, 2011, at Herbst, the orchestra will perform some of its signature pieces (i.e. by Piazzolla and Tchaikovsky) at a gala kickoff concert for its tour of the Midwest and California.