Music Director Candidate Paul Haas To Conduct “Still Points & Turning Worlds” With Guest Pianist Awadagin Pratt


Music Director Candidate Paul Haas To Conduct “Still Points & Turning Worlds” With Guest Pianist Awadagin Pratt

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Music Director Candidate Paul Haas To Conduct “Still Points & Turning Worlds” With Guest Pianist Awadagin Pratt
Music Director Candidate Paul Haas To Conduct “Still Points & Turning Worlds” With Guest Pianist Awadagin Pratt

Paul Haas, the second candidate in the Winston-Salem Symphony's search for a new music director, will be guest conductor of the Symphony's Classics Series concert, Still Points and Turning Worlds.

The October 8th and 9th concerts feature music by Beethoven, Prokofiev and legendary contemporary composer Jesse Montgomery.

Pianist Awadjin Pratt has performed at the White House three times, including in November 2009 when she was one of four artists selected to perform for First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama.

Awadjin Pratt returns to Winston-Salem to present Montgomery's "Rounds" for piano and strings.

"In recent years, Montgomery has emerged as one of the most celebrated composers alive, transforming the landscape of American classical music and leveling the playing field for women and composers of color," says the Winston-Salem Symphony. “Montgomery was influenced by the imagery and themes of TS Eliot's evocative poem Four Quartets, including 'At the End of the Round World' and the title of the concerto.

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Rounds is one of Montgomery's newest works, written in collaboration with Pratt, and was performed by Pratt and the Hilton Major Symphony Orchestra in March.

E. Merritt Valle, President and CEO of the Winston-Salem Symphony, said in a statement that the organization welcomes its second nomination as music director.

"We hope to join in the concert hall to hear exciting music and come to events throughout the week to meet Paul Haas, an innovative artist and exciting conductor," said Vale. "We want to know what you think as we select our next Musical Director and his presence on and off stage!"


"Like Eliot's poem about time standing still, this concert will feature music influenced by the winds of war that seem to have repeatedly brought the world to a standstill," said the Winston-Salem Symphony.

The concert begins with Beethoven's Coriolanus Preparing to Encircle Rome and ends with Prokofiev's Fifth Symphony, a stirring work written at the end of World War II.

"To me, this is a testament to war, fundamentalism and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of war," Haas said.

Music is powerful and wonderful to sing and listen to.

"It really is some of the best music out there," he said. "It really speaks to us and everyone can relate to it."

According to Haas, Transitions to Coriolanus, Op. 62: 'It is the opening of the ceiling, but it ends in the dark moment of Coriolanus' death. I put it there to set the audience in the right frame of mind for the rest of the show which leads us to the main part. The part where Prokofiev's symphony can have the greatest impact.”

As a conductor who loves surprises, Haas said that concert-goers will experience a musical shock at this concert.

"It will be a good way for the audience to get to know me," he said.

the leader

Haas grew up as a conductor and composer in San Francisco, California and now lives in New York with his family.

A smile

He began playing the violin in kindergarten and began singing as a child soprano in San Francisco in the Grace Cathedral Choir.

Haas is a graduate of Yale University and the Juilliard School with a master's degree in orchestral conducting. He studied opera at the Hochschule für Musik in Dresden, Germany.

"I played an instrument and sang in elementary and middle school, and in high school I started writing and composing at the same time," Haas said. "I officially started college at Yale."

Haas has served as music director of the Northwest Arkansas Symphony since 2010 and the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra since 2017.

It was the beginning of a promising orchestral career in 2006, when he conceived and presented the concert project REWIND, "which was a silent response to the performance of good classical music and the famous actors around the audience and showed what it's about. "Ceiling and theater lighting design," the Winston-Salem Symphony said in a statement.

The project was a success, prompting Haas to found Sympho, an organization dedicated to creating and running unusual programs in unusual places.

Haas said he spent a lot of time attending orchestral concerts over the years; There, the needs of the audience are not recognized.

"Performance has a visual component," says Haas. “The performance is on a strong level. I always wanted concerts to take me away. I wanted to wear and carry from start to finish, so I experimented with Symphony in REWIND… Can I create a concert experience that engages the audience? from the moment they enter the hall? And I did.”

Over the past decade, 15 commissions have come from places such as the Park Avenue Armory and Rubin Museum of Art in New York, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, the Anchorage Museum in Alaska, and the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design. Arkansas

"I've been commissioned by a lot of different venues and organizations to basically bring their spaces to life," says Haas. I think that's how I became an artist.

Haas says his greatest strength as a leader is “my love of music and the joy I get from sharing that love with others, whether they're the musicians on stage, the audience, or anyone else. I have a big heart and I love it. Share." the love."

He added: "I'm an accomplished musician with a lot of experience in playing, conducting and writing. I could share that with everyone in the room. And what I experienced as a composer was very useful as a leader because I get closer to the music. As creator, leader and performer. I look at them from different angles."

Haas heard the Winston-Salem Symphony play on video.

"It's a great band and I'm looking forward to being down there, meeting the band's artists, working with them and making great music," he said.

Haas said she had a great time during her spring visit to Winston-Salem for her interview as a semifinalist for the music director position.

"I was very surprised by what happened at Winston-Salem," he said. "It's beautiful, I love nature and things that grow, so I was blown away by all the trees and the tech district."

He said he saw beautiful and interesting places to hold the event outside of the city.

Hass is also a farmer and has grown about 200 trees in two orchards.

"And I'm a gardener and I have chickens," he said.

guest pianist

Born in Pittsburgh, Pratt began taking piano lessons at the age of 6. At the age of 16 he entered the University of Illinois where he studied piano, violin and conducting.

He then enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory and became the first student to receive degrees in three majors – piano, violin and conducting.

In 1992, Pratt won the Namburg International Piano Competition and two years later received the Avery Fisher Career Achievement Award. Since then he has performed at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Dorothy Chander Pavilion, Chicago Orchestra Hall, New Jersey Center for the Performing Arts, and others. He has performed with orchestras in the United States, toured Japan four times, and performed in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Israel, Colombia and South Africa. He also serves on the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival.

In 2009 he made three appearances at the White House, including in November 2009 when he was one of four artists selected to perform for First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama.

Haas said he met Pratt several years ago when he was chairman of the National Institute of Ethics, hosted by the National Symphony Orchestra.

"I can't wait to see him again," Haas said. "A great man and certainly a great artist."

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