Ryan McAdams & Pietro De Maria ORT Concert Headliners

Conductor Ryan McAdams

The Orchestra della Toscana (ORT), together with conductor Ryan McAdams and soloist Pietro de Maria, will bring the compositions of Jessie Montgomery, Saint-Saëns and Mendelssohn to the stage on Tuesday, March 15, at Florence’s Teatro Verdi (via Ghibellina 99) at 9 pm. The orchestra and the musicians will give a repeat concert in Poggibonsi (March 16), Empoli (March 18) and Livorno (March 19).

ORT will play a piece from Jessie Montgomery’s 2012 Strum album; Saint-Saëns Concerto n.2; and Mendelssohn’s symphony n.3, also known as “The Scottish Symphony.”

Jessie Montgomery (1981), an acclaimed American composer, violist and teacher, was the recipient of the prestigious Leonard Bernstein Award. Her work has been described as “turbulent, wildly colorful and explosive with life” (The Washington Post). Montgomery created “Strum” (a musical album) in 2006—one of the numbers being Sphinx Virtuosi.  It had a new arrangement in 2008 and again in 2012; the last version will be performed by the ORT.

With the ORT, De Maria will interpret Concerto. n.2 by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921).  Saint-Saëns as a composer embraced different styles such as Neo-Baroque to musical exoticism, but his modernity is enhanced and echoed by the contemporary style of the opening piece.

The closing section of the program features the Scottish Symphony by Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), inspired by his trip to Great Britain.  Mendelssohn found the Scottish landscape a source of wonder, specifically the uninhabited isle of Staffa.  Part of the inner Hebrides Islands, Staffa is home to Fingal’s Cave, a site of Scottish mythology and history due to its abstract beauty and acoustic echoes. The symphony’s overture Hebrides established Fingal’s Cave as a 19th century tourist sight, further influencing the works of writers and poets such as William Wordsworth and John Keats.

Ryan McAdams, 40, is one of the most versatile and interesting conductors of his generation in Europe and America. His interests lie mostly in contemporary music. He is the conductor of the Crash Ensemble; an Irish music group playing recent compositions. McAdams has also directed the music of jazz artists such as John Zorn and Wynton Marsalis, and Johnny Greenwood and Radiohead.

Renowned Italian pianist, Pietro de Maria, 55, internationally known for his virtuoso playing technique (which he learned from Maria Tipo),  is an artist in residence at the ORT.  Born in Venice in 1967, De Maria studied with Gino Gorini in his home city and with Maria Tipo at the Geneva Conservatory.  (ted de veer)