'Opening Night': Tradition meets progress at the CSO

'Opening Night': Tradition meets progress at the CSO

September 23rd, 2011 by Holly Leber in Chattnow Music

A new era is dawning for the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera. With the formal introduction of Kayoko Dan as the new music director last spring, the CSO stated its dedication to the marriage of tradition and progress.

Dan, the symphony's youngest director and the first female, will take the podium Saturday night for her first official Masterworks concert, opening the season with a trifecta of Pyotr Tchaikovsky's "Capriccio Italien," Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 8 and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Cappricio Espagnol."

While the first two pieces were selected before Dan came aboard, she chose the Rimsky-Korsakov to complement the former workers and to welcome the audience to the new season.

Inspired by Spanish folk music, the five-movement "Cappricio Espagnol" boasts multiple solos, featuring different musicians in the orchestra.

"I wanted to make a point that I'm here to highlight these talents and really showcase our musicians," Dan said.

The partnership of the work with Tchaikovsky's is not coincidental either. The elder composer was reportedly quite complimentary toward Rimsky-Korsakov's creation.

While the "Cappricio Espagnol" takes listeners to the streets of Spain, "Cappricio Italien" was inspired by a holiday the composer took to Rome. And while not as popular as the composer's ninth symphony, the Dvorak brings a diversity of mood to the evening.

"The beautiful cello lines, fun woodwind solos [and] powerful brass/timpani lines all combine for a captivating performance," Dan said in a news release.

The highly energetic compositions are triumphant beginnings to a concert, reflecting the triumphant beginning Dan hopes to have to the season and to her tenure.

"It's unusual to pair those pieces, but for the opening concert, we wanted to have a lot of excitement," she said.

A newcomer to Chattanooga, Dan has been getting to know the city and its people. One of her goals, she said, is to bring in a more diverse audience, especially some of the younger members of the community.

"I'm starting to make friends," she said, and "trying to meet different groups in town and get ideas, and have fun doing it."