Knights with stars at Ravinia
Updated: August 29, 2012 2:38PM
Ravinia closes its summer seaon with a star-studded, three-day program.
The Knights, an orchestra with a fresh approach to the standard repertoire and beyond, will take up residence in the pavilion and bring as guest soloists cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, and soprano Dawn Upshaw.
“We’re calling this the Trifecta,” said Colin Jacobsen, violinist, who with his cellist brother Eric established The Knights about a decade ago. “We’re going to be playing with three of our musical idols.”
“We’ve worked with Yo-Yo and Dawn before,” added Eric, who is also conductor of the chamber orchestra. The ensemble has appeared at the Ravinia Festival twice before, both times in the Martin Theatre, but their association with Perlman, a Ravinia favorite, is something new. “Welz Kauffman at Ravinia matched us up with him,” said Colin. “We are very pleased about the opportunity to work with him.”
Perlman will be soloist in Tchaikovksy’s Violin Concerto on Saturday, Sept 8. The program includes Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and a work by the late Morton Feldman titled “Madame Press Died Last Week at Ninety,” a homage to the New York composer’s childhood piano teacher.
Ma will be soloist Friday, Sept. 7 in Schumann’s Cello Concerto, and the program includes Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll,” Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun,” “Three Studies After Couperin,” and a traditional Persian melody “Ascending Bird,” arranged by Jacobsen and Aghaei.
Soprano Dawn Upshaw, who is herself an adventurous artist, performs at the final program Sunday, Sept. 9. “There will be a very French atmosphere to it,” Colin said. “We’re playing Debussy, Satie, Milhaud and Stravinsky, and Dawn will be singing Ravel.”
In addition, Upshaw will present the world premieres of three numbers written just for this program. Mike Atkinson, the Knights’ horn player, has made an arrangement of the Cole Porter tune “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” for her.
Colin is arranging “Undiu,” a bossa nova song by Joao Gilberto, for Upshaw and The Knights, and singer-songwriter Christina Courtin, who is a violinist with the group, has written an original song for the soprano.