Philharmonic Presents Evening of Bach

SOCORRO, N.M. October 31, 2013 – The New Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra will showcase the works of Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach in a New Mexico Tech Performing Arts Series concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, at MaceyCenter.

The program features violin soloist Krzysztof Zimowski and Christopher Confessore, who will conduct the 26-member orchestra, comprised of strings, flute, oboes, trumpet, timpani and harpsichord.

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 Conductor Christopher Confessore will lead the New Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra.


On the evening’s program are Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, Violin Concerto in a minor, Violin Concerto in E Major, and Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major. The program includes an intermission.

“This concert marks the first PAS appearance for the New Mexico Philharmonic, which is basically the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra reorganized by the members themselves under a new name,” said PAS Director Ronna Kalish. The NMSO operated from 1932 until 2011, when it declared bankruptcy.

“Krzysztof Zimowski has been coming to Socorro and New Mexico Tech since 1986, the year he moved to America, and the same year he helped co-found The Helios Quartet, at one time Tech’s Ensemble-in-Residence,” she said.

Zimowski was born in Wroclaw, Poland, where he began his musical studies at the age of six. In 1976, he began performing with L’Orchestre Mondial Des Jeunesses Musicales (The World Youth Orchestra) in Brussels and in Paris, and soon began playing in chamber music ensembles and taking master classes with the world- renowned violin soloist, Henryk Szeryng.

The Albuquerque resident currently is concertmaster of the New Mexico Philharmonic, and was appointed a concertmaster of the Opera Southwest Orchestra.  He began playing with the NMSO in 1986, and became an associate concertmaster in 1995. Zimowski was appointed concertmaster and soloist of NMSO in 1999.

“Christopher Confessore is widely respected as an inspiring collaborator,” Kalish continued. “He is music director and principal conductor of the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, and principal pops conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.”

As a pops conductor, Confessore has appeared with a diverse group of performers, including Grammy Award winners Art Garfunkel, Roberta Flack, Judy Collins, Whoopi Goldberg, Marvin Hamlisch, Chris Botti, LeAnn Rimes, Peabo Bryson and Charlie Daniels – plus Tony Award winners Idina Menzel, Debbie Gravitte and Michael Maguire.


Violin soloist Krzysztof Zimowski is the featured performer for the Philharmonic's presentation of Bach's works.


As for the program itself, it is well known that the German composer Bach (1685 – 1750), who is sometimes grouped with Johannes Brahms and Ludwig van Beethoven as the “Three Bs,” was a perfectionist whose music is revered for its intellectual depth, technical command, and artistic beauty.

The Orchestra will perform two of Bach’s four orchestral suites – Suite No. 2 in b minor and Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major. In music, a suite is an ordered set of instrumental or orchestral/concert band pieces. Bach referred to the suites as ouvertures.

Ouverture refers to the opening movement in the style of the French overture, in which a majestic opening section is followed by a fast section, then rounded off with a short recap of the opening music. This genre was extremely popular in Germany in Bach’s time.

Suite No. 2 is comprised of seven sections, and Suite No. 3 in D major is comprised of five, including the third movement, Air (aria), one of the most famous pieces of Baroque music.

The Violin Concerto in a minor, with its three sections, is thought to have been composed by Bach between 1717 – 1723. Violin Concerto in E Major was written for violin, strings and continuo in three movements.

Brahms composed for piano, chamber ensembles, symphony orchestra, and for voice and chorus. A virtuoso pianist, he premiered many of his own works; he worked with some of the leading performers of his time. Many of his works have become staples of the modern concert repertoire.

The New Mexico Philharmonic continues the legacy of the NMSO, which itself began in 1932, when members of the Albuquerque Rotary Club adopted a resolution to organize a symphony orchestra.

Rotarians asked Grace Thompson Edmister to form the Symphony Civic Orchestra, making Edmister the first woman in America to conduct such an ensemble. Immediately after the announcement, community members stepped forward to launch the inaugural event.

The University of New Mexico offered instruments, sheet music, and a concert location. Mayor Clyde Tingley went door-to-door inviting community members to the concert. The response of the city was beyond expectations with 2,000 people in attendance.

At the end of the concert, Rotary Club International President Clinton P. Anderson officially presented the orchestra to the City of Albuquerque, which was accepted on behalf of the city’s citizens by Mayor Tingley.

“We in New Mexico are so fortunate to have a full, performing orchestra again,” Kalish said. “Hearing live music performed by professional musicians is an unforgettable experience, and on behalf of the PAS and classical music lovers in the region, we welcome the New Mexico Philharmonic to Socorro.”

Sponsors for the performance are the National Endowment for the Arts, New Mexico Arts, the New Mexico Tech Graduate Student Association, Pepsi, and Katharine Bejnar, a longtime Socorro arts patron.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $10 for youth, and are available at the N.M. Tech Cashier’s Office (second floor of FidelCenter), Brownbilt Shoes and Western Wear, Burrito Tyme Drive-up, online at nmtpas.org, or at the door.     

 NMT –  

By Valerie Kimble/New Mexico Tech