The Lark Ascending: The Santa Fe Pro Music Orchestra with Colin Jacobsen


Santa Fe Pro Musica ushers in the spring with its concert The Lark Ascending featuring the Santa Fe Pro Musica Orchestra with guest violinist Colin Jacobsen in performance at the Lensic Performing Arts Center on Saturday, March 5 at 4pm and Sunday, March 6 at 3pm. The performance includes works by Haydn and Prokofiev, and Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending.

The Washington Post notes “Armed with vision, courage, a sense of humor and a devastating bow arm, violinist Colin Jacobsen is emerging as one of the most interesting figures on the classical music scene.”

Santa Fe Pro Musica Orchestra

Santa Fe Pro Musica Orchestra

WHAT | Santa Fe Pro Musica Orchestra, Tom O’Connor conductor and Colin Jacobsen, violinist
WHEN | Saturday, March 5 at 4pm & Sunday, March 6 at 3pm
WHERE | Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211 W San Francisco St, Santa Fe, N
TICKETS | $20, $35, $48, $69 at the Santa Fe Pro Musica Box Office (505) 988-4640, ext. 1000, Tickets Santa Fe at The Lensic (505) 988-1234, or online at Discounts for students, teachers, groups, and families are available exclusively through the Santa Fe Pro Musica Box Office.

MEET THE MUSIC | Thomas O’Connor, Santa Fe Pro Musica Conductor and Music Director, presents a “behind the scenes” discussion of the music, one hour prior to each concert. Meet the Music is free to ticket holders. Learn more about the music you love!

ARTIST DINNER WITH COLIN JACOBSEN | Following the concert on Sunday, March 6 at 5:30pm, we invite you to dine with Colin Jacobsen and Santa Fe Pro Musica muscians. 315 Restaurant and Wine Bar is offering a sumptuous menu especially selected for our guests. Tickets to the Artist Dinner are available through our Box Office for $85 a person, a portion of which is tax deductible. Seating is limited, so call no later than March 1 to reserve your seat. 505-988-4640 ext 1000. 315 Restaurant and Wine Bar is located at 315 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM.

About the Program

Haydn | Symphony No. 103 in E-Flat Major “Drum Roll”
Vaughan Williams | The Lark Ascending
Prokofiev | Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63

About the Composers | Haydn, Vaughan Williams and Prokofiev

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Symphony No. 103 in E-Flat Major “Drum Roll”

Haydn-hardy-1792Haydn spent nearly 30 years (1761-1790) as Music Director for the wealthy Esterházy family at their remote estate in rural Hungary. Upon the death of his employer Prince Nikolaus in 1790, the successor, Prince Anton, who did not inherit his father’s pleasure in music, dismissed the resident orchestra. Haydn, however, remained Music Director with a full salary, but without any responsibilities. With income and freedom, Haydn accepted an offer from the impresario Johann Peter Salomon to compose and conduct an opera, six symphonies, and twenty other pieces during an extended stay in England. Haydn’s music was then especially fashionable in London and crowds flocked to see “the sight of that renowned composer. He so electrified the audience as to excite an attention and a pleasure superior to any that had ever been caused by instrumental music in England” (Charles Burney, 1726-1814).

For this visit Haydn created many of his best-known and most outstanding works, notably the twelve London Symphonies, which includes the Drum Roll Symphony. This symphony was premiered on March 2, 1795 at King’s Theatre, London. The review was glowing: “Another new symphony, by the fertile and enchanting Haydn, was performed, and had continual strokes of genius.”

The first movement is exceptionally somber and brooding, and opens with the famous long roll on the timpani for which this symphony is named. Following this darkness, the movement brings a bright change in mood. The second movement, Andante, is a set of variations. The third movement Menuetto features two themes, a lively folk-like first theme and a melancholy second theme. A short fanfare for two horns ushers in the spirited finale. Haydn never hesitated to incorporate folk elements in his music, and the theme of this final movement, together with the themes in the Andante, were folk tunes that would have been familiar to the Croatian folk inhabiting the countryside surrounding the Esterházy estate.

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
The Lark Ascending

Vaughan Williams’ career spanned the first half of the 20th century. A dedicated musicologist, he collected and catalogued over 800 English folk songs. His music is inspired by English folk song, hymnody and Elizabethan music, the great baroque composers Bach and Handel, the colorful impressionism of Ravel and Debussy, and yet integrates the emotional tensions he experienced during the turbulent years of World War I and II.

In 1914, Vaughan Williams began work on his lyric tone poem The Lark Ascending, finishing it in 1919 only after the conclusion of World War I. “The Lark Ascending is one of the supreme achievements of English landscape painting. In a single sweep of velvety pastoral writing, Vaughan Williams extols the joys of nature, the call of the lark, and the genial folk music of earlier, happier times” (Phillip Huscher, Chicago Symphony Orchestra). Vaughan Williams prefaced the piece with this poem by the English poet George Meredith (1828-1909).

He rises and begins to round,
He drops the silver chain of sound,
Of many links without a break,
In chirrup, whistle, slur and shake.

For singing till his heaven fills,
‘Til love of earth that he instills,
And ever winging up and up,
Our valley is his golden cup
And he the wine which overflows
To lift us with him as he goes.

Till lost on his aerial rings
In light, and then the fancy sings.

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63

ProkofievA major musical figure of the 20th century and an accomplished pianist, Sergei Prokofiev tried to stay out of the tumultuous and stifling politics of the Soviet Union. He stated that, “in the Soviet Union music is addressed to millions of people who formerly had little or no contact with music. It is this new mass audience that the modern Soviet composer must strive to reach.” In conformity with this view, he produced works with clear formal structures, beautiful melodies, catchy rhythms and stunning orchestral color. In addition to its serious side, Prokofiev’s music is full of wit, humor and playfulness.

Prokofiev started his Violin Concerto No. 2 on a visit to Paris in 1934, a commission for the violinist Robert Soetens. Prokofiev remarked that, “the number of places in which I wrote the concerto shows the kind of nomadic concert-tour life I led then. The main theme of the 1st movement was written in Paris, the first theme of the 2nd movement at Voronezh, the orchestration was finished in Baku and the premiere was given in Madrid.”

The Violin Concerto No. 2 begins with the soloist entering unaccompanied in a    haunting, Russian-inspired song. It rises to a rhythmic outburst only to subside into melancholy. This movement unfolds in the development of these two contrasting musical ideas. The long-breathed melody of the second movement is underscored with a light accompaniment, like the ticking of a clock. The mood is mostly serene, only disturbed from time to time by more urgent music. The finale is brash and athletic, with a rustic main theme suggesting 19th century peasant tunes. The unexpected use of castanets seems to predict its world premiere in Madrid, Spain.

Colin Jacobsen 2About Colin Jacobsen

Violinist and composer Colin Jacobsen is “one of the most interesting figures on the classical music scene” (The Washington Post). An eclectic composer who draws on a range of influences, he was named one of the top 100 composers under 40 by NPR listeners. He is also active as an Avery Fisher Career Grant-winning soloist and a touring member of Yo-Yo Ma’s famed Silk Road Ensemble. For his work as a founding member of two game-changing, audience-expanding ensembles – the string quartet Brooklyn Rider and orchestra The Knights – Jacobsen was recently selected from among the nation’s top visual, performing, media, and literary artists to receive a prestigious and substantial United States Artists Fellowship.

Colin Jacobsen has an extraordinary musical history as a composer and performer. Jacobsen’s work a composer developed as a natural outgrowth of his chamber and orchestral collaborations. Jointly inspired by encounters with leading exponents of non-Western traditions and by his own classical heritage, his writing reveals an eclectic personal voice with a “knack for spinning lines with an elasticity that sounds uncannily like improvisation” (The New York Times). As a touring member of Yo-Yo Ma’s venerated Silk Road Project since its founding in 2000, Jacobsen has participated in residencies and performances at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hollywood Bowl, and across the U.S., as well as in Azerbaijan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and Switzerland. As a violin soloist, Jacobsen was “born to the instrument and its sweet, lyrical possibilities” (The New York Times). He has collaborated with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony, and has premiered concertos by Kevin Beavers and Lisa Bielawa. He has performed with such prominent artists as Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Steven Isserlis, Yo-Yo Ma, Christian Tetzlaff, Mitsuko Uchida, and composer Tan Dun, with whom he toured China. With Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters as narrator, Jacobsen recently performed Stravinsky’s L’histoire du soldat. For more information, please visit Colin Jacobsen’s website at

Watch and Listen
Colin Jacobsen plays Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2 |

Colin Jacobsen talks about the role of the Silk Road Ensemble in his life | Yo-Yo Ma, The Silk Road Ensemble | A Playlist Without Borders: Colin Jacobsen |

About Santa Fe Pro Musica

Santa Fe Pro Musica, founded in 1980, is a non-profit performing arts organization dedicated to inspiring and educating audiences of all ages through the performance of great music. Pro Musica performs a varied repertoire, covering four centuries of music on modern and baroque instruments, including works for chamber orchestra, small ensemble and large-scale works for orchestra and chorus. In 2008, Pro Musica’s recording of Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (chamber arrangement by Schoenberg) was nominated for a GRAMMY® award in the classical category of Best Classical Album/Small Ensemble. In August of 2012, Santa Fe Pro Musica Recordings produced a CD of Conrad Tao, pianist, performing Mozart Piano Concertos No. 17 and No. 25 and in 2013 produced a CD of music by Britten and Vaughan Williams. In addition to gaining national recognition over its 33 years for its artistry in performance, Santa Fe Pro Musica offers some of the most distinguished educational opportunities in northern New Mexico, reaching thousands of students every year with a Youth Concert series, a team-building, ensemble-training program, and a master class series featuring student ensembles working with world-class musicians.

For more information, please visit our website:

The 2015-2016 Season is partially funded by the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission, the 1% Lodgers Tax, and New Mexico Arts (a Division of the Department of Cultural Affairs).

Santa Fe Pro Musica sincerely thanks their sponsors and partners for their support:

Lodging Partners 

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This entry was posted in About the Composer, About the Music, Concert, Meet the Music, The Lensic Performing Arts Center, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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