This preview has been provided by the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle.

A Chat with Lorenzo Muti, Music Director and Conductor

Maestro, after 29 seasons with this Orchestra, what continues to excite you?

One of greatest pleasures in putting together orchestral programs is the possibility of exploring the vast array of periods, styles and musical languages that our music history offers. While the mainstream repertoire is definitely always on my mind, one of my main goals is to offer to the audience programs which are a little wayward in their approach, programs that feature works known to the professional musician, but of which the general public is hardly aware. This is the case with the November concert. Shostakovich’s music is certainly a mainstay in today’s concert halls, but only with his most popular compositions (some of his symphonies, some of his chamber music). Few people know for example, that some of his quartets at some point were orchestrated in a very imaginative way by the great violist Rudolf Barshai.

What in this composer’s life and music intrigues you?

Shostakovich is an emblematic figure on the 20th century stage. Following the incredible line of masterful Russian composers like Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, he was confronted in his lifetime by a political and social situation that came to stifle the freedom of invention of a composer. Living in a system that tried to control any intellectual and emotional utterance of an artist, Shostakovich became the iconic figure of the creator who is divided between his alliance to the State and his right to freedom of speech. While accepting to take part in the life of the political system, his relationship with the Soviet regime was at times testy and complicated. His style could be defined as eclectic as he was open to many different influences, from the post romantic grandeur and angst of Gustav Mahler to the razor cut language of Stravinsky in his neo-classical robe.

And why these symphonies?

We will be performing two of his most famous quartets transcribed for string orchestra. These are very dramatic works, filled with tension, tragedy, but also hope. And it is this combination that makes Shostakovich music special. When you listen to these works you almost feel that you are having a private conversation with the composer. It is a conversation filled with drama, despair, frustration, gloom, but interspersed, like in real life, by touches of grotesque and silliness. And after all those dark clouds at the end, one feels that finally the sky opens up and rays of hope and affirmation start beaming on such a convulsed life.

This repertoire is perfect for the size of our chamber orchestra since the two scores are simply an amplification of those written for an ensemble (quartet) made up of four string players.

There is a huge misconception among the public regarding the term “chamber orchestra”. “The name does not mean that “chamber music”–music for quartets, even octets–is being played. The truth of the matter is that a chamber orchestra is just a smaller sibling of the big symphonic orchestra. Like its bigger relative its repertoire spans from the baroque to the contemporary. The only exclusions are the gargantuan late and post romantic works which were written for huge orchestral formations.

This concert will thrill the listener as we explore all of the emotions that a string orchestra can create in the hands of the greatest composers of the ages!

The Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle
Artistic Director: Lorenzo Muti
Sunday, November 20, 2016, 3pm

Concert Program:

Dmitri Shostakovich, 1906-1975
  Chamber Symphony, Opus 73A
  Chamber Symphony, Opus 110A

Carolina Theatre of Durham
Fletcher Hall
309 W. Morgan St.
Durham, NC 27701

Box Office:  (919) 560-3030
Tickets available in advance or at the door
$30.00/adult – inclusive of taxes and fees
FREE to students of every age

About the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle:

Since 1982, The Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle has been received with genuine respect and enthusiasm by music critics and the community. Today, it is considered one of the finest professional ensembles in North Carolina and the Southeast. With its elite corps of musicians, the orchestra continues to present a well-chosen and unusual repertoire that delights audiences and evokes high praise from critics. That standard of excellence has become the hallmark of the orchestra and has distinguished each succeeding season. The 2016-2017 series marks its 34th concert season. For more information, visit or call 919.360.3382

We are so confident in this orchestra, we provide any new-comer a complementary ticket because we know they will return as happily paying patrons. In the past ten years our audiences have grown from an average of 100 to an average of 600 — an extraordinary statement about the quality of music created by this outstanding ensemble guided by the effervescent Lorenzo Muti. To emphasize its commitment to engaging young people with great classical music, the orchestra provides free seating at every concert to students of all ages.