The concert’s title comes from the words of praise Richard Wagner gave one of the works on the program, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. Music writer Antony Hopkins said this symphony of Beethoven’s, “… perhaps more than any of the others gives us a feeling of true spontaneity;
“Inspired invention” also describes the evening’s remaining two works. They were both selected for the APA season from nearly 500 works submitted for the orchestra’s second international “Call for Scores” competition. The winning works are Sinfonia Breve by Aharon Harlap, and The Divine Comedy by Michael-Thomas Foumai.
Since this will be the Arizona premiere of both pieces, it’s fitting that Arizona Pro Arte offers another premiere to accompany them: the debut of the Arizona Pro Arte Dance Ensemble. This professional troupe will make their first appearance as part of the performances of the works by Harlap and Foumai; another example of why KBAQ-FM praised APA for infusing its programs with “a vigorous dose of collaboration.”
Many of the dancers in the APA ensemble come from the Center Dance Ensemble, which regularly appears at the Herberger Theater Center. Dance coordinator for “Apotheosis of the Dance” is Brad Speck.
“This finale concert of our second season brings together much of what Arizona Pro Arte stands for,” says Founding Artistic Director and Conductor Timothy Verville. “We’re presenting a beloved masterwork, a Beethoven symphony, but we’re surrounding it with pieces that are as invigorating today as his seventh was at its premiere — works that were submitted to us among hundreds from around the world. And we’re wrapping those in Brad Speck’s exuberant choreography for a new, local dance troupe. That’s what APA is all about: new artistic experiences featuring the best local talent presented in an accessible and engaging format.”
The engagement begins at 7 p.m., 30 minutes before the performance begins, with a pre-concert conversation with dance coordinator Brad Speck and one of the winning composers, Aharon Harlap. Harlap, a top composer in his country, will be traveling to Tempe from his home in Israel for the Arizona premiere of his work.
Harlap’s works have been performed in concert halls and opera houses throughout Canada, Europe, South Africa and the U.S., and he has created commissioned works for the Israeli Philharmonic. APA’s other “Call for Scores” winner — the large number of entrants dictated there should be more than one — is Michael-Thomas Foumai. Born in Hawaii, Foumai was the 2013 winner of the American Prize for Orchestral Composition. His music has been recognized with three BMI composition awards, the 2012 Jacob Druckman Prize from the Aspen Music Festival, and several other prestigious national and international awards.
“Apotheosis of the Dance,” conducted by Timothy Verville and featuring the Arizona Pro Arte Dance Ensemble, will be presented for one performance only, Thursday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Studio of the Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway on the south shore of Tempe Town Lake. The pre-concert conversation begins at 7. Tickets are $20, general admission, or $17 for seniors, students and military. Other recent Arizona Pro Arte performances have sold out their houses, so advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended. Information and tickets are available at azproarte.com.