Performance Santa Fe has a long-standing tradition of celebrating the holiday season by presenting festive, not-to be missed, orchestral concerts on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
The talented 26-year old American pianist Claire Huangci is the guest soloist for the Christmas Eve concert which features the Performance Santa Fe Orchestra under the baton of artistic director and conductor Joseph Illick.
Huangci is eager to play Prokofiev’s challenging “Piano Concerto No. 2,” according to Illick. “It’s such a stirring, powerful piece, and Claire is a dazzling virtuoso who’s a real artist, so it’s a great combination,” he adds.
Beginning her international career at the tender age of nine, Huangci won first prize at both the 2009 Darmstadt International Chopin Piano Competition (Germany) and the 2010 National Chopin Competition in Miami. The concert also includes the orchestra’s rendition of Rimsky-Korsakov’s ever-popular “Scheherazade.”
The New Year’s Eve performance is focused on Beethoven’s masterpiece “Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Opus 125.” Considered the first choral symphony ever written, the 1824 work showcases four soloists and a chorus singing a setting of Friedrich Schiller’s poem “An die Freude” (“Ode to Joy”) in the final movement. Invited soloists are soprano Ellie Dehn, mezzo-soprano Jodi Karem, tenor Nicholas Simpson and bass Matthew Trevino.
There will be two performances on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve: at 1 p.m. (family-friendly) and at 5 p.m. “Sometimes we’ve had as many as 400 children at each of these performances,” says Illick, who’s thrilled to introduce youngsters to Performance Santa Fe’s offerings. “It’s so nice for kids to be able to hear live music.”