The Hop hosts orchestra tonight

by Nicole Tsong | 11/13/98 6:00am

In a concert touted as the "hottest ticket of the season" by the Hopkins Center, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra will play in a sold-out performance on Saturday in Spaulding Auditorium.

The orchestra, founded in1959, has been widely praised for its virtuosity and polished performances.

Margaret Lawrence, the Hopkins Center Director of Programming, said Saint Paul's is "unsurpassed. They are at the top of the field."

The 32-member musical group has been dedicated to both classical and contemporary music since its inception. Its awards for for adverturesome programming of contemporary music from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, as well as its nearly 60 recordings demonstrates its continual pursuit of that goal.

The group has been lauded by music critics for "music making of the highest order under the baton of Hugh Wolff," according to a review in the Arizona Daily Star in 1996.

In the concert on Saturday, the orchestra will perform Mozart's Symphony No. 35 in D, Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 in F and will also feature violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg in Mendelssohn's Violin Concert in E Minor, op. 64.

Lawrence said she is very excited for the orchestra to play on Saturday.

"I think this is a really rare opportunity to hear a world-class, professional chamber orchestra right here at Dartmouth," she said.

She said Spaulding is also an ideal venue for a chamber orchestra. The "acoustics for chamber music are just exceptional," she added.

The Upper Valley has also demonstrated its interest in an orchestra with a nationally syndicated public radio show, Lawrence said.

"There's a lot of recognition for this orchestra nationally and here in the Upper Valley is no exception," she said.

According to Lawrence, well-known violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg will also be an exciting part of the program.

Salerno-Sonnenberg, long a member of the international soloist circuit, is known for her unique style of playing.

According to music critic K. Robert Schwarz of the New York Times, she does not value "beauty of sound in itself. She produces a wide variety of tone colors and is unafraid of harsh bow strokes and lean stridency if they serve a musical purpose. And she has only contempt for interpretive orthodoxies."

For all the rock-star attitude, the Post continued, "Her style is generally viewed as compelling and sincere -- an extension of an impassioned and restless personaliy."

Salerno-Sonnenberg is touring with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for a series this November. She has played with other internationally respected musical groups including the London Symphony Orchestra and will play with the National Symphony and the Vancouver Symphony this fall as well.