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Vivaldi's The Four Seasons Leads to an “Otherworldly” Exploration of Nature in Gandolfi’s Garden of Cosmic Speculation

Communications & Media Manager

Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
Phone 937-224-3521 x1138 

DAYTON, OH (September 16, 2016) – On Friday, October 14, 2016 and Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 8 pm in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra will present the second concert in the 2016–2017 Premier Health Masterworks Series, Nature’s Way. The Schuster Center will come alive during the height of autumn to celebrate the world of nature: whether it be nature as we see it—plants and animals, water and land—or nature as forces that we may or may not see—the building blocks of the cosmos.

To begin the program, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and Concertmaster Jessica Hung will perform one of the best-known compositions of Antonio Vivaldi, The Four Seasons.  Vivaldi, one of the most-published composers of the early 1700s, was a prolific writer with more than 500 concertos and 50 operas to his credit. The Four Seasons is the collective name given to four separate violin concertos based on the seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. When he published The Four Seasons, Vivaldi included four sonnets. These poems, which may have been written by the composer himself, evoke the seasonal images that he then captures with the music. The sonnets and the music refer to many things we all know and enjoy at different times of the year, from the birdsong and storms in spring to the harvest and hunting in autumn. The music of winter echoes the winds and chill of the snowy season and yet, as the poem states at the close, “Such is winter, such the joys it brings.”

After intermission, Maestro Gittleman and the DPO explore the work of a contemporary composer who had a unique musical inspiration—a visit to the captivating and thought-provoking Garden of Cosmic Speculation.

In Dumfries, Scotland, an architectural theorist, Charles Jencks, and his late wife, Maggie Keswick, an expert on Chinese gardens, designed what came to be called the Garden of Cosmic Speculation. The garden “uses nature to celebrate nature through nature.” In other words, it features forms of nature interpreting forces of nature. The 30-acre site consists of 40 major areas of landscapes, gardens, bridges, sculptures, and architecture. The Six Gardens of the Senses, the Quark Walk, Black Hole Terrace, The Nonsense, the DNA Garden, Fractal Terrace, and the Universe Cascade are just a few of the concepts and artistic representations. To explore this fascinating display of nature, the DPO encourages audiences to visit!the-garden-of-cosmic-speculation 

Michael Gandolfi is currently chair of the Composition Department at the New England Conservatory of Music and a faculty member of the Tanglewood Music Center. As a composer and music educator, his natural curiosity leads to creating many “points of contact” between music and other fields, including science, film, and theater. His interest in and understanding of science in turn led him to discovering the Garden of Cosmic Speculation. This home of science as garden and vice versa inspired Gandolfi’s 2009 work, aptly entitled The Garden of Cosmic Speculation. With the garden and its theories as his muse, Gandolfi has created an energetic and innovative piece that never really allows the listener to predict what will be heard next. The music deftly conjures the garden landscapes and the premises of natural and physical science that they represent. When Jencks and Keswick worked on the garden, they saw it as connecting the worlds of art, nature, and science. Gandolfi’s Garden of Cosmic Speculation invites a new link, making connections between the worlds of art, nature, science, and music.

Audiences in the Miami Valley are in for a fortunate treat as they experience all four of the seasons as well as nature and all of its forces while reveling in the beauty of their own Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra!

Tickets for Nature’s Way range from $15 to $65 and are available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at Senior, teacher and student discounts are available at the box office. For more information or to order subscriptions, including flexible subscription types that include performances by Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet, visit
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About the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was formed in July 2012 as the result of a groundbreaking and innovative merger between the Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Together, they are the largest performing arts organization in the community, offering a tremendous variety of performance and education programs and setting a new standard for artistic excellence.  Dayton Performing Arts Alliance performances are made possible in part by Montgomery County and Culture Works, the single largest source of community funds for the arts and culture in the Miami Valley. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance also receives partial funding from the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency created to foster and encourage the development of the arts and to preserve Ohio's cultural heritage. Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is an investment of state tax dollars that promotes economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohio residents.  The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is proud to be one of five performing arts organizations in the country selected to receive a three-year "Music Alive" grant from New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras.
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