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Eugene Weekly : Music : 5.14.09




Era Ends with Requiem

Symphony’s music director says farewell

by Suzi Steffen

Nothing like leaving town on a high note — and some very, very low notes, not to mention most of the notes in between.

That’s what the Eugene Symphony’s exiting music director, Giancarlo Guerrero, will do with the Symphony’s season-ending performance of Verdi’s Requiem Thursday, May 14.

Guerrero announced in the fall of 2007 that he would be taking the reins in Nashville beginning with the 2009-2010 season. He says he planned a final concert in Eugene that would honor the orchestra, the Eugene Symphony Chorus and the audience. “Some of the most memorable concerts have been with the chorus,” he said, including Mahler’s Second Symphony, two performances of Beethoven’s Ninth and Brahms’ German Requiem. He added that last season’s performance of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloë “was quite a project that really pushed the envelope of what the chorus was able to do, and they came out of it with flying colors.”

The concert, for which very few seats remained at press time, features only  the Verdi Requiem. “Verdi was perhaps the greatest Italian opera composer,” Guerrero said, adding that the Requiem is much like an opera. “This was a man who really understood how to show human emotions, from very passionate to very sad.” The piece will crowd the stage in Silva Hall with an enhanced chorus of 165, a larger than usual orchestra and four soloists. 

Guerrero’s family moved to Nashville last year, and he says his family is getting established with the kids ending their first year of school. The Nashville Symphony owns its performance space, the beautiful new Schmererhorn Symphony Center, which Guerrero calls “a jewel.”

Guerrero leaves the Eugene Symphony in the hands of new music director Danail Rachev, who inspired musicians and audience members at his audition concert and with a guest appearance in March. “I think the legacy will continue,” Guerrero said. “Danail will have a great level of support from the community. The sky’s the limit for this orchestra.” 

Verdi Requiem. 8 pm Thursday, May 14. Hult Center. hultcenter.org • 682-5000. $49-$71