In celebration of the 19th Amendment’s ratification, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra performed live on Facebook at The Susan B. Anthony House on Wednesday. The concert — part of their home concert series — was composed of pieces written by influential female composers, and even though they required only a small number of RPO players, their world class precision made for a more than suitable tribute to the women who’ve built the United States.
The first piece played was ‘Rubisphere’s’ by Valeria Coleman, one of the most recognized African American female composers in modern classical. In her words, the piece depicts “the concrete jungle grunge and grooves of urban life and landscapes in the world.” Members of the RPO — playing flute, clarinet, and bassoon, respectively — definitely delivered those grunge and grooves, at least to my ear. I’m far from an expert on classical music, but to me it sounded great, as the RPO usually does.
The second performance was a solo violin piece called “Blue Swell” by Molly Joyce, another world renowned classical composer. Even though it was written only eight years ago, the piece was inspired by baroque music. And though I was too ignorant to discern that fact from the performance itself, it was still beautiful and highly emotional.
The last piece played was “Quartet in One Movement” by Amy Beach, a world renown composer and founder of the Society of American Women Performers. The piece was particularly inspired by Inuit folk music, and written for cello, viola, and two violins. The RPO’s performance of this piece, like the others, was beautiful. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of modern classical music, the RPO’s performances of pieces in this particular genre are dynamic and very entertaining to listen to.
The RPO’s 19th Amendment Anniversary Celebration was a heartfelt tribute to one of the most important events in American history. It’s hard to make a small number of players sound larger than life, but the talent at the RPO did just that in honor of American women.