The Symphony rings in the New Year with the full orchestra under the baton of Maestro Guillermo Figueroa and a spectacular program featuring works by three of our most celebrated composers. Brahms’s shortest symphony, his No. 3, encapsulates Brahms’s motto “Free but happy” with an intricately crafted work one critic called Brahms’s “artistically the most nearly perfect” composition. The programmatic theatricality continues with Grieg’s first Peer Gynt suite, music composed to accompany Ibsen’s masterwork play, combining Norwegian folklore and traditional music with the yearning harmonies of Scandinavian Romanticism. Finally, Liszt’s Les préludes, the first “symphonic poem” ever to be published under that description, which depicts themes as universal as “love” and “victory.”
BRAHMS Symphony No. 3 in F Major, op.90
GRIEG Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, op.46
LISZT Les préludes, Symphonic Poem No. 3, S.97
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One of the most versatile and respected musical artists of his generation—renowned as conductor, violinist, violist, and concertmaster—Guillermo Figueroa is the Principal Conductor of The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. He also serves as the Music Director of the Music in the Mountains Festival in Colorado, Music Director of the Lynn Philharmonia in Florida, and is the founder of the highly acclaimed Figueroa Music and Arts Project in Albuquerque. Additionally, he was the Music Director of both the New Mexico Symphony and the Puerto Rico Symphony. With this last orchestra, he performed to critical acclaim at Carnegie Hall in 2003, the Kennedy Center in 2004, and Spain in 2005.
International appearances include the Toronto Symphony, Iceland Symphony, the Baltic Philharmonic in Poland, Orquesta del Teatro Argentino in La Plata, Xalapa (Mexico), the Orquesta de Cordoba in Spain, and the Orquesta Sinfonica de Chile. In the US he has appeared with the symphony orchestras of Detroit, New Jersey, Memphis, Phoenix, Colorado, Tucson, Fairfax, San Jose, Juilliard Orchestra, and the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center.
Guillermo Figueroa has collaborated with many of the leading artists of our time, including Itzhak Perlman, YoYo Ma, Hilary Hahn, Placido Domingo, Joshua Bell, Olga Kern, Janos Starker, James Galway, Midori, Horacio Gutierrez, the Emerson and Fine Arts String Quartets, Ben Hepner, Rachel Barton Pine, Pepe and Angel Romero, Elmar Oliveira, Vadim Gluzman, and Philippe Quint.
He has conducted the premieres of works by important composers, such as Roberto Sierra, Ernesto Cordero and Miguel del Águila. And as an advocate for new music, Figueroa and the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra won an Award for Adventurous Programming from the League of American Orchestras in 2007.
A renowned violinist as well, Figueroa’s recording of Ernesto Cordero’s violin concertos for the Naxos label received a Latin Grammy nomination in 2012. He was Concertmaster of the New York City Ballet, and a Founding Member and Concertmaster of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, making over fifty recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, a German classical record label, and the oldest surviving established record company. Also accomplished on the viola, Guillermo Figueroa performs frequently as guest of the Fine Arts, American, Amernet, and Orion string quartets.
Figueroa has given the world premieres of four violin concertos written for him: in 1995 the Concertino by Mario Davidovsky, at Carnegie Hall in 2007 the Double Concerto by Harold Farberman, with the American Symphony at Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center; in 2008 the Violin Concerto by Miguel del Aguila, commissioned by Figueroa and the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and in 2009 ĺnsula, Suite Concertante, by Ernesto Cordero with the Solisti di Zagreb in Zagreb.
He has appeared at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music in the Vineyards in California, Festival Groba in Spain, and Music from Angel Fire. Figueroa has recorded the Three Violin Sonatas by Bartók for the Eroica Classical label, with pianist Robert Koenig, and an album of virtuoso violin music by for the NMSO label, with pianist Ivonne Figueroa.
Guillermo Figueroa studied with his father and uncle at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. At the Juilliard School his teachers were Oscar Shumsky and Felix Galimir. His conducting studies were with Harold Farberman in New York.