“It’s so joyously beautiful,” John Kennedy says of Mozart’s Symphony no. 41, the Jupiter Symphony. “There’s a lot of gratitude in how Mozart composes. The aspirational nature of it is inspiring to young people.” Kennedy chose the symphony for his inaugural concert directing the University orchestra in November 2013 for what it offers and what it demands of musicians: “It’s the kind of piece that requires them to get to know each other and me as a conductor.”
Along with his role at SCU, Kennedy is resident conductor and director of orchestral activities of Spoleto Festival USA, and he’s founding artistic director of two leading national new music ensembles, New York’s Essential Music and Santa Fe New Music. He’s led performances at the Lincoln Center Festival and New York City Opera, at the Zurich June Festival and Kanagawa Arts Festival.
On April 25 he conducts the SCU Orchestra in an Easter-inspired program in the Mission Church: Together with Charles Ives’ The Unanswered Question, you’ll hear a pair of West Coast premieres. Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s La Sindone is a slow-moving—even “neo-medieval”—meditation on the mystery of the Holy Shroud. How to Pray by David Lang—a founder of the avant-garde collective Bang on a Can—is a driving, almost rock-based piece for orchestra, expressing a single-minded focus and devotion.
For details and tickets: scupresents.org.