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BBC NOW | American Explorations


04 May 2024


19:30 - 21:30


Wales Millennium Centre, Bute Place, Cardiff Bay CF10 5AL

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Event Info

Barber – Adagio for strings
Barber – Violin Concerto
Ives – Symphony No. 2

BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Ryan Bancroft conductor
Ben Baker violin

Join us for a celebration of American classical music with our LA born Principal Conductor, Ryan Bancroft this May! Popular the world over, Barber’s Adagio for Strings is one of the most recognizable pieces in the orchestral repertoire and probably his best known work – used in film and television, and poignant for its performance at Roosevelt’s funeral and following the assassination of JFK, you’re sure to have heard this iconic piece!

Less well-known, but equally dazzling is his violin concerto. Written in the 1930s when atonality were vying for attention, the traditional melody, rhythm, harmony and orchestration of Barber’s music was met with more than mild enthusiasm. Expansive and at times moody themes dominate, with hints of orientalism, folk and Russian grittiness; syncopation and distinctive counter-rhythms drive an exciting narrative and virtuosity prevail at every turn. To perform the solo role we’re thrilled to welcome the charismatic violinist, Ben Baker.

We continue our exploration of the music of Charles Ives with Ryan Bancroft, with his Second Symphony. Infamous for quoting well-known American melodies, this symphony is his first major work which fully explores this borrowing, blended with European influences – a snapshot of the coming together of his childhood and adult life.