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Xian Zhang leads Ludwig van Beethoven’s enduring Ninth Symphony, which celebrates the bonds of humanity and the glory of the creator in its triumphant “Ode to Joy.” Before that, discover Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Ballade, displaying the depth and maturity of a young composer poised for greatness, and Michael Abels’ Emerge, which tells the story of musicians returning to their art and rediscovering the joy of making music together.
At A Glance
Michael Abels’s Emerge is about our collective response to, and recovery from, the extended pandemic. He described the piece as imagining “a group of highly trained musicians getting back together after a long break, remembering both the exhilaration and the discipline of performing together.”
Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 claims a special place in the history of music and in Beethoven’s growth as an artist and public figure. The finale diverged from symphonic tradition by introducing vocal soloists and chorus to sing the poet Friedrich von Schiller’s “Ode to Joy,” a hymn celebrating the bonds of humanity and the glory of the creator. It became a symbol of togetherness and celebration, and a touchstone that inspired or intimidated numerous composers who came after.