Venue: San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Ensemble: Curious Flights Orchestra and Chorus
Conductor: Alasdair Neale
Date: 28 May 2016
Event page

Marc Blitzstein’s best-known orchestral work, the “Airborne” Symphony, also partakes of secular oratorio, requiring a narrator (the “Monitor”), tenor and baritone soloists, male chorus, and full symphony orchestra. Premiered in 1946 by Leonard Bernstein, the work is one of the most important American compositions to come out of World War II. Reflecting on the entire history of human flight, it contains sobering reflections on airplanes used as instruments of warfare as well as one of Blitzstein’s best-known songs, the wistful “Emily” (Ballad of the Bombardier).

The Curious Flights concert series of San Francisco lives up to its name in the final program of the 2015-16 season, titled “The Age of Flight.” The program features works by Korngold, Copland, and Barber, all leading up to Blitzstein’s “Airborne.” Soloists include Brian Thorsett (tenor), Efrain Solis (baritone), and David Latulippe (narrator). Alasdair Neale, music director of the Marin Symphony, conducts. Bay Area music lovers, take note! A chance to see and hear performances of rarities by such prominent American composers does not come along every day. As a Blitzstein bonus, the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music hosts a piano recital by Sarah Cahill on 27 May; she will perform “Scherzo (Bourgeois at Play),” one of his early solo piano works.


Article on the “Airborne” from San Francisco Classical Voice

Concert preview from San Francisco Examiner

Learn more about the “Airborne” Symphony

Marc Blitzstein official website