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Concertmaster Coucheron featured in ASO concerts; bassist Little celebrates 70 years with orchestra

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ASO concertmaster David Coucheron.
ASO concertmaster David Coucheron.

ASO concertmaster David Coucheron.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra spotlight shines on one of its own this week, as concertmaster David Coucheron is featured in concerts Thursday through Saturday, performing Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1.

Guest conductor Tito Muñoz, recently appointed music director of the Phoenix Symphony, leads the ASO in his subscription concert debut.

Friday’s 6:30 p.m. concert is an abbreviated version of the weekend’s performances as part of the orchestra’s “First Friday” concert series, aimed at recruiting new audience members and diverting some Midtown workers who might otherwise be sitting in traffic. The one-hour concert, with all tickets reduced to $25, will feature Coucheron’s performance and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8.

In addition to Coucheron performing the Bruch, the 8 p.m. Thursday and 7:30 p.m. Saturday concerts will include the orchestra playing Gould’s Spirituals for Strings and the Dvořák.

Prior to Thursday’s concert, ASO members will perform a chamber recital, starting at 6:45 p.m., including ASO basist-composer Michael Kurth’s arrangement of “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” and Dvořák’s Serenade for Winds. The chamber recital is free to ticket-holders of that night’s concert.

8 p.m. Feb. 5, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 6, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7. First Friday tickets: $25. Thursday and Saturday tickets: $24-$99. Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. aso.org.

MORE ON THE ASO

  • The ASO marked its official 70th anniversary on Wednesday. The orchestra’s only remaining original member, bassist Jane Little, marked a birthday this week (the exact number was not revealed), as well.
ASO bassist Jane Little.

ASO bassist Jane Little.

At Tuesday’s rehearsals, the ASO performed an arrangement by Michael Kurth of “Happy Birthday” in her honor. See a video and read tributes and well-wishes from fellow players and ASO followers for many more happy birthdays for Little here.

According to her biography on the ASO’s web site, Little “was a 1945 charter member of the original Atlanta Youth Symphony Orchestra, the forerunner of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. She joined after two years of studying bass in high school and has since played under all four of the Orchestra’s music directors as well as guest conductors including Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Pierre Monteux, Leopold Stokowski, Sir John Barbirolli, and James Levine.”

Zowie, and happy belated birthday!

  • The ASO looks to add to its 27 Grammy Awards during ceremonies for the 57th annual awards on Sunday in Los Angeles. The orchestra is nominated in two categories for two discs on its own ASO Media label: best orchestral performance (for Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 7; Tapiola) and best engineered classical album (for Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem; Symphony No. 4; The Lark Ascending).

The orchestra also could share in a Grammy for producer of the year nominee Elaine Martone (her nomination is for four albums, including the ASO’s Vaughan Williams).

The Grammys will be telecast at 8 p.m. Sunday on CBS.


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