Portland Youth Philharmonic Orchestra | David Hattner conductor
Release Date: January 13, 2023
Catalog #: NV6490
Navona Records and the Portland Youth Philharmonic are proud to present TOMÁŠ SVOBODA: PREMIERE RECORDINGS, an album bringing four works from composer Tomáš Svoboda to life. Since 1924, the Portland Youth Philharmonic has provided young musicians in Portland OR with a challenging opportunity to explore their creativity while receiving the highest quality musical education. Through this album, the ensemble further upholds their mission statement with these dexterous works including two premiere recordings, Svoboda’s Folk Concertino for 7 instruments and Variations for Violin and String Orchestra.
“Child’s Dream” Cantata for Children’s Choir & Orchestra, Op. 66
Portland Youth Philharmonic Orchestra | Jacob Avshalomov, conductor
Mastering Melanie Montgomery
Executive Producer Bob Lord
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland
Held to high regard as a composer, pianist, and educator throughout his life, Tomáš Svoboda was a true musical force, whose contributions to the artistic community of Portland and beyond have cemented him as a cultural icon in Oregon’s contemporary classical music scene.
Founded in 1924 by visionary violin teacher Mary V. Dodge, Portland Youth Philharmonic provides young musicians in Portland OR with a challenging opportunity to explore their creativity while receiving the highest quality musical education. The nation’s first youth orchestra, PYP has produced consistently inspiring performances and upheld a tradition of excellence since its first public concert in February 1925. Alumni of this organization can be found around the world in professional orchestras, teaching music at every level, and promoting music education as an important life skill that benefits individuals in any career path.
Conductor David Hattner delivers “calmly authoritative” (The New York Times) performances that are “brilliant in all departments” (The Chicago Tribune). Hattner’s high musical intelligence and phenomenal technique uniquely combine with a warm and cooperative disposition, allowing for an ease of execution which imbues confidence and expands possibilities. Although he is energetic and animated, an inner calm and polish characterizes Hattner’s presence on the podium, leading to concert experiences that are truly magical.
Hattner is the Portland Youth Philharmonic’s fifth Musical Director in its distinguished 97-year history, and the first to be born in the United States. Known for his encyclopedic knowledge of American repertoire, Hattner’s programming is relevant, thoughtful, and “especially attractive” (The Chicago Tribune). Hattner’s recent seasons included his conducting debuts with the Phoenix Symphony, Olympia Symphony, Baton Rouge Symphony, and Chamber Music Northwest as well as appearances with the Oregon Symphony and the Musicians of the Fort Worth Symphony. Additional guest appearances include the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Interlochen Philharmonic, Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Eugene Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Sospeso, Kansas City Symphony, Oregon Mozart Players, and Massapequa Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. A talented clarinetist, Hattner regularly performs on live radio broadcast on All Classical Portland, and has served as principal clarinet with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Cascade Music Festival Orchestra in Bend, New Jersey Opera Theater, and Key West Symphony Orchestra. Hattner is an honors graduate of Northwestern University, and was a Conducting Fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen for three summers.
Fumika Mizuno was a member of PYP ensembles for nine seasons (Season 85-93), playing violin in the Young String Ensemble, Conservatory Orchestra, and Philharmonic. During her time with PYP, she served as Assistant Concertmaster and Co-Concertmaster of PYP, participated in Camerata PYP and chamber music ensembles, and was a winner of the Soloist Competition and runner-up of the Concerto Competition.
She was a two-time winner of the MetroArts Young Artists Competition as well as competitions hosted by the Vancouver Symphony and Beaverton Symphony. She served as Co-Concertmaster of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States and Boston University Tanglewood Institute Young Artists Orchestra.
Mizuno graduated with highest honors from Princeton University, where she studied Politics and was a member of the Princeton University Orchestra (PUO). She won the PUO Concerto Competition, served as PUO’s Co-Concertmaster, and was an active member of Opus 21, a student-run chamber organization. At Princeton, Mizuno performed in a concert alongside the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and toured Sweden and Spain with Opus 21 and PUO, respectively. Mizuno currently resides in Chicago, where she continues to enjoy playing violin in chamber music and jazz manouche ensembles.
Mizuno studied violin with Tamara Theodosis, Carol Winters, Carol Sindell, and Anna Lim.
Six Variations for Violin and String Orchestra, Op. 32 was completed July 4, 1961 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Svoboda recalls it was a carefree and happy period in his life as a young composer, working part-time at Plzen Radio (in West Bohemia), arranging many folk tunes for broadcasting purposes. Six Variations is based on the theme from the last movement of Svoboda’s String Quartet No. 1, Op. 29, composed the year before. Its premiere took place during the summer of 1961, with a broadcast by the Plzen Radio Symphony Orchestra. In the fall of 1961, the prestigious Czech Radio in Prague honored Tomas Svoboda’s Six Variations with their “Best Piece of the Month” Award. Svoboda writes: “The flavor of these playful variations is reminiscent of the neo-baroque style and a polyphonic approach is evident in each movement. The main theme is based on a skip of the perfect fourthinterval, both original and its inversion, which is displayed throughout the work, as a dialogue between the soloist and string orchestra.” — Thomas Stangland
Tomáš Svoboda was born in 1939 in Paris, France. He entered the Prague Music Conservatory in 1953 at the age of 14. In 1957, his Symphony No. 1 was premiered by the FOK Prague Symphonic Orchestra.
In the early 1960s, Svoboda and Jana Demartini met in Prague through participating in a folk music group. They dated for a year before Svoboda wrote his Symphony No. 2 in 1963, dedicated to Demartini. The Czech Philharmonic was scheduled to premiere the symphony, but the premiere was ultimately canceled, because the Svobodas fled the country in 1964.
Once the Svobodas arrived in Phoenix AZ, Demartini and Svoboda married almost immediately. Since then, Svoboda has been a prolific composer, writing many new works for local Northwest ensembles, while teaching composition at Portland State University for 27 years. In 1982, Svoboda conducted the Portland Youth Philharmonic Spring Concert while Maestro Avshalomov was on sabbatical.
In December 2012, Svoboda suffered a devastating stroke, so his composing career came to an end, but his large body of music is still performed all over the world. In 2015, Camerata PYP premiered Svoboda’s Folk Concertino for Seven Instruments, Op. 82 (1977) at Portland State University, in conjunction with Chamber Music Northwest’s Winter Festival.
The November 2016 premiere of Svoboda’s Symphony No. 2 has involved creating the parts from the score, and PYP is working directly with the Svobodas to assure that the performance meets their expectations. They are both very excited to hear PYP’s performance of this symphony, which takes them back to before they were married, more than 50 years ago.
“The one-movement Cantata Child’s Dream was commissioned by the Portland Youth Philharmonic for its 50th Anniversary. The premiere performance was held in Portland in 1974 at the Civic Auditorium under the baton of Jacob Avshalomov. The poetry used in the composition was a result of a school project to ‘write a poem about your dream.’
The Cantata is divided into five contrasting sections, with the music underscoring the children’s imaginations: fragile images are accompanied by the delicate and colorful orchestration. The gentle but energetic keyboard percussion (orchestra bells, vibraphone, celesta, piano, chimes, and triangle) introduces the flavor of the Cantata and serves as a frame for the entire piece, especially during the coda section. As in the final moments before the end of a dream, the fading energy of the keyboard ensemble dissipates into nothingness.”
— Tomáš Svoboda
Tomas Svoboda: “Child’s Dream” Cantata for Children Choir and Orchestra, Op. 66
Sky is all around me and everywhere I go – the sky is there…
Drops of rain trickle down my face – I am running to the sky, full of blue windows.
Holding a little ball and moving very slowly – big rocks here and there, and never falling down.
Jumping squares around, around, not touching lines – and always rising up.
I am in a world of nowhere, where flowers grow bright and beautiful in a garden – that will never be again.
Sky is all around me and everywhere I go – the sky is behind me…
Text by children, 2. and 3. grade.
Commissioned by Oregon Arts Commission for 50th Anniversary of Junior Symphony Orchestra 1974