Entering his 29th year as founder and artistic director of Concert Artists of Baltimore, Maestro Edward Polochick has assembled a delicious, eclectic musical evening for the first concert of the Maestro Series on Oct. 3 at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts.
Polochick promises the audience will leave the concert “feeling like their souls have been rejuvenated” because “that is the power of music,” he said.
“Women of Power” features guest artist Simone Dinnerstein performing the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15 with the orchestra; Polochick calls her a “beautiful pianist — her tone, her color will bring tears to your eyes.”
Dinnerstein first worked with Polochick last year in Lincoln, Neb., where he is the symphony’s music director (though he resides in Baltimore). She said right away they felt like “musical soul mates and wanted to do something together again.”
Often, when you play with an orchestra, “it’s like going on a blind date,” said Dinnerstein. “You’ve never met the conductor or the orchestra and you don’t know if you’re going to hit it off or not.” The synergy between conductor and musician “completely changes the feeling of the concert.” She added, “[The Brahms piano concerto] is a very complicated piece and requires a lot of delicate communication with the conductor and orchestra. [Polochick is] an extremely great listener, that’s kind of rare among conductors.”
Also part of the evening is “My Shalom, My Peace,” written by former Peabody Institute faculty member turned rabbi, the late Morris Cotel. Described as “haunting and beautiful,” it features the voices of the Concert Artists of Baltimore Women’s Chorus in addition to percussion and harp. The piece is based on a 1975 book of the same name, full of poems and drawings created by Israeli Jewish, Arab and Palestinian children who had “witnessed at least one war, slept in shelters, known too much about death but understood one dream — peace.”
Ligeti’s “bizarre, incredibly virtuosic aria,” “Mysteries of the Macabre,” guaranteed to intrigue the audience, rounds out the evening and features soprano soloist Melissa Wimbish.
Polochick, who is also on staff at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, said the idea to start the Concert Artists of Baltimore developed years after he came here in 1976 from Philadelphia to study at Peabody.
“I absolutely fell in love with the city and the people,” said Polochick, who completed double master’s degrees in piano and conducting and by 1979 was on staff at Peabody and at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He took stock in his great fortune to work with high-caliber and different sized orchestras, operas and choruses during that time and wanted to pay it forward.
“I thought to myself, ‘if you love Baltimore as much as you say you do, why shouldn’t Baltimore have a fully professional chamber orchestra?’” recalled Polochick.
Though it took a lot of time and funding, Polochick said he “blindly went forward with it” in 1987 when the orchestra debuted at the former Har Sinai Congregation building, sponsored by the Peggy and Yale Gordon Trust, and “it’s been quite a journey since then.”
“I feel like the luckiest guy in the world. I get to do what I love to do, realize my passion and make a living at it,” said Polochick. “I’m so terribly grateful that in my home, I can do these programs and this music and share this love of my art with my ‘family’ in Baltimore.”
CAB is dedicated to an innovative approach to musical presentation and “the more people I can get into our concert hall to experience this, the more Baltimore will appreciate what we’re trying to introduce them to,” said Polochick. “There’s nothing to be afraid of in classical music. We’re there for you.”
The Gordon Center For Performing Arts
3506 Gwynnbrook Ave.,
Saturday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m.
Pre-concert reception hosted by Henry and Dorothy Rosenberg, honoring women leaders in Baltimore arts, education and government.
For tickets and more information, visit cabmusic.org or call 410-625-3525, ext. 101.