Strings of Spring

Strings of Spring

The U.S. Army Strings

A light, uplifting program featuring Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #2, Mozart's Violin Concerto in D Major, and the original 13-player version of Copland's Appalachian Spring.

Sat / Apr 30 / 7:30 pm


McLean Presbyterian Church / McLean, VA

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About this Venue

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Johann Sebastian Bach - Brandenburg Concerto #2

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Violin Concerto #4 in D Major
Noelle Naito, violin

Winner of 2021 Young Artist Competition / Strings Division

Aaron Copland - Appalachian Spring


Extra Content: Strings of Spring

Strings of Spring: Beloved innovations

Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major BWV 1047
Johann Sebastian Bach
Born: March 31, 1685
Died: July 28, 1750

Johann Sebastian Bach has little competition when it comes to naming the greatest composer of the Baroque era. His six Brandenburg Concertos, each with a unique instrumentation, are the pinnacle of baroque orchestral music. The Brandenburg concertos would go on to inspire generations of composers.

Bach created new combinations of instruments for each of the Brandenburgs. The Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 is scored for strings and continuo and features a high-pitched virtuoso trumpet part, alongside flute, oboe, and violin soloists. The particular group of instruments creates a special sound unique to the second Brandenburg Concerto. The first movement is so famous that it was pressed onto the gold record attached to Voyager that is now over ten million miles away. Fast notes are passed between the soloists and strings in a joyously upbeat movement. The second movement marked Andante loses the strings and trumpet and features a dialogue between the flute, oboe, and violin. The final movement marked Allegro Assai, features one main theme that is passed between all four soloists.

Concerto No. 4 in D major for Violin and Orchestra, K.218
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Born: January 27, 1756
Died: December 5, 1791

Though a youthful Wolfgang Mozart performing his own piano works is easy to imagine, he was also an accomplished violinist more than capable of performing his own challenging violin concertos. Leopold Mozart, Wolfgang’s father and one of the most influential violin pedagogues of his time, certainly helped establish a very young Mozart with an abundance of violin skill. His knowledge of the instrument allowed him to write incredibly virtuosic and challenging solo parts fit seamlessly within the elegant and reserved confines of his classical ensemble writing. His violin concertos are the most tenured members of the violin cannon.

Mozart’s Concerto NO. 4 in D Major for Violin and Orchestra was composed, like all of his violin concertos, in Salzburg around the year 1775. The first movement is marked Allegro and has a march-like feel. The beautiful second movement marked Andante Cantabile, is certainly in a singing style and calls to mind an aria from one of Mozart’s renowned operas. The final movement marked Andante Grazioso is a Rondeau, a common form for the final movement of instrument concertos. The charming first theme comes back again and again after brief contrasting interludes. The final sounding of the first theme ends the concerto as the soloist and orchestra fade off into the distance.

Appalachian Spring
Aaron Copland
Born: November 14,1900
Died: December 2, 1990

Aaron Copland’s Pulitzer Prize winning Appalachian Spring is one of the most beloved and often played American orchestral compositions. It was commissioned as the accompanying music to a Martha Graham ballet. The premiere was in 1944 at the Library of Congress, a venue that regularly hosts the Army Strings.

Appalachian Spring is one of Copland’s populist works and is filled with American melodies and rhythms and yet has a lot in common with Copland’s modernist works. Inspired by his teacher Nadia Boulanger during his studies in Paris and in the early years of his career, Copland searched for an American sound. Copland’s earliest attempts at the American sound were avant-garde works that had more in common with the skyscrapers of New York and Chicago than the fiddle tunes of rural America. Library of Congress American folk music recordings were a source of thematic material for Copland’s best-known works. The combination of Copland’s modernist composition style with American folk melodies led to what many think of as the definition of American music.

The story of the ballet and music describes a spring celebration in honor of building a new house in rural Pennsylvania. The characters from the town featured in the ballet include a preacher, a bride and groom, and a pioneer woman. The drama and the music climax with a version of a Shaker melody called “The Gift to be Simple.” The version being performed tonight is Copland’s shortened orchestral suite with the original instrumentation (flute, clarinet, bassoon, piano, and strings) from the ballet score.


Noelle Naito
Strings Division Winner of 2021 Army Orchestra Young Artist Competition

Noelle Midori Takebe Naito is a freshman undergraduate from Elkridge, Maryland who is currently studying with Professors Jaime Laredo and Jan Mark Sloman at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Noelle began her violin studies at the age of four at the Peabody Preparatory, Maryland, under the tutelage of Elizabeth Faidley. She then studied privately with Olga Khroulevitch, Keng-Yuen Tseng, and Li Lin before being instructed at The Juilliard School, Pre-college Division under Masao Kawasaki. She then studied at the Music Institute of Chicago Academy Program under Almita Vamos from 2018-2021. She has participated in music festivals such as Heifetz International Music Institute and Aspen Music Festival and School.

Noelle made her orchestra debut with the Kostroma Symphony Orchestra (Russia), at age 9, performing the Mendelssohn violin concerto, 3rd mvt. She also has performed with the Columbia Orchestra in Columbia, Maryland, and the Landon Symphonette in Bethesda, Maryland. Noelle has played in venues such as Weill Recital Hall, New York City, Cadogan Hall, London, England, and Franz Liszt House, Weimar, Germany.

Noelle recently won The William C. Byrd Young Artist Competition and played with the Flint Symphony Orchestra in its 2020-2021 season. She also won the 2020 United States Army Orchestra Competition in its string division as well and will be performing with them in April 2022. Noelle was part of the inaugural Heifetz Ensemble in Residence Program “HEIR” in 2021. She was also selected as a Student Artist at the 2019 Starling-Delay Symposium held at the Juilliard School where she performed in masterclasses for Kathleen Winkler and Midori. She has also appeared on WFMT, Chicago, “Introductions” as a soloist and chamber musician.

As an avid chamber musician, Noelle has been a prize winner at the Rembrandt Chamber Competition (Chicago), Grand Prize winner at the Pearl G. Barnett Chamber Music Competition (Chicago), and a finalist at the Saint Paul Chamber Competition. She was also a semi-finalist at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Her other interests include yoga, ballet, and Japanese culture.

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