2023 Season


The Italian Giovanni Rota Rinaldi (1911 - 1979) is probably best known (although probably not by name) for his numerous film scores.  Equally Rota is almost unknown among concert-going audiences for his symphonic compositions.

His charming and evocative Symphony No. 2 in F Major - "Tarantina  - Anni di Pellegrinaggio" (Year of Pilgrimage) although written in 1939, was not performed until 1975. It is generally perceived that being composed (along with the first symphony in the same year) at the height of emergent fascist Italy, and prior to the start of WWII, is the reason for the work's neglect to this point.

Nino Rota began composing as a child, having composed an oratorio before
his teen years, based on the theme of John the Baptist. At that point he began
studying composition formally first at Milan Conservatory and then in Rome
at the Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Later the conductor Arturo Toscanini referred Rota to Rosario Scalero at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia,
where he studied composition as well as conducting with Fritz Reiner. Returning to Italy in 1932, Rota would produce many works including three symphonies, numerous concertos and ballet scores, as well as operas and works for chamber ensembles.

Nevertheless, it is for his film scores that Rota is most associated, having composed some 150 works in the genre. For film music lovers, he is best-known for his long-time collaboration with Federico Fellini and for his work on the Shakespeare films of Franco Zeffirelli. The 'love theme' from Romeo and Juliet (1968 )is one of Rota's most emblematic and recorded compositions but, undoubtedly, it is his extraordinary score for Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather (1972) that he is most instantly recognised. In fact, Rota's score received an Oscar nomination for best original score but was withdrawn when it was discovered he had reused a theme from an earlier film. He went on to eventually win the Oscar for The Godfather II in 1974.

Re-scored Masterworks Series

Developed by American academic and instrumentalist, Michael Drapkin,  the process of re-imagining the classical music canon so as to increase the reach and ability of orchestras to perform works; especially those with very large instrumentations for much smaller orchestral forces, is known as 'extreme rescoring'.

Michael's hypothesis is this: Classical music has become marginalized in America. The flagship classical music ensembles that provide the bulk of performance employment – symphony orchestras – continue to struggle or fail. This risks the loss of professional performances of the great orchestral works of the classical music canon. Extreme Scoring argues for a shift away from a focus on symphony orchestras that put a financially straining 80 – 108 musicians on a stage. As an alternative, it calls for a move towards more stable, enduring, less labor intensive and less expensive chamber orchestras, thereby rightsizing orchestras to the needs and funding capacities of their communities.

This re-scoring of Berlioz's masterpiece, Symphonie Fantastique, represents the very best in this conceptual methodology by allowing one of the great symphonic masterpieces to be performed by an orchestra smaller than called for by the composer yet, at the same time, maintaining the core essence and aesthetic sensibilities as originally coceived. The concept of extreme re-scoring goes beyond merely the idea of an orchestral reduction - a practice that has been pursued since the long nineteenth-century and well into the twentieth-century by composers and arrangers including Mahler, Rieti and many others.

What makes Michael Drapkin's approach unique is that the re-scored adaptation remains wholly within the sound world of Berlioz. It is a remarkable achievement.

Come and hear a beloved work in a whole new light!