COVINGTON — When the community’s original concert organization – now known as the Arts Association in Newton County — hosted its first performance some 30 years ago, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra was the featured attraction.
And for the past three decades, the ASO – directed through the years by the late Robert Shaw, Yoel Levi and Robert Spano – has occupied a recurring spot on the Arts Association’s performance calendar, and the celebrated orchestra’s concert on Sunday, Nov. 11, at the Porter Performing Arts Center will be its 19th visit to Covington.
Arts Association Artistic and Technical Director Ric Chiapetta said this year’s concert marks the third consecutive year the ASO has presented programming in Newton County.
“We had a long hiatus where they did not perform for us at all, and we’re excited to be able to continually bring them back,” said Chiapetta.
The 3 p.m. program will open with Rossini’s String Sonata No. 1, will continue with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 and will conclude with Brahms Violin Concerto. Roberto Abaddo will conduct the orchestra with Veronika Eberle serving as the violin soloist.
“It’s actually a very exciting program and one of the four programs the orchestra is doing in this entire fall and winter season of concerts,” said Chiapetta. “The Brahms is one of the greatest violin concertos ever written and the Beethoven of course is another great symphony.
“The Atlanta Symphony has been working on playing through the entire canon of Beethoven symphonies, and I believe this season finishes that effort with one of his greatest. This has been a four-year plan for the symphony to play all of Beethoven’s major orchestral works, and every year we’ve been lucky enough to get one of the Beethoven symphonies they’ve programed.”
Abaddo trained under Franco Ferrara at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice and at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome and serves as the musical director at the Palau de les Arts Reina Soffia in Valencia; he has conducted a host of international orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestre National de France.
Eberle has been considered a rising star in the orchestral world since her debut at the age of 16 at the 2006 Salzburg Easter Festival, when she performed the Beethoven Concerto with the Berliner Philharmonika. She has appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Montreal Symphony and the Munich Philharmonic, among many others.
“Veronika was one of the reasons I chose this program when I was negotiating with the ASO,” said Chiapetta. “To catch a rising star like that … 10 years from now, they would not have been able to bring her out. We wouldn’t be able to afford it. This is such a truly unique opportunity for us.”
Chiapetta added that inviting the ASO to perform in Covington fulfills one of the Arts Association’s greatest callings – to provide affordable world-class entertainment.
“For our community, it’s a chance to see something that if they’d gone the night before and seen it in Atlanta would cost $75-$150 depending on where you’re sitting,” he said. “Folks in our community can see them for $30, $25 for senior citizens and $15 for students. It’s an incredible opportunity for our community to see a world-class orchestra with a world-class violin soloist that anywhere else would cost three, four or five times what it costs people here.
“We like to bring that kind of quality at a very affordable price. And that’s been our mission all along – to bring quality arts to the community at an affordable price to serve our community. This concerts, probably more than anything else we do, exemplifies that.”
The ASO concert also represents Chiapetta’s final assignment for the Arts Association as he has taken a position at a school in Baltimore, where he studied at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
“This is my swan song with the arts association,” he said. “In December, it will be 20 years since I started working for the arts association. It’s been quite a run.”
For ticket information on the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Nov. 11 concert in Covington, call 770-786-8188 or visit www.newtoncountyarts.org.