Welcome to Re-Reading, an interdisciplinary concert exploring themes of reconciliation, discovery, and new perspectives. The Boston Athenæum’s recently renovated Henry Long Room, which serves as the location of this concert, features a diverse array of rare books, works on paper, paintings, and sculptures that make up their Re-Reading Special Collections installation. Just as the Athenæum's installation reflects on a more expansive view of American art and history, so does the Boston Festival Orchestra through a selection of chamber music that provokes conversation about hidden voices in art and the exclusionary constructs of race, gender, and class. This concert features works by composers whose perspectives are deeply important to the conversations that we must have about who we are, where we come from, and where we are going. We bring to light the music of previously overshadowed composers, as well as fresh contemporary works by the game-changing voices of today that are paving the path towards the future of classical music. Together with the Athenæum’s installation, we encourage a dialogue about our collective history, and where we go from here.
Join BFO Artistic Director Alyssa Wang and BFO musicians in an intimate dialogue about what it means to experience art, and how it can help us to relate to the world around us. Enjoy a wine and cheese reception following the concert, including a chance to explore parts of the Athenæum. This concert is free, but registration is required!
Carlos Simon, Where two or three are gathered
Clara Schumann, Three Romances for Violin and Piano
David Baker, selections from Roots II
Florence Price, Cherry Blossoms in Her Hair
Alexandra Du Bois, L'apothéose d'un rêve
Alyssa Wang, violin
Francesca McNeeley, cello
Ruoting Li, piano
Alyssa Wang is a passionate and versatile conductor, violinist, and composer, and recent recipient of the St. Botolph Foundation Emerging Artist Award. She is the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Boston Festival Orchestra, as well as the Assistant Conductor for the Boston Ballet. Alyssa has served as Assistant Conductor for numerous institutions such as the New Hampshire Music Festival and the Colorado College Summer Music Festival. As a violinist, Alyssa has soloed with ensembles across the country and performs regularly with numerous Boston-based ensembles such as Boston Chamber Music Society and Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Recently, she was commissioned by the Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh to compose a Violin Concerto to be premiered in 2023. Alyssa earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Carnegie Mellon University as an Andrew Carnegie Scholar in 2016 under the tutelage of Andrés Cárdenes, and completed two Master’s Degrees in violin performance and conducting at the New England Conservatory. Learn more at alyssa-wang.com.
Haitian-American cellist Francesca McNeeley has received critical acclaim as a collaborator and soloist, her playing described as “virtuosic”, “impressive” and “a remarkable display” by the Boston Musical Intelligencer. She enjoys an eclectic career in the Boston area as a chamber musician, orchestral player, and modern music advocate. She has premiered dozens of works, solo and chamber music—including pieces by John Harbison, Bongani Ndodana-Breen, Mark Neikrug, Augusta Read Thomas, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Joseph Phibbs, and Tyson Davis. Since the fall of 2022 she has become a core member of the Grammy-nominated A Far Cry chamber orchestra. She frequently performs with Castle of Our Skins and the Celebrity Series of Boston. She has also performed with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, Boston Ballet, and Sarasota Orchestras, and can be heard on BMOP/sound with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Catch her new album release, Homage: Chamber Music from the African Continent & Diaspora, performing with Castle of Our Skins and Dr. Samantha Ege.
Ms. McNeeley graduated Princeton University Phi Beta Kappa, and went on to receive scholarships to attend the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and the New England Conservatory for her graduate degrees in cello performance. She has earned fellowships and prizes from the Tanglewood Music Center, where she also served as a New Fromm Player. With her Fromm colleagues she has founded the Chroma Trio, championing modern string trio repertoire. She has received fellowships to attend the Music Academy of the West, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, & Toronto Summer Music. She has been awarded multiple grants from the Sphinx Organization, and now serves on The Artist Council for the National Alliance for Audition Support. Her teachers and mentors have included Tom Kraines, Darrett Adkins, Norman Fischer, Yeesun Kim, and Astrid Schween.
Francesca is dedicated to community engagement through teaching and mentoring. In addition to her private teaching studio, she serves on the faculties for the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Intensive Community Program, Project STEP, as well as the Charles Ives Music Festival at the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestras.
Chinese pianist Ruoting Li is an eclectic artist who is eager to explore a wide range of musical styles and repertoire, both as a solo pianist and chamber musician. Currently based in New York City, Ruoting has been involved in numerous activities, such as outreach concerts, music producing, and new music recording. She made her Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall debut in November of 2019, and her Stern Auditorium debut in March of 2020. Both were well received, with special mention of her artistry. Most recently, Ms. Li was featured in a concert for the Library of Congress. Her passion for chamber music has also resulted in a fruitful and ongoing collaboration with the Boston Festival Orchestra.
Born in China, she began piano at the age of 6 and was admitted to the Central Conservatory of Music Middle School in Beijing when she was 11. In 2014, Ms. Li came to the U.S. and was awarded a full scholarship to attend the Manhattan School of Music, where she earned both Bachelor and Master of Music degree in Piano Performance under the tutelage of Dr. Solomon Mikowsky. Aside from live performance, Ruoting is currently involved as artistic advisor and producer for several ongoing recording projects.