Orchestra to celebrate birthday with Chopin and Beethoven

The Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional celebrates its 70th birthday this weekend with the usual double concerts. The house already is sold out, but Teatro Nacional workers will be putting up a tent and giant television screen on the Plaza de la Cultura for those who cannot get inside.

The program Friday night and Sunday morning is under the direction of Giancarlo Guerrero, a well-known musician who now is director of the Nashville, Tennessee, symphony orchestra. Performing will be 19-year-old Costa Rican pianist Daniela Rodó, soprano Kelley Nassief, mezo-soprano Jennifer Hines, tenor Bryan Griffin, bass Kevin Deas and the Coro Sinfónico Nacional.

The program for the weekend includes “Concert for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in F Minor” by Frédéric Chopin, who composed it in 1830 when he was just 20. The work contains three movements. Also on the program is Ludwig van Beethoven’s 1824 “Symphony No. 9 in D minor.” Some say this is one of the greatest musical compositions ever written. The final movement features the singers and the chorus with the “Ode to Joy,” based on a poem by a poem written by Friedrich Schiller.

The orchestra was founded in 1940 and has been a major element in the country’s cultural life since. The current director is Chosei Komatsu, who has held the position for seven years. He is leaving after the final concert of the season in November, the orchestra said.

The orchestra performs at 8 p.m Friday and 10:30 a.m. Sunday with duplicate programs. The orchestra consists of 72 professional musicians, most of whom are Costa Rican.

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