Susan Kokernak, soloist for March 24th concert at Proctors

On the program….

Concerto for Oboe and Strings, D minor, op. 9, no. 2                                   Tomasco Albinoni

Tomasco Albinoni was born in Venice in 1671. His birth year places him stylistically within the development of instrumental music : 13 years younger than Torelli, 7 years older than Vivaldi and 14 years older than Johann Sebastian Bach, he received from the past and gave to the future. In 1694 he helped Legrenzi (presumably his teacher) with an opera, and from then onwards until his Artamene of 1740 he was prolific as an opera composer – at times he wrote 5 operas in one single year – but very little of them is preserved. For us his most important compositions are his symphonies, concertos, trio sonatas and Violin sonatas, and the fact that Bach used Albinoni themes and gave his pupils figured basses of Albinoni works as exercises shows the high esteem in which the greatest of his day held his music. In 1751 he died in his home town. During the last ten years of his life, possibly due to illness, he composed nothing.

This Oboe concerto has three movements- fast-slow-fast. It is a tour de force for the soloist with lots of dotted rhythms and fast passages that touch on a variety of keys. There many phrases of sequencing – which was certainly a trademark of the baroque-era compositions. The orchestra presents the first theme in the first movement which gets repeated twice by the soloist. The second theme retains the dotted rhythm of the first theme and there follows a development before a recapitulation. The second movement is in B flat major-the sub-dominate of the relative major and is in total contract to the first movement with its long sustained melodic material. The supportive accompaniment is presented by slow arpeggios. The Allegro last movement returns to a rollicking 6/8 meter.

Meet the artist…

Susan Kokernak holds a Bachelor’s of Music degree from the Hartt School of Music in Oboe Performance and Music Management, and a Master’s of Music Education from the College of Saint Rose.  She was a student of Humbert Lucarelli and studied oboe technique with Washington Barella.

Currently the Principal Oboist of the Schenectady Symphony and the Capital Region Wind Ensemble, Susan also performs with her professional Woodwind Quintet, Fünf.  In June of 2016, Fünf was invited to perform at the International Horn Symposium at Ithaca College to premiere “Quintet for Winds”, written by local composer Philip Spaeth.  Fünf continues to support new composers and local music educational outreach programs. Susan performs as an active freelancer on both Oboe and English horn throughout the Capital Region and she also performs regularly with the Maverick Concerts Chamber Orchestra in Woodstock, NY.

As a working music educator, Susan currently teaches Fifth and Seventh Grade Band and Seventh Grade Jazz Ensemble in Niskayuna Central Schools. A past adjunct faculty member at Schenectady County Community College, Susan currently serves on the SCCC School of Music Advisory Committee.  She provides professional oboe instruction through her private studio in Niskayuna, where she resides with her husband and two daughters.  Susan has helped prepare high school oboists for successful college music careers at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins, New York University, Crane School of Music and the Schenectady County Community College School of Music.

Susan is thrilled to solo with the Schenectady Symphony today and she would like to dedicate this performance to SSO’s past Principal Oboist, Gene Marie Green, who was a long-standing member of the Symphony, a supportive musical colleague, a mentor and a friend.

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