For classical music lovers, there’s nothing better than the Albany Symphony Orchestra performing at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.
That’s what’s happening this weekend in Troy when ASO and its music director, Grammy-nominated David Alan Miller, perform Viennese Classics at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.
The concert will include works by Johan Strauss Jr., Benjamin Wallace and Anton Bruckner, and is dedicated to Heinrich Medicus, a patron of ASO who passed away in October of 2017 at age 98. A Swiss-born physics professor, Medicus left ASO $7 million, the largest gift the organization has ever received.
“It’s our celebration of what would have been his 100th birthday,” Miller said, referring to Medicus. “He was a great champion of the Albany Symphony, our greatest, and he was a champion of all good things.”
Miller said he chose Bruckner’s work to be included in this weekend’s program because Medicus was a big fan.
“He had asked me to play Bruckner before, so this is going to be a great holiday treat, listening to Bruckner at the Music Hall,” said Miller. “Dr. Medicus was passionate about wine and music, and he also loved chocolate. This concert is going to have all of those elements.”
Bruckner was an Austrian composer and organist who lived from 1824 to 1896. Known for his extreme humility, Bruckner taught music theory at the Vienna Conservatory and later accepted a post at Vienna University.
The Bruckner work performed this weekend by ASO will be “Symphony No. 6,” while also on the playlist are three works by Strauss, “Wine, Women and Song Waltzes,” “Champagne Polka” and “Overture to Die Fledermanus,” and Wallace’s “Chocolate Waltzes.” Wallace’s piece is a world premiere commissioned by ASO that Miller calls “lovely, light and charming.”
Saturday’s concert comes after news earlier in the week that Miller had been nominated for a Grammy Award for serving as a guest conductor with the National Orchestral Institute in Maryland.
“It’s a wonderful summer organization, like Tanglewood, that has a festival for young musicians,” said Miller, who earned the nomination for Best Orchestral Performance. “These are young but preprofessional musicians and at the end of the summer we do a concert that is recorded. I had a great time working with them and making that recording was a delight.”
In 2014, Miller won a Grammy for Best Classical Instrumental Solo with Dame Evelyn Glennie and the Albany Symphony. In 2016, Miller and ASO grabbed another nomination for Best Solo Vocal Album with Talise Trevigne, and ASO was nominated for its recording of Christopher Rouse’s “Kabir Padavali.”
While Miller was in Los Angeles in 2014 to accept his award and also attended the 2016 ceremony, he won’t make the 2019 event scheduled for Feb. 10.
“I only have a one-in-five chance of winning, and I have a performance with the Albany Symphony, so I won’t make the trip,” he said. “I might be sending two of my kids there to accept, but we will see. I can tell you having been there twice, it’s a lot better when you win.”
Miller has been with the Albany Symphony Orchestra since 1992. A Los Angeles native, he has also served as assistant and associate conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and music director of the New York Youth Symphony. Miller attended the University of California, Berkeley, before heading east and earning a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from The Juilliard School.
WHERE: Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, 30 Second St., Troy
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $60-$19
MORE INFO: Visit www.albanysymphony.com