Happy New Year! 2016 already brings some big orchestra news out of Washington, D.C., where the National Symphony Orchestra announced the appointment of Italian conductor Gianandrea Noseda as its new music director, reports Anne Midgette in the Washington Post.
The headline describes Mr. Noseda as a rising star, but it's fair to say his star has already risen. Best known for his work in opera houses, he is a familiar face in Heinz Hall and was considered for the Pittsburgh Symphony's last opening for music director, the post held by Manfred Honeck. He also served as the PSO's Victor De Sabata guest conductor for four seasons. Most recently, he conducted the PSO over two weekends during the 2013-14 season. Lucky for Pittsburghers, he'll return to Heinz Hall in a few weeks to lead a concert of music by Rachmaninoff, Rossini and Beethoven.
One thing I appreciated about Mr. Noseda's last appearances with the PSO was the programming of music by the Italian composer Alfredo Casella. As an audience member, I always enjoy hearing rarer works; that approach to programming allows an ensemble to introduce "new" pieces to the audience (even if they aren't contemporary works), adds fresh dimensions to orchestra concerts and offers the possibility of reviving music that might otherwise be lost to history — or receive fewer performances than it deserves.