This concert combines works first performed, commissioned by and dedicated to the capital of Bohemia. Prague is known for its architecture, Charles Bridge, churches and bell towers, the castle that has been the residence of Bohemian kings for centuries, culture, music, and so much more. We will bring you back to this magical city and let you experience what it was like to hear Mozart’s and Beethoven’s pieces for the first time. Mozart must have loved his time in Prague, where he finally received the recognition he felt he deserved but never quite achieved in the more staid, aristocratic Vienna. His love affair with the Bohemian city began in January 1787, a month or so after a production of his Le Nozze di Figaro, which had had taken Prague by storm. Mozart brought with him on his visit the newly completed Symphony No. 38, which he had written in the city’s honor, and this too met with tremendous enthusiasm from the public and enjoyed repeated performances. He left with a commission in hand for another opera— one that would have its premiere in Prague. The new opera was to become Don Giovanni and was premiered in Prague’s Estate theatre on October 29, 1787. The second half of the concert is dedicated to Beethoven’s Piano concerto no 1. It is speculated that the concerto was performed in June 1796 at the Berlin court, in December 1796 in a private concert for the cousins Romberg, in 1798 at two concerts in Prague, and April 2, 1800 in the Burgtheater in Vienna. The Prague performance is the only one to have been confirmed without speculation.
Mozart: Don Giovanni Overture, K. 527, [7’]
Beethoven: Concerto No. 1, op. 15, C major, [36’]
Mozart: Symphony no. 38, K. 504, D major (Prague)
Special thanks to the Charlevoix County Community Foundation for sponsoring this performance
Violinist, violist, conductor and professor Dr. Eric Lawson has had a varied career in performance and education. Past performances as a conductor, soloist and lecturer have taken him to Austria, Brazil, China, Germany, Romania and Scandinavia. Before returning to his home state of Michigan, he was based in North Dakota where, in addition to serving as a violin instructor at Bismarck State College, Jamestown College, and the University of Mary, he was also concertmaster of the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra and established the Bismarck-Mandan Youth Symphony. Other former academic appointments have included Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Central College in Pella, Iowa and the University of North Dakota where he founded the string program and the UND Chamber Orchestra.
Here in Michigan, Dr. Lawson as been very active with the Alpena Symphony Orchestra as its concertmaster, conductor and president of the board. He also performs with many other orchestras in Northern Michigan and participates in the Traverse Symphony as a first violinist, in the Gaylord Symphony as concertmaster and as assistant concertmaster in the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra.
And finally, in what has been one of the most important experiences of his life outside of music, he also served almost four years as an Alpena County Commissioner, representing Ossineke and Sanborn Townships. In addition to serving as chair of the Salary and Personnel Committee, he also served on the Airport, Ambulance, District Court, Circuit Court Management and Jail Committees. He also represented Alpena County in Gaylord with the Northern Michigan Regional Entity Substance Use Disorder Board and continues to serve on the Northeast Michigan Community Mental Health Board. Dr. Lawson resides in Ossineke with his wife and two children.