Boston Landmarks Orchestra bringing great music to the area

Keith Powers

"There is a synergy between site and sound,” says Boston Landmarks Orchestra conductor Charles Ansbacher, “and we want locations that are equal in quality to the music. It’s like a good restaurant. You need a location that enhances what you’re doing.”

Ansbacher is not serving food, of course, but great music, which he will be serving, for free, this summer at locations in the Boston area.

The BLO concerts will begin Wednesday evening at Boston’s Hatch Shell on the Esplanade, and continue there each week through September. The orchestra will travel to other locations as well, including Quincy’s Beale Estate on July 23, in a concert featuring a 22-year-old rising star of the cello, Jacqueline Choi, who will perform the Haydn C major concerto.

This summer marks the third season that BLO has taken on the popular outdoor series, and each year has shown an increase in artistic excellence as well as a branching out to other venues.

“We aim to be Boston’s summer orchestra,” Ansbacher says. “We’re rich in music, but not in the summer.” In addition to more than a dozen presentations at the Hatch Shell, including a film series, and the Quincy performance, BLO will perform in Jamaica Plain, Dorchester and Roxbury.

For Jacqueline Choi, this summer’s appearances with the BLO will begin her transition from Boston to her new home in New York. The New Jersey native, who was raised in Korea, came to study at Natick’s prestigious Walnut Hill School at age 15, and stayed in the area to take her bachelor’s degree at New England Conservatory, where she studied with Paul Katz. This fall she begins her master’s work at Juilliard School of Music in New York.

Even though she’s still a student, Choi – who made her solo debut with this same Haydn work at age 12 in Korea – has drawn high praise for her playing. Ansbacher, who heard her play at Walnut Hill, says Choi is “truly very gifted. She plays with grace and ease.” Choi says that her studies at Walnut Hill and New England Conservatory “helped me to open up my heart with what I want to say, what I feel, and to bring it to the audience. In Korea, I was always taught that music was like solving a math problem. Now I notice how each person plays a piece differently, and how creativity and imagination are important to interpretation.

“Even this Haydn piece, it’s been 10 years since I’ve performed it, and I see lots of other things in it now. On face value it sounds light and easy and simplistic. But only on the surface level; when you sit down with it, and figure out each phrase and mood, there is much more complexity. It might not be a technically demanding as other Haydn concertos, like the D major, but it has a great deal of complexity.”

The work, which was rediscovered in the 1960s, has since been recorded by nearly all the great cellists, including Yo-Yo Ma and Mstislav Rostropovich. Choi is particularly taken by a recording done by Dutch cellist Pieter Wispelwey, but admits “even though I’ve found positive things from each recording, I like to make my own interpretation.” The Quincy concert will also feature the orchestra performing Brahms’ first symphony.

The Patriot Ledger

IF YOU GO

What: Boston Landmarks Orchestra

When:  7 p.m., July 23

Where: Beale Estate, Adams National Historical Park, Quincy

How much:  Tickets are free.

More info:  For information or in case of rain, call 617-522-2200 or visit www.bostonlandmarks.org