Review: Montpelier Chamber Orchestra mixes old and new

Posted on: June 11, 2013

In Monday’s (6/10) Times Argus (Vermont; subscription required), Jim Lowe writes, “Saturday’s concert at Montpelier High School’s Smilie Auditorium gave new meaning to the term community orchestra. The Montpelier Chamber Orchestra, by involving community members, young and old, in the creation of a new work, gave new insight into perhaps the greatest icon of symphonic literature.… Violinist Tracy Silverman was the charismatic soloist in Kenji Bunch’s Embrace, a concerto for electric violin and orchestra that had its premiere earlier this year by the Champlain Philharmonic in Rutland and Middlebury. It was commissioned by the two orchestras, as well as several others around the country, as part of a program of the Orchestra Engagement Lab designed to broaden audiences. Paul Gambill, music director of both Vermont orchestras, spearheads the program. Silverman opened Embrace with a solo cadenza on his six-string violin that reflected bluegrass fiddling, but with a classical violin virtuoso flair. Orchestra members placed around the audience then added percussion with both vocal sounds and beats.… It proved quite fascinating. But the big surprise came after Embrace.… This audience, full of teens … and others not usually seen at classical music concerts, as well as the stalwarts, sat riveted, clearly enthralled through Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.… The response was rapturous.”

Posted June 11, 2013