Review: Pioneer Valley Symphony turns 75 with nautical-themed program

Posted on: May 22, 2014

“The Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorus celebrated their 75th anniversary with a remarkable concert Saturday, performed at the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, before a large and appreciative audience,” writes Mark Morford in Wednesday’s (5/21) Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, Mass.). “It is rare that a community orchestra can achieve 75 years of continuous existence and the loyalty of its members can be inferred from the fact that 14 have been playing with it for 35 years or more, while its music director, Paul Phillips, is completing his 20th season.” On the program were Phillips’s own Wave, utilizing an expanded orchestra including “twelve Thai gongs disposed around the auditorium and three Alpine cowbells,” and Ravel’s Une barque sur l’océan. In Vaughan Williams’s orchestral-choral work Sea Symphony, Morford writes that “the orchestra maintained its mastery of the score without wilting through the 72 minutes of the work.… The PV Chorus was joined by the Hampshire Choral Society, so that there were 150 voices … who sang, with admirable diction and flexibility, the hour-long selection from Walt Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass.’ ” The PVSO is a community orchestra based in western Massachusetts whose musicians are drawn from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont; the orchestra performs six concerts a season.

Posted May 22, 2014