Pennsylvania’s Johnstown Symphony heads into first season with new music director

Posted on: October 13, 2016

“There is nothing quite like the excitement of opening night at the symphony, and this year will be especially exciting, with this concert marking the beginning of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra’s new era,” writes conductor James Blachly in Monday’s (10/10) Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, PA). Blachly is in his first season as the orchestra’s music director. “The program is called ‘A New Beginning’ … in part because Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony [which is on the program] marked a new beginning in his artistic career.… Shostakovich was threatened with his own death unless he composed a piece that was satisfactory to his Soviet-regime critics. The 5th Symphony was that response. And it was a huge success…. But the question we ask when we perform the piece, and when we listen to it, is ‘What does this music really mean?’ … The more I study and perform the piece, the more I find it to speak directly to the human condition. Hopes, fears, loss, triumph—it’s all in the music…. The other question to ask about this symphony is ‘What does this music mean to me?’ Everyone will hear it in a slightly different way, and that is the magic of this art form.’ ”

Posted October 13, 2016