Review: Vermont Symphony’s composer-curated Jukebox program, from Mozart to Berio and beyond

Posted on: January 24, 2020

“Whether Jukebox is attracting new audiences for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra is yet to be decided. But that it introduces fine performances of new and unexpected music in a delicious package was a sure thing Friday at Merchants Hall in Rutland,” writes Jim Lowe in Sunday’s (1/19) Rutland Herald (Vermont). “A capacity crowd—including a bunch of teens—seemed enthralled with the spicy potpourri performed by the Arka Quartet [all longtime VSO members] and guest soloist, soprano Mary Bonhag. The 90-minute program opened traditionally enough with some exquisite Mozart…. From then on, it was off to the unknown—six short works [including] Jessie Montgomery’s setting of ‘I Want to Go Home,’ which accentuated the spiritual with a rich string accompaniment…. Jukebox, now in its fourth season [is] emceed … by Burlington composer Matt LaRocca who … creates the programs.… Perhaps the most intriguing—and fun—piece on the program was ‘Sequenza III’ for solo voice by 20th century Italian composer Luciano Berio [in which] Bonham created a broad palette of sounds and words with her voice … The [Arka Quartet] delivered ‘Daughters of Sol’ … by Iranian composer Aftab Darvishi … perhaps the most hauntingly beautiful music on the program.”