04/22/2021

Fox Valley Symphony returns for first in-person rehearsals in over a year

Media View

Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra musicians rehearse at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Appleton, Wisconsin.

“Members of the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra walked into St. Bernard Catholic Church with instrument cases in their hands or slung over their shoulders,” writes Nathan Phelps in Wednesday’s (4/21) Spectrum News 1 (Wisconsin). “It had been more than 14 months since they last played together—and in some cases seen one another—and excitement was running high…. The rehearsal came on the same week the organization [announced] its 2021-22 season schedule of four concerts between November and April. For Principal Cellist Laura Kenney Henckel, the return … is an emotional experience. ‘I’m probably going to cry. I love this music.’ … Music Director Kevin Sütterlin said the upcoming season will reflect what the world has endured in the last year… ‘It’s a celebration of science, of people’s resilience, a celebration of the amazing people in our community,’ he said. ‘Frontline workers who have really worked so hard … over the last year and a half.’ [Concertmaster Yuliya] Smead said she’s looking forward to performing … and giving something back, alongside the rest of the symphony orchestra. ‘Being a musician is about playing together, and that’s been cut out of our lives for the past year and a half,’ she said.”

April 22, 2021

Spring awakening: Allentown Symphony adds chamber, jazz, and outdoor performances

Media View

“Slowly but surely, the Allentown Symphony Orchestra is coming out of a purely virtual world,” writes Steve Siegel in Wednesday’s (4/21) Morning Call (Allentown, PA). “The spring season will bring live jazz programs, an orchestral concert series recorded live from the Symphony Hall stage, the debut of a New Music Chamber Series, and a new live music series featuring ASO musicians available to perform outdoor programs by request…. The ASO’s upcoming 2021/2022 season [will] be announced by early May…. ‘For now, we’re being cautious by first bringing back a chamber-sized orchestra onstage,’ … Allentown Symphony Association executive director Al Jacobsen states. [This spring] ASO music director and conductor Diane Wittry will return to the podium to lead the Allentown Symphony Orchestra in three new concerts. Each program, recorded live from the stage, will feature a premiere…. The first concert [on] May 1 [will feature] Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 and ASO principal trumpet Omri Barak in J.B.G. Neruda’s ‘Corno da Caccia Concerto in E-flat major.’ Also on the program is Louise Farrenc’s Overture No. 2 in E-Flat Major [orchestrated] by Wittry…. The May 29 program … features [‘In Passing,’] a work by Chris Rogerson, ASO’s first Composer in Residence.”

April 22, 2021

Chicago Symphony taps Montgomery for three-year composer residency

Media View

“The Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday announced the appointment of Jessie Montgomery as the next Mead Composer-in-Residence,” writes Miriam Di Nunzio in Tuesday’s (4/20) Chicago Sun-Times. “Appointed by CSO music director Riccardo Muti, Montgomery will begin her three-year post on July 1…. In her new role, Montgomery will receive commissions to write three new orchestral works for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra … and curate the CSO’s MusicNow contemporary music series, which will feature the Chicago premieres of some of her existing works. A series of newly commissioned chamber pieces will premiere in the final two seasons of her tenure…. Montgomery’s commissioned works have been presented by the Albany Symphony, the American Music Festival, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Joyce Foundation, the National Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Young People’s Chorus of New York, among others. On May 20, Montgomery will join current Mead Composer-in-Residence, Missy Mazzoli, in the livestreamed ‘From the Composer’s Studio,’ an in-depth conversation about ‘what it means to be a composer working with symphony orchestras in 2021.’ A Q&A will follow the 6 p.m. presentation, which is free and open to the public https://cso-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_p-ZnYEfYSoCe6ynSFS4FWQ.”

April 22, 2021

Susan Beaudry to step down as Springfield Symphony’s executive director

Media View

“Springfield Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Susan Beaudry is leaving the SSO effective Friday,” writes Ray Kelly in Wednesday’s (4/21) Republican (Springfield, MA). “John Anz, currently development director, will step in as interim executive director, according to SSO Board President Robyn Newhouse…. ‘Susan has made valuable contributions during her six years leading the symphony, first as development director and then as executive director. She is a strong leader and will be sorely missed,’ Newhouse said in a statement on Wednesday. No time frame has been finalized on the selection of a new director, Newhouse said. Strategic planning and the hiring of a new director is tied to when the SSO resumes live concerts.… The full SSO has not performed at Symphony Hall since March 2020 because of the pandemic. Like many arts organizations, the SSO has been forced to furlough staff and provide assistance for out-of-work musicians.… Anz joined the SSO as Development Director in 2019 and has a 20-year career in development…. ‘These are challenging and exciting times for live music and symphony orchestras everywhere. So, it is both an honor and privilege to be asked to serve the SSO in this capacity at this moment,’ Anz said.”

April 22, 2021

Met Orchestra musicians to honor colleagues lost in the past year with virtual concert

Media View

“On April 25, revered mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade will host and perform in ‘Songs without Words,’ a [streamed] chamber music concert honoring five members of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra who died during the pandemic,” writes Sarah Shay in Wednesday’s (4/21) Musical America (subscription required). “The concert … sponsored by MET Orchestra alumni to raise money to benefit their colleagues … features works chosen specifically to evoke the five musicians being remembered…. Works for viola by Mozart and Purcell will honor Vincent Lionti, a MET Orchestra violist … who died from Covid-19 on April 4, 2020. Mendelssohn’s Song without Words will recall Joel Revzen, an assistant conductor and member of the Met music staff since 1999, who succumbed to Covid-19 on May 25, 2020…. The Adagio from Brahms’s Clarinet Trio will mark the passing of two veteran clarinetists, both of whom died on Aug. 11, 2020. Jim Ognibene was the principal bass clarinetist since 1986, and Joseph Rabbai was principal clarinetist for 23 years until his retirement in 2003. Dvořák’s complete Terzetto in C Major, Op. 74 will serve as a tribute to associate violinist Patmore Lewis, who was affiliated with the Met since 1977 and died of cancer on November 6, 2020.”

April 22, 2021

Classical music podcasts on the rise

Media View

“Classical music has been surprisingly slow to embrace podcasting, a medium ideally suited to illuminate its sounds and stories,” writes Joshua Barone in Wednesday’s (4/21) New York Times. “But … with live performances on hold because of the pandemic and the music industry belatedly exploring new platforms… classical and opera podcasts have begun to flourish…. ‘Aria Code,’ hosted by the cross-genre luminary Rhiannon Giddens, has found new depths of poetry and resonance, and the conductor Joshua Weilerstein’s ‘Sticky Notes’ is experimenting with approaches to score analysis…. The Cleveland Orchestra’s ‘On a Personal Note’ … debuted last April with Franz Welser-Möst wistfully reflecting on the ensemble’s final gathering before the pandemic closed its hall…. ‘Mission: Commission,’ presented by the Miller Theater at Columbia University … follows three composers over the course of six weeks as they create short pieces that will premiere on the finale, May 18…. ‘Trilloquy’ has always cast an eye on classical music that’s both critical and caring. But its mission was freshly urgent as the field was forced by the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement to face its failings in racial representation.” Read Symphony magazine’s Winter 2020 article about classical-music podcasts here.

April 22, 2021

Western Piedmont Symphony returns in person with April 24 and May 15 concerts

Industry Buzz

On April 24, North Carolina’s Western Piedmont Symphony will perform for a small in-person audience at the Drendel Auditorium in Hickory, NC and via livestream. The “Concert for the Community” will feature collaborations with six local organizations: Women’s Resource Center, Catawba Science Center, Hickory Public Library, Footcandle Film Society, Greater Hickory International Council, and Hickory Ballet and Performing Arts. Repertoire will include Adrienne Albert’s Interiors, Cindy McTee’s Einstein’s Dream, Claude Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Bernard Hermann’s Fahrenheit 451 Suite, and Béla Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances. The six local organizations will be featured in pre-recorded videos prior to the performance of each piece of music. In addition, the orchestra has announced a “comeback concert” at P.E. Monroe Auditorium at Lenoir-Rhyne University on May 15, featuring the Overture to Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Joseph Bologne’s Violin Concerto in C Major Op. 5, No. 1, with soloist Kelly Hall-Tompkins, and Haydn’s Symphony No. 82 (“The Bear”), led by Music Director Matthew Troy.

April 22, 2021

04/22/2021