Longmont Symphony 2018–19: ‘Musical Journeys,’ Beethoven cycle

Season will include Colorado premieres and two chamber orchestra concerts

By Peter Alexander May 18 at 12:40 a.m.

The Longmont Symphony Orchestra, going into its second season with new conductor Elliot Moore, is aiming high.

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Elliot Moore and the Longmont Symphony Orchestra

Moore’s first season was both financially and artistically successful. Building on that, the LSO has added a second chamber orchestra concert featuring classical-era repertoire at the Stewart Auditorium, and has included ambitious repertoire through the season (see the full listing below).

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Elliot Moore (Digital Lane photography)

“Our audience is telling us that they want more,” Moore says. “The players have proven that they are capable of playing some really fantastic pieces that are very challenging, and doing it at a very high level. We’ve certainly seen that this year.”

The theme of “musical journeys” can be interpreted in more than one way for the coming season. For example, there are a number of pieces that are inspired by or reflect specific places or scenes, including Debussy’s evocation of the sea in La Mer, Smetana’s depiction of a voyage down Bohemia’s Vltava river in The Moldau, and Samuel Barber’s nostalgic recollection of lazy summer nights in Knoxville: Summer of 1915.

But Moore is thinking in broader terms, too. The season’s second main series concert (Nov. 10) celebrates Longmont’s sister city Chino, Japan, by featuring pianist Taka Kigawa—a Juilliard-trained pianist from Chino—as soloist. The same program also celebrates the journey of musical influences across cultures: Kigawa will play Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, which was influenced by American jazz; the orchestra will play the Colorado premiere of How to Relax with Origami by Boulder-based composer Conor Abbott Brown, a piece obviously reflecting on Japanese culture; and the concert will conclude with La Mer, which was partly inspired by a famous woodcut by Japanese artist Hokusai that Debussy owned.

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Christie Conover

There are journeys around America on the season as well. The third concert (Feb. 23, 2019) includes Copland’s familiar music from Rodeo and Libby Larsen’s Cowboy Songs, along with Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and the Colorado premiere of Robert Kurka’s Symphony No. 2. Soprano Christie Conover will be the soloist.

The first concert of the season will be a tribute to Leonard Bernstein—celebrating the 100thanniversary of his birth—including  a performance of his Chichester Psalms with the Longmont Chorale and boy soprano Wade Hetrick. Composers that Bernstein particularly championed will fill out the program with Shostakovich’s Festive Overture and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1.

It turns out that the LSO has already embarked on a musical journey. Their “Museum Concert” in the Stewart Auditorium this past April included Beethoven’s First Symphony. Moore has now announced that was the beginning of a cycle of all nine Beethoven symphonies, to be completed over a 4- or 5-year span. The second of the coming season’s Museum Concerts, April 14, 2019, will add the Second Symphony to the cycle.

Both the Beethoven cycle and the expansion of the chamber orchestra series at the Stewart Auditorium are important parts of Moore’s vision for the orchestra. For 2018–19 there will be two Museum Concerts—Oct. 21 with music of Haydn, Mozart and Richard Danielpour; and April 14, 2019, with music of Beethoven and Shostakovich—and for the following year, three.

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Stewart Auditorium. Photo by Peter Alexander.

“Making sure that we have time to delve into the performance of the classical style” with the chamber orchestra is a part of Moore’s vision, he says. “The orchestra really responded well to learning about that style [this past year], and that will serve us well as we go forward.”

Moore acknowledges that he has not shied away from programming difficult music. “There are certainly aspects that are challenging in this season, but I don’t think it’s that much more challenging,” he says. “They are all programs that the orchestra will sound really great on, that they are able to shine.”

Mahler’s First Symphony and La Mer are two works that give the orchestra the opportunity to shine, but the greatest challenge will come with the last of the main series concerts (April 6, 2019), when Moore has programmed The Moldau, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with soloist Sharon Roffman, and notably, Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra.

“I’m excited that as our final masterwork we have a work that features all the wind soloists as well as different sections throughout the entire orchestra, and shows the strength of our Longmont Symphony musicians,” Moore says.

In addition to the four main series concerts of orchestra masterworks and the two Museum Concerts, the season will include a Pops Concert, a Family Concert, the usual Nutcracker performances with Boulder Ballet, and the Candelight Concert of holiday music (see all dates below).

Six‐concert subscription packages go on sale on Monday, May 21. Call 303‐772‐5796, 10 a.m.­ to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, or 9 a.m.to 3 p.m. Fridays. The office is closed on Wednesdays.

Series package buyers receive 20% off single ticket prices. Single tickets for Main Series concerts are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and active military, $5 for students age 12–18 ($10 for the pops concert), and free for age 11 and under. Single tickets go on sale on Monday, Aug. 27 via phone and here.

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LONGMONT SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
201819 SEASON
MUSICAL JOURNEYS

CONCERT IN THE PARK

Longmont Youth Symphony, Longmont chorale, Longmont Symphony
11:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Thompson Park, 420 Bross Street, Longmont
Free and open to the public

MAIN SERIES CONCERTS
All concerts in Vance Brand Auditorium at Skyline High School,
600 East Mountain View Ave., Longmont
Elliot Moore, conductor

Opening Night: Happy Birthday, Lenny!
Longmont Chorale, with Wade Hartrick, boy soprano|
Shostakovich: Festive Overture
Bernstein: Chichester Psalms
Mahler: Symphony No. 1, “Titan”
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6

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Taka Kigawa. Ruby Washington/The New York Times

A Cultural Affair
With Taka Kigawa, piano
Conor Abbott Brown: How to Relax with Origami (Colorado Premiere)
Ravel: Piano Concerto in G Major
Debussy: La Mer
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10 

Sounds of America
With Christie Conover, soprano
Robert Kurka: Symphony No. 2 (Colorado Premiere)
Samuel Barber: Knoxville: Summer of 1915
Libby Larsen: Cowboy Songs
Copland: Rodeo
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23

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Sharon Roffman

Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
With Sharon Roffman, violin
Smetana: The Moldau
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra
7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6

Pops Concert: The LSO in Space!
Celebrating 60+ years of spaceflight in the auditorium named after astronaut Vance Brand, including film music from Star Wars and E.T. as well as Holst’s The Planets and Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra.
7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 11 

MUSEUM CONCERTS
Stewart Auditorium, Longmont Museum
Elliot Moore, conductor

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Alice Yoo

Haydn & Mozart
Longmont Symphony Chamber Orchestra
With Alice Yoo, cello
Richard Danielpour: Lacrimae Beati
Haydn: Cello Concerto No. 1
Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C major, K551 (“Jupiter”)
4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21

Beethoven Cycle
Longmont Symphony Chamber Orchestra
Beethoven: Overture to Egmont
Shostakovich: Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a
Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 in D major, op. 36
4 p.m. Sunday, April 14 

HOLIDAY EVENTS

The Nutcracker with the Boulder Ballet
Elliot Moore, conductor
4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium, Longmont 

Candlelight Concert
Longmont Symphony Chamber Orchestra with the Longmont Chorale Singers
Elliot Moore, conductor
Schubert: Mass in G Major
Carols from around the world
4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16
Westview Presbyterian Church, Longmont

FAMILY MATINEE CONCERT

Elliot Moore, conductor
With the Longmont Youth Symphony
Young Artist Competition Winner, TBA
Erik Kroncke, bass‐baritone
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 (Finale)
Michael Close: A Child’s Book of Animals (World Premiere)
4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium

For more information and tickets, click here.

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Jazz sextet, tap dancer, vocalist and choir? It must be Ellington!

Boulder Chorale will present Ellington’s ‘Sacred Concerts’ May 19–20

By Peter Alexander May 17 at 10:15 p.m.

Duke Ellington, jazz legend, pianist and band leader, spent the last decade of his life creating and presenting “sacred concerts.” Described by one critic as “bringing the Cotton Club to church,” Ellington considered them “the most important thing I have ever done.”

© Glenn Ross | www.glennrossphoto.com

Vicki Burrichter, conductor of the Boulder Chorale

Now conductor Vicki Burrichter and the Boulder Chorale are bringing the Ellington Sacred Concerts to Boulder. Joining Burrichter and the Chorale will be vocalist Joslyn Ford-Keel and tap dancer — a performer specified in the score — David Sharp.

Burrichter lists several reasons to perform the Sacred Concerts. “First of all, I love Ellington,” she says. “I think he was the greatest genius of jazz, as a composer certainly. And I always look for jazz masterworks for chorus. There aren’t that many of them, so when I find something by a composer as elevated by Ellington. It needs to be shared in the community.”

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

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Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts
Boulder Chorale, Vicki Burrichter, director
With Joslyn Ford-Keel, vocalist, and David Sharp, tap dancer

7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 19
4 p.m. Sunday, May 20
First United Methodist Church, 1421 Spruce St., Boulder

Tickets

Bahman Saless is in a party mood for season-ending concert

Boulder Chamber Orchestra plays music by Haydn and Mozart, May 19–20

By Peter Alexander May 16 at 10:15 a.m.

It’s the end of the concert season, and Bahman Saless, conductor of the Boulder Chamber Orchestra, has his mind on parties.

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Boulder Chamber Orchestra and Bahman Saless are in a party mood.

The group’s final concert of the 2017–18 season, to be presented Saturday and Sunday (May 19–20) in Lone Tree and Boulder, features two symphonies where he hears party music: Haydn’s Symphony No. 95 in C minor and Mozart’s Symphony in C major K 425 (“Linz”). The program, titled “Papa Haydn and Wolfgang,” also includes Haydn’s Sinfonia Concertante in B-flat major for violin, cello, oboe, bassoon and orchestra.

It was the last of those, the Sinfonia Concertante, that inspired Saless for this program. He had conducted it 12 years ago, in one of the BCO’s early seasons, but had not thought about it since then. “I hadn’t listened to it for a while, and I heard it on the radio,” he says.

“I thought, ‘Oh my god, we’ve got to do this’! It’s such a great piece, one of his most refined pieces, and it’s a wonderful piece with an orchestra with good soloists.”

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Kaori Uno-Jack

The four solo players are all section leaders in the BCO: violinist and concertmaster Annamaria Karacson, principal cellist Joseph Howe, principal oboist Max Soto, and co-principal bassoonist Kaori Uno-Jack. The first three have had several solos with the orchestra in the past, so Saless is particularly happy to feature Uno-Jack this time.

“One of the hidden gems in the orchestra is our bassoon section,” he says. “They are just ridiculously good bassoonists, and this gives a chance to Kaori to really shine.”

The Sinfonia Concertante was written in 1791, during the first of Haydn’s two visits to London. To gain audience support for his commercial concerts, he often featured soloists who were local favorites, which is probably the reason that he wrote a piece with four solo parts. It’s a hybrid piece, partly in the style of the classical symphony and partly a throwback to the Baroque-era Concerto Grosso style that matched a small group against a larger group.

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Joseph Haydn

“It’s a symphony in the sense that the soloists also play the [orchestra] parts,” Saless explains. “So it’s a symphony, but every once in a while the principals play solos, so it’s a cross between a symphony and a concerto. But it’s not a virtuoso piece—it’s an ensemble concerto.”

Symphony No. 95 was written in 1792, during the same visit to London. It is the only one of the 12 London symphonies written in a minor key. Less popular than the others at the time, it has also been somewhat neglected since then. “It’s one of those gems that is not played very often,” Saless says.

“It’s more Beethoven-esque, especially the first movement. The next two movements are really fabulous. The second is a theme and variations, which introduces a solo cello, and the third movement is probably the most powerful movement of the symphony. The entire trio is solo cello, and it’s very cool.”

But it’s the finale where Saless hears a party breaking out. “It’s just a huge crazy orgy of different motives, all entering and leaving,” he says.

And after that, another party springs up in the Mozart Symphony, written in 1783 when Mozart was visiting friends in the Austrian city of Linz. “I’ve been to Linz, so I was trying to figure out, is there imagery that comes with it?” Saless says.

Linz in a party mood

Party time in downtown Linz

“The first movement is really cool, because it’s got this very regal introduction. It kind of starts slow and kind of curious, and then suddenly—it’s party time!

“Honestly, that’s how I saw Linz. First you cross a bridge and you enter the town. You’re kind of looking around, walking from block to block, and then suddenly when you get to the center, it really is a huge party town!”

Close study of the score doesn’t confirm that interpretation, but Saless is sticking with it. “That’s how I’m conducting it,” he says. But then he adds, with a laugh: “You should see the faces of my orchestra when I tell them crazy stuff like that.”

Crazy, but also an engaging way to think about a symphony and a town. “In fact,” Saless says, “a trip to Linz would be a great vacation after the season.”

If you want to find him next week, you know where to look.

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“Papa Haydn and Wolfgang”
Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Bahman Saless, conductor

Haydn: Sinfonia Concertante in B-flat major
Haydn: Symphony No. 95 in C minor
Mozart: Symphony No. 36 in C major, K425 (“Linz”)

7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 19, Lone Tree Arts Center
3 p.m. Sunday, May 20, Boulder Adventist Church

Tickets

Music by Mahler and Sibelius headline MahlerFest XXXI

Festival includes chamber and orchestra concerts with a focus on late works

By Peter Alexander May 11 at 2:10 p.m.

The 31stMahlerFest is all about late artistic transformations.

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Kenneth Woods with the MahlerFest orchestra (Photo courtesy of MahlerFest)

The 2018 festival begins Monday, May 14, and culminates Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20, with concerts in Macky Auditorium featuring one of Mahler’s major orchestral works, Das Lied von der Erde (The song of the earth). It will be paired with the Seventh Symphony of Jean Sibelius.

Both works represent a farewell in music: Sibelius because he did not write another symphony in the remaining 24 years of his life, and Mahler because Das Lied von der Erde ends with a movement titled “The Farewell.”

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Kenneth Woods (Photo by Christ Stock)

Beyond the orchestra concerts, the festival week includes other events, among them two chamber music concerts: a ticketed concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Dairy Center and a free concert at 2 p.m. Friday in the Academy Chapel. Other events open to the public include rehearsals, a scholarly symposium, and pre-concert lectures. (See the full schedule and list of performers here).

Kenneth Woods, the festival artistic director,says that the expansion of MahlerFest is a result of Mahler’s increasing popularity. “At first, MahlerFest may have been the only place in the Rocky Mountain region where a Mahler symphony was being done,” he says. “Now it’s not the rarity it once was. It’s nice to expand that wheel outward to other composers.”

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

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MahlerFest XXXI

Chamber Concert I
Daniel Silver, clarinet, and festival artists
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 16
Dairy Center for the Arts

Chamber Concert II
Karen Bentley Pollick, violin; Parry Karp, cello; and Jennifer Hayghe, piano
2 p.m. Friday, May 18
The Academy Chapel (FREE)

Orchestra Concert
Sibelius: Symphony No. 7
Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde
MahlerFest Orchestra, Kenneth Woods, conductor
Stacey Rishoi, mezzo-soprano, and Brennen Guillory, tenor

7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 19 and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 20
Macky Auditorium

Full schedule and tickets here.

Seicento appoints Amanda Balestrieri artistic director

A frequent soloist with Seicento, Balestrieri served as assistant director for the past year

By Peter Alexander May 7 at 1:40 p.m.

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Amanda Balestrieri. Photo courtesy of Seicento Baroque Ensemble

Seicento Baroque Ensemble has appointed Amanda Balestrieri as artistic director for the coming season.

No official announcement has been released, but the news appeared in the form of “A Note from our Artistic Director” on Seicento’s Web page that was signed by Balestrieri.

A soprano who is known for her skill performing early music, Balestrieri succeeds Kevin T. Padworksi, who was appointed director one year ago. Balestrieri has been a frequent soloist with Seicento, and has served as the group’s assistant director for the past year. She will be the group’s third artistic director.

Nancy Lillie, president of Seicento’s Board of Directors, said via email that Padworksi “resigned because unforeseen personal obligations arose and he needed to free up time to attend to them. The Seicento board understood his dilemma and we had an amicable parting.”

Balestrieri is currently out of the country and unavailable for comment. She wrote on the Seicento Web page, “I am delighted to accept the role of artistic director for Seicento Baroque Ensemble and an looking forward to a fabulous eighth season.”

In the same message, Balestrieri announced the topics for two concerts next season: “Baroque Pairings: Voices and Violins” in November and “In Your Court: A Royal Tour” in March. Both programs will be performed in Denver, Boulder and Longmont.

A native of England, Balestrieri received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in modern languages from Oxford University and studied voice in London and Milan. She sang with the Academy Chorus of St. Martin in the Fields under Sir Neville Marriner and was a soloist in contemporary music with James Wood’s New London Chamber Choir. After moving to the U.S., Balestrieri appeared with the National Symphony under Leonard Slatkin and Sir Christopher Hogwood. She has also performed with the American Bach Soloists, Smithsonian Chamber Players, Washington Bach Consort, and the New York Collegium.

She has appeared with the Colorado Symphony and most of the early music organizations in Colorado. She is currently affiliate professor of voice at Regis University in Denver, where she has directed the Regis University Collegium Musicum.

Seicento was founded by Evanne Browne, who remains with the organization as artistic director emeritus. She returned to Boulder in March to conduct a program titled “Mad Madrigals.”

CU Presents Update: Eklund Opera will present ‘West Side Story’ Oct. 26–28

By Peter Alexander May 1 at 5:40 p.m.

When first announced as part of the coming 2018–19 CU Presents season, Eklund Opera’s major fall production was listed somewhat mysteriously as Title TBA, music by Leonard Bernstein.

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Art by Janalee Robison for CU Presents

In case you haven’t guessed, the title, which can NBA (now be announced), is West Side Story. As noted previously, contractual arrangements did not allow for the title to be revealed until May 1.

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Leonard Bernstein

The production will be part of the year-long, globe-spanning celebration of of the 100th anniversary of Bernstein’s birth. Boulder has already seen a sold-out concert performance of West Side Story presented by the Boulder Philharmonic and Central City Opera (April 28).

Later this month the Colorado Symphony will present music by Bernstein paired with one of his favorite composers, Gustav Mahler (May 25–27),  and several Bernstein works will be featured as part of this summer’s Colorado Music Festival. It is not difficult to find other Bernstein tributes at summer festivals around the country, including Bravo! Vail and the Aspen Music Festival.

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Scene from the original 1957 production of ‘West Side Story’ with Jerome Robbins’ landmark choreography

When it first appeared in 1957, West Side Story was truly genre-changing for Broadway. A New York-based updating of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the show did not shy away from  serious social issues or a tragic ending. Its book, lyrics, music and dance were conceived not as separate pieces but as a unified work of art, which therefore required a cast equally skilled as actors, dancers and singers. Bernstein’s music was unusually complex and difficult for both players and singers, and Jerome Robbins’ choreography set a new standard for singer-dancers.

With the combined team of Bernstein, Robbins and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, West Side Story is certainly one of the most influential musicals in the history of Broadway. It has also become one of the most loved Broadway shows in history, revived by theaters and opera companies world wide. And be warned: it often sells out.

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West Side Story
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Book by Arthur Laurents; lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Based on a concept by Jerome Robbins
7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, and Saturday, Oct. 27
2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28
Macky Auditorium

Subscription tickets 2018–19 CU Presents performances, including West Side Story and other Eklund Opera performances, are available here.

Tickets to individual performances will be available starting Aug. 20.
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Edited 5/1 to replace generic West Side Story poster image with art created for CU Presents by Janalee Robison.