Oct 10, 2013
03:12 PMArts & Entertainment
Hartford Symphony Opens 70th Season Friday; Also Pops!, Music & Art, Even the UConn Drumline
The Hartford Symphony Orchestra opens its 70th anniversary season Friday night with a concert that will be bookended by different aspects of a festive food-and-drinks-oriented celebration and features Saint-Saëns’ “Organ Symphony,” Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Pipa with guest artist Wu Man, and Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, with the Connecticut Youth Symphony onstage with the HSO. The performance will be repeated Saturday night.
“The 70th Opening Night concerts celebrate the Hartford Symphony’s dedication to artistic excellence, community engagement and creating harmony in Hartford,” HSO President & CEO Carrie Hammond said about performances that will be led by HSO music director Carolyn Kuan. “From cultural ambassador Wu Man to our celebration of the city’s long-running history of organ building through the Austin Organ Company, to sharing our stage with the best young talent from The Hartt School Community Division, these performances are not to be missed.”
While the HSO’s Masterworks Series will roll out flagship performances through next June—including the return next March of Michael Lankester, the HSO music director from 1985 to 2000, as guest conductor for Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3—also not to be missed are the other harmonious and rewarding ways in which to connect with Connecticut’s premier symphony orchestra.
"This weekend's concerts are just the beginning of a 70th anniversary season full of dynamic and innovative programming,” Hammond said. “From Fantasia in Concert to A Midsummer Night's Dream with The Hartford Stage to a Picasso-Inspired program at the Wadsworth Atheneum Mueseum of Art to Bolero! with the UConn Drumline ... this is a season for the whole family to experience the Hartford Symphony."
One of the most accessible ways to connect is the Pops! Series, which takes on Disney’s Fantasia Oct. 26, with Kuan conducting live music choreographed to movie clips from Disney’s Fantasia and Fantasia 2000. Tickets for children are just $10.
On Dec. 21, the Pops! Series offers the Holiday Cirque Spectacular, at which guests will hear seasonal favorites “while experiencing an awe-inspiring performance as the circus meets the symphony … . Stunning aerial feats, strongmen, mind-boggling contortionists and juggling acts will take your breath away as the HSO gets you into the magic and the spirit of the season with the ultimate holiday extravaganza!”
There’s also Symphonic Sondheim—A Tribute to the Composer’s Classics on Nov. 23. Pops! Series range in price from $20-$67.50.
Another terrific option, especially for art lovers, is the Sunday Serenades Series, “presented in collaboration with the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art’s special exhibitions and permanent collections. Concerts take place in the museum galleries and feature Concertmaster Leonid Sigal and Hartford Symphony Orchestra musicians.” A release from the HSO highlights the Picasso & Prokofiev concert Jan. 26, but closer on the horizon is Tapestries and Corelli Oct. 20, presenting sonatas by Arcangello Corelli, a sonata by Vivaldi and Psyche by Michele Mascitti, among other works. Sunday Serenades Series tickets are $30 ($25 for HSO Subscribers and Atheneum Members). Ticket price includes general admission to the Wadsworth Atheneum on the days of the concerts.
There are also Discovery Concerts for young students, like the one Nov. 20 entitled The Musical Stories of Shakespeare and Seuss, and Chamber Orchestra events for secondary students, such as The Sounds of Latin America on Oct. 23.
And in addition to the opening night celebration, which also serves to wrap up Bachtoberfest, special events include the HSO and Hartford Chorale coming together Dec. 7 to perform Handel’s Messiah, a holiday classic that including the Hallelujah Chorus.
Amid all of that, the premier programming begins with the HSO “rolling out the red carpet for the 70th Anniversary Opening Night on Friday and Saturday, October 11 and 12, 2013 at 8 p.m. in Mortensen Hall at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts,” and continues with the Masterworks Series.
The HSO is excited about guest artists Wu Man, the Connecticut Youth Symphony (CYS) and organist Edward Clark.
Recognized as the world’s premier pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music, according to the HSO release, Grammy Award-nominated musician Wu Man has carved out a career as a composer, soloist, and educator giving her lute-like instrument – which has a history of over 2,000 years in China – a new role in both traditional and contemporary music. Through numerous trips to her native China, Wu Man has premiered hundreds of new works for the pipa, while spearheading multimedia projects to both preserve and create awareness of China’s ancient musical traditions, the release said. In December, 2012 Wu Man was named Musical America’s 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year.
The CYS has provided students an opportunity to study orchestral music intensively with like-minded musicians for almost 75 years, the release said. The Hartt School Training Orchestra was founded in 1938 by Rubin Segal and held its first concert in May 1939. The premier youth orchestra of The Hartt School Community Division provides advanced, motivated musicians the opportunity to perform major symphonic masterworks, concerti, and contemporary works with students of similar ages and abilities. The ensemble is currently under the direction of Daniel D’Addio and assistant conductor Mickey Reisman.
Clark has performed regularly with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra since 1984, playing organ and harpsichord both as soloist and orchestra member, the release said. He has been Minister of Music at the historic First Church of Christ, Congregational in Farmington since 1965, and for over 20 years he was a member of the organ and harpsichord faculty at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford.
As part of the 70th anniversary season opener, the HSO will host a special opening night celebration before the Oct. 11 concert, including cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and food stations, while a dessert reception with Carolyn Kuan and the guest artists will conclude the evening following the concert. As of Thursday, the event was sold out. (Tickets were $170 per person for subscribers and $225 for non-subscribers, which include preferred concert seating.)
Tickets to the concert itself remain available for both the Friday and Saturday performances, and range in price from $35.50-$70.50. Student tickets are $10. On Saturday, Oct. 12, $25 tickets are available for patrons age 40 and under—and a limited number of $25 tickets are available for patrons age 40 and under for all of the Masterworks and Pops! Series’ Saturday performances.
The Masterworks Series continues Nov. 7 through 10 with Beethoven & Bernstein, with Carolyn Kuan conducting. “Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony is paired with Piazzolla’s tango-inspired Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, featuring violinist Peter Winograd, son of HSO’s esteemed former music director Arthur Winograd,” the HSO says. “Plus, hear the ballet score Fancy Free – the first work in the HSO’s season-long tribute to composer Leonard Bernstein.
Another Masterworks performance that’s especially compelling for Connecticut residents is Greensleeves & Sirena, being presented Dec. 12 to 15. Greensleeves refers to Vaughan Williams’ wonderful Fantasia on Greensleeves—joined on the bill by Sibelius’ Concerto for Violin in D minor and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3, “Polish”—and Sirena refers to Connecticut’s own violin sensation Sirena Huang, who returns with guest conductor Joel Smirnoff. Sirena’s appearance is sponsored by Renbrook School and Loomis Chaffee.
And that’s just a fractional look at all the HSO has to offer in its 70th anniversary season. See the website for more performances and all the necessary details for connecting.
The Hartford Symphony Orchestra receives major support from the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. The 2013-2014 Masterworks Series is sponsored by MetLife Foundation and The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, with additional concert support from Hartford Hospital, the Katharine K. McLane and Henry R. McLane Charitable Trust, Legrand, The Cly-Del Manufacturing Company, Fuss & O’Neill and The Saunders Fund for Innovative Programming. The HSO 2013-2014 Pops! Series is presented by United Technologies Corporation, with additional concert support from Hartford Hospital, Prudential Retirement, and The Richard P. Garmany Fund at Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. The 2013-2014 Sunday Serenades Series is sponsored in part by the Saunders Charitable Foundation Music Endowment at the Wadsworth Atheneum.
The 70th Anniversary Opening Night! is made possible with support from Concert Benefactor Hartford Hospital. The Special Event on October 11 is sponsored by CL&P, Federman Lally & Remis, United Technologies Corporation, Accenture, TD Bank, Seabury and Pullman & Comley LLC. The 2013-2014 Masterworks Series is sponsored by MetLife Foundation and The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, with additional concert support from Cly-Del Manufacturing Company, Fuss & O’Neill, Hartford Hospital, the Katharine K. McLane and Henry R. McLane Charitable Trust, LeGrand, Renbrook School and Loomis Chaffee School, Ron and Nancy Compton, and The Saunders Fund. Generous support for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra is provided by the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and with support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
Hartford Symphony Opens 70th Season Friday; Also Pops!, Music & Art, Even the UConn Drumline