October 2017

TheBurg News - Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 55 of 67

56 | theburg | 10.17 T he 2017-18 Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra season is upon us, which got me to wondering—how exactly are the pieces chosen for a particular concert? "It's a multistep process with several criteria," explained HSO Maestro Stuart Malina. "It's what I want to play, what the orchestra wants to play. What does the audience want to hear, and what do I think they should hear?" ough he's the "final arbiter," Malina meets with Jeff Woodruff, the symphony's executive director, other staff members, and the board's advisory committee to make decisions. ere are other criteria. If the piece is a "core part" of HSO's repertoire, Malina may consider how long it's been since the orchestra played it. Financial concerns come into play, too, such as how many players will be required for a piece. Masterworks concerts may balance large and small pieces. Plus, each concert is likely to include a familiar piece, one that is less so, and one that may be new or fairly new to many members of the audience. Sometimes, a decision may lie between the fame of a certain piece and its quality. "When push comes to shove, there are reasons not to play Dvorak's 'New World Symphony' because of familiarity," said Malina. "But it's really great music. And the beauty of live music is that every time you play it, it's different. It feels fresh and exciting." is month, the opening Masterworks concert of the new season combines the Mahler Symphony No. 1 with the Brahms Violin Concerto, played by soloist Rachel Barton Pine. "e Mahler is a challenging and gripping piece," said Malina. "ere's a large amount of sound." e next concert, in November, includes something very familiar and "delightful"—Bizet's Symphony in C, which hasn't been done since Malina joined the orchestra 20 years ago. e less-familiar piece on the program is Prokofiev's "Sinfonietta." In between, perhaps, is Beethoven's Triple Concerto, to be played by the orchestra, and the Mendelssohn Piano Trio with HSO concertmaster Peter Sirotin, principal cellist Fiona ompson and pianist Ya-Ting Chang. e publicly unknown piece in the January concert is a "brand-new" one: Jeremy Gill's "Ainulindalë" (based on the work of author J. R. R. Tolkein). "Gill is from the area," Malina said. "He was an assistant conductor for us, and we've performed a great deal of his music." In contrast, the concert will also include "the high-classical music" of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 5, as well as Dvorak's "very dance-like" symphony No. 7, which some consider his greatest symphony," he added. In April, HSO will celebrate the centennial of the birth of composer/conductor/ music educator Leonard Bernstein, with selections from his musical, "On the Town" (perhaps less known but definitely cheerier than his masterpiece, "West Side Story") and his choral work, "Chichester Psalms." e second half of the program will consist of Ernest Bloch's "Sacred Service." e Susquehanna Chorale, Messiah College Concert Choir and Choral Arts Society will participate. "Based on Jewish liturgical music, this was a piece championed by Bernstein," Malina said. "It's the most compelling choral music. It will be sung in Hebrew, with supertitles." e orchestra seeks input from audiences in three categories. "We ask them how they felt about the pieces," Malina said candidly. "Either, they really loved it, or like it but don't care if I don't do it again, or hate it." e first of the Pops Series concerts, taking place in October, recalls the historic event 50 years ago when the Beatles released their "Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band" album. Accompanied by the full orchestra, Classical Mystery Tour will perform all the music from that album, as well as other Beatles favorites. e January Pops concert will be a tribute to Jerry Herman, the Broadway composer/lyricist of such hits as "Milk and Honey," "Mame" and "La Cage Aux Folles." "It's a good time for a Jerry Herman tribute, with the wildly successful revival of 'Hello Dolly' (for which Bette Midler won a Tony) on Broadway now," said Malina. e final Pops concert of the season features Dee Daniels. She'll be singing hits and timeless standards performed and recorded by such swing legends as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. HSO also will present two pairs of Young Person's Concerts, one in the fall and one in the spring. ey're designed for students in grades 3 to 8 who come to the Forum—home of the symphony—from all over the capital region and beyond. Malina hosts these 45-minute concerts, which feature excerpts from the upcoming weekend's Masterworks program. An estimated 7,000 students experience a Young Person's Concert each season. Classical, pops, youth—as the leaves begin to fall this month, the music only rises. e Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra's 2017-18 season begins Oct. 7 to 8 with works by Brahms and Mahler. For all the details on the season, visit Photo by Carl Socolow Photography. TaP, TaP, TaP e baton is raised on the new HSO season. bY bArbArA trAiNiN bLANK

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of TheBurg - October 2017