WSO Season Finale...
Woodstock and Beyond
Our final concert of the season opens with the overture to Finlandia, by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957). In 1899, when Sibelius had already achieved a good deal of success within Finland, he composed patriotic music for a pageant depicting scenes from Finnish history. The pageant, and its music, became a focus of patriotic sentiment at a time when Finland was chafing under the rule of tsarist Russia. Finlandia was drawn from some of this music. In order to avoid censorship, it was often performed under different names, since Finnish national sentiment was regarded with suspicion.
Next, for the first time in WSO concerto competition history, we will hear performances from the four winners of the 2022 Woodstock and Beyond Concerto Competition! We begin with the first movement of the Mozart violin concerto No. 5 in A major, played by soloist, N.J. O'Hearn. This concerto is called the "Turkish" from some exotic elements of its final section. It features a lovely adiagio section for the soloist in the first movement. Next, we hear the first movement of the clarinet concerto No. 3, by Carl Stamitz, featuring soloist Jackson Paley. Stamitz, himself a violinist, became friendly with clarinetist Joseph Beer during the years he lived and performed in Paris and eventually wrote ten clarinet concertos. Our third featured soloist is violinist Angela Ye, who will be performing the first movement of Mendelssohn's violin concerto in E minor, justly considered one of the most famous works of its kind. Finally, Joey Driscoll performs Pablo de Sarasate's Zigeunerweisen. Sarasate was himself a famous violin virtuoso; he wrote Zigeunerweisen as a showpiece for himself, and it is considered an essential part of every virtuoso violinist's repertory.
The last piece on the program is Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, subtitled "from the New World" because Dvorak wrote it during the time he spent in this country in the 1890s. Here are some of the elements that influenced Dvorak when writing this symphony, as described by conductor Marin Alsop on NPR: "His experiences in America (including his discovery of African-American and Native American melodies) and his longing for home color his music with mixed emotions. There's both a yearning that simmers and an air of innocence."
Prodigies and Virtuosos
"Prodigies and Virtuosos" opens with the overture to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera, "Don Giovanni," premiered in 1787. Mozart (1756-1791) is well-known as a child prodigy, performing publicly as early as age 6 on both violin and fortepiano. This overture is darker and more forbidding than most of the music we associate with Mozart, which is appropriate for Giovanni's sinister nature and shocking end.
Johann Nepomuk Hummel's Trumpet Concerto, with soloist Bill Owens, is our next piece. Hummel (1787-1837) was also both a child prodigy and a piano virtuoso who studied with Mozart and was a friend of Beethoven's. This lively concerto is in three movements; I. Allegro con spirito, II. Andante, and III. Rondo.
Next on the program is Benjamin Britten's delightful Simple Symphony for string orchestra. Like Mozart, Britten (1913-1976) began to compose at the age of five, and the Simple Symphony is actually based on some of his earliest compositions. Britten was renowned as both a conductor, especially of his own works, and a pianist. He characterized the movements of the symphony with a bit of humor: I. Boisterous Bourèe; II. Playful Pizzicato; III. Sentimental Sarabande; and IV. Frolicsome Finale.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was another composer whose musical talent was obvious at an early age. He was taught to play the violin, viola, and piano and began to perform in public at the age of seven. His First Symphony, which concludes the program, is shorter and less well known than his later and longer symphonies. It is a light-hearted work in a classical rather than romantic style, in four movements: I. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio; II. Andante cantabile con moto; III. Menuetto: Allegro molto e vivace; IV. Adagio - Allegro molto e vivace.
Message from the Executive Director
To Woodstock Symphony Orchestra Concert Followers:
It is with disappointment and sadness that I must announce the cancellation of the January 8th concert. Those of us at the WSO take the health and safety of our audience, musicians and Playhouse personnel very seriously. We have been following the Covid Climate closely and feel that this is the wise decision.
If you purchased tickets online or through the Playhouse you will be receiving a refund shortly.
At this time, we plan to go ahead with our concert scheduled for February 26th. Hopefully we will see enough of an improvement with the virus to allow us to bring you this concert. Of course, we will continue to follow the statistics to help us make a final decision. You will hear from me as the concert date approaches.
Wishing you a Healthy and Happy New Year.
Everyone at the WSO
WSO Exec. Dir.
Hot Off the Press!!!
The Woodstock Symphony Orchestra is pleased to announce a four-concert season for 2021-22.
The season begins on December 12, 2021, with a concert of baroque music to celebrate the holidays, featuring an Albinoni concerto for oboe, a Vivaldi violin concerto, and then the lovely Bach double concerto for both instruments. Oboeist Keve Wilson and violinist Rachel Handman solo and combine in these works. The concert finishes in a holiday mood with Leroy Anderson's Suite of Carols for string orchestra.
On January 8, 2022, a program that celebrates natural landscapes from both ends of the European continent opens with Mendelssohn's "Fingal's Cave," from the Hebrides Overture, continues with Antonin Dvorak's Czech Suite, and ends with Mendelssohn's third symphony, nicknamed the "Scottish."
Please note: The January 8th concert has been cancelled.
The orchestra's third concert takes place on February 26, 2022, and is titled "Prodigies and Virtuosos." It features the overture to "Don Giovanni" by Mozart, who is well-known to have fit both categories. Johann Nepomuk Hummel's Trumpet Concerto follows on the program. Hummel was also both a child prodigy and a piano virtuoso who studied with Mozart and was a friend of Beethoven's, whose First Symphony concludes the program. In between, the orchestra presents American composer Arthur Foote's Air and Gavotte. Unlike the other composers on this program, Foote was not a child performer and did not initially intend a career in music. But his skill and progress in the piano and organ lessons he took before beginning the study of the law were so impressive that his teacher encouraged him to make music his life's work.
The final concert of the WSO's season, on April 2, 2022, will present the two finalists of our Woodstock and Beyond concerto competition for young musicians of high school age or younger. The concert opens with the Overture to Finlandia, by Jean Sibelius, continues with the concerto movements chosen by and featuring our young soloists, and concludes with Russian composer Vasily Kalinnikov's Second Symphony.
The Woodstock Playhouse will require all patrons to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination and a photo ID, or a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event and a photo ID. This requirement is in addition to any local mask mandates.
WSO Virtual Concert Series Finale
We know you couldn't all join us for the third concert of this season, which was presented to 100 lucky patrons on May 15th. We promised then that the concert was being recorded to be streamed later, along with contributions from orchestra members who weren't part of the strings-only live concert.
Today we're announcing the availability of the streamed concert -- join us on June 19th at 7 pm here on our website or at our YouTube channel, for the virtual premiere. This recording will be archived in both locations for later viewing.
The string orchestra will perform works from the British Isles, including Edward Elgar's romantic Serenade for Strings, Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Rhosymedre," from Three Preludes Founded on Welsh Hymn Tunes, and the sprightly and popular Capriol Suite of Peter Warlock. The streamed concert will also include Elgar's Salut d'Amourplayed by Gregory Dinger on guitar, the clarinet duet of Kay Sutka and Jeff Geller playing Lindo, by Richard Percival and Suite Rose, by Wesley Hall, and our brass quintet with Steve Austin, Chris Melito, David Jones, Matt Wozniak, and Ken Sickler, performing Locus Este by Anton Bruckner, plus very contemporary works you won't want to miss!
We hope you can be with us for the premiere or link to our YouTube page later to enjoy the concert on your own schedule!
Live Concert: String Works
from the British Isles
The Woodstock Symphony Orchestra is pleased to announce our third concert of the 2020-2021 season: String orchestral works from the British Isles, including Edward Elgar's romantic Serenade for Strings, Ralph Vaughan Williams' Rhosymedre, from "Three Preludes Founded on Welsh Hymn Tunes" and the sprightly and popular Capriol Suite of Peter Warlock.
The Woodstock Playhouse is now able to admit up to 100 concertgoers. Patrons will be seated in a socially-distanced manner and must be masked. Tickets must be reserved in advance, so that the Playhouse can safely control the number of attendees.
The concert is being recorded for later streaming and will be approximately 45 minutes long. Tickets are $20. Tickets are now available and can be reserved at: woodstockplayhouse.org
Because We Miss You:
This concert features a string orchestra recorded in concert under the baton
of Music Director Jon Handman
at the Woodstock Playhouse,
along with contributions from individual
musicians and chamber ensembles of the WSO.
The music for string orchestra includes:
Suite of Carols, by Leroy Anderson;
Christmas Eve Suite, by Neils W. Gade;
and Edvard Grieg's Holberg Suite.
Because We Miss You
Join us for our first-ever virtual concert!
Because We Miss You! The Woodstock Symphony Orchestra is proud to present our first virtual concert of the 2020-2021 season, featuring members of the orchestra directed by our maestro Jonathan Handman.
We've filmed our string players -- as many as we could fit on stage with social distancing -- playing pieces that include Gustav Holst's popular St. Paul Suite, the lively dance piece "Punto" from William Grant Still's Danza des Panama, and "Heart Wounds and Last Spring" by Edvard Grieg.
Smaller ensembles and individual musicians from the orchestra have made videos for us to add to the virtual concert, giving you as much music as possible while keeping all of us safe.
We are premiering Because We Miss You! on November 27 at 7 pm, and we invite you to make an occasion of it -- pour a glass of your favorite beverage, sit back, and watch it at that time, along with many of us! It will then remain available for streaming on YouTube. See our event post for the link or go to www.woodstocksymphony.org.
WSO Virtual Concert Series
The Woodstock Symphony is proud to present our first ever virtual concert series during the 2020-2021 season. In order to make sure we continue to provide classical concerts to the greater WSO community, we are creating video content featuring members of the orchestra, conducted by maestro Jonathan Handman. Our first concert will be available for streaming right here at woodstocksymphony.org and our new WSO YouTube channel on Nov. 27th at 7pm.
The Woodstock Symphony Orchestra acknowledges with great sadness the recent passing of Luis Garcia-Renart, the music director of the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra (precursor of the current organization) from 1991-2005. Luis was not only our conductor for that period, he was to so many in the orchestra a friend and in many cases a teacher. Our musicians and the Hudson Valley classical music community at large considered him a "treasure" and his rehearsals were seen by many of the orchestra's players as a masterclass with a great musician. Under Luis the WCO first took on Beethoven's symphonies, and we expanded our appetite for newly-created music of various contemporary styles from his composer friends and colleagues. I hope the musical angels he's now encountering don't mind a little constructive criticism from a great musician - even they will benefit from his deep understanding and love of music and his strong belief in the future of music via living composers. What an imprint he had on so many of us in the Hudson Valley (and beyond)! Our gratitude, maestro - salut!
President, WSO Board