Schenectady Symphony returning to live concerts, announces 2021-22 season

The Schenectady Symphony Orchestra performs under the baton of Glen Cortese. (Gazette file photo)

The Schenectady Symphony Orchestra performs under the baton of Glen Cortese. (Gazette file photo)

After a pandemic-shortened season that saw the orchestra record and stream three virtual concerts, the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra has announced its return to live performance with a season celebrating “Heroes and Legends.”

The orchestra will celebrate 88 years with a season of diverse musical selections, and a few surprises.

The first performance, on Sunday, Oct. 24, will take place in Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs, the orchestra’s first venture into the new performance space.

Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” the story of the legendary Don Juan, is a collaboration with the Skidmore College faculty and students. In a unique twist, the opera will be narrated by women who represent the Don’s female conquests — sure to be a different way to experience this classic opera.

Saturday, Nov. 27, marks the return of “Poinsettia Pops,” a holiday program first recorded and streamed last December. It will kick off the holiday season and will take place in Saratoga Springs at Universal Preservation Hall.

The symphony returns to the main stage at Proctors in Schenectady for “A Celebration of Two Heroes” on Sunday, Feb. 6,, 2022. It will honor Abraham Lincoln with Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait,” with narration. The symphony will honor the legacy of the Voyager missions of NASA in Artistic Director Glen Cortese’s “Voyager, a Journey to the Stars,” with a possible surprise guest or two. Mendelssohn’s homage to Martin Luther, the “Reformation” symphony, rounds out the program.

The music turns more ominous on Sunday, April 3, 2022, as the orchestra returns to the Proctors main stage with “Dark Legends.” Brahms’ “Tragic” Overture explores Dr. Faust, while the “bad boy” of classical music, Nicolai Paganini, is featured in Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.” Guest soloist will be the 2007 Parillo Piano Competition winner, Ryan Reilly.

The symphony has been following Reilly’s career since he won its competition and after graduating from Juilliard he is now a doctoral candidate at the Peabody Institute at Johns’ Hopkins University. The final piece on the program is Stravinsky’s “Firebird (1919).”

The final concert on the main stage at Proctors will be on May 1, 2022. “Heroes, Heroines, and a Red Violin” asks the question, what do Napoleon, Scheherazade, and a Red Violin have in common?

But you’ll have to attend the concert to find out as the symphony performs Ravel’s Scheherazade (guest soloist to be announced) and Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony #3. Oscar winning American composer John Corigliano’s “Chaconne” from the film “The Red Violin” features another of the symphony’s student competition winners, this time the Stefan Competition winner from 2018, Aram Kim. Kim is currently studying at Juilliard and served as the concertmaster for the pre-college orchestra.

Said Schenectady Symphony President Bob Bour: “We are tremendously excited about returning to live performance. Our musicians are ready to bring you great music, and we have a great lineup of guest artists including two of our student competition winners that our audiences love. And we’re delighted to perform for the first time at Universal Preservation Hall, a stunning venue in Saratoga Springs.”

Artistic Director Glen Cortese added, “Due to your incredible support and interest in the orchestra, we are proud to bring you this spectacular season. The Schenectady Symphony is proud to have served the community for nearly a century and we are grateful for all of you who will make it possible for us to continue doing so for the next one hundred years.”

Season subscriptions and individual performance tickets are on sale through the box office at Proctors. Season subscriptions purchased before Sept. 30 are eligible for a 10% discount using the code “SEASON88.”

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Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts

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