Steamboat Symphony Orchestra concert season shows musical evolution

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Steamboat Symphony Orchestra 2010-11 concert season:

Opening concert

3 p.m. Sept. 5 at Strings Music Pavilion

Program: Beethoven, “Egmont Overture;” Copland, “Lincoln Portrait;” Beethoven, “Symphony No. 5”

Holiday concert

7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Strings Music Pavilion

5 p.m. Dec. 5 at Strings Music Pavilion

Program: Mozart, “Haffner Symphony;” holiday favorites

Winter Soiree Gala

Feb. 12, 2011

Details to be determined

Spring concert

5 p.m. March 27, 2011, at Strings Music Pavilion

Program: Tchaikovsky, “Symphony No. 4”

Cost: Season tickets are $70 and available only this month.

Call: 970-870-3223

Online: Visit www.steamboatorchestra.org.

— Steamboat Symphony Orch­estra Music Director Ernest Richardson has more than music to think about when he chooses a season program. He searches for pieces of pivotal importance that demonstrate growth and evolution in the history of symphonic music, the history of mankind, and what soon will become the history of his orchestra.

“I have two concerns,” Richardson said about choosing a season program. “First of all, what I believe the audience will enjoy. Second, what the orchestra needs to continue its growth pattern.”

The 2010-11 season manifests the demands of the technical prowess Richardson is growing to expect from the 55-piece orchestra. The season begins at 3 p.m. Sept. 5 with a concert at Strings Music Pavilion.

Linda Hamlet, the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra board of director’s new president, said Richardson’s dedication to evolution and improvement is apparent in the professional preparation the musicians engage in.

“I say Ernest has made it his personal challenge of making each performance better than the next,” Hamlet said. “Just the growth of the musicians is astounding.”

The community has the option to buy season tickets, which provide admission and preferred seating to three concerts, including the season opener, the holiday concert in early December, and the spring concert in late March.

Season tickets are $70 and available this month only.

The first notes of the season in early September will sing of the rise of the common man in Beethoven’s “Egmont Overture,” written as the score for a play of the same title by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

The concert then travels an arc that includes Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait,” and finishes with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

“The way it’s put together is to address how music captures the triumph of the human spirit,” Richardson said. “It traces the development of the human spirit and its search for meaning. It’s sort of a metaphor for everything.”

“Lincoln Portrait,” written in the 1940s, tells stories of the nature of free as revealed by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War period.

“It’s exactly the kind of thing Beethoven would have been excited about,” Richardson said.

“Beethoven’s Fifth” provides the final, triumphant notes.

Richardson said the piece is a pivotal piece in musical history and will serve the same purpose in the orchestra’s evolution.

“The Third (Symphony) and the Fifth are both very important in the orchestra’s repertoire,” he said. “It will mark a place in history for them.”

A few months later, the orchestra returns with the classic holiday concert, featuring Mozart’s “Haffner Symphony,” in addition to Christmas carols and other holiday favorites.

The season will end on a virtuosic, technical note with the Russian-influenced Symphony No. 4 by Tchaikovsky.

Hamlet said the Steamboat community should be proud to have a symphony orchestra that plays on a professional level.

“It’s the jewel of the community,” Hamlet said. “It’s for the community, by the community, and it’s celebrating the human spirit in every way.”

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