Note-able Soloists Help Symphony Usher in 93rd Season
The Melrose Symphony Orchestra starts its 2010-2011 season on Nov. 6 with guest soloists from the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
When the Melrose Symphony Orchestra (MSO) kicks off their 93rd season at Memorial Hall on Saturday, they will be joined by two prominent members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO)—cellist Owen Young and violinist Lucia Lin.
The soloists will join the MSO and conductor Yoichi Udagawa for Brahm's Concerto for Violin and Cello. The pair worked with Udagawa before.
"I have done this piece with [these soloists] in other places," Udagawa explained. "I was very eager to bring it to Melrose so that the audiences here could listen to them. These guys are amazing."
Young, a Yale University graduate, has appeared frequently in concerts across New England, and with symphonies and in festivals worldwide. He served as principal cellist for the Yale Symphony Orchestra and has since performed as a concert soloist with a number of orchestras, including the Boston Pops Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the San Antonio Chamber Orchestra.
Lin made her symphony debut at the age of 11 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. During her impressive career, she has performed with the Boston Pops Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra, among others.
Lin has been in solo recitals across the country, and made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1991. She joined the BSO in 1985.
The Concerto was Brahm's last orchestral piece. Udagawa, who is entering his 13th year as Music Director of the MSO, described it as "full of beautiful melodies" and "very romantic."
"The orchestra loves it and I know the audience is going to love it," he said.
The performers will also play Beethoven's Egmont Overture and Stravinsky's Firebird Suite at the November 6 concert, which opens at 8pm.
A community effort
Founded in 1918, the MSO is the longest, continually running volunteer orchestra in the country. It's one of a number of small city ensembles in the Boston area.
"Boston is one of the unique places in the world—there is so much music going on for a city of its size," Udagawa said. "I think that it has to do with the number of educated people in the area. Often these individuals have learned a musical instrument, and they want an outlet."
The MSO draws its talent both from Melrose and the surrounding communities. According to Jessi Eisdorfer, the MSO's general manager, over half of the orchestra's members live in Melrose; about twenty of them are talented high school students.
The MSO relies on the Melrose community for many of its resources. The Symphony is funded largely by audience patrons and community businesses. Melrose Cooperative Bank is a premier sponsor of the 2010-2011 season, and Linda O'Koniewski and Alison Socha from Re/Max Heritage are underwriting Saturday's soloists. They will be hosting a reception for Lin and Young after the concert at their Main Street office.
Several other local businesses lend their support to the MSO every year.
Udagawa noted that the Symphony also depends on the enthusiasm of its local audience. "I think we get some of the largest audiences of any community orchestra anywhere. And we're very fortunate to play in this beautiful hall," he said, opening his arms to encompass the majestic interior of Memorial Hall.
"It's a true community effort," he emphasized.
"A cultural gem"
The MSO will stick with its traditional, seasonal schedule this year. Following Saturday's opening concert, the orchestra will prepare for its annual holiday pops, which will feature returning gospel vocalist Renese King. The popular program will be held on two nights, with performances scheduled on Dec. 10 and 11.
The Symphony's spring concert on March 5 will have a local theme. The event will feature the world premiere of Concerto for Bassoon and Clarinet by the acclaimed, Melrose-born composer, Michael Gandolfi. Richard and Erin Svoboda will join the MSO for the performance. Richard Svoboda is a Melrose resident and principal bassoonist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. His daughter, Erin, is an accomplished clarinetist and former member of the MSO.
The 2010-2011 season will conclude on May 7 with a concert featuring Eriko Daimo, who will join the MSO for Kenji Kikuchi's Marimba Concerto. Tchaikovsky, Berlioz, and some of John Williams' orchestrations for the Harry Potter films will also be performed.
The MSO looks forward to seeing familiar faces in the audience on Saturday, but also hope to attract newcomers.
"If you love orchestral music or even if you don't, I'd say come on out," said Udagawa. "Some people have this impression that classical music is this sophisticated, stiff, boring thing and I think people who come to our concerts don't leave thinking that."
"The MSO is really a cultural gem and the more people who come support it, the longer it will last."