Yakima Symphony Orchestra plans 'Heavenly' lineup for next season

Yakima Herald-RepublicApril 30, 2014 

YAKIMA --The Yakima Symphony Orchestra's 2014-15 season, "Heavenly Thoughts," begins in the fall and will include five classical concerts, two sinfionettas and four pops concerts.

Highlights of the lineup include the show, "A Star is Born," with guest pianist Vadym Kholodenko on Feb. 7, and the pops concert, "Feelin' Groovy: Music of Simon and Garfunkel" on April 25.

There is a mix of well-known masterpieces, lesser-known compositions and contemporary works, something conductor Lawrence Golan said is by design.

"One of our objectives is to not only present the great master works of history that people know and recognize, but also to incorporate pieces that are less famous -- or in some cases completely unknown," he said.

Classical concerts

The concerts included in the 2014-15 season all are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre.

--"Sunrise: A New Day Dawns," Sept. 27, featuring new concertmaster Denise Dillenbeck's YSO solo debut on Beethoven's violin concerto. It also will include Stravinsky's Apollo and Peter Maxwell Davies' An Orkney Wedding, With Sunrise, the latter of which will feature a guest bagpiper.

--"Eternal Rest," Nov. 8, which includes Brahms' German Requiem, a soothing requiem that Golan said is more about comforting the living than mourning the dead. It will be paired with Benjamin Britten's 1940 antiwar work Sinfonia da Requiem, which Golan described as an excited counterpoint to the mellow Brahms piece. The concert will feature the Yakima Symphony Chorus, the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers, guest soprano Alexandra Picard and guest baritone David Krohn.

--"A Star is Born," Feb. 7, featuring Kholodenko, the 2013 gold medal winner at Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, on Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto.

"The winner is guaranteed a career," Golan said. "And this is the beginning of his. Five years from now, we won't be able to afford him."

It will also feature Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2.

--"Death and Transfiguration," March 28, including the Richard Strauss composition of the same name.

"The title is sort of self-explanatory," Golan said. "You have some death music. Then there's transfiguration. The harp comes in."

The concert will also feature Franz Lizst's Les Preludes, Jennifer Higdon's blue cathedral and the Chinese composition The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto, a piece Golan thought he had "discovered" on a visit to Taiwan.

"Little did I know, it's actually literally the most famous piece of music in China," he said.

Guest violinist Linda Wang will be featured.

--"Resurrection," May 16, featuring Mahler's Symphony No. 2, known as Resurrection.

"Ah, the big boy," Golan said. "It's one of those epic works. By epic, I mean one piece is the entire concert."

The full orchestra will be joined by the Central Washington University men's and women's choruses, the Yakima Symphony Chorus, members of the CWU Symphony Orchestra, guest soprano Lindsay Russell and guest alto Melissa Schiel.

"It will be gargantuan," Golan said. "We're going to fill up every inch of the Capitol stage."


--"Dia de los Muertos," 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at The Seasons Performance Hall, the annual concert in conjunction with the Yakima-Morelia Sister City Association's Day of the Dead celebration. It will feature Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23, performed by Gerardo Sanchez Lara, director of the Conservatorio de las Rosas in Morelia, Mexico, as well as Ravel's Le tombeau de Couperin and Louis Spohr's The earthly and divine in human life.

--"Heavenly Delicacies," 7:30 p.m. Jan. 10, at The 4th Street Theatre, featuring Jill Whitman on harp. This is the YSO's annual multisensory event. It will pair each composition with a dessert: four pieces, four desserts. The program includes Debussy's Claire de Lune, Mozart's Jupiter Symphony, Ottorino Respighi's Boticelli Triptych and a new harp concerto by Dan Locklair.

Pops concerts

All will be performed at the Capitol Theatre:

--"Broadway Blockbusters," 7:30 p.m. Sept. 27, featuring guest soprano Laurie Gayle Stephenson and guest tenor Steve Amerson, both Broadway veterans. It will include music from Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and Cats among other shows.

"Just absolute blockbusters; you can't go wrong with this one," Golan said.

--"Christmas Pops Spectacular," 4 p.m. Dec. 7, featuring the Yakima Symphony Chorus and the Bram Brata Steel Drum Band. It will include standard Christmas fare played in novel ways for a family audience, Golan said.

"We have a steel drum band," he said. "It'll give the Christmas music a little bit of a Caribbean feel. A Caribbean Christmas."

--"Fiddle-Faddle," Feb. 28, which will feature Golan himself on violin -- or fiddle, as they call it when it's playing Charlie Daniels tunes instead of Mozart. The program includes Daniels' classic The Devil Went Down to Georgia as well as other fiddle classics such as Fiddler on the Roof and Orange Blossom Special.

"It highlights the violin as it relates to different styles of music," Golan said.

--"Feelin' Groovy: Music of Simon and Garfunkel," April 25, starring pianist Jim Witter, the man who starred in the 2012 YSO sellout show "The Piano Men: Music of Billy Joel and Elton John." This time, he'll focus on the works of Simon and Garfunkel, a show that's been in the works since Witter's last Yakima appearance.

"Right there on stage, I actually asked the audience, 'How would you like to invite Jim back here to do another one?'" Golan said. "I literally hired him there on stage."

For information, go to www.ysomusic.org or call 509-248-1414.

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