Portland Symphony Orchestra Unveils 2011-12 Season

PORTLAND, Maine – The Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO) 2011-12 season focuses on great works from classical and contemporary genres, featuring orchestral masterworks, guest artists from far and near (including one from Cape Elizabeth) and collaborations with local performing arts organizations including the Choral Art Society, Portland Stage, and the University of Southern Maine.

The Tuesday and Sunday Classical concerts are filled with a veritable list of “the best of” the classical canon, presenting cornerstones of orchestral literature including Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4, Schubert’s Symphony No. 9, “The Great,” Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7. The season will conclude with a centennial celebration of the mighty Kotzschmar Memorial Organ, one of the true gems of Portland.

The PSO Pops! jumps into the swing of the season opening with the renowned U.S. Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club before moving on to an incredible lineup of tributes – to Broadway, to clarinetist Benny Goodman, and to the legendary rock band Queen.

Guest artists gracing the stage for the 2011-12 season are pianists Awadagin Pratt and Henry Kramer (a 2005 graduate of Cape Elizabeth High School), sopranos Sarah Jane McMahon and Jessica Cates, violinists Steven Moeckel and Dmitry Sitkovetsky (who will also conduct) and a familiar face, Ray Cornils on the Kotzschmar Organ.

Music Director Robert Moody spoke with enthusiasm about the upcoming season, saying, “This lineup of concerts, featuring great classics and fabulous Pops tributes, and introducing exciting young artists and composers, really allows the orchestra and the audience to celebrate all aspects of music, stretching us to embrace all genres.” He continued, “I’m particularly excited to shine a spotlight on the Kotzschmar organ, which really is a unique and important asset to our City, at our season finale concerts.”

For the 2011-12 subscription season, the Sunday Classical comprises five concerts, with two of the programs performed on Tuesdays as well. The Tuesday Classical series comprises six concerts, while PSO Pops! has two performances each of four programs, for a season total of 19 performances of 13 programs (not including 11 performances of Magic of Christmas). A Classical Complete subscription package includes all six Tuesday concerts plus the three additional Sunday Classical concerts. All Classical concerts are preceded by Concert Conversations and end with a PostConcert Q&A with the artists.

Subscriptions are now on sale, with prices ranging from $80 to $390 depending on series and seat location.  Details are available through portlandsymphony.org or by calling PortTIX at 207-842-0800.

The Portland Symphony Orchestra 2010-11 Season at a Glance
Programs and artists subject to change.

October 2, 2011 2:30 PM
October 4, 2011 7:30 PM

Robert Moody, conductor
Awadagin Pratt, piano
•   Torke Bright Blue Music
•   Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”
•   Brahms Symphony No. 4 in E minor

Michael Torke’s Bright Blue Music is as vibrant and colorful as its title promises, while the “Emperor” Concerto is moving, powerful and simply beautiful. One of the most inspiring masterworks of the orchestral literature, Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 is a passionate and unforgettable opening to the concert season.

PSO Pops! U. S. Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club
Saturday, October 8 2011 7:30 PM
Sunday, October 9 2011 2:30 PM

Robert Moody, conductor

The PSO opens the 2011-2012 Pops season with one of America’s premier men’s choral ensembles. The 80 Midshipmen in the group, directed by Dr. Aaron Smith, will perform choral masterpieces, popular music, patriotic songs, traditional sea shanties, and a variety of other works.

October 23, 2011 2:30 PM

Robert Moody, conductor
Laurie Kennedy, viola
•   Barber Essay No. 1
•   Bloch Suite hébraïque
•   Schubert Symphony No. 9 “The Great”

These works are as colorful as autumn in New England, featuring a nostalgic, melodic showpiece for PSO’s principal violist, Laurie Kennedy, and Schubert’s majestic and innovative “Great” symphony.

November 1, 2011 7:30 PM

Robert Moody, conductor
Sarah Jane McMahon, soprano
•   Bates Rusty Air in Carolina
•   Barber Knoxville: Summer of 1915
•   Mahler Symphony No. 4

Composed in honor of Robert Moody’s appointment as Music Director for the Winston Salem Symphony, Rusty Air evokes southern summers, katydids and old-time blues. Soprano voice is the “thread of connection” between Barber’s dreamlike lyricism and Mahler’s lovely and intimate Fourth symphony.

PSO Pops! Greatest Hits of Broadway
Saturday, November 19, 2011 7:30 PM
Sunday, November 20, 2011 2: 30 PM

Guest conductor to be announced
Nat Chandler and Teri Dale Hansen, vocalists

Broadway’s greatest hits of all time, from Jerome Kern to Comden and Green. Featuring songs from: Showboat, Les Miserables, Guys and Dolls, The King and I, Peter Pan, Rent, West Side Story, La Cage aux Folles, Cabaret, and The Music Man, performed by two of the brightest lights on today’s Great White Way.

Magic of Christmas
December 9-18, 2011

Robert Moody, conductor
Magic of Christmas Chorus

Robert Moody strikes up the biggest band in town for Maine’s greatest holiday extravaganza. Join us for an unforgettable performance as we celebrate the heartwarming traditions, the story of the season and the spirit of the holidays, all in spectacular symphonic style.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 7:30 PM
Guest conductor to be announced
Steven Moeckel, violin

•   Peck Peace Overture
•   Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor
•   Dvořák Symphony No. 7 in D minor

Peace Overture has been called “dazzling” and cited for its “exemplary use of orchestral color” while Sibelius’ virtuosic and strikingly original concerto is sure to be a season highlight. Inspired both by Brahms and pride in his own Czech heritage, the Symphony No. 7 is Dvořák’s most romantic work.

Sunday, January 29, 2012 2:30 PM

Dmitry Sitkovetsky, guest conductor and violin

•   Rossini Overture to Barber of Seville
•   Corigliano Suite from The Red Violin
•   Mendelssohn Symphony No. 4 “Italian”

Embark on a musical journey around the world, starting with a comedic overture set in Spain and ending with a beloved symphony that fairly sings “viva Italia!” In between, the multi-talented Music Director of the Greensboro Symphony conducts and performs music from the Academy Award-winning score that follows a unique instrument over the span of three centuries and five countries.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 7:30 PM

Robert Moody, conductor
Henry Kramer, piano
Members of Portland Stage

•   Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet, Overture-Fantasy
•   Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major
•   Prokofiev Suite from Romeo and Juliet

This concert features some of the most evocative, romantic music ever written, highlighted by readings from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that have inspired artists and audiences for centuries.

Up-and-coming pianist Henry Kramer is a 2005 graduate of Cape Elizabeth High School. He was a prizewinner at the 2010 National Chopin Competition and has been invited to participate in the prestigious Busoni Competition in August 2011.

PSO Pops! A Tribute to Benny Goodman
Saturday, February 25, 2012 7:30 PM
Sunday February 26, 2012 2:30 PM

Guest conductor to be announced
Dave Bennett, clarinet

Twenty-something clarinetist Dave Bennett has been described as “Benny Goodman reincarnated.” This jaw-dropping musical prodigy brings to life the classic sound and music of “The King of Swing” with incredible technique and style. You’ll hear swing-era classics including Moonglow, I’ve Got Rhythm, Body and Soul, and Sing, Sing, Sing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 7:30 PM

Robert Moody, Robert Russell, conductors
Jessica Cates, soprano
Masterworks Chorus of the Choral Arts Society

•   Brahms Schicksalslied (“Song of Destiny”)
•   Poulenc Gloria
•   Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade

Three gorgeous works illustrate three different ways that music can tell a story. Schicksalslied is a brief but powerful exploration of blissful spirit and mortal suffering. Poulenc’s Gloria depicts a joyous and surprisingly vivacious celebration of faith, and Rimsky-Korsakov described his musical fantasy narrative as “a kaleidescope of fairy-tale images.”

Sunday, April 15, 2012 2:30 PM
Robert Moody, conductor

•   Bruckner Three Pieces for Orchestra
•   Golijov Sidereus (PSO co-commission, Maine premiere)
•   Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
•   Beethoven Symphony No. 4 in B-flat Major

Experience the pure joy and all the colors of the full symphony orchestra. The program opens with a youthful work by Bruckner, followed by the Maine premiere of a new work by a celebrated composer known for his tango and klezmer influences. Audiences will enjoy one of the most beautiful works ever written for string orchestra with Fantasia on a Theme. The concert concludes with Beethoven’s buoyant Fourth Symphony.

PSO Pops! One Vision: Music of Queen
Saturday, April 28, 2012 7:30 PM
Sunday, April 29, 2012 2:30 PM

Robert Moody, conductor
Michael Shotton, vocalist
USM Chamber Choir

Classic rock meets symphony orchestra at this amazing tribute to the music of the legendary band Queen. The musicians of the PSO and USM Chamber Choir provide the power and harmony for a full rock concert experience of groundbreaking hits like We Are the Champions, Under Pressure, Bohemian Rhapsody and many more.

Season Finale
Kotzschmar Centennial Celebration
Sunday Classical May 6, 2012 2:30 PM
Tuesday Classical May 8, 2012 7:30 PM

Robert Moody, conductor
Ray Cornils, organ

•   Danielpour Toward the Splendid City
•   Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 in C minor, “Organ” (last performed in November 2004)
•   Remainder of program to be announced

The PSO dedicates the season’s final concerts to honoring the mighty Kotzschmar Memorial Organ, truly one of the great treasures of Portland, in its centennial year. Toward the Splendid City is an “On the Town”- like celebration, festive and brassy, leading into the spectacular brilliance and breathtaking virtuosity that characterize the Organ Symphony.

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Thank you to our Season sponsor the Maine Arts Commission, POPS! Series Sponsor, WEX, Official Hotel, Holiday Inn by the Bay, and Education Partner, IDEXX.
Maine Arts Commission WEX Holiday Inn by the Bay IDEXX