After a year’s hiatus, the Symphony of the Kootenays made a dramatic return for the 2013/14 season, with a new music and artistic director, and a new excitement from the Symphony’s audience in the Kootenays.
These days, the Symphony is gearing up for another season, which begins in October at the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook.
“It’s going to be a great season,” said Jeff Faragher, the Music and Artistic Director based out of Nelson. “We had such a great response from the audience last year and people are ready to recommit to coming out to see the symphony.
“We know what we’re in for a little more. I feel really confident with what we going to be able to achieve this year. Now that we have that first season under our belt I’m looking forward to really dialling it in and to try to dig deeper into the music. And hopefully convey even more energy and excitement to audience.”
The 2014/15 concerts will feature some exciting soloists and a mix of familiar works and the new.
“My goal is always to stretch the audience, but in a friendly way,” Faragher said. “Often you can show up to a show and it’s all very contemporary new artists you’ve never heard of, and that’s just too much. So we’re featuring some of the well known composers, but in some of their less well known works.
“So it’s something along the same lines as last year, but in a different way, and we’ll see how it’s received.”
Faragher describes the first program (“From Old Worlds to New,” October 25 at the Key City Theatre) as a symphonic meal.
“We’re going to be playing ‘Finlandia’ by Sibelius — a very beloved and famous work, sort of a short tone poem. Then we’re going to be doing Grieg’s Holberg Suite — a pretty large and wonderful work just for strings. That will be a nice first half of the program. Then we’re playing the Dvorak ‘New World Symphony’ to top that first program off.
“That’s a pretty massive and classically orientated program to get things started.”
The festive program this year (“A Celtic Christmas” Dec. 6 at the Key City Theatre) is going to be quite a lot different from last year’s show, which featured a choir and orchestral works.
“This year, our concert features Edmontonian Keri Lynn Zwicker on harp and vocals,” Faragher said. “She’s a fantastic Celtic singer and harp player, and she’s getting all her music arranged for symphony orchestra. It’s going to be a mix of Christmas and Celtic and Latin tunes.”
The third concert takes place February 7, 2015, at the KCT. “In the dead of winter we’re going to heat things up with ‘A Night at the Movies,’” Faragher said. “Originally we were looking at featuring lots of composers. As I researched it more and more I thought it better to stick with just one, and who better than John Williams. We’re going to be featuring a lot of his film score music and it should be a lot of fun. We might even do a bit of visuals — we’re still working through those details.
Faragher added that this concert re-emphasizes the importance of music in our culture, and how films would be without it.
The Symphony’s final concert (“Classical Greatness,” April 11, will be a bit of a revisit of the first one, Faragher said.
“We’re going to be doing a classical menu again, featuring the talented pianist from Golden, Sue Gould. She’s going to be playing Schumann’s Concerto in A Minor.
“We’re also going to be doing the Barber of Seville Overture, and the 7th Symphony by Beethoven.”
One of the innovations the Symphony brought forward last season was to hold open rehearsals for the audience, which proved to be immensely popular.
“I think they were highly successful,” Faragher said. “We saw an increase in audience interest as the year went on. I think that is so important, to let them in on the process. You show up to a concert and you here the stuff once — either you really love the tune or you don’t get really get involved.
“I think it’s really important that the audience knows what’s involved in putting on these concerts. They feel a lot more invested.”