SSO

Cellist Laura Ruth, center, leads fellow cellists in a short practice session to work out some details before joining the rest of the group during a recent SSO practice at Harford Community College. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF, Patuxent Publishing / October 3, 2011)

The Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra opens its 35th season on Saturday, Oct. 8, featuring works by Schubert, Haydn, Strauss and Copland, along with what SSO founder and music director Sheldon Bair describes as "two Russian barnburners" by Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at Bel Air High School, 100 Heighe St. in Bel Air. A pre-concert lecture will be given by SSO musician and local music teacher, Donald McClure, at 6:30. Tickets are available in advance at MusicLand and Preston's Stationery in Bel Air for $20 for adults, $15 for seniors age 60 and above, and $10 for students with I.D. Season tickets are available in advance or at the door of the first concert for $75, $55 and $40. For more information, visit http://www.ssorchestra.org.

SSO music director and founder, Sheldon Bair, commented, "The concert will not have a soloist, but will include music from three centuries.

"For our 35th season, we have chosen music by composers who have meant a lot to us during our existence, plus some new music (later in the season). The first work on the October program is the Alfonso and Estrella Overture by early 19th-century composer Franz Schubert. This short overture is full of life and lots of fun! In 1988 the SSO held a Schubert Symposium with guest lecturer and Schubert biographer Brian Newbould, and over the years we have performed much of Schubert's output for orchestra.


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"The second piece on the program is by the 18th-century composer Franz Josef Haydn, who wrote 107 symphonies (and many other works) during his long life. We will, appropriately, play Haydn's delightful and humorous Symphony No. 35 in honor of our 35th season. Haydn has long been a personal favorite, and the SSO continues to perform his music every few years.

"To complete the first half, the SSO will perform a set of waltzes by Richard Strauss from the composer's very Viennese opera, 'Der Rosenkavalier.' I'm a sucker for a great waltz, and these waltzes are beautiful dances that recall the memory of the early Johann Strauss Jr. (no relation to Richard Strauss), who wrote the Blue Danube Waltz."

With Brian Folus conducting, the SSO brass and percussion will begin the second half of the concert with Aaron Copland's popular Fanfare for the Common Man.

"This will be followed by two Russian 'barnburners' —Tchaikovsky's March Slav and selections from Stravinsky's Firebird Suite," said Bair, who added, "The music of the ever-popular Tchaikovsky has played a particularly important role, with the SSO having played many of his symphonies, overtures, concertos, and ballets over the course of its 35 years."