Love marks 15th year with Columbia Orchestra

The Columbia Orchestra celebrates great music at every concert, but its upcoming program also offers another cause for celebration. Music director Jason Love observes his 15th anniversary leading the group with a program called "The Maestro's Anniversary" on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m. at Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School.

"I will speak from the podium," Love said of the upcoming concert. "I frequently do that anyway, but it's the [musical] selections that are the celebration part."

When Love put together this particular program, he wanted to highlight his orchestra's ability to play a diverse repertory. There is a contemporary piece, Israeli-American composer Shulamit Ran's "Chicago Skyline." There is a 20th-century piece, Dimitri Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1, for which guest conductor Brian Stone leads the orchestra and Love is the cello soloist. And there is a 19th-century lyrical masterpiece, Johannes Brahms' Third Symphony.

"I wanted to plan a program that would be a synthesis of what the orchestra is," Love explained.

Brahms, for instance, represents the standard repertory that is at the heart of the classical music tradition.

"The centerpiece is Brahms' Third Symphony," Love said. "It's what the orchestra does great. For most of our audience, the Columbia Orchestra is their primary source for live classical music."

The Shostakovich piece represents the modernist evolution of classical music in the 20th century, while also enabling Love to engage in what he described as "my double life as a concert cellist. The Shostakovich is a phenomenal piece, and it's a 20th-century piece that the orchestra had not done before."

As for having Brian Stone serve as guest conductor for the piece, Love said with a laugh: "I can't conduct and play at the same time."

Love and Stone had the same music teacher at the Peabody Institute, Frederik Prausnitz; and Stone has worked with the Columbia Orchestra before.

The music of today is represented on the program by Shulamit Ran's "Chicago Skyline," which uses brass and percussion to evoke that city's architecture.

Spanning several different centuries and styles, this program speaks to what Jason Love has been doing with the Columbia Orchestra for the past 15 years.

He notes that over this span of time his orchestra has become comfortable playing a varied repertory on the same program. Whether doing "baroque, classical or contemporary, they have a wealth of experience," Love said about his musicians.

The Columbia Orchestra performs Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake, 5460 Trumpeter Road in Columbia. Tickets are $25 and $20 for adults, $21 and $16 for seniors, and $12 and $10 for students. Bill Scanlan Murphy, a music department faculty member at Howard Community College, gives a free lecture at 6:30 p.m. Call 410-465-8777 or go to

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