Columbia Orchestra tuning up for new season

The Columbia Orchestra's upcoming 37th season promises to bring a range of classical music to the Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake. If some of the selections will be familiar to almost everybody, other pieces will provide an education for your ears.

"Essentially, what I try to do is offer a broad spectrum of great masterpieces balanced with other things," Columbia Orchestra music director Jason Love said about his considerations in booking the upcoming season.

"This season is structured around people we wanted to work with," Love added.

The season-opening concert on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. is a good example of working with a performer Love admires. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Jonathan Carney, who has appeared with the Columbia Orchestra on two previous occasions, returns as the soloist for the Brahms Violin Concerto. Brahms is a composer close to Carney's heart, so you can expect especially heartfelt playing.

Also on that concert is Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 3, "Rhenish." Love said this marks the first time his orchestra has done a Schumann symphony, although it has done other works by this composer. Considering Schumann's musical influence on the young Brahms, this should be a very satisfying immersion in the 19th-century German repertory.

The concert on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m., includes Anton Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World"; and also George Gershwin's "Cuban Overture."

Also included in this program is a work by a composer with a strong family connection to Columbia and a performer with a strong teaching connection to music director Jason Love. National Symphony trombonist Davis Murray performs Christopher Rouse's Pulitzer Prize-winning Trombone Concerto.

Years ago, Murray was a student of Love's when this trombonist was a member of the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra. "I've known him since he was 15," Love said.

As for Christopher Rouse, who currently teaches at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, he's a relative of Columbia founder James Rouse. The Columbia Orchestra previously has performed two of Christopher Rouse's pieces, so this will make three.

A really notable event for the orchestra happens on Saturday, Jan. 31, at 7:30 p.m. with the world premiere of Catholic University-based composer Earle Simpson's score for a 20-minute-long silent movie from 1920, "One Week," starring Buster Keaton. This composition is the orchestra's first commission.

Rounding out that evening are Rossini's "Overture to William Tell," Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" and Grofe's "Grand Canyon Suite."

Linking all of the pieces in that Jan. 31 program, Love pointed out, is that each "tells a story to evoke different landscapes."

The orchestra's Young People's Concert on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. features the dance company Dance Connections Inc., narrator Greg Jukes and a musical instrument petting zoo for the kids.

The concert on Saturday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m. presents Schubert's Unfinished Symphony and Stravinsky's "Petrushka." The version being performed of the Stravinsky composition will involve having as many as 100 musicians on the stage. Also on this program are the winners of the 2015 Young Artist Competition.

And, there is a Symphonic Pops concert on Saturday, May 16, at 7:30 p.m. that has music from films, Broadway shows and light classical selections.

The Columbia Orchestra performs in the Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake, at 5460 Trumpeter Road in Columbia. For information about season subscriptions and single tickets, call 410-465-8777 or go to http://www.columbiaorchestra.org.

The orchestra also has a free chamber concert series on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 15, at 3 p.m.; and Sunday, May 31, at 3 p.m., at Christ Episcopal Church, 6800 Oakland Mills Road in Columbia.

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