On June 16 the Londontowne Symphony Orchestra will travel north to Broadneck High School in Annapolis to perform a concert to end its third season of providing classical music.
Most future concerts of the 40-member symphony orchestra will be held at the usual venue, at Southern High School auditorium in Harwood. However Londontowne Orchestra President Kathy Solano recently explained, "We have a goal of finding new venues where we can expose the Londontowne Symphony to more citizens in Anne Arundel County."
Of a concert being planned, Solano said, "We will perform a Centennial Gala concert at Severna Park High School in October to benefit the Community Center in Severna Park."
Londontowne Symphony consists of many professional musicians who donate their time, as well as skilled musicians from Anne Arundel County who are also music teachers, college professors, retired entertainers and gifted students who are eager to perform with an orchestra that strives for excellence.
The closing program of the season will be conducted by Brenda Leach, who joined the Towson University music faculty in 2005 and serves as conductor of the university orchestra.
"We have heard wonderful things about Dr. Leach, who has often conducted in Russia," says Solano.
Having completed orchestral conducting studies as a post-doctoral student at St. Petersburg Conservatory, Leach later conducted many Russian orchestras, including the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the St. Petersburg State Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra at the Hermitage Museum and the Novgorod Symphony. She has also conducted orchestras in Bulgaria and Estonia, as well as in Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island and at such festivals as Interlochen and Chautauqua.
At a Londontowne Orchestra rehearsal at Cape St. Claire United Methodist Church on Tuesday, Leach seemed remarkably good-natured and energetic despite the sweltering heat. She was down-to-earth while intent on helping musicians get passages of Copland's "Hoedown" exactly right.
The June 16 concert at Broadneck High School will feature 19-year-old violinist Vitaly Briskin as soloist.
"Briskin is the son of a professional violinist who is a Russian immigrant," says Solano. "We've planned a program where America meets Russia in Copland's 'Hoedown,' which is one of the most recognized classical music selections written by an American composer."
Briskin will perform Felix Mendelssohn's violin concerto, an enduringly popular work of beautiful themes and subtle sentiment that was composed between 1838 and 1844 and is considered a romantic jewel for violin.
The orchestra will also perform "Hoedown," which has been used in numerous movies and television shows. It is from the quintessentially American "Rodeo," a ballet about a ranch wedding.
The major work on the program will be Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, which has a funereal theme that transforms into a march. Written in 1888 during the happiest period of his life, this is one of the composer's most popular works, with its memorable 2nd Movement horn solo. This melodic theme was used for the popular 1940s song "Moon Love." The symphony's main theme of ultimate victory through strife made it popular during World War II.
Of Tchaikovsky's work, Solano says, "It was chosen because it is one of the best, well-known Russian works. It exposes each section of the orchestra with beautiful melodies and sonorities."
Tickets may be purchased at the door on the night of the concert for $15 each (or two for $25), with student and senior tickets available for $10 for the June 16 concert at Broadneck High School at 1265 Green Holly Drive in the Cape St. Claire region of Annapolis.