Columbia Orchestra presents classics and new music

Howard County Times

Known for presenting diverse repertory, the Columbia Orchestra promises to get really eclectic with a program titled “Visions of Home” on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m. at Jim Rouse Theatre.

“This concert has something for both connoisseurs and newbies,” remarked Columbia Orchestra music director Jason Love. “These are composers who are unique to their time and place.”

Ranging from 19th- and early-20th-century classical music selections to contemporary music from our own 21st century, the program should be held together by what Love characterized as “high energy ... and with a dance element.”

From the standard repertory, Antonin Dvorak’s Scherzo capriccioso is an 1883 composition filled with this Bohemian-born composer’s love of Czech folk music. It’s so festive, in fact, that you also may be reminded of circus music.

Although Dvorak is a frequently performed composer, Love noted that this particular piece is not performed as often as it was several decades ago.

Also hailing from Central Europe and fitting within its rich symphonic tradition is Richard Strauss. He is represented on the upcoming concert program by his Suite from Der Rosenkavalier. Distilling musical highlights of this 1911 opera into an orchestral composition, Strauss produced a piece that remains an audience favorite. Strauss truly embodies the musical sound associated with Vienna.

While Dvorak and Strauss evoke that earlier musical culture, the other two pieces on the Columbia Orchestra program are by contemporary composers who are taking classical music into the 21st century.

The guest composers for this program are Sarah Kirkland Snider and Daniel Bernard Roumain.

Love said that Snider’s composition “Hiraeth” was inspired by visits she made to her grandparents in Salisbury, North Carolina. The music will be accompanied by a film by Mark DiChiazza about life in a small town.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Snider is a prolific composer for orchestral, chamber and choral music. She also writes art songs. Very much a product of our own time and place, her music has been described as having an “indie classical” sound.

This is reflected in the venues where Snider’s music is performed. In New York City, for instance, her compositions have been heard at such classical music temples as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, as well as such avant-garde music-oriented clubs as Le Poisson Rouge. Besides all of her compositional activity, Snider is co-artistic director of the non-profit record label New Amsterdam Records.

In terms of presenting her on the Columbia Orchestra program, Love described Snider as being among the “up and coming composers, and also the female composers” he wants to include in the Columbia Orchestra schedule.

Also, while he did not personally know Snider, Love said that as a native of North Carolina, he was really affected by her North Carolina-inspired “Hiraeth.”

Love described composer Roumain as “a friend from way back.” A Haitian-American composer, Roumain is represented on the upcoming program by “La, La, La, La,” in which he offers a classical take on hip-hop dance club music. It’s the kind of urban vibe that Jason Love is eager to share with his audience.

Columbia Orchestra performs on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Jim Rouse Theatre, 5460 Trumpeter Road in Columbia. Tickets are $22 and $28, $18 and $24 for seniors, $10 and $12 for students. Call 410-465-8777 or go to columbiaorchestra.org

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