BSO Invites Adult Amateur Musicians to Participate in Third “Onstage At Symphony”

Mike Lawson • News • December 26, 2016

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The Boston Symphony Orchestra welcomes over one hundred adult amateur musicians from sixty-seven Massachusetts communities to Boston’s Symphony Hall for the third “Onstage at Symphony, ” January 11-14, 2016.

The program, inaugurated in January 2015, provides a unique opportunity for adult musicians—who have a love for musical performance but have pursued alternate career paths—to perform and rehearse at Symphony Hall in an orchestral environment. The “Onstage at Symphony” Orchestra will be led by BSO Youth and Family Concerts Conductor Thomas Wilkins in rehearsals and a final free public performance on Symphony Hall’s historic stage, on Saturday, January 14. Please see below for a complete list of participants and their hometowns.

The performance at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 14, will feature the music from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty, Danse Negre by Coleridge-Taylor, the Intermezzo from Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, selections from Grieg’s Peer Gynt, and music from Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila. The BSO selected participants from a pool of applications on a lottery basis. Chosen participants will attend three rehearsals—on Wednesday evening, January 11, Thursday evening, January 12—as well as Saturday morning, January 14, and will complete their experience by performing a free Saturday-afternoon concert on the stage of Symphony Hall.

Thomas Wilkins, Germeshausen Youth And Family Concerts Conductor

Completed in 1917 when Sergei Prokofiev was only in his mid-20s, yet already well-known in St. Petersburg as a rebellious and brilliant composer of innovative modernist music, the Symphony No. 1 came as something of a surprise. Given the label Classical, cast in a traditional four-movement structure, and calling for an orchestra of modest proportions, the piece was described by the composer himself as having been written in the manner that he imagined Haydn would have employed were he alive. It is nevertheless packed full of inventive and playful modern touches, including rapid and wide-ranging shifts of harmony, rhythmic surprises, and musical jokes built on the creation and contradiction of expectations—something Haydn would certainly have recognized and admired. Music Director of the Omaha Symphony since 2005, Thomas Wilkins also holds the positions of Principal Guest Conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra as well as the [Thomas Wilkins] Germeshausen Family and Youth Concert Conductor chair with the Boston Symphony. Past positions have included Resident Conductor of the Detroit Symphony, the Florida Orchestra (Tampa Bay), and Associate Conductor of the Richmond (VA) Symphony. He also has served on the music faculties of North Park University (Chicago), the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Devoted to promoting a life-long enthusiasm for music, Thomas Wilkins brings energy and commitment to audiences of all ages. He is hailed as a master at communicating and connecting with audiences.  Following his highly successful first season with the Boston Symphony, the Boston Globe named him among the “Best People and Ideas of 2011.” A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Thomas Wilkins is a graduate of the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music, and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.  He and his wife, Sheri-Lee, are the proud parents of twin daughters, Erica and Nicole.

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