In­ti­mate, in­ter­ac­tive con­cert first for HPO and Gemma New

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - LEONARD TURNEVICIUS

What’s new at the Hamil­ton Phil­har­monic Orches­tra? Glad you asked.

Mu­sic di­rec­tor Gemma New is try­ing out some­thing new at the HPO: an in­ti­mate and im­mer­sive con­cert that will be held on Wed­nes­day, May 17 at 7:30 p.m. in The Stu­dio at FirstOn­tario Con­cert Hall.

“This con­cert is a new for­mat,” said New via cell­phone last week. “It’s a new ex­pe­ri­ence. We want this con­cert to be where mu­si­cians and au­di­ence mem­bers can in­ter­act and re­late and make it more of an in­ti­mate evening.”

In­ti­mate? Au­di­ence mem­bers will be seated around a cham­ber­sized HPO, a con­cert in the round, if you will. New, who’ll host, also said that there would be mood light­ing as well as two screens on ei­ther side of the stu­dio upon which visu­als would be pro­jected dur­ing the ap­prox­i­mately hour-long pro­gram.

“I’ll be giv­ing a back­story about the mu­sic, but we re­ally are ex­plor­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion and how we all re­late as hu­man be­ings to mu­sic,” said New.

Oh, just about for­got — the mu­sic. The bill in­cludes Mozart’s “Eine kleine Nacht­musik,” Ives’s “The Unan­swered Ques­tion,” Bach’s “Bran­den­burg Con­certo no. 3” as well as the sec­ond move­ment from his “Con­certo for Violin and Oboe” with HPO con­cert­mas­ter Stephen Si­tarski and prin­ci­pal oboe Gra­ham Macken­zie, plus Stravin­sky’s “Dum­bar­ton Oaks Con­certo.”

Nice. But why noth­ing from the Ro­man­tic era?

“This is mu­sic I adore,” said New. “We wanted shorter works for this so that we could have a bit more of the min­gling, the talk­ing, the in­ter­ac­tive­ness. The au­di­ence will be in­volved on an in­ter­ac­tive level.”

Lo­cal elec­tronic rock band Il­litry, who guested on a mash-up with a hand­ful of HPOers at the HPO’s In­die Se­ries back in June 2015 and then later at a Su­per­crawl, are the warm-up act. They’ll also take sound sam­ples from the con­cert’s first half, and use those in their set dur­ing the 20-minute in­ter­mis­sion.

New was in­spired to set up this in­ti­mate-im­mer­sive con­cert af­ter see­ing it done suc­cess­fully at the New World Sym­phony in Mi­ami and the Los An­ge­les Phil­har­monic.

“I’m try­ing to give a whole ex­pe­ri­ence,” pitched New who didn’t want to give away too much about the evening. “I want peo­ple to come and ex­pe­ri­ence it and see ex­actly what it is. Any­one who comes is go­ing to feel like they’re go­ing on a cre­ative jour­ney. If you love mu­sic, you will love this.”

Tick­ets: $25. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

We’ll have more on the HPO’s What Next Fes­ti­val next week, but for now, the pre-event launch is on Tues­day, May 16 at 5:30 p.m. at HPO prin­ci­pal clar­inet Stephen Pierre’s home out­side of Hamil­ton. Ex­act lo­ca­tion given at time of ticket pur­chase. Tick­ets: $25. Call 905-5267756 or visit hpo.org.

Zoltan Kal­man’s Burling­ton Con­cert Band is primed for a Canada 150 con­cert on Fri­day, May 12 at 8 p.m. in St. Thomas the Apos­tle Church, 715 Cen­tre Rd., Wa­ter­down.

“This is our way of ex­press­ing our grat­i­tude to what we have here in Canada,” said Kal­man over the line from his Hamil­ton home.

The sesqui salute opens with the BCB and their spe­cial guests, the Do­fasco Male Cho­rus un­der Nancy Bul­li­vant, team­ing up for “O Canada” and “God Save the Queen.” The BCB’s set will in­clude Bill Thomas’s “Blue Lake and Rocky Shore,” Ryan Mee­boer’s “The Cen­ten­nial,” orig­i­nally writ­ten for the BCB’s 100th an­niver­sary in 2008, plus Ralph Vaughan Wil­liams’s “English Folk Song Suite,” the lat­ter led by BCB as­sis­tant con­duc­tor Ju­lian Lam. The DMC’s set will in­clude “A White Sport Coat,” “Em­brace­able You,” and other party pieces. Af­ter in­ter­mis­sion, the DMC’s Cana­dian set will in­clude “Song for the Mira,” “Fog­a­rty’s Cove,” “Hal­lelu­jah” by Leonard Co­hen, and “The Maple Leaf For­ever,” the lat­ter two ac­com­pa­nied by the BCB. The BCB will counter with Vince Gassi’s “Cana­dian Folk Tril­ogy,” Howard Ca­ble’s ar­range­ment of Doris Cla­man’s “Hockey Night in Canada,” and three move­ments from Dar­ius Mil­haud’s 1944 “Suite fran­caise.”

“I thought that we could in­clude some­thing French be­cause of the bilin­gual­ism in Canada,” said Kal­man of the Mil­haud.

Tick­ets: $15, at door or at burling­ton­con­cert­band.ca. A por­tion of the pro­ceeds will go to sup­port Be­reaved Fam­i­lies of On­tario, South Cen­tral.

On the af­ter­noon of Tues­day, May 16 in the Royal Botan­i­cal Gar­dens, Kal­man and the BCB will add a re­gal feather to their caps when they per­form be­fore roy­alty as The Nether­lands’ Princess Mar­griet makes an of­fi­cial visit to On­tario.

“It’s a tremen­dous hon­our for us,” said Kal­man of the royal to-do at which they’ll per­form the Mee­boer, the Gassi, the Thomas, and Mike Hene­bry’s take on “We’ll Meet Again.”

On Satur­day, May 13 at 7 p.m. in West­dale United, 99 North Oval, Si­mon Irv­ing’s Cana­dian Orpheus Male Choir holds its 40th An­nual Con­cert with vo­cal­ists Mar­garet Bar­dos, Lo­ralee McGuirl plus the HCC’s Lads & Gents Choir. Tick­ets: $25. Visit comc.ca.

At 7:30 p.m. in The Church of St. John the Evan­ge­list, 320 Charl­ton Ave. W., Roger Bergs’s Mu­si­cata presents “Stradi­var­ius and Song” with guest vi­o­lin­ist An­dréa Tyniec. Pre-con­cert talk at 7 p.m. Tick­ets: $25, se­nior $20, stu­dent $5, chil­dren free.

At 7:30 p.m. in St. Christo­pher’s Angli­can, 662 Guelph Line, Burling­ton, Gary Fisher’s Burling­ton Civic Chorale presents “Canada Salutes the Amer­i­cas.” Tick­ets: ad­vance $20, at door $25. Call 905-5772425.

Leonard Turnevicius writes about clas­si­cal mu­sic for The Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor. leonard­turnevi­cius@gmail.com

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