Intimate, interactive concert first for HPO and Gemma New
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. firstname.lastname@example.org