Saturday, November 09, 2013

Symphony Nova - Another Nugget in Boston's Mother Lode of Cultural Gold

Lawrence Isaacson
Conducts Symphony Nova

I often rhapsodize in my White Rhino Report postings about how blessed we are in Boston to live in a metropolitan area that is richly endowed with world class universities, cutting edge companies, the best medical facilities in the world, some of the most successful sports team of this century - and  more than our fair share of truly extraordinary cultural institutions.  I am adding to that personal inventory of cultural blessings Symphony Nova.  I had a chance to hear them and watch them perform for the first time last evening in Copley Square at historic Old South Church  This will not be my last time of treating myself to their music.

The mission of the orchestra is unique.  Under the director of Conductor and Music Director, Lawrence Isaacson and Assistant Conductor and General Manager, Michael Reichman, the orchestra seeks to prepare the next generation of professional musicians to take their place at the music stands of the world's top symphony orchestras.

Let me share with you how they explicate their mission and methods:

Our Mission: To turn today's aspiring orchestral musicians into tomorrow's successful artists.

Organizational History: Founded in 2007 as the Neponset Valley Philharmonic Orchestra (NVPO), we performed our first two seasons at Showcase Live in Foxboro, MA. In 2009, we began presenting concerts at schools in the Neponset Valley including King Philip Regional High School(Wrentham) and Canton High School, where we continue to perform today. In addition to our formal concert season, our musicians create and present educational programs in local schools (including string quartet, brass quintet, woodwind quintet, and single instrument workshops). 

In early 2012, we changed our name from the NVPO to Symphony Nova, and expanded our vision to become a professional training orchestra – making Symphony Nova the only professional training orchestra in New England. As of today, we now have a central office at Old South Church in Copley Square, and perform concerts at Old South Church as well as in the Neponset Valley. Our musicians are graduates from internationally-acclaimed music schools in Boston and beyond. 

Symphony Nova has an active Board of Directors and Advisory Council, and a part-time staff which includes a Music Director and Conductor, Assistant Conductor, Operations Manager, Marketing and Development Associate, Personnel Manager, Librarian and Intern. 

What Makes Us Different? Symphony Nova is New England’s first and only training orchestra. As a paid, professional training orchestra, we offer programs to not only prepare our musicians for the rigors of a career in performance, but also to develop business and interpersonal skills that are required for long-term success. These topics, which are not typically offered in conservatory programs, include grant writing, tax preparation and personal finances, mock auditions, and the creation and performance of educational concerts. Another element which differentiates us from most ensembles is that we offer our musicians valuable experience working side-by-side with seasoned professionals as guest section leaders. We aim to develop self-sufficient musicians who will use their classical music background to explore culturally relevant opportunities to connect with today’s shifting artistic world. With the many changes happening in the traditional business and artistic model of the symphony orchestra, we want to be on the crest of the tide – not only to ensure the success of our musicians, but also the longevity of this important cultural medium. 

 The Boston metro area is uniquely suited for a professional training orchestra due to the high value its residents place on classical music, its position as a hub of innovation, and the volume of musicians graduating from local music schools and conservatories each year. We will create a pipeline for young, professional musicians, moving them from conservatories to their careers, many of whom will stay in the Boston area for years to come. This improves the quality of life and economy of the community as a whole. We strive to provide the public the opportunity to hear standard and contemporary music at the highest professional level, and at reasonable prices.

The mission makes sense and the music is first class.  Last night's "String Fling" program featured a string chamber orchestra culled from the larger symphony.  The pieces were largely familiar ones from the classical repertoire, with a wild card thrown in of a contemporary piece- "Last Round" by Argentine born composer Osvaldo Golojov (b. 1960).  The piece  was essentially a tango on steroids, and was delightful.  The audience of music lovers also responded warmly to the rest of the programmatic offerings:

Tchaikovsky's lush "Serenade for Strings"

Bach's "Double Violin Concerto in d Minor" - featuring Julia Hunter and Angel Valchinov

Mozart's "Divertimento, K. 136"

Holst's "St. Paul's Suite"

I love the idea of the orchestra and I appreciate their execution of the vision.  What a great opportunity to give young professional musicians a chance to perfect their pizzicato or to embellish their embouchure in paid engagements performing some of the world's greatest music in front of a live audience several times a year.

This same program will be offered on Sunday, November 10 at King Philip High School in Wrentham.

Symphony Nova Website



No comments: