GREENSBORO – The Vermont Philharmonic opens its 65th season with a concert program that features orchestral musical connections across three centuries. Concerts are Saturday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m., at the Highland Center for the Arts and Sunday, Oct. 22, at 2 p.m., at the Barre Opera House.
The program opens with “Symphony No. 2 in D Major” written in 1779 by Joseph Bologne, the first classical composer of African descent who reached stardom throughout Europe and was dubbed by Marie Antoinette as Chevalier de Saint-Georges. An older contemporary of Mozart, whom he may have influenced, Bologne’s music is clever and pleasing.
Florence Price wrote “Ethiopia’s Shadow in America” 150 years after the Saint-Georges symphony. The three colorful movements depict “The Arrival of the Negro in America when first brought here as a slave”, “His resignation and faith”, and “His adaptation – a fusion of his native and acquired impulses”. Price was African-American, a graduate of the New England Conservatory in 1906, underappreciated during her lifetime and for nearly 70 years after her death. It was only in 2009 that many of her over 300 compositions were found in her abandoned summer home and are starting to get the attention they deserve.
The concert concludes with one of the most beloved classical symphonies, Antonin Dvorak’s major work, his “Symphony No. 9 From the New World”, written in 1893 during his three-year stay in the United States. Dvorak uses elements of spirituals and native American music. According to legend, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon to a recording of this Dvorak symphony during the historic Apollo 11 mission on June 20, 1969.
Tickets are available online at vermontphilharmonic.com or at the door.
Currently celebrating its 65th Season, the Vermont Philharmonic is composed of professional and talented amateur musicians from throughout Vermont. It is Vermont’s oldest community orchestra, founded in 1959 by Jon Borowicz, emeritus professor of music at Norwich University. Since 1993, the Vermont Philharmonic’s home base has been the Barre Opera House. Lou Kosma has been the music director of the Philharmonic since 1999.