Toledo Symphony Orchestra

Toledo Symphony, Toledo Ballet to merge

From TOLEDO ALLIANCE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS The Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet today announced plans to merge the area’s oldest performing arts institutions. The Toledo Symphony, celebrating its 75th anniversary, is recognized as one of the finest regional orchestras in the country. The Toledo Ballet, celebrating its 78th season, is recognized as one of America’s finest pre-professional dance programs. By joining forces, the Symphony and Ballet will build on an accumulated 153 years of performing arts history to present the finest performing arts in the region and reaffirm their shared focus upon education. The merged organization will be known as the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts, or T.A.P.A. The new non-profit is expected to form effective January 1, 2019. The Symphony and Ballet will continue to operate as sibling brands under the T.A.P.A. umbrella. Zak Vassar, President & CEO of the Toledo Symphony will become CEO of the combined organization. The Toledo Ballet has operated for several months without an Executive Director. “This partnership is a natural one,” says Vassar, “The Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet have worked together for over 70 years, with the Symphony serving as the Ballet’s pit orchestra. Our archives are rich with collaborations, and we have a great history of working together to entertain and inspire this community.” The Toledo Symphony first performed with the Toledo Ballet in the 1949 performance of the Nutcracker. The orchestra has supported the Ballet in every Nutcrackersince, celebrating the nation’s longest-running production of Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet. Additionally, the Symphony has presented dancers from Toledo Ballet in many of its series performances, including the Rite of Springin 2015. “Marie Vogt choreographed several special performances for the Toledo Symphony in the 1950s under then-Music Director Wolfgang Streseman,” recalls Robert Bell, President Emeritus of the Toledo Symphony. “There were special performances of music by Copland and Enescu at the Paramount and Rivoli theaters, too. The Ballet’s dancers beautifully enhanced each program with fresh choreography.” During this formative period of the Toledo Ballet under Marie’s passionate and unwavering commitment to the art, the Symphony retained the Ballet for a variety of educational concerts as well imaginatively staged productions of the Nutcracker Suite. Besides presenting memorable performances, the Symphony and Ballet have common roots in education. The Toledo Symphony, through the Toledo Symphony School of Music and…

Dietz finds a place among the masters on Toledo Symphony program

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Alain Trudel debuts as conductor of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Sept. 21 and 22, ( he’ll call on some heavy hitters in classical music to help with the introductions. The concerts will open with Beethoven’s iconic Fifth Symphony and its majestic four-note clarion call. The second half will be devoted to the music from Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Swan Lake” with dancers from the Toledo Ballet.  And then tucked in between Beethoven and the intermission will be “Caldera” by Christopher Dietz, a professor of composition at Bowling Green State University. Dietz said he’s delighted to be on the program. “It’s a little weird seeing my name in the middle between those two,” he said. While his fellow composers on the program are represented by mature work, “Caldera” was actually Dietz’ first successful orchestral piece. He composed it in 2004 while he was studying for his doctorate at the University of Michigan. The title means a large volcanic crater, but that came well after the piece was composed Dietz said. “I just wanted to write 11 to 12 minutes of robust, energetic, intense orchestral music.” This was not his first try. “The first one was so big and grotesque and impossible to play,” he said. The second was a chamber symphony that “lacked chutzpah.” “Caldera” hit the Goldilocks spot. The piece has a churning, forward momentum full of sparkling instrumental touches. Every instrument in the orchestra gets a chance to shine. Dietz said in this instance he “had a better sense of what an orchestra can do given the rehearsal time they have.” This is the second time the orchestra will perform “Caldera.” Back in 2007, then Resident Conductor Chelsea Tipton put the piece on a Classics Concert he was leading. Dietz knew Tipton through his wife, Emily Price Dietz, who has played French horn in the orchestra since 2000. Dietz said he showed the piece to the conductor and was surprised he programmed it. “Caldera” resurfaced during conversations between Dietz and the orchestra’s CEO Zak Vassar at the Toledo Symphony Student Composer Reading Sessions. Dietz initiated that program when he came to BGSU in 2010.  Vassar was interested in having a new orchestral work from the composer, and that was arranged, and will be performed next season by the symphony….

Toledo Symphony welcomes Trudel as music director, kicks off 75th anniversary season

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The Toledo Symphony Orchestra welcomes new Music Director Alain Trudel to Toledo for its first ProMedica Masterworks series concert for a community celebration featuring local composer Christopher Dietz from Bowling Green State University and dancers from Toledo Ballet. Two performances of Trudel’s Debut will take place Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 8 p.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theater. “This weekend kicks off our 75th Birthday celebration. It was September 1943 when what is now the Toledo Symphony gave its inaugural performance,” said Zak Vassar, President and CEO of the Toledo Symphony. “We will spend a lot of this season looking back over the past 75 years and where the orchestra has been in our community. With Alain’s arrival, this season represents a great moment of artistic change for our organization, but it also represents a great opportunity to raise a glass to where we’ve been and how far we’ve come.” “I am so excited for our season opener and my official debut as Toledo Symphony Music Director. I’m looking forward to bringing some of my new ideas to the table in the 2018-2019 season. Each concert will feature music you know and love and something new for audiences to discover. We hope you can join us to experience the power of live music,” said Alain Trudel, Music Director of the Toledo Symphony. The programs on Friday and Saturday evening open with one of the most recognizable themes in all of music from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The opening four-note motif has been featured in movies, television commercials, and popular culture for decades, such as The Breakfast Club (1985), Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002), and The PeanutsThe Toledo Symphony Orchestra welcomes new Music Director Alain Trudel to Toledo for its first ProMedica Masterworks series concert for a community celebration featuring local composer Christopher Dietz from Bowling Green State University and dancers from Toledo Ballet. Two performances of Trudel’s Debut will take place Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 8 PM at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theater. “This weekend kicks off our 75th Birthday celebration. It was September 1943 when what is now the Toledo Symphony gave its inaugural performance,” said Zak Vassar, President & CEO of the Toledo Symphony. “We will…

Toledo Symphony celebrates Bernstein by playing ‘West Side Story’ soundtrack live with film

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA On Saturday, September 29, 2018 at 8 P.M. at the Stranahan Theater, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) opens its 2018-2019 KeyBank Pops series with West Side Story: Film with Live Orchestra. The TSO joins the worldwide celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday to perform his electrifying score to West Side Story while the Oscar®-winning film is shown in high definition on the big screen above the stage. The film will be projected on a large screen above the orchestra, taking the audience through a captivating journey of musical storytelling. Music Director Alain Trudel will not only lead the orchestra, but he will follow a series of synchronized cues from a click track to stay in coordination with the film on stage. “It’s a classic movie with a fun and entertaining story,” said Alain Trudel, Music Director of the Toledo Symphony. “The score is challenging, and so is coordinating the music to the film, which only adds to the fun.” Toledo Symphony President & CEO, Zak Vassar, is a particular admirer of West Side Story and its creator, Leonard Bernstein. “West Side Story is about as iconic as Broadway gets,” said Vassar. “With music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics from Stephen Sondheim, and choreography by Jerome Robbins, this show was bound to succeed. Its melodies are so catchy, its words so sincere, and the dancing so vivid. Now, as the music world celebrates Bernstein’s centennial, I’m excited for the TSO to bring this great music back to life and provide us a space to reconsider this fantastic film.” Orchestras around the world are joining together for the two year global celebration of the life and career of legendary composer and conductor, Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990). Bernstein transformed the way Americans and people everywhere hear and appreciate music. His successes as a composer ranged from the Broadway stage—West Side Story, On the Town, Wonderful Town, and Candide—to concert halls all over the world, where his orchestral and choral music continues to thrive.  

Toledo Symphony board elects first female president

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA TOLEDO — At its annual meeting on Thursday, June 21, 2018, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Trustees elected long-time board member Pam S. Hershberger to be the organization’s 27th Board Chair. In this role, she will oversee the direction and governance of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (TSO), working with the Board’s officers, committees, and Trustees, alongside the orchestra’s President & CEO, Zak Vassar. Pam Hershberger was first elected to the orchestra’s Board of Trustees in 2008 and is the first female Board Chair to be elected since Emma Endres-Kountz, Founding President of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra (1951). “I am proud and excited to assume the Board leadership of our outstanding Toledo Symphony Orchestra. We have much momentum thanks in large part to the leadership of Randy Oostra over the past four years,” said Pam Hershberger, Board Chair of the Toledo Symphony. “I look forward to working with Zak Vassar and the rest of our team to continue to move the orchestra forward to even greater heights.” “I’ve worked with Pam for two years now,” said TSO President & CEO Zak Vassar “and I appreciate her wisdom, prudence, and guidance very much. We have already tackled several large projects together, and I am excited to see where her bold leadership and strategy will take the orchestra in the coming seasons.” Pam Hershberger succeeds Randy Oostra, President & CEO of ProMedica, who has led the organization as Board Chairman since 2014. “It has been my pleasure serving as Chairman of the Toledo Symphony Board. The musicians and staff of the TSO are truly an impressive group of dedicated professionals who bring a wonderful variety of musical experiences to our community,” said Randy Oostra, Past Chair. “As I pass the baton to Pam, I know the organization is in extremely talented hands, and I look forward to continuing to support TSO as it continues to bring a myriad of fantastic opportunities for engagement to our entire region. Thank you to all of the TSO’s volunteers and supporters who make the Symphony a success.” The Toledo Symphony Board of Trustees elected nine new Board members to join the organization at its annual meeting: James Adams, Jameel Burkett, Susan L. Conda, Debbie Sauder David, Charlene D. Gilbert, Saga Shoffner, Rebecca E. Shope, Olivia Summons, and Stephen…

Toledo Zoo to host symphony & swing concerts

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The Mercy Health Music Under the Stars at the Toledo Zoo Amphitheater will begin Sunday, July 8. Unwind on a warm Sunday evening and enjoy great music performed by the Toledo Symphony Concert Band, Toledo Symphony Chamber Players, Toledo Jazz Orchestra, and more. This year, each show will feature a fun musical theme aimed at family enjoyment. Each performance will be held at the Toledo Zoo’s Amphitheatre at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. July 8 – Stars, Stripes, and Sousa with the Toledo Symphony Concert Band July 15 – Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars: The Music of John Williams with the Toledo Symphony Concert Band July 22 – Christmas in July with the Toledo Symphony Chamber Players July 29 – Swing, Swing, Swing: Music of the Big Band Stars with the Toledo Jazz Orchestra. The Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) will be offering its Music Under the Stars Shuttle once again for those wishing to participate in the Park-N-Ride Service. Music Under the Stars Shuttle Park-N-Ride locations are: Maumee – St. Luke’s Hospital (5901 Monclova Road) Sylvania – Centennial Terrace (main parking lot, 5773 Centennial Road) Toledo – Franklin Park Mall (parking lot behind Old Navy; pick up at shelters on Royer Road) Toledo – Miracle Mile Shopping Center (near the shelter, 1727 West Laskey Road) Waterville – Kroger (8730 Waterville Swanton Road) Patrons are to arrive at any TARTA Music Under the Stars Shuttle Park-N-Ride location at 6:30 PM for a direct round trip ride to the Toledo Zoo’s Broadway entrance. Bus fare is $1.25 per person each way (60 cents for Seniors 65+ and Medicare cardholders) and is payable before each trip from the Toledo Zoo’s Amphitheatre aboard shuttle. Return trips will leave 20 minutes after the end of each concert.

Indigo Girls to perform with Toledo Symphony, June 1

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The Grammy award-winning Indigo Girls—iconic duo Amy Ray and Emily Saliers—will come to Toledo on June 1, 2018 at 8 p.m. for a one-night-only Spotlight Event at the Stranahan Theater to perform some of their greatest hits including “Closer to Fine,” “Power of Two,” and “Galile” —all with full orchestra in a new sonic experience. Sara Jobin will lead the Toledo Symphony Orchestra for her final performance as Resident Conductor in this program of folk and symphonic music. Three decades after releasing their first album and countless U.S. and international tours later, the Indigo Girls continue to make waves on the music scene. They remain the only duo with top 40 titles on the Billboard 200 each decade since the 1980s. In 2012, Emily Saliers and Amy Ray began collaborating with orchestrators to create larger-than-life arrangements that combine the original instrumentation with a full orchestra of musicians, fusing together folk, rock, pop, and symphonic music into one. They have performed with more than 50 symphonies across America to date and will perform with the Toledo Symphony for the very first time in June. “The Indigo Girls have achieved a new and raw experience all over again without sacrificing any of the emotional qualities that defined their music over the years,” said Felecia Kanney, Director of Marketing for the Toledo Symphony. “It’s incredible. Together, they totally unleash the full power of symphony orchestra, performing with our musicians as opposed to in front them, and you will definitely hear that in their arrangements that are more akin to the music of John Williams’ film scores as opposed to music of Bach or Haydn.” “When I hear the symphony come in, it’s a convergence of a lot of feelings,” says Emily Saliers, according to the Indigo Girls website biography ( “First, you can’t believe your good fortune that it’s really happening, and then you’re hit with the power of this enormous, full orchestra coming from behind you. Even when we play by ourselves now, I can’t perform these songs without hearing the orchestra in my head.” Indigo Girls will take place Friday, June 1, 2018 at 8 p.m. at the Stranahan Theater. Tickets are available at or by calling the Toledo Symphony Box Office at 419-246-8000.

Alain Trudel makes debut as Toledo Symphony’s music director

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Praised for his “immense talent as conductor, musician, and performer” by La Presse, acclaimed Canadian conductor Alain Trudel returns to the Peristyle stage to conduct his first ProMedica Classics Series concerts since being appointed Music Director of the Toledo Symphony. Trudel will join Van Cliburn gold medalist Jon Nakamatsu for an exhilarating program inspired by the iconic Dies irae motif, performing Liszt’s Totentanz and Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. The program will finish with Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz. Alain Trudel has conducted every major orchestra in Canada, as well as orchestras in the UK, Sweden, Brazil, Italy, Russia, Japan, Hong-Kong, Malaysia, and Latin America. First known to the public as “the Jascha Heifetz of the trombone” by Le Monde de la musique, Trudel has also been a guest soloist with orchestras worldwide, including Philharmonique de Radio-France, Hong-Kong Philharmonic, Austrian Radio Orchestra, Festival Musica Strasbourg (France), Klangbogen Festival (Vienna), and Akiyoshidai and Hamamatsu Festival (Japan). “Alain last appeared at the Peristyle in April 2017, when he conducted Tchaikovsky and Dvořák,” says Zak Vassar, President & CEO of the Toledo Symphony. “Little did we know then that he would win the hearts of our musicians, trustees, and administration and become our next Music Director. I’m thrilled for audiences to see Alain again and glimpse what future concerts will bring.” American pianist Jon Nakamatsu continues to draw unanimous praise as a true virtuoso of the keyboard, whose playing combines elegance, clarity, and electrifying power. A native of California, Nakamatsu came to international attention in 1997 when he was named Gold Medalist of the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, the only American to have achieved this distinction since 1981. Nakamatsu has performed widely in North and South America, Europe, and the Far East, collaborating with such conductors as James Conlon, Marek Janowski, Raymond Leppard, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Osmo Vänskä, and Hans Vonk. He also performed at a White House concert hosted by President and Mrs. Clinton. Performances will take place Friday, March 23, and Saturday, March 24 at 8 p.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle Theater. Tickets are available at or by calling the Toledo Symphony Box Office at 419-246-8000.

Symphony’s North Star Festival celebrates music of African Americans

From the TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Toledo has a rich history as a safe haven along the Underground Railroad, a 19th century network that helped many slaves escape to freedom. Toledo Symphony’s new North Star Festival highlights this local connection and celebrates the musical contribution of Black Americans throughout history. The Toledo Symphony Orchestra will present this North Star Festival from February through April in a series of concerts and collaborations, presenting music by Black American composers and about Black American history—from songs brought over to America during times of slavery to more contemporary music that pays tribute to the brave men and women of the Civil Rights Movement. “Lift Ev’ry Voice: The Musical Legacy of the Underground Railroad” will take place February 15, for two performances at 9:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle Theater. The Toledo Symphony Orchestra along with additional community organizations will come together to explore Toledo’s Underground Railroad history through music. Special friends from the Lathrop House will be on hand to narrate and make history come to life. This program features a screening of the word-less storybook “Unspoken” by Henry Cole and a sing-along of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” This event is sold out. A Preschool Storytime will take place February 22, at 10:30 a.m. at the Sanger branch of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. This Preschool Storytime will feature musical guest, members of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. Free and open to the public. Registration required. Reaching for Our Stars will take place February 25, at 5:00 p.m. at St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church. The Toledo Symphony Orchestra will perform a neighborhood concert in celebration of Black History Month. Tickets at St. Martin de Porres, 419-241-4544. An Instrument Petting Zoo will take place February 27, at 4:30 p.m. at the Kent branch of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. Children will see, hear, and play a variety of orchestral instruments. Members of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and the Toledo Symphony Youth Quartet will present music inspired by spirituals from the 1850s to present day. Free and open to the public. “A Conversation on Romance and Spirituals” will take place March 1, at 6:30 p.m. at the West Toledo branch of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. Merwin Siu, Toledo Symphony Artistic Administrator…

String music of Robert Schumann featured at St. Tim’s concert

From  ST. TIM’S DISCOVERS Musicians from the Toledo Symphony are featured in the next St. Tim’s Discovers Series event, scheduled for Sunday February 18 at 3 p.m.  in the sanctuary of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, 871 East Boundary Street, Perrysburg. Pianist Valrie Kantorski and the Zin Quartet will present music of German composer Robert Schumann in both duet and quintet forms. Opening with the Three Fantasy Pieces, Op.73, Ms. Kantorski will perform each movement with different combinations of the quartet personnel. Movement one features violinist Cheryl Trace, movement two pairs cellist Renee Goubeaux with Kantorski and the finale is a viola/piano duo with Kantorski and Kalindi Bellach. During the second portion of the recital, Ms. Kantorski and the quartet, including TSO principal second violinist Merwin Siu, will perform the Schumann Piano Quintet, Op. 44 in its entirety. The Quintet, composed in 1842 for Schumann’s wife, Clara Wieck, was considered ground breaking for its use of cello rather than double bass in a string quartet. The piece is majestic in scope and emotional range, an elegant showpiece for the ensemble. Valrie Kantorski is a Steinway Ensemble Artist and has been the primary keyboard musician for the Toledo Symphony for more than 30 years. Currently, she holds the Jonathan F. Orser Chair for keyboard. As a member of the Kantorski-Pope Piano Duo, Ms. Kantorski is a three-time recipient of the First Prize in the Graves Duo Piano Competition. She has an extensive career as a piano soloist, accompanist and ensemble performer. The Zin Quartet has performed previously on the St. Tim’s Discovers Series, most notably in two performances of Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of Christ. Valrie Kantorski also is a veteran of the St. Tim’s Series. With her duo partner Ann Pope, the two were the artists selected for the dedication of the St. Timothy’s Steinway piano in 2016. St. Tim’s Discovers is dedicated to bringing classical music to communities throughout Northwest Ohio. The performance is free and open to the public; doors open to the public at 2:30 PM. St. Timothy’s is fully accessible with plenty of convenient parking. Information on all upcoming events in the series is available at

Noted young pianist Stewart Goodyear to perform ‘Emperor’ concerto with Toledo Symphony

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Proclaimed “a phenomenon” by the Los Angeles Times and “one of the best pianists of his generation” by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Stewart Goodyear is an accomplished young pianist, concerto soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, and composer. Goodyear will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 “Emperor”- known for its virtuosic style and wide dynamic ranges – with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra on January 12 & 13 at 8:00 p.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle Theater. Goodyear began his musical training at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and later went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with legendary pianist Leon Fleisher. He then received his master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music. Mr. Goodyear has performed with major orchestras all over the world including the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and NHK Symphony Orchestra. Following Beethoven’s heroic Piano Concerto No. 5, Maestro Giordano Bellincampi will conduct Brahms’s radiant Symphony No. 2 on Friday and Saturday evening. “This is a great concert to attend if you’re looking for an experience to start your year off on the right note. The dazzling Beethoven’s Emperor coupled with Brahms’s Second and its ability to draw you into the music from the very first notes will leave you feeling uplifted and refreshed.” said Felecia Kanney, Director of Marketing for the Toledo Symphony. Two performances of Beethoven’s Emperor will take place January 12 & 13 at 8 p.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle Theater. Tickets to these performances are available at or by calling the Toledo Symphony Box Office.

Toledo Symphony, Toledo Ballet present classic “Nutcracker”

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The Toledo Ballet and Toledo Symphony will work closer than ever before in this December’s production of “The Nutcracker.” It will be the Toledo Ballet’s 77th annual presentation of Tchaikovsky’s beloved masterpiece. This is a partnership rooted in history, as the Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet have collaborated artistically on “The Nutcracker” since the 1940s. This year, the Toledo Ballet has committed to presenting “The Nutcracker” with the full Toledo Symphony in the orchestra pit. This makes the Toledo Ballet’s presentation of “Nutcracker” the only local production to include a full orchestra of professional musicians. The Toledo Ballet’s “Nutcracker,” presented in collaboration with the Toledo Symphony, will be performed December 9th at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and December 10th at 2 p.m. at the Stranahan Theater. Tickets range from $24-$56 and can be purchased by calling 419-246-8000 or visiting The Toledo Ballet’s “Nutcracker,” the longest-running annual production of the ballet in the nation, brings to life E.T.A. Hoffman’s magical story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince. “As two arts organizations, we individually present meaningful and relevant music and dance to our audiences, but we can do it so much better together. So, if you’re going to see ‘The Nutcracker’ this season, I want to make sure that you see the one with the full orchestra. Only then will you really grasp what Tchaikovsky was trying to achieve,” said Zak Vassar, President and CEO of the Toledo Symphony.“We are excited to partner with the Toledo Ballet in this special way. In an age where many ballet companies dance to prerecorded music, I am proud that the Toledo Ballet will perform with a full, live orchestra. It makes such a visceral difference for the audience and preserves the artistic tradition.” The partnership is not only musical, however. Beginning this season, the Toledo Symphony will incorporate “The Nutcracker” into its annual holiday series, where it will join the orchestra’s popular “Christmas at the Peristyle” and Handel’s Messiah. The orchestra will also provide marketing, public relations, and box office support for the Toledo Ballet’s three “Nutcracker” performances. “This kind of collaboration makes a lot of sense in a community like ours,” said Felecia Kanney, Marketing Director of the Toledo Symphony. “Adding the beloved ‘Nutcracker’ to the mix supports both organizations. We get to…

Powerhouse Brahms performance to highlight Toledo Symphony program, Nov. 17 & 18

From THE TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Violin virtuoso Rachel Barton Pine, known for her cross-over performances of classical music and heavy metal covers on violin, will perform the celebrated Brahms Violin Concerto with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra on Nov. 17 & 18 at 8 p.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle Theater.   Rachel Barton Pine has been featured on programs including PBS Newshour, The Today Show, NBC Network News’ “Making a Difference,” and CBS Sunday Morning. She began violin studies at age 3 and made her professional debut at age 7. Today, she is renowned as a leading interpreter of the great classical masterworks who performs with major orchestras around the world under the baton of conductors including Charles Dutoit, John Nelson, Zubin Mehta, Erich Leinsdorf, Neeme Järvi, and Marin Alsop.   The Brahms Violin Concerto is one of Pine’s longtime favorites, she considers it one of the most fulfilling works she performs. Pine has been fascinated with the Brahms Concerto since her earliest violin lessons.  She began studying the work when she was 14, and it rapidly became a mainstay of her repertoire. It was with the Brahms Concerto that she won several of her international prizes and made many of her debuts in Europe, America, and Israel. Rachel Barton Pine shares a strong connection with the Brahms Violin Concerto. “I’m always working to find an effective balance between intellectual validity and instinct — good ideas won’t be effective if you don’t feel them inside, but what you feel needs to be backed up by something more meaningful than ‘I like it that way.’ Basically, every performance needs to be a true collaboration between the performer and the composer, even if the composer has long passed away,” says Pine. Pine’s personal connections to the Brahms Violin Concerto even extend to the very instrument she uses to play it: a 1742 Guarneri violin hand-picked by Brahms himself for Marie Soldat, a talented musician who was one of the biggest champions of the composer’s Violin Concerto, and later became famous for playing it. Soldat received the violin in 1897, and since then it has been intimately connected to Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major. “I like to think that Brahms chose this violin in part because its voice represents most closely what he envisioned for…

Toledo Symphony gives voice to BGSU student composers work

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Before Tuesday, this music was just a complicated series of marks on score paper, residing on computer hard drives and in the composers’ heads. Then the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and conductor Michael Lewanski rolled into Kobacker Hall, and it all came to life in vivid orchestral colors. It filled the hall with brass chorales, tuba solos, swirling clarinets, flute melodies, the drone of double basses, harp glissandi, and swelling waves of strings. Sometimes the music was barely a whisper with the violins scraping their strings tonelessly and the brass players breathing through their horns. The music of future had arrived. Tuesday the sixth Toledo Symphony Student Composer Reading Session was held at Bowling Green State University. Each year five student composers, undergraduates and graduates, are selected to have their short orchestral pieces performed by the symphony. The five composers this year were: Kory Reeder, Graeme Materne, Adam Kennaugh, Chuanhao Zhang, and Ashlin Hunter. “For students to really hear these sounds played by high level professionals is quite exceptional. It’s really quite unusual,” said guest composer Andrew Norman, who would later meet with the composers to discuss their work. The Los Angeles-based composer said when he was asked to come to BGSU, “I expected to hear fabulous new music. “This university is known all over the country for being a center of really interesting progressive new music, and I wasn’t disappointed,” he said. “There was so many different kinds of music being made, such a wide diversity of approaches to the orchestra, and each composer had such a different sonic identity.” Merwin Siu, principal second violin and artistic administrator with the orchestra, echoed those sentiments. “You’re listening to people engaged in the process of finding their voice. They’re in various stages of that. When you hear somebody’s voice you think ‘wow, this person sounds like themselves, fully realized.’ That’s an exciting process.” “The students make a huge leap in one day,” said Christopher Dietz, a member of the BGSU composition faculty who runs the event. “Sometimes education is incremental, and that’s good. Other times you need to have that road to Damascus experience.” Each composition is played once through, then the student composer joins Lewanski at the podium and makes comments and takes questions from the conductor and members of…

Third grader Evie Van Vorhis blossoms as a singer

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News With the full force of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra at her back, Evie Van Vorhis let her voice soar. Performing before more than 1,000 of her elementary school peers in the Toledo Museum of Art, the young singer sent the dulcet melody of “Ave Maria” projecting to the very back of the hall. She was, conductor Sara Jobin said, probably the youngest soprano soloist the orchestra has accompanied. “That’s was crazy,” Evie said afterward, showing for all her preternatural talent, she’s still a third grader. Beforehand, she’d admitted, she was nervous. That was quite an admission for a singer who in the past 15 months has sung in dozens of venues large and small. Her first big break came when she sang the National Anthem for Martina McBride concert at the 2016 Wood County Fair. Since then she’s performed the anthem for the Toledo Walleyes, Bowling Green State University and University of Toledo athletic events, and presented concerts in area nursing homes and senior centers. With Christmas season near at hand, she has a full schedule – 18 appearances through the end of the year. That includes auditions for Ohio’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent. Locally she’ll be the soloist at the Bowling Green Veterans Day ceremony, Nov. 11,  at Pemberville’s Christmas in the Village  Nov. 26, and The Waterville Playshop’s “We Wish You a Broadway Christmas,” Dec. 11 and 12. Her 30-minute Christmas programs will showcase a variety of songs from “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” to “O Holy Night.” Evie, who attends Conneaut Elementary, first revealed her talent in the backseat of the family car. She was singing “Amazing Grace,” a song she learned from her grandfather and “Veggie Tales,” in full voice and “moving up the scale.” She realized that her mother was impressed. “Her jaw dropped.” Beth Van Vorhis recalled thinking: “What are we going to do with this?” She inquired about voice lessons, but was told Evie was still too young. But singer Kim Buehler, a popular local vocalist from Sylvania, heard her and said she’d teach her. “She keeps the lessons fun, not too technical,” Van Vorhis said, an assessment Evie seconded. Recently, Evie has started taking piano lessons and has already composed two songs. Evie has perfect pitch as recently…