Toledo Symphony Orchestra

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 toledosymphony.com. 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. This year’s presentation will be staged in three performances at the Stranahan Theater. “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…


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…


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…


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…


Toledo Symphony establishes $10,000 scholarship for BGSU composition students

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The Toledo Symphony Orchestra is pleased to announce an exciting new scholarship opportunity for Bowling Green State University students. Each year, two Toledo Symphony Composition Scholarships will be awarded to incoming students in the Master of Music in Composition degree program at BGSU. To be considered for this award, composition applicants must include a previously written work for orchestra and/or a large instrumental ensemble in their application portfolio.  A jury of composition faculty members reviews the candidates’ work based on an evaluation of their current abilities as well as the prospect of their continuing development as a composer of orchestral music. Scholarship recipients are awarded $10,000 for demonstrating such musical excellence in their program. During the second year of their degree, each scholarship recipient is guaranteed a spot in the annual Toledo Symphony BGSU Student Composition Reading Session. The annual TSO Readings at BGSU are a unique opportunity for students to hear their work read by a professional orchestra along with gaining knowledge and insight from guest composers. Once the scholarship recipients are chosen, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra has the ability to request exclusive performance rights for the newly composed works. Zak Vassar, President & CEO of the Toledo Symphony, considers the scholarship program an investment in the future of classical music and the Toledo community. “BGSU’s College of Musical Arts has cultivated many wonderful composers, and writing new music has become a major point of differentiation for the College. I am proud to further the…


Audra McDonald to perform with Toledo Symphony, talk at UT

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and an Emmy Award, Broadway icon Audra McDonald will be here in Toledo for a one-night-only Spotlight performance with the Toledo Symphony on Nov. 4, 8 p.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle Theater. Named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2015 and recipient of the 2015 National Medal of the Arts—America’s highest honor for achievement in the arts—from President Barack Obama, Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as a singer and actress. In addition to her Tony-winning performances, including “Carousel,”A” Raisin in the Sun,” and”The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” she has also appeared on Broadway in “The Secret Garden,” “Marie Christine” (Tony nomination), and “110 in the Shade” (Tony nomination). On television, Audra McDonald was seen by millions as Mother Abbess in NBC’s “The Sound of Music Live!” and played Dr. Naomi Bennett on ABC’s “Private Practice.” She won an Emmy Award for her role as host of PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center. On film, she has appeared in “Seven Servants,” “The Object of My Affection,” “Cradle Will Rock,” “It Runs in the Family,” “The Best Thief in the World,” “She Got Problems,” “Rampart,” “Ricki and the Flash,” and most recently, Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast.” Audra McDonald is as much at home on Broadway and opera stages as she is in roles on film and television. In addition to her theatrical work,…


Toledo Symphony expands TSO in HD offerings

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The Toledo Symphony announced on Wednesday that it will expand its popular TSO in HD program to its entire Classics series at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theatre for the upcoming 2017-2018 season. The expansion is made possible by a major grant from Buckeye Broadband. The TSO in HD program installs large, high-definition screens on either side of the Peristyle stage. This allows audiences to view live footage of the concert as the orchestra performs. Close- up shots follow major themes in the music and reveal rare, on-stage perspectives to concertgoers. The technology debuted in 2015 at a special Gala featuring world-renowned violinist, Joshua Bell. Audiences will next have the opportunity to see TSO in HD in action at the orchestra’s opening weekend, September 29 and 30, 2017, at the Peristyle. At each concert, the Toledo Symphony’s Chief Artistic Officer and President Emeritus, Robert Bell, will work with a team of producers and on-stage cameramen from WGTE Public Media. Together, the team works from a conductor’s score and cues the cameras to create the real-time video feed. Due to the high costs of labor and technology, current funding allows the Toledo Symphony to provide TSO in HD at just one Classics weekend and three educational programs each season. Thanks to a grant from Buckeye Broadband, the Toledo Symphony will be able to present TSO in HD at all of its Classics performances at the Peristyle, from September 2017 to May 2018. “Buckeye is proud to…


Crystal Bowersox headlines first of ProMedica sponsored concerts in downtown Toledo

From PROMEDICA & TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA ProMedica will celebrate the opening of its new downtown headquarters and a renovated Promenade Park with three free summer concerts, featuring singers with local connections and national acts, all with musicians from the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. The event will be free and open to the community. The inaugural ProMedica Summer Concert Series will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 21, with a concert featuring Crystal Bowersox and Calysta Bevier. Bowersox, an Ottawa County native, burst onto the national entertainment scene in 2010. The singer-songwriter now lives in Nashville and in June released a new album called “Alive.” Musicians from the TSO will join Bowersox on stage for her portion of the concert. Bevier of Grand Rapids, Ohio, is a singer-songwriter who survived a rare form of cancer. She was a semi-finalist last fall on America’s Got Talent, which propelled her to a budding music career. She continues to be an inspirational speaker to cancer patients. The second concert will be 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 25, and features Grammy Award-winning producer and vocalist Steve Tyrell. The third concert, A Symphonic Tribute to the Music of Prince, will be 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15. A tribute band made up of former members of Prince’s New Power Generation will perform his biggest hits, including “Purple Rain,” “When Doves Cry,” “U Got the Look,” “Raspberry Beret,” and more. The concerts will be reminiscent of the Rally by the River events at Promenade Park in the…


Canadian Alain Trudel to lead Toledo Symphony

by DENNIS BOVA Toledo Symphony Orchestra The Toledo Symphony Orchestra today announced the signing of acclaimed Canadian conductor Alain Trudel as its new Music Director beginning in the fall of 2018, the start of the TSO’s 75th season. Until then, Trudel, who will turn 51 on Tuesday, June 13, will serve as the TSO’s Music Director Designate. He will conduct two performances in the 2017-2018 season, including the music of Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Berlioz, and Mozart.He will be Music Director Designate from June 9, 2017 to June 30, 2018. His three-year contract as Music Director will run from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021. Toledo audiences saw Trudel, a Montreal native, two months ago. He led the Symphony in the April 7 and 8 Classics concerts, which featured Grammy Award-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich. Maestro Trudel earned standing ovations for his interpretation of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. “Alain’s appointment concludes a two-year search for our next Music Director,” said TSO President & CEO Zak Vassar. “In his evaluation, he received unanimous support from the Toledo Symphony’s musicians, trustees, search committee, and staff,” Vassar added. “I look forward to working with Alain and beginning an exciting new chapter in the TSO story.” “The Symphony is extremely fortunate to attract a conductor as gracious and talented as Alain Trudel,” said Randy Oostra, chairman of the TSO Board of Trustees and President and CEO of ProMedica. “He quickly connected to the musicians and the audience when he was here in April. His…


Michael Daugherty’s American musical landmark center of Toledo celebration

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Hearst Castle in California has an organ. Composer Michael Daugherty told an audience at the Toledo Museum of Art he’s never heard it. He does know that it was used to accompany the showing of the silent films that William Randolph Heart’s mistress Marion Davies starred in. Hearst would round up his guests into the theater to watch the films, and he had people who would go and rouse anyone who dozed off. That’s the kind of detail Daugherty as a lover of American culture savors. Scott Boberg, the museum’s manager of programs and public engagement, said the composer’s work is “a comprehensive exploration of American culture and geography.” He’s written works inspired by Route 66 and the Brooklyn Bridge, Superman and Elvis Presley, the paintings of Grant Wood and Georgia O’Keefe, and the Detroit Industry murals of Diego. “You get a sense of America.” Daugherty said he’s been to the Hearst Castle at least 10 times. He’s fascinated by the structure, with its enormous Neptune pool as well as the glittering Hollywood era it represents. When he received a commission to write a concerto for organ and orchestra he decided this would be the right occasion to celebrate Hearst, his castle, and Orson Welles’ classic film “Citizen Kane,” an acerbic portrait of the media mogul. The Toledo Symphony Orchestra is playing the concerto this weekend on a program that includes another American work inspired by a castle “Xanadu” by Charles Griffes and…


Zak Vassar named Toledo Symphony president & CEO

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA TOLEDO — The Toledo Symphony Orchestra announced today that Zak Vassar has accepted the position as the Symphony’s President and CEO with a start date of July 18. Board Chairman Randy Oostra and George Chapman, head of the search committee, led the executive search process guided by Arts Consulting Group. “Zak has the energy, personality and experience to build an enhanced TSO business model, drive strong development, and promote collaboration throughout the community,” Chapman said. “We look forward to working with Zak as he builds on the tremendous work by Bob Bell and Kathy Carroll in leading the TSO into the future. He will be an innovative leader who will drive our efforts to become the leading regional orchestra in the nation.”Over the last 15 years, Vassar has built an extensive career conducting domestic and international market research for Fortune 100 and entrepreneurial firms alike. “After an extensive search process, we are pleased to have found a local candidate who met our hopes of finding a dynamic leader that will lead TSO into the future,” Oostra said. “Zak brings the TSO an excellent background in business, marketing, and participative management, which coupled with his longstanding passion and commitment to the TSO and local arts prepares him to be an exceptional leader.” “I am thrilled to come to this organization that has meant so much to me for over 20 years,” Vassar said. “I see great potential to build upon the strong history and reputation built by…


Toledo Symphony’s Music Under the Stars returns to zoo

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Mercy Health, and the Toledo Zoo are joining forces again to continue a six-decade-old tradition of providing fun family entertainment in a relaxed setting: Music Under the Stars, a free series of concerts on four summer Sunday evenings in July in the Zoo’s Amphitheatre. Each of the 7:30 p.m. concerts, produced by the Toledo Symphony and performed by the Toledo Symphony Concert Band, features a special theme: July 10: American Portraits July 17: Fun and Games July 24: Just Dance July 31: Broadway Showstoppers Conductor Bruce Moss, director of band activities at Bowling Green State University, returns for his third summer. Guest artists will include the Toledo Symphony School of Music, Glass City Steel (the steel drum band from Toledo School for the Arts), Manhattan Dance Company, Toledo Choral Society, and the Ballet Theater of Toledo, among others to be announced. Masters of ceremonies will be Tony Geftos of WTVG (13ABC) and Jerry Anderson of WTOL. “By offering free family-oriented events for the public to enjoy; not one but two, local treasured gems, the music of the Toledo Symphony Concert Band at the venue of the Toledo Zoo not only enriches lives, it truly enhances the overall health and well-being of the community,” said Imran Andrabi, M.D., Regional President and CEO/Chief Network Integration Officer, Mercy Health – Toledo. “Mercy is proud to be the title sponsor once again for this year’s Music Under the Stars concerts.” “The Toledo Symphony Concert Band is…


Toledo Symphony, musicians reach contract agreement

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The Toledo Orchestra Association, Inc., Board of Trustees approved a new three-year contract with Toledo Symphony Orchestra’s musicians at its year-end meeting on June 21. The musicians, members of the Toledo Federation of Musicians Local 15-286, approved the contract in voting conducted on May 21. The three-year contract takes effect on Sept. 1, 2016, and provides for a 2 percent raise on base salaries each year. It covers 60 contracted musicians, and extends to other musicians who are brought in to supplement the core group as needed. “The seasoned professionals of the Toledo Symphony are fundamental to the high quality of music produced across our entire region, so it makes sense for the association to invest in this important music asset,” said Randy Oostra, president and CEO of ProMedica and board trustee chairman. “It is our responsibility to sustain the orchestra’s mission of preservation and education if we intend to continue to be the best regional orchestra in America.” “The TSO is currently facing many challenges and is in a period of transition in both its artistic and administrative leadership,” Garth Simmons, chairman of the orchestra’s bargaining committee and the symphony’s principal trombonist, said. “This new agreement demonstrates the shared commitment of the Board, musicians, and management to the long-term stability and growth of the orchestra.” Entering its 73rd season, the Toledo Symphony annually performs nearly 100 concerts in its Classics, Mozart, Chamber, Pops, and Family series, six operas, and neighborhood and regional shows. Additionally, members…