Springfield Symphony Orchestra

Springfield Symphony
Seven programs of electrifying, festive, smashing, passionate and genius-filled music come to the weekend airwaves starting on September 1, as WFCR continues its decades-long tradition of broadcasts of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.  Join maestro Kevin Rhodes, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and an impressive roster of instrumental and vocal soloists for world-class music making – from right in your backyard.  The broacasts can be heard, with one exception, on Sunday afternoons starting at 1:00, and will feature conversations on each selection between Kevin Rhodes and New England Public Radio music director John Montanari.

Three unique pianists will be heard in virtuosic 20th century concertos.  On the season-opening concert, the pensive, probing Peter Serkin solos in Béla Bartók’s valedictory Concerto No. 3.  On the September 8 broadcast, American pianist Ralph Votapek (Kevin Rhodes’s teacher!) celebrates the 50th anniversary of his victory in the first Van Cliburn Internataional Piano Competition with the work he played on that occasion, Sergey Prokofiev’s ultra-exciting Concerto No. 3.  And Sergei Rachmanoff’s rarely-heard Concerto No. 4 will have a strong case made for it by powerhouse Russian pianist Alexander Ghindin on the September 29 broadcast.

Violinist Caroline Goulding, one of America’s most promising young classical soloists, joins the SSO for Mendelssohn’s dazzling Concerto in E minor in the September 22 broadcast.  An unusual solo contigent comes to the front of the stage in the September 15 broadcast – the SSO’s five-man percussion section, each with his own arsenal of instruments, for American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s “Rituals.”  Another formidable quintet, this time consisting of five talented American opera soloists, convenes for a program of operatic passion, love, murder and mayhem in our broadcast of Saturday, September 21.  And the massed voices of the Springfield Symphony Chorus, directed by Nikki Stoia, will be featured on the October 6 broadcast in one of the greatest of all choral works, Mozart’s legendary “Requiem.”

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich is one of a pair of American composers to be featured in the brodcasts.  The other, long-time Harvard professor Walter Piston will be represented by his lyric and approachable Symphony No. 4 on September 29.  And the standard symphonic repertoire will be upheld by peformances of Brahms’s Symphony No. 1 (September 1), Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 (September 8), Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” (September 15), Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony (September 22) and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (October 6).

“What Kevin and the Springfield Symphony are doing together really merits the time and attention of every local classical fan,” says NEPR’s John Montanari.  “I can’t urge strongly enough that you check out their inspired and exciting music-making.” 


Here’s a complete list of the broadcasts:

Sunday, September 1, 1:00 p.m.:  “Opening Night.”  Franz Liszt:  Festklänge (“Festive Sounds”).  Béla Bartók:  Piano Concerto No. 3, with Peter Serkin, piano.  Johannes Brahms:  Symphony No. 1

Sunday, September 8, 1:00 p.m.: “Electifying Russian Music.”  Alexander Borodin: Overture to Prince IgorSergei Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3, with Ralph Votapek, piano.  Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 2, “Little Russian.”

Sunday, September 15, 1:00 p.m.:  “Scheherazade.”  Edvard Grieg:  Music from Peer Gynt. Ellen Taaffe Zwilich: Rituals for Five Percussionists and Orchestra, with SSO percussionists Nathan Lassell, Robert McEwan, Nicola Cannizzaro, Jeffrey Irving & David WestNikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade.

Saturday, September 21, 3:30 p.m. (following WFCR’s San Francisco Opera broadcast of Mozart’s The Magic Flute): “Passion, Love, Murder & Mayhem – It’s Opera.” Sopranos Mary Wilson & Stacey Rishoi, tenor Eric Ashcraft and bass Gustav Andreasson join Maestro Rhodes and the SSO for arias, duets and ensembles from Tannhäuser, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La gioconda, Carmen, Faust, Pacifico del Sud, Madama Butterfly, La forza del destino, La traviata, Don Carlo, Mefistofele, Pagliacci & Der Rosenkavalier.

Sunday, September 22, 1:00 p.m.:  “Mendelssohn & Mozart.”  Johann Sebastian Bach: Air from Suite No. 3.   Felix Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor, with Caroline Goulding, violin.  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter.:

Sunday, September 29, 1:00 p.m.: “Gershwin & Rachmaninoff.” George Gershwin: An American in Paris.  Walter Piston: Symphony No. 4.  Sergey Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 4, with Alexander Ghindin, piano.

Sunday, October 6, 1:00 p.m.: “Mozart & Beethoven.” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Requiem, with Monica Yunus, Stacey Rishoi, Eric Ashcraft & Gustav Andreasson, vocal soloists, Springfield Symphony Chorus, Nikki Stoia, director.  Mozart: Requeim.  Beethoven: Symphony No. 5.