The Orchestra of the Mother Lode Friends of Music, the premier orchestral ensemble serving the Sierra Nevada foothills, holds its spring symphony concert on Sunday, March 10 at 3 p.m. in the Church of the Nazarene, 14050 Ridge Road in Sutter Creek.
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Following last year’s extravaganza of music from Latin America, the orchestra this year turns to the music of Finland, with two major works by Finland’s leading symphonic composer, Jean Sibelius, and a rare performance of the “Clarinet Concerto” in F minor of 19th century Finnish composer and clarinet virtuoso, Bernhard Crusell.
Longtime Friends of Music conductor Henrik Jul Hansen returns to the podium. The Danish-born conductor, trained in Europe’s most distinguished conservatories of music, leads the orchestra for the first time in music originating in his native Scandinavia.
The program starts with the well-known tone poem “Finlandia” of Jean Sibelius. The composition is one of the most popular in the orchestral repertoire; a rousing and turbulent introduction leads to the familiar and serenely beautiful melody that has since become a well-known hymn,“Be Still, My Soul.”
Concluding the program is Sibelius’ monumental “Symphony No. 2″ in D minor, one of seven symphonies that the composer wrote between 1899 and 1924, and arguably his most effective and powerful.
Performing the “Clarinet Concerto” of Bernhard Crusell is clarinetist Roman Fukshanky. With two previous local appearances behind him, Fukshansky has become one of the most popular performers on the Friends of Music roster.
He began his training in his native city of St. Petersberg, Russia and continued his studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the University of Southern California and the Manhattan School of Music.
He is now principal clarinet with the Berkeley Symphony and acting principal clarinet with the Modesto Symphony and performs regularly with several other orchestral ensembles in Northern California and in recitals.
On two occasions, he was invited to tour with the San Francisco Symphony in concerts throughout the United States and Europe.
As a special encore, Fukshansky will also perform a version for clarinet and orchestra of the beautiful aria sung by the character Lenski in the first act of Tchaikovsky’s opera, “Eugen Onegin.” This will be the world premiere of this arrangement derived originally from a concert transcription for violin and piano of Leopold Auer, and reorchestrated for this occasion by Gary Dilworth.
The Orchestra of the Mother Lode Friends of Music comprises some 50 of the top instrumentalists located in the historical gold country of central California.
Famed international concert violinist Corina Stoian continues in her second year as orchestra concertmaster.
This year’s ensemble also welcomes several distinguished guests, including trumpeters Gary Dilworth and Michael Meeks and violinist Dagenais Smiley, all of the Sacramento Philharmonic, and timpanist Michael Downing and violinist Shoanie Young of the Stockton Symphony.
In a special promotion to encourage young people to discover the joys of symphonic classical music, children under 18 will be admitted free. Adult tickets are $20 and may be purchased at Mother Lode Music in Martell, Hein and Co. Books in Jackson, Gathering Grounds Coffee in Pine Grove, West Point Lumber Yard, Calaveras Arts Council, San Andreas and Sustenance Books in Murphys, and at the door.
For further information consult the Friends of Music Website mlfm.org or call 209-293-4227.