ROOTS OF BROADWAY
at Indian Ledge Park, Trumbull September 5, 2020
LIVE MUSIC IS BACK!
GBS outdoor concert on September 5 proves safe, popular, and "much needed."
"FROM START TO FINISH, A SMASHING SUCCESS!"
Live music, big time! The Greater Bridgeport Symphony brought live orchestral music to Indian Ledge Park in Trumbull over Labor Day weekend. Thirty-eight GBS musicians performed “Roots of Broadway” under the baton of guest conductor Chelsea Tipton, with vocals provided by local favorite Maureen Hamill, Raissa Katona Bennett and Gary Harger. Four hundred fifty people attended this evening event, and the reaction was electric, on-stage and off.
The full-orchestra concert was the first of its kind in the state, and other orchestras have taken notice. “This is a time like no other in our 75 years,” said GBS Executive Director Mark Halstead. “We are constantly subject to changing conditions, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that our organization exists to bring music to the public. We need to be bold and safe at the same time.”
Covid safeguards were evident throughout the venue. Face masks were required for all, including those on stage. Musicians were socially-distant, and every group of concertgoers was separated from each other. Everyone entering, including musicians, had their temperatures scanned – happily, no one had to be turned away – and sanitization stations were provided, among many other precautions.
Said one happy concertgoer,“We were thrilled to attend the concert. It made us feel hopeful and encouraged for the future of live music, that you will be back!”
From all of us at GBS: INDEED WE WILL!
at The Klein Memorial Auditorium - Saturday, December 21, 2019
Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, sung by the Fairfield County Children’s Choir and the Connecticut Chamber Choir set the mood for this holiday extravaganza, December 21 at The Klein. Maestro Eric Jacobsen led GBS in a festive program of classics mixed with new compositions, and singalong favorites.
A large audience enjoyed a wonderful range of music. In keeping with the season theme — The Evolution of Music — this concert brought Bach together with a living composer (Kirke Mechem) who found his musical inspiration in Bach.
A highlight of the evening was violin virtuoso Cameron Chase, co-winner of the 2019 GBS Young Instrumentalists’ Competition, who thrilled the audience with two concerti from The Four Seasons, appropriate to “Solstice” — Winter and Summer. Said one musicologist who attended, “I’ve never heard Winter performed so beautifully.”
GBS premiered the orchestrated version of Midwintersong by Liam Robinson (of Hadestown fame), who was on hand for the performance. Caroling, led by the 92 choir members, brought a festive finsh to the performance. Lots of smiling faces going out into the first night of winter!
GBS was pleased to have many Bridgeport elementary school students on hand, made possible by a grant from the City. This concert was proudly sponsored by People’s United Bank.
Christmas Oratorio (1734)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
BWV 248, Part 2
The Seven Joys of Christmas (1964)
Kirke Mechem (b. 1925)
Fairfield County Children’s Choir, John Noyes, Director
Connecticut Chamber Choir, Michael Ciavaglia, Artistic Director
The Four Seasons (1717)
Antonin Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Winter & Summer
Cameron Chase, violin
Co-Winner of the GBS 2019 Young Instrumentalist Competition
Liam Robinson (b. 1982)
Responses from the Audience
What a wonderful Solstice Program. Jeff Johnson's pre-concert lecture was very helpful in appreciating fully the program.
It was our first time at GBS and we thoroughly enjoyed the concert, especially the incredible(!) young soloist and the guest choruses. We will be back!
We thoroughly enjoyed our evening, especially the unique musicality of the Conductor’s friend [Liam Robinson] along with the story he told about he and his wife’s process to create the piece. Your conductor is one of the most dynamic, effective, fascinating to watch I’ve seen. May he be with [the GBS] for a long time.
We really enjoy when choirs and opera singers join the wonderful symphony!
Great collaboration with area schools! Cameron Chase was phenomenal! Midwintersong was a great debut for the season and for years to come. Kudos to Maestro for his contacts in the industry to make our eponymous GBS artists even more inspiring!
It was a marvelous concert. We enjoyed it thoroughly.
Young Cameron is a magical and talented young man! Great evening!
at The Klein Memorial Auditorium - Saturday, November 2, 2019
We plunged into the Romantic music of the late nineteenth century with a contemporary twist! We heard Antonin Dvorak’s gorgeous Moravian duets in the world premiere of a modern orchestration of these songs by Lembit Beecher, extended with a new fable of modern love by Jazimina MacNeil. Jazimina and Sarah Shafer sang these beautiful songs and our very special guest, Keir Dullea, provided the narration.
Our concert also included Johannes Brahms’ majestic Fourth Symphony, the summation of his great orchestral works. By turns lyrical, monumental, melodic, and extremely dramatic, the symphony has both Brahms’ characteristic blend of classical structures and Romantic expression.
Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904) – Lembit Beecher
Love Like Water
A modern folk tale written by Jazimina MacNeil based on Antonin Dvořák’s Moravian Duets for two voices and piano, orchestrated with new music by Lembit Beecher.
With Sarah Shafer, Soprano, Jazimina MacNeil, Mezzo-Soprano, and Keir Dullea, Narrator
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897).
Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98.
Responses from the Audience
You took a chance with this selection well done!! Enjoyed the performance!!
The orchestra musicians are performing at the highest level I have ever heard them. Exquisite interpretation and execution. They flourish and soar under Eric Jacobsen’s baton.
Thank you for all you do to keep the music coming. Programming has been creative and wonderful and I love it! Classics and contemporary pieces. Orchestra sounds wonderful.
Loved the arrangement of the Beecher piece. Truly enjoy the classics with a modern accent!
LOOK TO THE EAST
at The Klein Memorial Auditorium - Saturday, September 21, 2019
The 2019-2020 season premiered on September 21st, as Eric Jacobsen returned for his sixth season and welcomed members of Yo Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble — Indian tabla virtuoso Sandeep Das, Persian kamancheh (or spiked fiddle) master Kayhan Kalhor and American cellist Karen Ouzounion – for “Look to the East,” a concert combining modern masters such as “Blue as the Turquoise Night of Neyshabur” with the iconic Russian masterpiece, Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto” performed by 17-year-old West Hartford violinist Matthew Hill, a recent winner of GBS’ Youth Instrumentalist Competition.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, 1840-1893.
Violin Concerto in D Major (1878), Op. 35.
With Matthew Hill, Violin, Co-winner of the GBS 2019 Young Instrumentalists Competition
Colin Jacobsen, 1978
With Kayhan Kalhor, Kamancheh, Matthias Kunzli, Percussion, Karen Ouzounian, Cello
Kayhan Kalhor, 1963.
Blue as the Turquoise Night of Neybashur (2000).
With Sandeep Das, Tabla, Kayhan Kalhor, Kamancheh, Karen Ouzounian, Cello
Responses from the Audience
This concert was without a doubt the most amazing display of virtuosity and passion we’ve been privileged to enjoy. We were stunned and moved and grateful.
The first concert this season was a testament to the continuing excellence of GBS. Thank you for all of the Creative efforts in making GBS a go-to event.
The Violinist [Matthew Hill] was truly amazing. Another exceptional evening of music and so close to home! A win-win!
Particularly loved the collaboration between GBS and Silkroad musicians on gorgeous pieces that we had never heard before. We were on the edge of our seats for those two pieces GBS musicians perfectly supported these Eastern Soloists and distinguished themselves as superb collaborators with all the Silkroad musicians.
It was fascinating. A masterful blending of exotic individual instruments and performers with a full symphonic orchestra. A delightful performance.
Eric continues to expand and enrich what I know about music. We are so fortunate to have him. His energy, his connectons and his kindness are exemplary. Thank you, Eric.
Always First Class. The Greater Bridgeport Symphony is a blessing for all Fairfield County citizens
The Silkroad Ensemble’s mission is to create “music that engages difference, sparkling radical cultural collaboration, and passion-driven learning for a more hopeful and inclusive world,” conductor Jacobsen said in a news release before the concert. “In times like these, when political tensions are running high, Kayhan’s music is a bridge to one of the most ancient cultures on the planet. Through music, we can discover that differences between people are not monolithic.”