South Shore Orchestra maestro Troy Webdell said the theme of his symphony’s season, “Connections,” has a lot to do with his musical plans for 2017.
“The concept behind it is really not a new concept,” he said. “It’s basically that everything is connected, from people to music to cultures and everything else.”
The orchestra starts its season with “Primal Roots” on June 2. This year marks South Shore Orchestra’s 13th season overall and its third at Valparaiso’s Memorial Opera House.
The compositions that make up “Roots” are “Festive Overture” by 20th century Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, 19th/20th Italian composer Ottorino Respighi’s “Concerto Gregoriano” and American Phillip Glass’ “Symphony No. 10.”
Thematically, all of the pieces Webdell selected have connections to Russia. “Overture,” he said, was written by Shostakovich for the country’s 37th anniversary of its October Revolution, “Concerto’s” author studied in Russia early in his career and cited the country and its music as an influence, and Glass’ family roots are Russian based.
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Additionally, violinist Violetta Todorova will serve as the guest soloist with the orchestra for “Gregoriano.” Born in Russia, Todorova is a former member of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and is the current concertmaster of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra.
“Her sound is wonderful,” Webdell said of Todorova. “She is one of the most musical violinists that I ever heard … We decided (this concert) was one of the things that we wanted to do together. Respighi is one of my favorite composers, and when I suggested the piece, this was a piece she was really interested in doing.”
The inclusion of “Symphony” is to honor Glass for his 80th birthday. Glass is considered in many classical and avant garde circles to be one of the finest modern-day composers.
The next concert in South Shore Orchestra’s 2017 season, “Passport Project,” is scheduled for Sept. 8.