PORT ANGELES – After 19 months, “seeing everyone was fantastic,” said Bruce Kelley, a newly emerged orchestral player from the desert.
“It’s been a social desert,” not making music with his fellow musicians at the Port Angeles Symphony.
Last Monday evening, Kelley, who lives on Marrowstone Island, traveled to Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center to rehearse for the orchestra’s first concerts since February 2020.
The performances, scheduled for 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on November 6, mark the start of the symphony’s new season. Subscription tickets go on sale today to the general public via portangelessymphony.org.
The Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave., is the venue for the five symphony concerts.
In addition to the November concert, the symphonic performances will include the following guest soloists and selected works:
• December 11: Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with guitarist Elizabeth CD Brown.
• February 19: The solo oboist Anne Krabill, on the poster for “L’Horloge fleurie” by Jean Francaix.
• March 26: Victoria Parker will play Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1.
• May 7: Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto with Alexander Tutunov.
More information about each program’s music, artists, and ticket prices can be found on the symphony’s website, while customers can also contact the office at 360-457-5579 or [email protected]
The November 6 concert will bring back Bulgarian-born pianist Anna Petrova as a featured soloist. Now a professor at the University of Louisville, she has already performed twice in Port Angeles. This time, Petrova and the orchestra will play Edvard Grieg’s famous piano concerto, a dance work from the Romantic era, as the centerpiece.
Also at the start of the season, “we will start with a song that is close to my heart: Andante Festivo by Sibelius. It’s a very moving hymn to life, ”said Jonathan Pasternack, who is entering his seventh season as Music Director and Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra.
To complete the program, the orchestra will play Johannes Brahms’ First Symphony in C minor. Pasternack has a long history with this piece, having recorded a CD on the Naxos label with the London Symphony.
Port Angeles Symphony Principal Violin Jory Noble finds new inspiration on the rehearsal scene.
“We missed a vital part of ourselves, not playing together,” Noble said.
“Making music is not just entertainment for us. It’s part of our soul… It was really wonderful to be enveloped in the warmth of Brahms, to bring beauty to life with these wonderful people.
Over the past year and a half, Noble has recorded a few videos with the Port Angeles Symphony String Quartet: one for the educational program Symphony’s Adventures in Music and one for the virtual Juan de Fuca des Arts festival last May. But this month brought the first time she has lifted her violin and bow alongside the 46-member symphony orchestra.
The symphony’s security plan for the 2021 concerts includes several measures to minimize congestion in the auditorium and lobby and to protect musicians and patrons, Pasternack said.
The performances will last from 60 to 80 minutes without intermission; both concert times are designed to make room for more people.
All clients must show full proof of vaccination. Thus, until vaccines are allowed for children under 12, they will not be able to attend. All symphonic musicians are fully vaccinated.
Face masks are compulsory for everyone, except woodwind and brass players, who, like their fellow performers, are vaccinated. Woodland musicians will take COVID-19 tests before concerts.
These policies are also used by the Bellingham and Seattle Symphonies this season, Pasternack said.
In the auditorium, families and groups of friends will be required to wear masks, and they will be spaced apart from each other, with every other row open and seats kept open between parties.
For Kelley, the orchestra’s principal horn player, the return to the stage is joyful for another reason: it will be his first concert since suffering a heart attack on September 15.
Although he is only 60, he has a family history of heart disease – but “I thought I could cheat him by living properly,” he said.
The care he received at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle included stents which made a huge difference, Kelley said.
His energy and mental freshness returned; Monday night’s 90-minute rehearsal with the orchestra “felt good,” he said.
The same goes for Pasternack, who said the last time the symphony was rehearsed together was on March 9, 2020.
“It’s really important to us,” said the conductor.
“We’re going to have to reinvent ourselves and rebuild the ensemble,” he added, “and there’s no better way to do that than with some of the greatest music ever composed.”
Jefferson County Senior Reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]