New Perspectives on Birch Creek Symphony Season from Hanford and Castañeda, June 23

Thursday, June 23 marks the beginning of another exciting and festive summer concert season at Birch Creek Music Performance Center.

The Birch Creek Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Brian Groner and Concertmaster Robert Hanford, performing in the 2010 Symphony season.

The magic of music is obvious when one walks through the doors of the Dutton Concert Barn, and this season is on track to be just as inspiring to all who attend. The opening night of Birch Creek’s 36th concert season will feature a classical concert entitled “Great Beginnings” at 8 pm. The program will include Carl Maria von Weber’s Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra in F Major performed by student bassoonist and 2010 Birch Creek Concerto Competition winner Sarah Tako of Stillwater, Minn. The program will also include Emmanuel Chabrier’s España Rhapsody for Orchestra, Sir Edward Elgar’s ever-popular “Enigma” Variations, and Batuque from the opera Malazarte by Oscar Lorenzo Fernandez. Batuque is a piece Conductor Brian Groner recently discovered, and he is excited to share it with the Birch Creek audience.

Concerts on the evenings of Friday, June 24 and Saturday, June 25 are entitled “Russian Masters.” The 80-member Birch Creek Symphony Orchestra will perform Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in d minor, and Concertmaster Robert Hanford will be featured on Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major.

When asked to explain the style of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto, Hanford describes it as “quintessentially Prokofiev, a master of orchestration.” Several sections of the orchestra have important solo lines as well as rhythmic challenges that intertwine with and compliment the soloist’s part.

He admits, “The opening melody, for me, is possibly one of the most beautiful of any concerto I’ve performed.” Hanford suggests the audience listen for a “dreamy” quality during the Prokofiev Violin Concerto, as the piece begins and ends in a dream.

Hanford additionally speaks of his love for Birch Creek and the experience of teaching and inspiring student musicians. “Several times over the years I have played concertos at Birch Creek, and my biggest reward has been to inspire students to study these pieces. Another reward has been to see students go on to study their instruments more deeply and seriously than before and oftentimes, to pursue a professional career in music.”

Symphony Program Director Ricardo Castañeda also comments on the 2011 Symphony season and its repertoire: “Every year, we select the same repertoire that is being played by professional orchestras, and this year is no exception,” he says, adding that this year’s repertoire features “very demanding pieces, both technically and musically.”

Castañeda notes that audiences will enjoy the wide variety of styles the Birch Creek Symphony Orchestra will perform this summer, as well as the number of talented soloists performing throughout the season.

As Birch Creek begins its 36th season of high quality concerts, they hope Door County residents and visitors will experience the magic of music inside the Dutton Concert Barn this summer.

In the end, Castañeda says it best: “Ultimately, we are all touched by music.”

Birch Creek Music Performance Center, Door County’s unique concert venue, is located at 3821 Cty Hwy E, Egg Harbor. All concerts begin at 8 pm with pre-concert music beginning at 7:30 pm. The Pops concert on Saturday, July 2 has a special concert time of 6:30 pm. Tickets are $29 for adults, $10 for young adults age 12-20 and college students, and $6 for children 11 and under. For complete information or to reserve tickets, call 920.868.3763. Also check for additional information.

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