There is nothing like the rich experience of live music. British journalist Alistair Cooke, for one, emphatically preferred it. “Canned music is like audible wallpaper,” he once grumbled.
Happily for us, the Redlands Symphony is a cultural jewel offering outstanding concerts in the beautiful, intimate setting of the University of Redlands’ Memorial Chapel. “This is a magical place and a great place for great music,” said Music Director and Conductor Ransom Wilson, whose contract with the symphony was recently extended to 2024.
Maestro Wilson has just announced an exceptional new 2019-20 season as the symphony marks seven decades of performing in the Inland Empire. “Seventy years ago the people of Redlands had the foresight and determination to create an orchestra unique to this place,” he said. “We are excited and honored to celebrate that vision with you.”
A highlight of the upcoming season will be the world premiere of a Redlands-inspired fanfare by Sean Friar, an acclaimed pianist. Friar has won many awards, including the Rome Prize in Music Composition.
Commissioned by the symphony for its special anniversary, the fanfare has earned Wilson’s admiration. “I know this piece will capture the spirit and uniqueness of Redlands,” he said. The Redlands Symphony performs six concerts during its regular season and the 70th season will be launched Nov. 16 with “An Evening of Firsts.”
In addition to the first performance of the new fanfare, the program will also feature Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 1 in C Major” and Symphony No. 1, “Titan” by Mahler. The season continues Dec. 14 with “A Classical Christmas,” a holiday celebration in music and song.
The program will include Respighi’s “Three Botticelli Pictures,” Britten’s “Men of Goodwill,” Tchaikovsky’s “Suite from The Nutcracker,” and Duke Ellington’s jazzy “Nutcracker Suite.” A “Christmas Sing-Along” will close the evening with traditional holiday favorite.
A “String Serenade” concert will be presented on Jan. 18, 2020. “I’ve wanted to feature our incredible string players for a long time,” Wilson said. “This concert will give them a chance to really shine.” The evening will feature Holst’s “St. Paul Suite,” “Quatuor en Serenade” by Ravel, and Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings.”
The concert on Feb. 15 will showcase Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Two of his piano concertos will be performed by renowned pianist Ann-Marie McDermott. A member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, McDermott has performed as a soloist in concerts and recitals throughout the world.
“I’ve wanted to bring Ann-Marie’s phenomenal talent to the Redlands Symphony since I arrived,” Wilson said. “She’s amazing!” McDermott will perform Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat major,” “Jeunehomme,” and “Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major.”
The program will also include the composer’s “Symphony No. 40 in G minor.” The March 21 concert captures the “Passion and Tenderness of Brahms.” Wilson observed, “Brahms is one of those composers who manages to include the full range of human emotions in every work. This puts him at the top of many people’s list of favorites.
” The composer’s “Academic Festival” and “Symphony No. 4” will be performed. The program will also feature the University of Redlands School of Music’s annual “Concerto Competition.” The season concludes May 2 with “Celebrating America,” featuring Patrick Posey performing John Adam’s “Saxophone Concerto.”
“Posey is a remarkable musician,” Wilson said. “He is a regular with the LA Philharmonic and major orchestras throughout the country.” The program will also include “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman” by Joan Tower, “Miss Sally’s Party” by William Grant Still, and Aaron Copland’s “Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes” and his celebrated “Fanfare for the Common Man.”
Complete season details are available at www.redlandssymphony.com or by calling the Box Office at (909) 587-5565. Concerts begin at 8 p.m. and doors to Memorial Chapel open at 7 p.m. A pre-concert talk is presented at 7:15 p.m. Composer and conductor Igor Stravinsky lamented that “people are taught to have too much respect for music; they should be taught to love it instead.
” Whether one respects music or loves it, the Redlands Symphony consistently presents inspiring musical experiences of the highest caliber. Not a shred of “audible wallpaper” in sight!
Wayne R. Scott is an award-winning writer, producer and director who serves as oresident of LifeHouse Theater, Redlands