Steamboat Symphony Orchestra presents ‘Phoenix Rising’ |

Steamboat Symphony Orchestra presents ‘Phoenix Rising’

The Steamboat Springs Symphony Orchestra practices at the Strings Music Pavillon.
John F. Russell

— The striking image, painted by Rebecca Folsom, of the phoenix rising from the ashes that greets the audience at the Strings Music Pavilion says it all. This is a musical event of passion, resurrection and a celebration of the contribution every individual can make to their community.

The Steamboat Symphony Orchestra presents its final concert of the season, “Phoenix Rising,” at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Strings Music Pavilion. The performance includes the music of Igor Stravinsky and Aaron Copland.

Stravinsky’s “Firebird” is the inspiration for the evening featuring “the most challenging, colorful and brilliant musical score” the orchestra has likely ever attempted, according to conductor and musical director Ernest Richardson. Listeners will recognize the music from the movie “Fantasia,” but hearing the energy from a live orchestra, in the acoustically perfect environment of the Strings Pavilion, gives it a whole new life.

“Overcoming obstacles and rising to the occasion is the trademark of our orchestra,” said Richardson. “We’ve endured some financially difficult times to emerge stronger and more resilient than before. We want to show the Steamboat community that our orchestra is committed as never before to making new connections with all elements of the Steamboat community.”

Bookending the Firebird are two compositions by the modern American composer Aaron Copland. “Fanfare to the Common Man” is Copland’s tribute to the American spirit as it was tested during World War II. Copland honored the contribution and sacrifices the average American, the so-called “common man,” made in the name of freedom for our country.

The “Lincoln Portrait,” the second Copland work on the program, is unique in that it blends the words of Abraham Lincoln with Copland’s music to create a powerful tribute to Lincoln’s ideas of freedom and democracy. The piece will be narrated by newly hired Steamboat Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Stuart Handloff.

“The words of Lincoln resonate at a time when “our country’s ability to overcome divisions and form a ‘more perfect union’ – to quote from our Constitution – is being sorely tested,” Handloff said.

The two other pieces to be performed include a demonstration of violin virtuosity from assistant concertmaster Desiree Suarez-Ward and the “Rondo Capriccioso” by Camille Saint-Saens. The final work of the evening is the fan favorite “Flight to Neverland,” by popular composer John Williams, who wrote the piece to accompany the movie “Hook.”

Tickets for “Phoenix Rising” can be purchased through the Strings Music Festival box office, 970-879-5056, or online at Prices start at $20 with student tickets available for only $10 (free student scholarship tickets are available through the Dan Tyler Scholarship Fund).

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