News From Britt Hill – March 2016
While all of the concerts and programs that we present are important, the Britt Orchestra holds a special place as the artistic core of our organization. The Britt board and staff are collectively committed to making sure the Britt Orchestra thrives, and we were recently able to celebrate the heart of our organization in a new way. Bobby Abernathy, Director of Business and Donor Relations, had the idea for our first-ever Britt Orchestra benefit dinner/concert featuring Teddy Abrams and China Forbes. After a year of meticulous planning, on February 11, 220 lucky patrons enjoyed a flawless evening filled with fine dining, endless spirits (thanks to South Stage Cellars) and world-class entertainment. Like all extraordinary moments, it is hard to capture in words how energetic and magical the night was…I guess we will just have to do it again next year so you can experience it for yourself.
Preceding the wonderful Gala, Britt’s Music Director and Conductor Teddy Abrams took the stage to announce the 2016 Britt Orchestra Season. Abrams announced that the season will begin early, with two days of concerts at Crater Lake National Park on July 29 and 30, featuring a world premiere commission by Michael Gordon that is inspired by the Park. The season continues with three weeks of concerts at the Britt hill, with highlights including headlining guest pianist Yefim Bronfman performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2; a collaboration with Oregon Shakespeare Festival company members that celebrates music inspired by Shakespeare; the critically acclaimed pianist Jeremy Denk performing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1; a performance of Mahler’s massive “Resurrection” Symphony, and a world premiere commissioned by Russian-American composer Lev Zhurbin.
In addition, the season will include violinist Ray Chen, who will perform Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto; the return of the popular Symphony Pops concert, featuring Oregon’s own acclaimed jazz singer Halie Loren; a performance of Amber Waves of Grain, by Pulitzer Prize winning-composer Julia Wolfe; Copland’s Third Symphony; San Francisco-based composer Mason Bates’s Anthology of Fantastic Zoology; and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony will feature soloists Celena Shafer (who returns to Britt after being featured in Carmina Burana in 2015), and Lauren Eberwein, along with a choir formed by members of the Rogue Valley Chorale and Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, under the direction of Chorus Master Dr. Paul French.
The 2016 season also includes a series of free children’s concerts in Britt’s Performance Garden. Seven engaging and interactive mid-morning concerts will be offered. The concerts will be created by Gabriel Globus-Hoenich and Jenifer Knippel, who return after leading a popular Britt children’s concert in 2015. More information on this series will be announced later this spring.