By George Basler
After being shut down by COVID-19 last season, the Binghamton Community Orchestra is returning with three concerts planned for 2021-22.
The orchestra, formed to allow community musicians to perform great orchestral works, will be under the direction of its new music director, Evan Meccarello. The season will reflect Meccarello’s vision of presenting the works of 20th century composers along with pieces from the classical music canon.
The first concert is set for 7 p.m. Nov. 6 in the Maine-Endwell Middle School auditorium. The theme is “sacred music and music inspired by the sacred,” Meccarello said. BCO’s string orchestra, woodwind ensemble and brass ensemble will perform separately around the common theme.
Featured will be works by Tchaikovsky and Richard Strauss as well as pieces by four 20th century composers: Florence Price, Alan Hovhaness, Ken Benshoof and Gordon Jacob.
Price, a pianist, organist and music teacher, is the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer, and the first to have a composition played by a major orchestra. Hovhaness is one of the most prolific 20th century composers with 67 numbered symphonies to his name. Benshoof is primarily a composer of chamber pieces, notably for the Kronos String Quartet, and Jacob is an English composer known for his expertise in orchestration.
“I’m thrilled to be back doing what we do, coming together to make beautiful sounds,” Meccarello said. Tickets for the concert will be available at the door for $5, cash only. A pre-concert talk will begin at 6:15 p.m.
A concert set for Feb. 26, 2022, at a location still to be determined, will feature a performance by Annie Jacobs-Perkins, a Rochester-based cellist, who has appeared on the NPR program From the Top. Her career highlights include being named an outstanding graduate of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and receiving the Laurence Lesser Presidential Scholarship at New England Conservatory.
BCO’s season will conclude May 14 (location again TBD). The concert will feature performances by the 2020 and 2021 winners of the Concerto Competition, held in partnership with the Southern Tier Music Teachers’ Association. Nicholas Deady, a violinist and 2020 winner, will perform the first movement of Bruck’s violin concerto. Recordist Alexis VanTassel, the 2021 winner, will be perform Concerto Incantato by Richard Harvey.
The community orchestra will be part of the Jan. 29, 2022, Wallenberg Festival at Broome County’s Forum Theatre in Binghamton. The festival, which organizers hope to make an annual event, will honor Fritz and Marianne Wallenberg’s lasting legacy of symphonic music in the Southern Tier. Also performing: the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Binghamton Youth Symphony.
For more information about BCO and its season go to www.binghamtoncommunityorchestra.org.