Friday, October 4, 2013

Organ Symphony, Bactoberfest Play Overture to HSO's 70th Season

Carolyn Kuan. Photo: Steven Laschever
The Hartford Symphony Orchestra is rolling out the red carpet for the 70th anniversary opening Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11 and 12 at 8 pm in Mortensen Hall at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.

Led by HSO Music Director Carolyn Kuan, this program will include Saint-SaĆ«ns’ “Organ Symphony,” Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Pipa with guest artist Wu Man, and Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor featuring the Connecticut Youth Symphony onstage with the HSO.

The HSO performances are the concluding events of Bachtoberfest, a new music festival featuring music by Bach and music written for organ. The festival, Oct. 4-12,  includes free concerts and events at the Austin Organ Factory, Cathedral of Saint Joseph, Congregation Beth Israel, Hartford Public Library, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick St. Anthony, St. Brigid’s Church, First Church of Christ, United Methodist of West Hartford, and Central Baptist Church, among others. The full festival calendar of events can be found at

Recognized as the world’s premier pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music, Grammy Award-nominated musician Wu Man has carved out a career as a composer, soloist, and educator giving her lute-like instrument – which has a history of over 2,000 years in China – a new role in both traditional and contemporary music. Through numerous trips to her native China, Wu Man has premiered hundreds of new works for the pipa, while spearheading multimedia projects to both preserve and create awareness of China’s ancient musical traditions. Her adventurous spirit and virtuosity have led to collaborations across artistic disciplines allowing Wu Man to reach wider audiences as she works to break through cultural and musical borders. On December 6, 2012 Wu Man was named Musical America’s 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year, the first traditional musician ever to receive this prestigious award.

The Connecticut Youth Symphony (CYS) has provided students an opportunity to study orchestral music intensively with like-minded musicians for almost 75 years. The Hartt School Training Orchestra was founded in 1938 by Rubin Segal and held its first concert in May 1939. The premier youth orchestra of The Hartt School Community Division provides advanced, motivated musicians the opportunity to perform major symphonic masterworks, concerti, and contemporary works with students of similar ages and abilities. The ensemble is currently under the direction of Daniel D’Addio and assistant conductor Mickey Reisman.

Organist Edward Clark has performed regularly with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra since 1984, playing organ and harpsichord both as soloist and orchestra member. Clark has been Minister of Music at the historic First Church of Christ, Congregational, Farmington since 1965. For more than 20 years he was a member of the organ and harpsichord faculty at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford. He has made frequent appearances with the Arcadia Players Baroque Orchestra, Orchestra New England, Hartford Chorale, Hartford Chamber Orchestra, Springfield Symphony, Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, CONCORA, Chorus Angelicus and Connecticut Choral Society, among others.

To mark this special season opener, the HSO will host a special opening night celebration before the Oct. 11 concert, including cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and food stations; a dessert reception with Kuan and the guest artists will conclude the evening following the concert. Tickets for the Opening Night Celebration, which include preferred concert seating, are $170 per person for subscribers and $225 for non-subscribers: 860-246-8742 ext. 326;

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)
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