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Published: Sunday, 9/18/2005

Sanderling leads Toledo Symphony into promising season

BY STEVEN CORNELIUS
BLADE MUSIC CRITIC

Bolstered by the rigorous leadership of principal conductor Stefan Sanderling, the Toledo Symphony appears poised for a breakout season in terms of artistry and attendance.

Top-flight visiting artists have been contracted for performances in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle, including Todd Wilson's much-anticipated recital on the hall's newly renovated E.M. Skinner organ. Look south to Bowling Green State University's Festival Series for an eclectic mix of sounds popular and highbrow.

The orchestra will be the star when Sanderling kicks off the Toledo Symphony season with a pair of Classics Series concerts the weekend of Sept. 23. Featured are Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 11, subtitled "The Year of 1911." Twin pillars of defiance, the former moves from darkness to light while the latter remains locked in struggle.

Perhaps the music is a message from Sanderling about the importance of the coming season in the life of the Toledo Symphony, which has strengthened its finances and audience base but, like orchestras across the country, faces cultural and fiscal challenges.

Sanderling leads four other Classics Series programs.

Concerts the weekend of Nov. 18 and 19 feature Ravel's dazzling "Daphnis and Chloe Suite No. 2" as well as the Onder Piano Duo in Bartok's bracing Concerto for Two Pianos and Percussion.

Mahler's expansive Symphony No. 9 heads the weekend of Jan. 13 and 14.

Pianist Peter Rosel joins Sanderling March 3 and 4 for Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 on a program that also includes Finnish composer Jean Sibelius' Symphony No. 6.

Sanderling closes the Classics Season May 19 and 20 with Prokofiev's ballet music "Romeo and Juliet," Denis Matsuev performs Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1.

Resident conductor Chelsea Tipton II leads two Classics Series weekends. Oct. 28 and 29 concerts feature principal clarinetist Georg Klass in a program of music by Respighi, Copland, and others; guests for March 24 and 25 include violinist Karen Gomyo and The Glassmen Drum & Bugle Corps in music by Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky.

Guest conductor Roberto Minczuk leads Bowling Green State University choruses in Berlioz' "Te Deum" Feb. 3 and 4; conductor Daniel Hege is joined by symphony viola soloists Valentin Ragusitu and Ellen Craig in an April 28 and 29 program featuring music of Gubaidulina and Mussorgsky.

Keyboards rule in the first half of the Peristyle Series.

Wilson's organ recital of music by Bach, Mozart, and Widor is slated for Sept. 30; pianist Stephen Hough plays his own music as well as that of Schumann and others Nov. 9. The final two concerts feature the Pittsburgh Symphony on Nov. 30 and the Kirov National Orchestra March 16.

Toledo Symphony's Stranahan Theater-based Pops Series opens Oct. 22 with the ageless Debbie Reynolds.

Jan. 21 brings Jamie Bernstein in a program featuring music of her father, Leonard. Mary Wilson and The Supremes appear with the orchestra Feb. 18. Chelsea Tipton II leads the orchestra in music of the big band era on April 8; Peter Nero closes the series on May 13.

Toledo Symphony also is sponsoring four special events. Trumpeter "Doc" Severinsen performs Nov. 26; pianist Arnaldo Cohen performs a Valentine's Day program on Feb. 14. Flutist James Galway returns to the area for a second consecutive season when he leads the Polish Chamber Orchestra Feb. 27.

Following up on the strong reception of last year's Rosary Cathedral concert, Stefan Sanderling leads the Toledo Symphony in Bruckner's Symphony No. 3 on March 9.

Toledo Symphony's Family Series opens Oct. 23 with the annual Halloween concert. Music from the Harry Potter films is tapped on Feb. 25. Chelsea Tipton II leads the orchestra in "Carnival of the Animals" and other music on April 1.

BGSU's Kobacker Hall-based Festival Series opens Sept. 23 with the Pittsburgh-based River City Brass Band in a concert that offers a look at America's once thriving brass band tradition.

The youthful all-male choir Cantus presents a range of classical and popular music Oct. 20. Bowling Green native and now Philadelphia Orchestra violinist Zachary DePue performs with his bluegrass trio Time for Three on Jan. 13.

Pianist Stephen Hough makes his second area appearance of the season on March 2 when he performs with the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg.

Contact Steven Cornelius at:scornelius@theblade.com

or 419-724-6152.



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