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Published: Tuesday, 2/8/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

TSO releases '11-12 season schedule

BY SALLY VALLONGO
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

The Toledo Symphony Orchestra at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle. The Toledo Symphony Orchestra at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle.
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This winter, the Toledo Symphony is busy gearing up for its big Carnegie Hall debut May 8.

Still, savvy TSO pros know there will be life after the Big Apple event, Spring for Music.

There will be Fall and Winter for music as well. And, yes, even another Spring, to wind up the 2011-2012 season just announced.

Bob Bell, president emeritus and chief artistic officer, says planning the season is a complex process of balancing various constituents.

"We start with the audience; they are most important, of course," he says. "But you've also got ideas and input from the conductor, the musicians, and the staff to consider."

Oh, and the TSO must stay within a budget that is trimmer than most American waistlines.

Wise heads know that creativity flourishes when limits are applied. This new season reveals just how clever and innovative Bell and all his cohorts have been in finding solutions.

The overall season comprises the same varied series as this year: the Classics -- nine concerts at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle; the Keybank Pops -- six concerts at the Stranahan Theater; the Healthcare REIT Mozart & More -- four concerts at the Franciscan Center of Lourdes College in Sylvania; the intimate Blade Chamber Series at the Toledo Club, and the Mercy Health Partners Family Series at the Peristyle.

But within that rubric, Bell and company found plenty of ways to make the new season distinct, dramatic, and enticing.

There are more collaborations than ever, he says: "We've had a very successful relationship with Bowling Green State University, but we've found a new level of working with them."

That will show dramatically in several of the most exciting programs on the Classics schedule:

●The Jan. 20-21, 2012, Roman Carnival Spectacular, a program conducted by resident conductor Jeffrey Pollock and featuring big, splashy works by Hector Berlioz, John Corigliano, Aram Khachaturian, and Ottorino Respighi. Bands from BGSU and the Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps will join the TSO to kick off the New Year.

●The next concert in that series, Pictures at an Exhibition, will welcome new Toledo Museum of Art director Brian Kennedy as narrator on Feb. 3-4, 2012.

"We've had some very rich and substantial conversations about how we will create an interesting palette for that program," Bell says. "We'll be able to do things that will allow sharing of ideas about art and the whole discipline of the creative mind."

●The Classics series will close May 18-19, 2012 with an Asian-themed program led by Stefan Sanderling and introducing violinist Tianwa Jang. The program will include "Flute Moon," by famed Chinese-American composer Bright Sheng.

"It's a small nod to the Chinese elements in our community," Bell says. He consulted with conductor Mei-Ann Chen who recently made her Peristyle debut with the TSO. Favorite guests soloists including Kirill Gerstein, Karen Gomyo, David Shifrin, and Arnaldo Cohen are due for return performances.

Also back by popular demand will be two special events: the Dec. 3-4 production of Handel's Messiah, and the April 15, 2012 performance of Bruckner's Symphony No. 3 at Rosary Cathedral.

The flourishing Keybank Pops program at the Stranahan Theater will lead off Oct. 15 with The Two Divas -- Julia Murney and Erin Mackey from Wicked -- holding forth and backed by the house "band."

The season is bursting with revivals including Christian singer Michael Smith Nov. 26, Peter Noone from Herman's Hermits on Jan. 14; music of Michael Jackson March 23-24, 2012; the Papa Doo Run Run group covering Beach Boys hits April 21, 2012, and a top Frank Sinatra recreator, Steve Lippia, May 12, 2012.

The Healthcare REIT Mozart & More series at the Franciscan Center of Lourdes College in Sylvania will kick off Oct. 1 with Pollock conducting Boccherini's La casa del diavolo and guest pianist Angela Cheng performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27. On Nov. 5, Sanderling will lead the orchestra in two Haydn works, including Symphony No. 82 (The Bear) with TSO flutist Joel Tse and harpist Nancy Lendrim sharing the spotlight in Mozart's beloved Concerto for Flute and Harp.

The Jan. 28 event will be conductorless and will feature TSO oboists Kim Bryden Loch and Michele Smith in Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Oboes. Making his TSO debut on March 17, 2012, conductor James Feddeck will lead works by Mendelssohn and Schubert plus Mozart's Bassoon Concerto with TSO principal Gareth Thomas soloing.

The Blade Chamber Series will continue with four concerts -- Sept. 11, Nov. 6, Jan. 15, and March 11, 2012 -- at the intimate Toledo Club setting. Small ensemble works by Mendelssohn, Crumb, Schoenberg, Salzado, and Reinecke, among others, will be performed by TSO stars.

And in another example of major collaboration, the Symphony has linked with community groups for each of its Mercy Health Partners Family Series. The Toledo Museum of Art is sharing in the traditional Halloween Spooktacular on Oct. 30; WGTE-FM will be a player in the Super Why Saves the Day concert on Feb. 12, 2012; the Toledo Zoo will be a participant in Animusica March 25, 2012, and the Mud Hens will be at bat for the Take Me Out to the Ball Game concert on May 13, 2012. All concerts will be at the Peristyle.

More information and ticket packages are available at 419-246-8000 or ToledoSymphony.com. Returning and new subscribers can pay last year's subscription prices by acting before April 30. A full listing of concerts is available at ToledoSymphony.com.

Contact Sally Vallongo at svallongo@theblade.com.



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