Friday, Oct 19, 2018
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Toledo Symphony has big plans for the coming year


    Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is scheduled to perform January, 2019, as part of the Symphony's KeyBank Pops Series.

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Toledo Symphony Classics Concert attendees enjoyed more than an evening of music this weekend. They also got a sneak peek at the orchestra’s 2018-19 75th anniversary season.

The upcoming season heralds a number of artistic changes, including the installation of Canadian conductor Alain Trudel as the orchestra’s new music director. In his own words, “As we turn the page and look forward to what the future brings, we must acknowledge where we’ve come from. Our musicians are true treasures of this great city. They inspire me to carry on this cherished tradition.”


Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is scheduled to perform January, 2019, as part of the Symphony's KeyBank Pops Series.

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To fulfill this goal, Trudel is actually moving to Toledo. This will mark the first time in nearly two decades that the principal conductor will be a part the daily workings of the orchestra.

“The challenge for Trudel is to make the symphony an integral part of life of the city,” according to Toledo Symphony President Zak Vassar, “to have as much impact as possible at all levels from education and the schools to outreach across the northwest Ohio area.”

The Classics Series, which has long been a symphony mainstay, is being renamed the ProMedica Masterworks Series, reflecting both its new sponsorship and a refocusing of the literature performed.

To the eight regularly schedule concerts at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle, two special single concerts have been added: a Saturday show in October and a Friday concert in June.

Guest soloists do not appear in the lineup until February.

“The reason is Trudel wanted the concerts to celebrate the amazing abilities of our musicians — to make our anniversary year first about the orchestra itself,” Vassar said.



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Masterworks begins Sept. 21 with Trudel’s Debut. It pairs the most well-known symphonic work of all time, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, with the world premiere of Bowling Green composer Christopher Dietz’s Caldera.

October’s special single concert, Colors, premiers Toledo composer Samuel Adler’s Tuba Concerto with Alexander Borodin’s Polovetsian Dances and Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird. Canadian Artist Holly Carr is creating a huge, backlight silk painting to accompany the music.

November brings A Hero’s Life celebrating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Its shows includes Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben, John Williams’ Born on the Fourth of July, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s SymbolonSymbolon was the first American symphonic piece premiered in the Soviet Union; it marked the end of the Cold War. Zwilich is also the first women composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for music.




In January, 2019, Nordic Air presents the music of Carl Nielsen, Edvard Grieg, and Jean Sibelius. In February, 2019, legendary pianist Andre Watts returns to the Peristyle for his eighth performance with the orchestra in Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor. Watts is the only soloist to have worked with all five of the previous Toledo Symphony conductors.

Rounding out the series is The Muse, a look at the love triangle formed by Robert and Clara Schumann and, in February, Johannes Brahms’ The Majestic Sea, Claude Debussy’s La Mer (March, 2019), and The Scottish Symphony (March, 2019), featuring a return of conductor Giordano Bellincampi and pianist Leonardo Colafelice.

In May, 2019, the official 75th Celebration Concert is Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2: Resurrection, featuring a mass chorus drawn from members of area community choirs.

In June, 2019, the series closes with Beatles Concerto. Employing a bit of pop culture, it includes Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, Maxime Goulet’s Beatles Fantasy on tunes by the Fab 4, and Michigan composer Michael Daugherty’s nod to the Man of Steel, Metropolis Symphony.

The Mozart and More Series of years past is undergoing changes as well, emerging as the Welltower Mozart in the Afternoon Series. Moving from Lourdes University in Sylvania, the concerts will now be 2 p.m. Saturdays at the Valentine Theatre, 400 N. Superior St. Music for these concerts has also been refurbished. Classic Mozartesque pieces such his Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Symphony No. 41 and Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4: The Italian, are partnered with such 20th century works as Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony and Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez.

The new concept is to allow two works to reflect off each other artistically, much as a prism reflects and refracts light. Rounding out these afternoon experiences, coffee, tea, and sweets will be served in the Valentine’s Grand Lobby following each performance.

On a historical note, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik was the first piece played onatthe very first concert by the Toledo Symphony in 1943.

The KeyBank Pops Series continues at 8 p.m. Saturdays at the Stranahan Theatre, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd. The series includes six evening concerts and one matinee.

These performances explore the lighter side of music. A screening of the classic movie West Side Story with full orchestral accompaniment opens in September. November brings Tower of Power musician Ellis Hall in a Tribute to Ray Charles.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the band that kicked off the ’90s swing revival, takes center stage in January, followed by legendary jazz pianist Gene DiNovi and conductor Trudel on his trombone celebrating the golden era of jazz in March, 2019.

In April, 2019, Michael Cavanaugh, the man hand-picked by Billy Joel for his tribute musical Movin’ Out, sings the artist’s greatest hits. The Tony Award-winning voice of Disney’s Princess Jasmine and Broadway’s Miss Saigon, Lea Salonga, closes the series in April with music from Aladdin, Miss Saigon, and Les Miserables.

The Chamber Series continues 7 p.m. Sundays with four concerts at the Toledo Club, 235 14th St., and one at the Valentine Theatre. Concerts include Friends of Music, Fantasy Pieces, Night Music, Diversity Elements, and Quintets Old and New.

The Andersons Family Series concerts continues 3 p.m. Sundays at the Valentine Theatre, with pre-concert family activities beginning at 2 p.m. These three concerts are the annual Halloween Spooktakular (Oct. 28), Christmas at the Peristyle (Dec. 1), and a new adventure Wazdastyle! (Jan. 13, 2019). The last concert is an educational, interactive exploration of different types of music using a “wheel of fortune” approach, familiar tunes, and the musicians’ ability to improvise.

Three annual holiday events combine to continue a Toledo musical tradition: Christmas at the Peristyle (Dec. 1), Handel’s Messiah with the Toledo Choral Society and the Terra State Choral Society (Dec. 4, Rosary Cathedral), and Toledo Ballet’s Nutcracker (Dec. 8th and 9th, Stranahan Theatre).

Finally, promised Vassar, “A couple of spotlight events are in the works as well, but we aren’t quite ready to let those out of the bag. Announcements will be forthcoming.”

Tickets are on sale now for all events. A series subscription offers savings of up to 20 percent off individual tickets. Early subscribers receive additional perks including first-priority seating, ticket offers in other series, and flexible exchange policies.

For more information about upcoming shows, call 419-246-8000 or visit

Contact Wayne F. Anthony at:

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