The Helena Symphony concludes its 2020-2021 Season on Saturday, May 1, 7:30 p.m. (MST) on YouTube as part of the HomeStream Your Helena Symphony presented by AARP Montana live broadcasts. Season 66 – Part Two: Reimagined and Streaming Online is branded as “It’s ON!,” and the Helena Symphony has been bringing these live broadcasts to over 7,000 homes throughout the region, the state, the nation, and several hundred outside of the country since September.
From his performances in the films Black Swan and 12 Years A Slave, world-renowned Violinist Tim Fain returns to perform Mendelssohn’s dazzling Violin Concerto – one of the most perfect works for violin, replete with sparkling melodies and blazing bravura. The Season culminates with the cheerful Symphony by French opera composer Georges Bizet – and a much-needed exuberance and a musical smile!
Following months of collaboration with the County health officials and reviewing international studies on the impacts of instrumental performance and singing, we decided that offering a livestream into people’s homes is the ideal way to bring our music-making into the lives of our community in an innovative and safe way. “We are not trying to duplicate or replicate the concert hall experience but innovate the experience of our music-making,” says Music Director Allan R. Scott. “The Helena Symphony was created for these very difficult times. Our music-making exists to literally save lives and to promote the spiritual and emotional well-being of our people. Despite the very different format, we will strive to continue to make lives better through music.
“The pandemic has given the Helena Symphony the opportunity to reimagine how the 2020-2021 Season might look, sound, and feel,” explains Symphony President Patrick Keim. “Nothing can replace coming to the concert hall and experience live music-making by the Helena Symphony Orchestra & Chorale, and we are grateful to the many sponsors, partners, donors, and especially AARP Montana for serving as the principal sponsor of HomeStream Your Helena Symphony presented by AARP MT. “AARP Montana continues to be excited to help bring the artistic excellence of the Helena Symphony’s music-making to people in the safety of their homes,” says Tim Summers, State Director of AARP Montana.
Returning to Helena, award-winning Violinist Tim Fain has been seen on screen and heard in the Grammy-nominated soundtrack to the film Black Swan. Mr. Fain also performs on the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning film Moonlight, and he gave “voice” to the violin of the lead actor in the hit film 12 Years a Slave, as he did with Richard Gere’s violin in the film Bee Season. He has appeared internationally as a soloist with the American Composers Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Baltimore Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York, Pittsburgh Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, and National Orchestra of Spain. Mr. Fain’s recitals have taken him to the world’s major music capitals, and works closely with legendary American composer Philip Glass.
Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto was composed for a childhood friend and well-known violinist. While the Violin Concerto is Mendelssohn’s last larger orchestral work, the orchestra in many ways is merely the palette for the violin solo. The Violin Concerto proved to be one of Mendelssohn’s greatest works. Today it still remains the standard bearer for any aspiring violinist and any composer hoping to write a violin concerto. “The virtuosity needed coupled with the ability to play a lyrical line with subtle nuances and intensities were simply unprecedented other than Beethoven’s masterful concerto for violin,” explains Maestro Scott.
Following Tim Fain’s performance of the Mendelssohn, the Helena Symphony Orchestra brings the 2020-2021 unprecedented Season to a much-needed uplifting close with Georges Bizet’s First Symphony. While Georges Bizet is best remembered for his operas, specifically Carmen, it is often forgotten that he was a prodigy and had a similarly short life like Mozart and Mendelssohn. Mozart died at age 35, Mendelssohn at 38, and Bizet died at the age of 36 from a heart attack (due to is chronic smoking habit) shortly after the premiere of Carmen. Born to a very musical family, Bizet entered the Paris Conservatory at the young age of nine and later won the coveted compositional award of the Grand Prix de Rome.
During his student years Bizet was influenced and mentored by the well-respected and popular composer Charles Gounod. Bizet wrote to his former teacher years later, “You were the beginning of my life as an artist. I spring from you. You are the cause; I am the consequence.” This admiration is important to perhaps understanding why Bizet’s Symphony No. 1 was never mentioned by him, nor publisher or performed during his lifetime. It remains somewhat of a mystery as to why no one knew of the work until 1933 (some eighty years after Bizet wrote it). Symphonies at the time were somewhat considered my academic efforts by the Parisian arts community in the late 19th century and most composers would write them only to advance their technique and focus their reputation and success on their works for stage – namely operas. The more likely reason why Bizet did not publish or ever mention his First Symphony is because it was so similar to Gounod’s Symphony No. 1 composed less than a year earlier. Either way – it remains a fairly incredible output for a 17-year-old emerging artist!
HomeStream Your Helena Symphony presented by AARP Montana
These live streams can be viewed on a smart phone, tablet, laptop and desktop computers, smart televisions, and televisions connected to the internet – or anywhere you have access to YouTube. Most televisions offer YouTube as an app or can be attached to another computing device to watch on the big screen. While nothing can replace the experience of attending a live performance, we feel that the live stream offers an exciting and new way to enjoy a concert. Each stream will be shot by 6-7 cameras and the camera crew will be able to operate within the Orchestra and Chorale, offering close-up shots of musicians, front-side views of the conductor, and visuals that are not possible by sitting in the auditorium. We will also have a pre-concert host, and short backstage interviews prior to walking onstage or at intermission. We are excited to present the Helena Symphony in a more personal, up-close manner.
There is no charge for the HomeStream Your Helena Symphony presented by AARP Montana, which will be available on YouTube, the Helena Symphony’s website, and the Symphony’s Facebook page. There will be an option available online to make a donation to the Helena Symphony.
In addition to Concert Watch Packs and access to the Pre-Concert Crash Course with Maestro Scott and Mr. Fain, Season ticket holders can renew their tickets for the 2021-2022 Season starting April 15!