The Helena Symphony continues its 2020-2021 Season on Saturday, March 27, 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.
The greatest living clarinetist returns! Ricardo Morales performs Copland’s lyrical and jazz-influenced Clarinet Concerto that was composed for the legendary swing musician Benny Goodman. Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony gives us a musical escape to find rejuvenation through sentimental songfulness.
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.
“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, audience favorite legendary Clarinetist Ricardo Morales appeared with the HSO at a special Mozart By Candlelight in 2019, and returns to perform Copland’s jazz-infused Clarinet Concerto. Mr. Morales joined The Philadelphia Orchestra as Principal Clarinet in 2003, and previously served as Principal Clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall, and with the Chicago Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, Columbus Symphony, Memphis Symphony, and the Flemish Radio Symphony. In addition, Mr. Morales was a featured soloist with the US Marine Band, “The President’s Own”, recording Jonathan Leshnoff’s Clarinet Concerto, a piece commissioned for him by The Philadelphia Orchestra.
Mr. Morales has been asked to perform as principal clarinet with the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Berlin Philharmonic. An active chamber musician, he has performed at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Seattle Chamber Music Summer Festival, and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Mr. Morales’ debut solo recording, French Portraits, is available on the Boston Records label, and his recent recordings include performances with the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, a Latin Grammy-nominated release with the Pacifica Quartet, and the Mozart Concerto with the Mito Chamber Orchestra (Japan).
Aaron Copland’s name is synonymous with “American music” more than any other composer, even more than George Gershwin or Leonard Bernstein. Copland proclaimed: “I felt that it was worth the effort to see if I couldn’t say what I had to say in the simplest possible terms.”
This son of Russian Jewish immigrants quickly began to lead many of his fellow American artists in a commitment to capturing a wider audience and speaking to the concerns of the average citizen, the everyday American caught up in the dramas of the Great Depression and the Second World War. “Copland responded to America’s calling for culture, pride, and patriotism,” explains Music Director Allan R. Scott. “Though Copland represented the pinnacle of an intense mid-century Americanism, he was not an insular nationalist; on the contrary, he was acutely interested in world politics and in how the United States fit into the larger sphere.”
Even though Copland’s definitive musical voice captures a naïve Americana, he also embraced the musical trends of his time, specifically jazz and the music of Latin America. Copland collaborated with many of the great musicians, choreographers, and fellow composers of the twentieth century. The coupling of legendary clarinetist Benny Goodman and Copland still remains one of the most exciting partnerships in all of American music. It was the “King of Swing” (Goodman) who approached Copland about composing a concerto for clarinet.
Combining his trademark sounds with his interest in jazz, Copland only used a harp, piano, and strings. “I used the slapping basses and whacking harp sounds to simulate the jazzy effects,” explains Copland. The clarinet solo’s ability to blend with strings creates a sense of longing and time standing still. Goodman premiered the Clarinet Concerto in 1950 on a radio broadcast with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Today it is one of the great works of American music.
More than a century before Copland composed his Clarinet Concerto, Felix Mendelssohn captured the imaginations of audiences with his Scottish Symphony. Mendelssohn’s parents encouraged their talented young son, but they also wanted him to be a well-rounded adult, with a chance to see and learn from the wider world. When the composer reached his twenty-first birthday, his father urged him to leave Germany on a series of travels.
Mendelssohn’s inspiration was ignited when he visited the historic palace and chapel of the tragic Queen Mary.
Despite the vivid explanation that was the impetuous for the Scottish Symphony, Mendelssohn actually does not employ any authentic Scottish folk tunes. The work does however take us on a journey complete with a reflective quiet and passionate exoticism combine with a stormy fantasy world and outbursts of excitement.
Mendelssohn still has one more musical thought and launches an entirely new theme that almost becomes a hymn-like crusade begging for a men’s chorus to lead the nostalgic charge of confidence, determination, and victory.
Whether Mendelssohn lures us into his world with a musical postcard of his trip or creates more of a Scottish dream is not as important as the certainty that he captures our hearts and minds so we can enjoy an artistic escape and hopefully return rejuvenated.
Season 66 – Part Two
Season 66 – Part Two includes four more Masterworks Concerts and three more Education Concerts, including two Symphony Kids concerts and a special Youth Concert that will be broadcasts to schools and students around the country. The Symphony has invited some of the audience’s favorite guest artists back for this special Season, including world-renowned Pianist Claire Huangci, legendary Clarinetist Ricardo Morales, and internationally acclaimed Violinist Tim Fain. The Helena Symphony Orchestra will perform the great masterworks of music, such as Brahms’ epic Piano Concerto No. 2, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Scottish Symphony, Copland’s jazz-inspired Clarinet Concerto, along with works by Schumann, Bizet, Prokofiev, Debussy, and Fauré.
“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.
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.
For those who have purchased their Season Tickets, the Symphony sent two gift packages that recently include a special Montana calendar, the highly sought-after Helena Symphony face masks, and a special Symphony branded blanket (perfect for staying warm during the broadcasts or for this summer’s Intrepid Credit Union Symphony Under the Stars). The Early-Bird Season Tickets that were purchased before this pandemic hit are essential in keeping the musicians of the Symphony together and playing. Your continued support is vital to our future.
Season ticket holders will continue to receive custom made Concert Watch Packs for each concert, including fun Symphony branded stickers, exclusive drink and meal recipe cards from the Silver Star – the official restaurant of the Helena Symphony, as well as access to the Pre-Concert Conversations online with Maestro Scott and guest artists 45 minutes prior to every Masterworks Concert; and The Art of Listening newsletter with information about the concert, including Maestro Scott’s program notes.
Maestro Scott and Mr. Morales are available for interviews by contacting
the Symphony at 406.442.1860 or [email protected]