After 203 days without a performance, the Helena Symphony returns along with the long-awaited and much-needed Opening Night on Saturday, September 19 at 7:30 p.m.!  Internationally-acclaimed Romanian Cellist Ovidiu Marinescu returns to perform Tchaikovsky’s passionately charming Rococo Variations.  The Symphony also launches Beethoven 250 – celebrating the 250th birthday of one of humankind’s most important artists – with the unrelenting rhythmic drive of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony as it transforms sorrow into joy.

“It’s time to celebrate the healing power of music,” explains Music Director Allan R. Scott.  “We are not trying to duplicate or replicate the concert hall experience but innovate the experience of our music-making.  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 Helena Symphony announced a revised 2020-2021 Season – Season 66 – Part One: Reimagined and Streaming ONline.  Branded as “It’s ON!,” the Helena Symphony is proud to bring music to the community and throughout the state.  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.

Acclaimed Romanian Cellist Ovidiu Marinescu is a frequent soloist and audience favorite of the Helena Symphony.  Mr. Marinescu has performed throughout the world, from Carnegie Hall to the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.  He has appeared with the New York Chamber Symphony, the National Radio Orchestra of Romania, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Newark Symphony, Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Philharmonic, Limeira Symphony in Brazil, Orquesta de Extremadura in Spain, and most of the orchestras in Romania.  With more than a dozen albums, he has been praised by Gramophone Magazine, and recently his recordings received the Gold Medal at the Global Music Awards and in 2017 were on the Classical Billboard list.  Upcoming projects include recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra.

As a sensitive, shy, yet eager child, young Tchaikovsky had turbulent formative years.  Forced to relocate throughout his childhood, Tchaikovsky and his brother were banished to a factory-like boarding school.  At the age of 14, he lost his mother, of whom he was obsessively fond, to cholera.  During his younger years he was prone to sudden fits of neurosis, ironically induced by the very music he loved.  In addition, the composer attempted to shield his homosexuality from the world with a failed marriage. It is not surprising, then, that Tchaikovsky suffered most of his life with a bi-polar disorder and suffered through long bouts of depression.  He did eventually die in very unclear circumstances believed to be suicide.

Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme pay homage to Mozart complete with elegance, charm, intimacy, and splashy virtuosity for the cello solo.   The term rococo (a word borrowed from art history and applied with little precision) refers to music, often 18th century French music, that exhibits a simplicity, grace, and lightness.  Even though Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations contains elements of the rococo style, it does not escape the rich use of Romantic melody and color that is the hallmark of his writing.

Beethoven’s exciting Seventh Symphony was composed during one of the most painful periods of Beethoven’s life.  His deafness was growing worse daily; his love life was in shambles; and he was financially broke.  Yet despite all this, Beethoven composed the rhythmic driven and triumphantly joyous Seventh Symphony.  And it is still considered one of the most energetic works of all time.  “As we all can relate during times of human suffering, such as the current pandemic, we need the sheer, raw power of explosive outbursts of joy in order to heal emotionally and spiritually,” says Maestro Scott.  “Thankfully, Beethoven’s Seventh provides us that, and we are grateful.”
HomeStream Your Helena Symphony presented by AARP Montana
The Helena Symphony is especially grateful to AARP Montana, who secured the naming rights to the new HomeStream Your Helena Symphony.  “AARP Montana is so 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.

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, offering close-up shots of musicians, front-side views of Maestro Scott, 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 Subscribers
For those who have purchased their Season Tickets, we are arranging for a Symphony gift bag with some select and private goodies unavailable anywhere else.  You’ll learn more about that in the near future.  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.

SUBSCRIPTION BENEFITS – exclusive to season ticket holders!
For those who have already purchased Season Tickets, your seats in the Civic Center are still reserved for when we are able to gather together again.  At this time, ticket sales have been suspended for Subscriptions and for individual concerts.  The following benefits still apply:

Season ticket holders will receive Subscriber ON-the-Go gift bag, plus individual Concert Watch Packs for each concert, as well as access to the Pre-Concert Conversations online with Maestro Scott and guest artists 30 minutes prior to every Masterworks Concert; and The Art of Listening newsletter with information about the concert, including Maestro Scott’s program notes.

Helena Symphony streaming concerts for Season 66 — Part One
Helena Symphony Welcomes New Musicians to the HSO