After nearly 18 months of performing from an empty concert hall, the Helena Symphony returns with the highly anticipated Season 67 Opening Night on Saturday 18 September at 7:30 p.m.! The long-awaited re-opening of in-person performances begins with the most triumphant celebration of the human spirit – the immortal “Ode to Joy” of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Season 67 will be a powerful and thoughtful celebration of the Helena community and our front-line workers.
“We believe it is important to capture the emotions, the trials, the difficulties, and the triumphs that our community and the human spirit, in general, endured this past year,” says Maestro Allan R. Scott. Season 67 will be a captivating series of Masterworks, Non-Series, and Educational Concerts. “There is no better way to kick off Season 67 than with one of the greatest works of mankind, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Our music-making exists to literally save lives and to promote the spiritual and emotional well-being of our people. The mission of the Helena Symphony is to engage, enrich, transform, and inspire lives through music. Through our online and in-person concerts, people across Helena and the country can find a source of community, healing, and inspiration.”
Beethoven once described himself as someone “who did everything badly except compose music,” and yet he aroused intense personal devotion not only by his music but by his personality, rough and ill-mannered, violent, and wrong-headed though his actions often were. The nature of his personality and the fact he was virtually uneducated, gave his musical utterance a simplicity and a sincerity that are without parallel among the great composers. It is these qualities, combined with his strong sense of humanity and his inexhaustible power of striving for the ideal, that have earned him his unique place in affections of music-lovers of all types.
The Ninth premiered on 7 May 1824 in Vienna during a lengthy performance that also included three movements of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and the premiere performance of The Consecration of the House Overture. The Ninth is not a flawless work. Much of the music for the singers, woodwinds, and often the strings was too demanding for the musicians in Vienna at the time and transitions were awkward. Beethoven ignored the requests by the performers to alter the score. Despite the shortcomings in the orchestra and chorus at the premiere (when the sopranos could not reach the high notes as written they simply did not sing!), Beethoven had proven himself to be at the height of his creative powers. While the composer did not actually conduct the performance, he stood on stage attempting to lead the orchestra, soloists, and chorus.
The audience was overwhelmed! Beethoven, completely deaf and trapped by only the sounds in his mind, did not realize that the music ended, and the applause had begun. As a soloist turned the ailing composer to face the audience, the crowd erupted. The police had to be called to ensure that order was maintained. The critics for the most part agreed that Beethoven had launched a new era of symphonic writing; however, they were not entirely sold on the use of voices or percussion instruments in the final movement. Perhaps by adding words it would seem on the surface to remove the intangible elements of a symphony and therefore to destroy the autonomy of music as an independent language. After a more careful look, it is clear that Beethoven only enhances the Romantic motto of searching for the ideal, and maybe even too ideal for society at large today.
HomeStream Your Helena Symphony presented by AARP Montana
The Helena Symphony is especially grateful to AARP Montana, who secured the naming rights to HomeStream Your Helena Symphony in 2020. “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.
The Helena Symphony is elated to announce we will continue our partnership with AARP Montana to bring HomeStream Your Helena Symphony once again to thousands across Montana and the globe. Throughout Season 66, AARP Montana and the Helena Symphony live-streamed eleven Masterworks, Non-Series, and Education concerts into people’s homes and classrooms with no paywall. Through this unique collaboration, the Helena Symphony brought the audience a new perspective on the concert hall experience and a platform to unite our community although we could not be together in person. This Season will allow Helena Symphony patrons to enjoy all six Masterworks concerts and Mozart by Candlelight, in person or from the comfort of their own home.
These live streams can be viewed on a smartphone, 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. There will also be a pre-concert host and short backstage interviews throughout the evening.
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 and through Venmo to donate to the Helena Symphony.
Season 67 & Subscription Benefits – Exclusive to Season Ticket Holders!
Following the performance, audience members are invited to the Opening Night Celebration in the Ballroom of the Helena Civic Center for champagne and desserts, sponsored by The Parrot Confectionery and The Hawthorne Bottle Shop and Tasting Room. Admittance is free to all season subscribers, and $10 for others. Subscribers are also given entrance to the Pre-Concert Conductor’s Crash Course with Maestro Scott 45 minutes prior to all Masterworks Concerts.
Other highlights include a special Mozart by Candlelight concert with the acclaimed Russian Pianist Anna Kislitsnya; Christmas in the Cathedral, Rossini’s thrilling and spiritual Stabat Mater, and the most popular opera of all time – Bizet’s Carmen.
Season 67 also includes several free Educational Concerts and a red-carpet Benefit Concert, and much more!
In addition to the substantial discounts on season tickets, subscribers also receive the new Bring A Friend Pass, The Art of Listening Newsletter, first access to Non-Series Concerts, and several other benefits. Single concert tickets can also be purchased ($55-$15 plus a $5 transaction fee) online, by calling the Symphony Box Office (406.442.1860), or visiting the Symphony Box Office located on the Walking Mall at the Placer Building (21 N. Last Chance Gulch, Suite 100) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets for the remaining Non-Series Concerts, Mozart by Candlelight and Christmas in the Cathedral, go on sale to the public on Monday, September 20.