Season 68 opens with evocative escape and sensuality! Violinist Stephen Cepeda’s virtuosity soars in Max Bruch’s quest for an idyllic dream of Scotland, and the HSO brings the magical mayhem of Dukas’ Sorcerer’s Apprentice to life before the hypnotic allure of Ravel’s Bolero. The excitement of the evening continues with the Opening Night After Party fundraiser immediately following the performance!

“Concertmaster Stephen Cepeda is one of our audience’s favorite soloists. His mastery of his instrument is readily apparent whenever you hear him play. We are excited to be able to showcase his talents once again” says Director of Patron Services Scott Kall. “Add to the mix The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Bolero, plus the Opening Night After Party, and I think the entire evening will be one that will be talked about for quite a while”

There are very few composers who have the true gift of orchestrating a piece of music like a painting – complete with invention, craft, precision, and perfection of color. Maurice Ravel, one of the most quintessentially French composers, possessed the rare ability to express the ultimate goal of any artistic language – to capture the inexplicable or inexpressible through the delicate balance of craft and inspiration.

As a student of Gabriel Fauré, the true predecessor of the musical impressionist era of Debussy, Ravel learned the intricate and rich colors of harmony and orchestration at the Paris Conservatoire. Yet despite his seemingly perfect orchestral works, Ravel did not want to be recognized for his dazzling precision of technique; for Ravel that meant a dry, detached, and artificial rather than warmly human and inspired image. What Ravel wanted his peers and audience to remember was that his technique was merely a means to an end, and his music reveals all the tenderness and human emotion that lies inside the very private composer. Ravel proclaimed that “music made only with technique and intellect loses its special quality as the expression of human feeling. Music should always be first emotional and only after that intellectual.”

Ravel, in addition to orchestrating several other composers’ works (such as Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition), is best known for his two operas, L’Heure espagnole and L’enfant et les sortilèges, the ballet Daphnis et Chloé (considered his best work), two piano concerti, two violin sonatas, a string quartet, a piano trio, several solo piano works and songs, and orchestral works including La Valse, Rapsodie Espagnole, Schéhérazade, and the very popular Bolero.

But while Bolero is by no means Ravel’s greatest accomplishment or most sophisticated work, it is, like every other Ravel composition, impeccably detailed and very polished. From the barely audible entrance of the snare drum and the melody stated by the flute, Ravel creates a very sensual, hypnotic work that draws in, entices, and perhaps arouses, the listener. As the gradual addition of instruments continues, sound increases, and ranges of orchestral colors creep to life until the entire structure topples over itself and comes to a crashing halt, breaking our trance and leaving us in a very post-hypnotic state.


The Helena Symphony celebrates 68 years of symphonic music in the Helena community with the highlight fundraiser of 2022– the Opening Night After Party! The Opening Night After Party fundraiser will be a joyous and vibrant celebration complete with exquisite catered cuisine, cocktails, and a thrilling live and silent auction. We have moved the concert to 5:30 p.m. to make way for the celebration – join us at 7:00 p.m.!

Join the Helena Symphony at the Helena Civic Center Ballroom at 7:00 p.m. immediately following Masterworks I: Violinist Stephen Cepeda & Ravel’s Bolero on 17 September 2022 for the Opening Night After Party fundraiser. Tickets are on sale now on the Helena Symphony website or by calling the Symphony office at 406.442.1860. Single tickets are $75, a table of 8 is $550, and a table of 10 is $700.


The Helena Symphony is elated to announce we will continue our partnership with AARP to bring exceptional symphonic music to thousands across western Montana. Over the last two years, the Helena Symphony and AARP Montana have brought music into people’s homes with no pay wall, engaging more community members than ever before. As the Masterworks Series presented by AARP Montana, this continued collaboration will support audiences within the concert hall, bringing the highest quality symphonic performances and guest artists to Helena. The Helena Symphony is grateful for the generosity of the whole AARP Montana team!

Other highlights include the gorgeous Mozart by Candlelight, a celebration of Rachmaninoff’s 150th with Pianist Claire Huangci, the return of Handel’s Messiah this December for Christmas in the Cathedral, and the delightfully dark and funny SWEENEY TODD. Season 68 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 at, 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.

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The Helena Symphony Announces Tickets Available For The 2022-2023 Season Masterworks Concerts