Season 67 continues 29 January 2022 with Masterworks III: Ravel’s Piano Concerto and Pianist Jon Nakamatsu! Internationally renowned Pianist and Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Jon Nakamatsu returns to perform Maurice Ravel’s emotionally delicate and jazz-infused Piano Concerto. Paired with the captivatingly lush and optimistic Fifth Symphony of Englishman Ralph Vaughan Williams sings with emotional strength and spirituality. Masterworks III will be presented thanks to the generosity of our sponsors American Chemet, Jeanne & Ron Baldwin, Treasure State Internet & Telegraph, AARP Montana, and the Carolina Bed & Breakfast.

Music speaks to each of us in such a personal way, each individual with their own unique experience. And yet, coming together as a community to join with one another in these experiences provides a much-needed release from the pressures of the past two years,” explains Director of Artistic Planning Rehanna Olson. “This season, we’re focused on taking these experiences back- back from isolation, back from distancing- and moving forward into the future together. Many things are different, but music is constant and remains to uplift, heal, bring us together, and carry us ever forward.

The distinguished American Pianist Jon Nakamatsu – known internationally for the panache and elegance of his solo, concerto, and chamber performances – has become a favorite with audiences throughout the world. A high school teacher of German with no formal conservatory training, Jon Nakamatsu’s electrifying performance of Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto won him the Gold Medal at the 1997 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition amidst a field of experienced competition warriors. Mr. Nakamatsu is a graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in German Studies and a master’s degree in Education. In the fall of 2016, Jon Nakamatsu joined the piano faculty of the prestigious San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

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 Conservatory. Yet despite his seemingly perfect orchestral works, Ravel did not want to be recognized for his dazzling precision of technique; for Ravel, that meant 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.”

“It was written very much in the spirit as those of Mozart and Saint-Saëns,” explained Ravel. “The music of a concerto should, in my opinion, be light- hearted and brilliant, and not aim at profundity or dramatic effects.” As such, Ravel composed the Piano Concerto using merely a handful of winds, two horns, one trumpet, one trombone, and only 32 strings – an ensemble similar in size to a Mozart work. From the playful piccolo solo that opens the work to the roller coaster ride finale, Ravel incorporates many styles that interested him throughout his career. The first movement incorporates the Basque flavor themes drawn from his mother’s ancestry, Spanish style rhythms, and even “blue” notes recalling jazz and sounds of American music, specifically the works of Gershwin.

 

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 pay wall. 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.

How?

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. 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.

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 www.helenasymphony.org, 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.

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