By Kathy Myrick
San Juan Symphony
Like orchestras and ensembles around the country and the world, the San Juan Symphony has been working overtime to navigate the challenges of the global pandemic. While some organizations have had to cancel entire seasons, fortunately, the San Juan Symphony has endured and embraced a new format that relies heavily on technology.
With a beautiful first production successfully streamed on Oct. 3, the music is set to continue on Saturday, Nov. 14, at 7:30 p.m. with a live concert broadcast — exclusively for website members — featuring a fantastic string orchestra program called “Lyrical Threads.”
Available now, audiences can purchase a digital season pass to the symphony for $99, which offers exclusive, yearlong access to www.sanjuansymphony.org for the entire household. Weekly access is also available for $25 for the entire household.
“Lyrical Threads” is one of four subscription concerts planned during this essential 35th season of the San Juan Symphony. The concert was conducted by Music Director Thomas Heuser on Oct. 17 at the Reising Stage Event Center in Durango, with masks and physical distancing required for all involved.
The concert was professionally recorded thanks to generous sponsorship by the Connie Gotsch Arts Foundation of Farmington and our Durango friends Norman Broad and Carol Solomon. Heuser will be hosting the concert on Nov. 14 as a live stream from the R-Space at the Rochester Hotel in downtown Durango. Heuser will also release another free musically speaking preconcert lecture on Wednesday, Nov. 11, for historical context in advance of the live broadcast.
“Lyrical Threads” features a chamber orchestra of San Juan Symphony string players. With strings in mind, Heuser created a program of intense emotion and lyricism, and selected a venue with reverberant acoustics to let the threads of the different melodies weave through the space.
The concert includes George Walker’s heartfelt “Lyric for Strings,” the energetic Holberg Suite of Edvard Grieg and, as a cherry on top, the perennial audience favorite, Pachelbel’s “Canon in D Major.”
As a moving tribute to the more than 200,000 American lives lost to COVID-19, the silhouetted San Juan Symphony principal string quartet recorded Eleanor Alberga’s “Remember.” Complete concert details and program notes can be downloaded at www.sanjuansymphony.org.
While the virtual season may seem like an unfortunate alternative to live music, it offers a unique opportunity to reach new audiences — particularly first-time listeners, families with young children, audiences in other parts of the country and those who might have physical limitations to attending concerts. Aspects of the digital concert experience are likely to become lasting features of the symphony even after concert halls reopen. However, the organization has made plans to continue with online concert productions through the spring of 2021.