San Juan Symphony continues virtual season

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    Rebecca Ray
    Lauren Avery Heuser

    Kathy Myrick
    San Juan Symphony

    During this Essential 35th Season, virtual concerts of the San Juan Symphony have been viewed hundreds of times around the country. We proudly produced two beautiful concert recordings in 2020 that were archived for on-demand viewing, along with many hours of individual videos made by the musicians of our professional regional orchestra. 

    Website membership options include a $99 season pass or $25 weekly access, and currently more than 300 households and 150 students can enjoy access to www.sanjuansymphony.org.

    In our next virtual installment, coming up on March 6, at 7:30 p.m., the San Juan Symphony presents “The Joys of Bach and Bologne.” The concert will be recorded in the wonderful acoustics of the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College; after many months exploring alternate venues, the symphony is thrilled to return to the concert hall for a program of uplifting splendor. The high-definition video and audio recording will be released during a live-streamed event on our website, hosted by music director Thomas Heuser and broadcast from the Rochester Hotel in downtown Durango directly into households everywhere.

    The assembled musicians will perform with masks and physical distancing in a reduced ensemble of between 10-15 musicians, in keeping with the organization’s self-imposed safety requirements during the time of COVID. 

    The symphony is still operating on a concert-by-concert basis, with the fourth and final concert of the season planned for release in mid-May. Details about the season finale will be announced during the upcoming March broadcast.

    The program on March 6 includes what is likely the orchestra’s first presentation of music by Joseph Bologne, whose “Second Symphony” will provide an upbeat overture. Also known as the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Joseph Bologne flourished during the time of Mozart, but his career has been overlooked for centuries. A virtuoso violinist, composer and a cunning swordsman, Bologne became colonel of the first all-black regiment in Europe during the French Revolution. The complexities of his life story and his experiences overcoming racial discrimination add to our appreciation for his music during a season that has explored a number of black composers.

    Another composer receiving her San Juan Symphony debut is Hanna Benn, whose artistic output spans a huge range of genres and styles. As a composer and vocalist, her portfolio includes both pop albums and avant-garde theater projects. Her music is both lyrical and mystical, combining the nuances of medieval chant with the intricate textures of Stravinsky. Benn is highly in demand as a woman composer and composer of color whose voice is incredibly important in the current conversation about inclusivity and diversity in the arts. The symphony will perform Benn’s evocative “Where Springs Not Fail for String Orchestra,” a work from 2015 whose title draws its inspiration from the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.

    Rounding out the program will be the timeless music of Johann Sebastian Bach. The great German composer created countless masterpieces during the Baroque Period and yet his music still contains an astonishing freshness and originality. The symphony will perform his “Concerto for Oboe and Violin in C Minor,” a brilliant work conceived around 1720. The featured soloists are Rebecca Ray, principal oboist of the San Juan Symphony, and Lauren Avery Heuser, concertmaster of the San Juan Symphony. The two solo parts combine and overlap in fabulous contrapuntal displays, along with a contrasting slow movement of heartfelt lyricism.

    Digital access to the San Juan Symphony is available anytime, and purchasing a digital season pass is the single best way to support the symphony in these uncertain times. For complete information, please visit www.sanjuansymphony.org.