Arts and Entertainment

Orchestra plans concerts to appeal to young and old

Danielle McCutcheon - Courtesy photo
Danielle McCutcheon
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Vashon-Maury Chamber Orchestra will open its 2009-2010 concert series on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 7 and 8, with two concerts at Vashon Methodist Church.

In keeping with a new tradition for the orchestra, one of the concerts is designed for children, while the other will appeal to more sophisticated, grown-up ears.

The Saturday children’s concert, on Nov. 7, will treat kids and their parents to some well-loved works for string orchestra, including Mozart’s famous “Eine Kleine Nachtmusic” and J.S. Bach’s “Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra in D Minor.”

Gabrielle Burgess and Kim Thal, who lead Swingset Music, will be on hand to direct listening with musical storytelling, and young violin students of Gaye Detzer and Sarah Perlman will also be in the spotlight as soloists for the Bach piece.

“It’s always fun and particularly inspiring for kids to see other kids performing,” said Karin Choo, the orchestra’s music director, adding that seven to nine kids will perform.

Choo is also excited about the orchestra’s full-length concert planned for Sunday evening.

“What’s special is the play of old and new that we’ve got going on with the programming,” Choo said.

The evening will again feature Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusic” and the Bach concerto, but this time, the pieces will be paired with works by living composers John Corigliano and Steve Reich.

Corigliano and Reich have been hailed as two of the most important American composers of their generation.

Corigliano’s score for the 1997 film, “The Red Violin,” won an Academy Award, and he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for his “Symphony No. 2.”

Reich received a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for his “Double Sextet,” and is recognized as the pioneer of the minimalist movement, which has greatly influenced contemporary composition.

Choo described Reich’s “Duet for Two Violins and String Orchestra,” which will be played at Sunday’s concert, as a work with “a sound as simple as possible, and yet it is extremely complex.”

Choo and Danielle McCutcheon will perform as soloists for both the Bach and Reich pieces.

McCutcheon is a violinist who resides on the Island and performs as a soloist and ensemble player throughout the greater Seattle area.

“Vashon audiences will remember her well-received performance of Mozart’s ‘Sinfoina Concertante’ last season,” said Choo.

Choo has also recruited Evan Stults, most recently seen on Vashon as the musical director of Vashon Opera’s “La Bohème,” to take the baton as guest conductor for the difficult Reich piece.

“I’m excited to do it,” Choo said, while acknowledging that the Reich piece will be something different for many Islanders.

“Audiences are sometimes nervous about new music, but I think this will grab everyone, and people will really enjoy it.”

Vashon-Maury Chamber Orchestra will perform twice at the Methodist Church.

The first performance, at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, will be a children’s concert. Tickets are “pay what you can” and available at the door.

The second concert, at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, will feature solists Karin Choo and Danielle McCutcheon, and include “Concerto for Two Violins and Orchestra in D Minor” by J.S. Bach, “Duet for Two Violins and String Orchestra” by Steve Reich, “Voyage for String Orchestra,” by John Corigliano, and “Eine Kleine Nachtmusic” by W.A. Mozart. Tickets, $10 general and $7 for children and seniors, will be sold at the door.

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