Suomi… How We Love You! :: Concert Preview No. 1

Before each concert, we share “Manny’s Musings,” thoughts from our Music Director and Conductor, Manny Laureano. This is the first edition of the “Musings” for the “Suomi… How We Love You!” concert that will be performed on Sunday, October 8, 2017.

Cantus Arcticus

If, while listening to the Cantus Arcticus by the late Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016), you find yourself conjuring the rich bass voice of beloved actor Morgan Freeman to act as de facto narrator, do not feel self-conscious. It would be a natural occurrence, given the way you are embraced by the sounds of the work delivered both through live musicians and recorded sound. This concerto for birds and orchestra operates much in the way of a standard concerto for a solo instrument with orchestral accompaniment. It is conversational as well, with the occasional display of rarely heard bird calls. Vivaldi and Beethoven called us to understand that nature could be sensed through musical sounds in the Seasons and the Pastorale Symphony respectively. Respighi would go further by being the first to use the recorded sound of a nightingale in his Pines of Rome. Rautavaara sought to engulf us in the sounds of Arctic avians in order to assure that we would use our imaginations fully. The sounds incorporated in this work go from simple cooing sounds to rude squawks! The orchestra both accompanies and also imitates, just as one would when out in a field or forest encountering an interesting call from a hidden winged companion. Perhaps we do it to compete or merely communicate. This work will make you smile at the sounds of the birds and competing orchestral forces or even, perhaps, make you laugh. Either way, this piece will engage your ear as a zoological aviary would your eye.

Join Music Director & Conductor Manny Laureano, for the concert, “Suomi… How We Love You! featuring the Suomi Finland 100 Chorus, Eeva Savolainen, director, and the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra. The concert takes place on Sunday, October 8, 2017, at 3 p.m., at the Gideon S. Ives Auditorium at the Masonic Heritage Center (11411 Masonic Home Drive, Bloomington)

To learn more about the concert, click here. You can order tickets online through the Masonic Heritage Center Box Office, or by calling 800.514.ETIX.


A season-ending thank you!

Thank you to all who attended the final concert of our 2013-14 season. We had a wonderful time transporting you to the afterlife, performing a little-known piece about a dying swan and surrounding you with the sounds of the Pines of Rome. We hope you will join us for one – or all – of the concerts in our 2014-15 season, which we will be announcing soon.

One of the ways that you can support the Bloomington Symphony, besides attending concerts, is to join us as a donor. More information about how to donate is available on our Support page.

Please be sure to check back here in the coming months to hear the announcement of our new concertmaster, and to learn more about our upcoming season. You can also join our e-mail list by completing the form at the bottom of the page and “like” our Facebook page.


“Music in 3D” Concert Preview No. 4

Today we are sharing the final installment of Manny’s Musings for the 2013-14 season. The Bloomington Symphony’s Artistic Director and Conductor, Manny Laureano, has written these notes to help prepare you for our concert, “Music in 3D,” on Sunday, April 13. We posted previous Manny’s Musings on Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Sibelius’ The Swan of Tuonela

Ottorino Respighi was a son of the city of Bologna, Italy, yet it is probably assumed by many that he was from many miles further south, in Rome. It took him a while to get there and stay for any length of time, however, as he went to study violin and viola in Russia before continuing work in Germany. It was during his time as a professor of composition at the Conservatory of St. Cecelia’s in Rome that his affinity for all things Roman developed. During that time he began what became a trilogy of works focused on three aspects of Rome and its culture. The first is a celebration of the beautiful fountains that dot several squares in the city. The third paints vivid pictures of the annual festivals that denote Italy’s Catholic heritage. The second is featured at this concert and is a paean to the natural beauty of the pine trees that are ubiquitous from the Villa Borghese to the historical Appian Way.

While Richard Strauss was a consummate world musical storyteller, Respighi and Sibelius shared the trait of painting portraits that had to do with their respective cultures. Respighi wrote many compositions, to be sure, but it is these descriptive musical travelogues that have captured the imaginations of concert-goers the world over. Here are the descriptions the composer provides for the benefit of his listeners:

Children are at play in the pine groves of the Villa Borghese, dancing the Italian equivalent of “Ring around a Rosy.” They mimic marching soldiers and battles. They twitter and shriek like swallows at evening, coming and going in swarms. Suddenly the scene changes. We see the shadows of the pines, which overhang the entrance of a catacomb. From the depths rises a chant, which echoes solemnly, like a hymn, and is then mysteriously silenced. There is a thrill in the air. The full moon reveals the profile of the pines of Gianicolo’s Hill. A nightingale sings… Misty dawn on the Appian Way. The tragic country is guarded by solitary pines. Indistinctly, incessantly, the rhythm of unending steps. The poet has a fantastic vision of past glories. Trumpets blare, and the army of the Consul bursts forth in the grandeur of a newly risen sun toward the Sacred Way, mounting in triumph the Capitoline Hill.

Please join us for this concert, “Music in 3D,” on Sunday, April 13 at 3 p.m. at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington. To purchase tickets in advance, please visit our online box office here. Tickets are always available at the door.


2013-14 Season Announced!

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra’s newly appointed Artistic Director and Conductor Manny Laureano has put together his first season of programs for the BSO. The season promises to be a celebration of firsts, as the conductor and musicians begin a new era of making music together.

The BSO begins it’s 51st season on Sunday, October 6 with a concert called “Let Us Begin.” This concert will feature Shostakovich’s first opus, a Scherzo in f# minor, followed by Mendelssohn’s first piano concerto performed by Susan Billmeyer, the Minnesota Orchestra’s keyboard player. Brahms’ First Symphony completes this concert of “firsts.”

The BSO’s fourth annual concert at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie, this year on Sunday, November 24, is entitled “Sit Right Back and You’ll Hear the Tale.” This concert includes programmatic pieces including Borodin’s Overture to Prince Igor, as well as the Polovetsian Dances from the same opera. The concert will end with Rimsky-Korsakov’s musical tale of Scheherazade.

On Sunday, February 16, 2014, the BSO will celebrate “The Passion of Rachmaninoff,” with a concert program of Wagner’s Overture to Rienzi, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major and concluding with Rachmaninoff’s passionate Symphony No. 2. The BSO’s concertmaster, Rebecca Corruccini will make her annual solo appearance at this concert.

The BSO will conclude its 2013-14 season with “Music in 3D,” a nod to the imagination that music inspires. “Music in 3D” includes Death and Transfiguration by Strauss, The Swan of Tuonela by Sibelius and Respighi’s well-known piece, The Pines of Rome. This concert will also feature a performance by the grand prize winner of MNSOTA’s Mary West Solo Competition.

Season and single concert tickets are now available online through the Bloomington Box Office or by calling 962-563-8575. Tickets are always available for purchase at the door. Single concert tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for seniors. Discounted season tickets are $48 for adults and $40 for seniors. Students with a valid ID are admitted free, thanks to our generous sponsors.

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