PORT ANGELES — Two new Family Pops concerts, award-winning performers from across the North Olympic Peninsula and a full Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra are on the way, conductor and music director Jonathan Pasternack announced this week.
Sixteen months after the Port Angeles Symphony’s last live concert, Pasternack is making plans – flexible ones – for the 89th season, which will take place with safety protocols in the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave.
“We’ve been able to reimagine our pops concerts and play where we sound our best, in our acoustic home,” Pasternack said of the first events of the new season on Oct. 1 and 2.
He envisions a family-friendly program including Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” narrated by Lisa Bergman of Seattle’s KING-FM 98.1, and Adam Weller, the 16-year-old winner of the 2020 Nico Snel Young Artist Competition, will step up as violin soloist with the 60-member orchestra, in Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo capriccioso.
John Philip Sousa’s “El Capitan,” John Williams’ “Star Wars Suite” and “America the Beautiful” are also on the program.
After Pops weekend, Pasternack plans five more full Symphony concerts with guest soloists. These include pianists Anna Petrova and Alexander Tutunov, violinist Victoria Parker and guitarist Elizabeth C.D. Brown of Seattle and the well-known oboist Anne Krabill of Port Townsend.
The masterworks of Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and Mozart grace programs throughout the season, Pasternack said, along with lesser-known works that showcase the orchestra’s versatility.
“I wanted to program pieces that will reignite the community’s passion for live orchestra music,” he noted.
In recent months, Pasternack has heard from patrons about how hopeful they are about coming back to live concerts.
“We should reward them with the best music we can do,” he said. “There will be a lot of music that uplifts.”
“That said, I decided to start the first symphony concert with a work by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt: ‘Cantus In Memory of Benjamin Britten.’ It’s a very beautiful, moving elegy for strings, written by one of the last century’s most significant composers.
“I think it’s a fitting way,” he said, “to express our communal loss.”
Along with the nonprofit Port Angeles Symphony board of directors, Pasternack plans concerts with COVID-19 precautions, including social distancing and limited seating capacity.
The modes of single-ticket and season subscription sales are yet to be decided, he said, adding he hopes to open ticket sales by late summer.
While many of the musicians, who will start rehearsals after Labor Day, have been vaccinated, current plans call for physical distancing and masks during their concerts, Pasternack noted.
Concert-goers will have a choice, he added, between two full performances on Saturdays: one at 10 a.m. and the other at 7:30 p.m. This will provide people with access to the live events while keeping the audiences smaller than in previous years.
Here’s the Port Angeles Symphony’s 2021-2022 lineup, which will take place in Port Angeles High’s Performing Arts Center at 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
Oct. 1, 7 p.m., and Oct. 2, 1 p.m.: Family Pops, with violin soloist Adam Weller, narrator Lisa Bergman and music ranging from Saint-Saëns to “Star Wars.”
Nov. 6: First Symphony concert of the season with piano soloist Anna Petrova and music of Prokofiev, Arvo Pärt and Johannes Brahms.
Dec. 11: Holiday Concert with music by Tchaikovsky, Rodrigo, LeRoy Anderson and Hovhaness, featuring guitar soloist Elizabeth C.D. Brown.
Feb. 19: The symphony and featured soloist Anne Krabill, the orchestra’s principal oboist, present music of Vaughan Williams, Francaix and Mozart.
March 26: Violin soloist Victoria Parker of Seattle joins the Port Angeles Symphony for a concert of music from Sibelius, Carl Nielsen and Max Bruch.
May 7: Piano soloist Alexander Tutunov rejoins the orchestra for a performance of Saint-Saëns’ second piano concerto, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Overture and Beethoven’s 7th Symphony.
In the meantime, the symphony continues to offer virtual concerts via Portangelessymphony.org. Tutunov, as well as cellist Julian Schwarz, pianist Marika Bournaki and the Sempre Sisters, aka Charlotte and Olivia Marckx, as well as a chamber ensemble of symphony musicians, are featured in these professionally recorded video productions. All can be viewed at no charge while donations to the symphony are welcome.
For information about the orchestra and the coming season, phone the Port Angeles Symphony office at 360-457-5579, email [email protected] or visit the Port Angeles Symphony’s Facebook page.