Bulgarian-born pianist Anna Petrova, rehearsing with the Port Angeles Symphony the last time she came to the North Olympic Peninsula, will return to open the orchestra’s new season Nov. 6. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Bulgarian-born pianist Anna Petrova, rehearsing with the Port Angeles Symphony the last time she came to the North Olympic Peninsula, will return to open the orchestra’s new season Nov. 6. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Symphony season tickets on sale

Five concerts planned, fall through spring

PORT ANGELES — After 19 months, “seeing everybody was fantastic,” said Bruce Kelley, an orchestral musician newly emerged from the desert.

“It’s been a social desert,” not making music with his fellow Port Angeles Symphony players.

This past Monday night, Kelley, who lives on Marrowstone Island, drove to the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center to rehearse for the orchestra’s first concerts since February 2020.

The performances, set for 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6, are the start of the symphony’s new season. Subscription tickets go on sale today to the general public via portangelessymphony.org.

The Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave., is the venue for all five Symphony concerts.

In addition to the November concert, the symphony performances will include the following guest soloists and selected works:

• Dec. 11: Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with guitarist Elizabeth C.D. Brown.

• Feb. 19: Principal oboist Anne Krabill, featured in “The Flower Clock” by Jean Francaix.

• March 26: Victoria Parker will play Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1.

• May 7: Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto with Alexander Tutunov.

More about the music on each program, the performers and ticket prices can be found on the symphony website, while patrons can also contact the office at 360-457-5579 or pasymphony@olypen.com.

The Nov. 6 concert will bring back the Bulgarian-born pianist Anna Petrova as featured soloist. Now a professor at the University of Louisville, she’s performed twice before in Port Angeles. This time, Petrova and the orchestra will play Edvard Grieg’s famed piano concerto, a dance-like work from the Romantic era, as the centerpiece.

Also in the season opener, “we’ll start with a piece that’s close to my heart: Sibelius’ Andante Festivo. It’s a very stirring hymn to life,” said Jonathan Pasternack, who is beginning his seventh season as the symphony’s music director and conductor.

To complete the program, the orchestra will play Johannes Brahms’ First Symphony in C minor. Pasternack has a long history with this piece, having recorded a CD of it on the Naxos label with the London Symphony.

Port Angeles Symphony concertmaster Jory Noble is finding fresh inspiration on the rehearsal stage.

“We have been missing an essential part of ourselves,” not performing together, Noble said.

“Making music is not just entertainment to us. It’s part of our soul … It was truly wonderful to be wrapped in the warmth of Brahms, making beauty come to life with these wonderful people.”

During the past year and a half, Noble has recorded a few videos with the Port Angeles Symphony String Quartet: one for the Symphony’s Adventures in Music education program and one for the virtual Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts last May. But this month brought the first time she’s lifted her violin and bow alongside the 46-member symphony orchestra.

The symphony’s safety plan for 2021 concerts includes several measures to minimize crowding in the auditorium and lobby and to protect the musicians and patrons, Pasternack said.

The performances will be 60 to 80 minutes in length with no intermission; the two concert times are designed to make room for more people to attend.

All patrons must show proof of full vaccination. So, until vaccines are authorized for children younger than 12, they will not be able to attend. All of the symphony musicians are fully vaccinated.

Face masks are required for everyone except woodwind and brass players, who are, like their fellow performers, vaccinated. The wind musicians will take COVID-19 tests prior to concerts.

These policies are also being used by the Bellingham and Seattle symphonies this season, Pasternack said.

In the auditorium, families and friend groups will be required to wear masks, and they will be spaced out from one another, with every other row open and seats kept open between parties.

For Kelley, the orchestra’s principal horn player, the return to the stage is a joyful one for another reason: It will be his first concert since he suffered a heart attack Sept. 15.

Although he’s just 60, he has a family history of heart disease — but “I thought I could cheat it by living right,” he said.

The care he received at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle included stents that have made a huge difference, Kelley said.

His energy and mental freshness have come back; Monday night’s 90-minute rehearsal with the orchestra “felt great,” he said.

The same goes for Pasternack, who said the last time the symphony rehearsed together was March 9, 2020.

“This is truly momentous for us,” the conductor said.

“We’re going to have to reinvent ourselves and do some rebuilding of the ensemble,” he added, “and there’s no better way to do that than with some of the greatest music ever composed.”

_______

Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or durbanidelapaz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Bruce Kelley.

Bruce Kelley.

Anna Petrova.

Anna Petrova.

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