BLO Returns to Hatch Shell with Free Concerts

July 20, 2017
By

By Beth Treffeisen

With summer in full swing, it is time to sit back, relax, and enjoy a free night of classical music, courtesy of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra.

Under the leadership of Music Director Christopher Wilkins and Executive Director Jo Frances Meyer, the 2017 season of free concerts at the DCR’s Hatch memorial Shell on the Esplanade will bring live entertainment to classical music lovers or first time listeners alike.

Opening night, titled “Music for a Summer Evening” took place on Wednesday, July 19.

“The program this year has outstanding orchestral music but also amazing new music that engages many, many members of our community both on and off the stage,” said Frances Meyer.

She said by having the performers come from all over the region, it is a good way to get people to come out and watch it.

“There are still lots of people in many neighborhoods that aren’t even aware of it,” said Frances Meyer. “We want to make it a gathering place for the city.”

One City Choir, that features singers from 44 cities and towns in Massachusetts that will be singing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 is a great example said Frances Meyer, on how the Landmarks Orchestra tries to gather people at the Hatch Shell.

Last year Boston Landmarks Orchestra celebrated the 15th anniversary and this year they are celebrating 10 years at the Hatch Shell.

Conductor and community advocate Charles Ansbacher founded the Boston Landmarks Orchestra in 2001. The orchestra is comprised of many of the area’s finest professional musicians.

In its earliest years, the orchestra performed in historically important settings as Fenway Park, the USS Constitution pier, Jamaica Pond, Franklin Park, Copley Square and more. Since 2007, its principal home has been at the DCR’s Hatch Shell.

“We’re right in the middle of a huge metropolitan area and it’s producing its own sound,” said Wilkins. He pointed out the nearby Red Line, traffic from Red Sox games, and the occasional motorcycle rumbles that come off of Storrow Drive. “Sometimes its quite humorous but sometimes it’s not. But we are right in the heart of the city and that’s what it was intended to be,” said Wilkins.

Wilkins said that is very different playing outdoors than it is from playing indoors, especially because of the ambient sound. He said, everyone has to have a separate microphone. “It’s a huge mixing job.”

Being outdoors is part of the charm, said Wilkins who enjoys seeing the joggers and bikers going by on the Esplanade stop in awe when they realize there is a free concert going on at the Hatch Shell. “They just stop, sit down on the lawn and take in the concert,” he said.

Off to the left of the stage Wilkins aid that they set up a “Maestro Zone” where paper batons are handed out to get a free lesson in conducting.

“For us, some things we do are unique and strange. We are known for doing everyday things a little differently,” said Wilkins.

This year, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra will be working with students from East Boston through Zumix. They will perform in a rock/ jazz music band that is enhanced by the orchestra instruments.

In addition, students from Camp Harbor View will be performing with 50 drums on stage alongside the orchestra.

These programs are supported in part by grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Boston Cultural Council and administered by the Mayor’s Office of Arts + Culture for the City of Boston.

The biggest concern about performing in an outdoors venue is weather said Frances Meyer. It is always a juggling act to find a back up performance space that can handle all of the performers.

One thing Frances Meyer’s wants to make clear is that the performers are not volunteers. Over the years, she said that many people ask if they all volunteer but, Frances Meyer’s believes that it is important to pay the professional orchestra that are so talented.

“We work hard to raise money,” said Frances Meyers. “It may be a free concert but it’s not free to provide.”

The Concerts will be held every Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. through August 23. A full list of descriptions and times are listed below.

For more information visit landmarksorchestra.org.

 JULY 26  MERCURY ORCHESTRA:  SYMPHONIC OPERA

Channing Yu, Music Director

Channing Yu and his Mercury Orchestra have thrilled Boston area audiences every summer for a decade. Through skill, devotion, and truly ambitious repertoire—much of it opera-related—some of the most talented amateur musicians in the region come together each year to deliver invariably memorable performances. This summer for the first time, they appear on the Esplanade as guests of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra. No rain date.

Richard Wagner Die Meistersinger—An Orchestral Tribute

Richard Strauss Der Rosenkavalier Suite

AUGUST 2, 2017  BEETHOVEN SYMPHONY NO. 9

Boston Landmarks Orchestra | Christopher Wilkins, conductor

Adrian Anantawan, violin

Michelle Johnson, soprano

Emily Marvosh, contralto

William Hite, tenor

Ron Williams, baritone

One City Choir

Back Bay Chorale, Scott Allen Jarrett, Music Director

The drama of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony—a journey from darkness to light—is one of the glories of Western art. Beethoven believed in music’s power to redeem a suffering humanity, to bring us closer to heaven in this life. His music to Goethe’s play, Egmont, came at the apex of his “Heroic Period.” The story honors the sacrifice of a nobleman condemned to death for resisting tyranny. The sublime Romance in F for solo violin and orchestra is among Beethoven’s most sweetly lyrical instrumental works. Rain date: August 3 at Hatch Shell or Kresge Auditorium at MIT

Ludwig van Beethoven Egmont Overture

Ludwig van Beethoven Violin Romance in F

Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 9

 

AUGUST 9  ANTHEMS OF THE WORLD

Boston Landmarks Orchestra | Christopher Wilkins, conductor

Boston String Academy

Zumix

Gonzalo Grau, composer

 

Fired by local pride, some of Western music’s most passionate works are closely identified with their cultures of origin. At its premiere, Finlandia was heard to symbolize Finnish independence. It is now considered a second Finnish national anthem. Dvořák urged American composers to borrow from the spirituals, much as he had employed Czech folk songs in his own writing. Márquez’s Danzón No. 2 has become one of the most popular of all orchestral dances. The young musicians of Zumix are featured in a Landmarks-commissioned work they have created with composer Gonzalo Grau. Rain date: August 10 at Hatch Shell or Kresge Auditorium at MIT

 

Jean Sibelius Finlandia

Amy Beach Gaelic Symphony: Alla siciliana

Kareem Roustom Aleppo Songs

Gonzalo Grau new work for Zumix

Antonín Dvořák Symphony No. 8

 

AUGUST 16  Longwood Symphony Orchestra

Ronald Feldman Longwood Symphony, Music Director

 

Boston’s medical community orchestra has been a leader in innovative programming and community engagement for thirty-five years. Recognizing that music is at its essence a healing art, the Longwood Symphony serves the Greater Boston area through performances and programming related to the services these musicians provide in their medical professions. Music Director Ronald Feldman conducts. No rain date

 

Program TBA

 

AUGUST 23  LANDMARKS DANCE CARNIVAL

Boston Landmarks Orchestra | Christopher Wilkins, conductor

Peter DiMuro, curator/choreographer Peter DiMuro/Public Displays of Motion, The Dance Complex

Ryan Edwards, composer and drummer

Apostolos Paraskevas, composer and orchestrator

Conservatory Lab Charter School (CLCS)

Camp Harbor View

Boys & Girls Clubs

Irish and Brazilian Traditional Dancers

“Music to move by” from many cultures features dancers from across the city. Composer and drummer Ryan Edwards teams up with Apostolos Paraskevas to create a new work for young drummers and dancers from Camp Harbor View and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston. The evening culminates in a grand performance of Copland’s Rodeo with choreography by Peter DiMuro. It will be hard for anyone to sit still for this season finale. But at Boston Landmarks Orchestra concerts, that’s perfectly okay. Rain Date: Thursday August 24

 

Johann Strauss Emperor Waltzes

Brazilian and Irish Dance traditional dance music

Georges Enesco Romanian Rhapsody No. 1

Ryan Edwards/Apostolos Paraskevas new work for Camp Harbor View and Boys & Girls Clubs

Aaron Copland Rodeo (complete ballet music)