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SSO begins season with ‘New World Symphony’ performance

Music director search finalist Michael Hall is showcasing what he has to offer Sudbury
Antonin Dvorak.

The Sudbury Symphony Orchestra starts off its 47th season Sept. 23 with a blockbuster concert. 

Under the baton of music director search finalist Michael Hall, the SSO will perform the beloved, nostalgic and exciting Symphony No. 9 by Antonin Dvorak, better known as the New World Symphony. 

Dvorak wrote this work during his short tenure in the US, trying to incorporate some of the ethnic music that was new to him. The influence of these folk songs along with Dvorak’s homesickness brought about one of the most “borrowed” melodies of our time. 

The tune, instantly recognized by the general populace is often known as “Going Home” and has been used in movies, TV shows, commercials and in pop situations for much of its life. One could be forgiven for not crediting the melody to Dvorak at all.

Maestro Hall has been music director of the Prince George Symphony Orchestra beginning with the 2017-2018 season. He continues as music director of the Kennett Symphony in Pennsylvania and principal guest conductor of the Space Coast Symphony in Florida. 

Previously, Hall has held the position of music director of the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Pacific Symphony in California, resident conductor of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and assistant conductor of the Havant Symphony Orchestra in the UK.

“I am so excited to be a Music Director Candidate for the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra”, says

Maestro Hall. “I have programmed Dvorak Symphony No. 9 ‘From the New World' not only because it is a perennial favourite with audiences, it is also one of my favorite symphonies. It is by turns heroic and tender and is an absolute joy to perform.”

Dvorak wrote it while he was visiting and working in America and was influenced by his impressions of the young country. 

“I should never have written a symphony like I have, if I hadn’t seen America,” he said.

“The music contains melodies inspired by African American spirituals; to this end, and especially touching, is the melody introduced in the second movement by the English Horn,” Hall said. 

“Another influence, Longfellow's poem based on legends of the Ojibwe tribe, is reflected in the fourth movement, which opens with sounds of Native American heroism. I am looking forward to working with the musicians of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra and bringing this great program to all of you.”

A very special treat at this concert will be a performance by the Canadian Bassoon Virtuoso, Nadina Mackie, who will be performing a piece written for her by Mathieu Lussier for solo bassoon, string orchestra and percussion, “Oddbird Concerto.” 

Mackie is a true star across Canada but has a sweet spot for Northern Ontario and accepted our invitation to come to Sudbury as a way of reaching out to her fans and back to her roots.

Named Instrumentalist of the Year 2020 by Just Plain Folks, Mackie is the most widely recorded Canadian bassoonist in history with 13 solo albums, 8 chamber music recordings and dozens of albums with symphony, chamber, and historical instrument orchestras.

“I am thrilled to be coming to Sudbury this fall as it has been many years since I was last there on tour with the Montreal Symphony and that time, it was deep winter!” she said.

“I was there again in 2016, bringing my father for radiation treatments and wishing that I could return again under easier circumstances as we both enjoyed the rugged and beautiful landscape.

“And now I am doubly thrilled because some of my neighbours will be able to attend the concert since it is only two hours from our homes, and they will get to hear the orchestra in a wonderful, lyrical program with Dvorak 9 and the melodious and accessible Oddbird Concerto, all conducted by the very musical conductor, Michael Hall. . . I know my friends and neighbours will feel welcomed and leave with wonderful memories.

“I have had many works written for me, but it is the honour of my life to have this work, written by my immensely talented bassoonist colleague, Mathieu Lussier. Though many years younger than me, he was wise beyond his years, both a gloriously talented bassoonist and a generous, soaringly musical composer.”

Tickets are available through the STC box office, by phone at 705-674-8381 or at the door. The show is Sept. 23 at Fraser Auditorium, starting at 6:30 p.m. for a pre-concert talk with Michael Hall. The concert will follow starting at 7:30 p.m.


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