The New Haven Symphony Orchestra celebrated the beginning of its season on Thursday night at Woolsey Hall, headlining with Beethoven’s Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano, famously known as the triple concerto. The night’s central piece featured three renowned resident musicians: Michael Brown, Elena Urioste and Nicholas Canellakis.
The night began at 6:30 p.m. in Sudler Hall. According to Musical Director and conductor William Boughton, the NHSO set out to perform a concert “as a chef would make a five course meal.” The NHSO also performed Gabrieli’s Sonata piane forte, Walker’s Lyrics for Strings, Marquez’s Danzon No. 2 and Four Sea interludes from “Peter Grimes.” Additionally, the NHSO celebrated School Night at the Symphony, allowing all students in kindergarten and grades 1-12 and their guardians to enjoy the symphony for free. Some 35 students from Kolbe Cathedral High School and 81 students from the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven attended.
“The importance for youth is to witness the greatness that people can achieve,” Boughton said.
The focus on youth development was immediately apparent. An hour before the concert, a multitude of high school students and adults packed into Sudler Hall and asked questions of the Brown-Urioste-Canellakis Trio. Furthermore, the NHSO attempted to increase their outreach by providing a Facebook live stream.
The distinguished trio let their guards down and answered personal questions such as “how do you deal with onstage anxiety?” and “what is your pre-show ritual?” with smiles, personal anecdotes and jokes for the audience.
The NHSO further demonstrated its consideration of the youth community throughout Woolsey Hall. Next to the pile of regular programs laid a stack of child-friendly programs, containing biographies of the composers and an instrument scavenger hunt.
Then the concert began. Gabrielli’s piece, exclusively written for brass instruments, mimicked a triumphant march. The orchestra quickly grabbed the audience’s attention with the light, persuasive first performance of the night; the piece was performed in the balcony, and lasted only five minutes.
The orchestra continued with a six-minute second piece before the trio took the stage, and the triple concerto began. The trio and the orchestra complemented one another as the orchestra created a sturdy structure on which the trio could shine through their solos. Although it was noted in the Q&A that the cello, played by Canellakis, shines most in the concerto, the three shone most as a whole, demonstrating the chemistry that the trio has developed over nine years of working together.
Intermission provided time to decompress before Boughton conducted Marquéz’s Danzon No.2, which featured flare, romanticism and desire. The strings and percussion worked harmoniously, creating a fast, tempting sensation for the ears.
The fifth and final piece was Britten’s Four Sea Interludes, concluding a masterpiece of musical performance.
After the concert, local high school students Trinity McClellan, Sarah Torres and Kareem Rodriguez described the concert as “quaint.” They had one major critique — they said there was not enough triple concerto.
“I would definitely come back. It was coolio,” McClellan said.
Boughton, a New Haven resident, lauded the tradition of the orchestra, which is the fourth oldest in America, as well as the character of group. He said the organization constantly strives to improve, and does not accept mediocrity. He gave similar advice to aspiring musicians and nonmusicians alike.
“Aspiration is what every student should have,” Boughton said. “Make the world a better place.”
Boughton and the NHSO’s next performance, Guys and Dolls in Concert, will be held on October 20 at the Lyman Center of the Performing Arts.
Nick Tabio | firstname.lastname@example.org