Seventy five and getting younger

What’s old, new and festive all over? The venerable Kennett Symphony Orchestra is reaching out to young talent, new venues and new opportunities for its 75th year.

Anthony Constantino

Anthony Constantino, Composer

Opening night will begin with a commissioned work by Anthony Constantino. Conductor Michael Hall met Constantino while he was working with the Tuscon Symphony. Young composers come to study for a year with a mentor at the symphony. Hall began to appreciate Constantino’s talent when the symphony played his composition “Vesuvius.”

When the idea of commissioning a work for the Kennett Symphony anniversary celebration arose, Hall thought of Constantino. Constantino is a student of composition at the Manhattan School of Music. At 20, he already has many awards and commissions to his credit. Samples of his work are on his website, www.anthonyconstantino.com.

Hall wanted a piece for the whole orchestra that would be festive for the anniversary celebration and last five to seven minutes long. Hall contacted Constantino, who expressed interest in the commission. Hall was surprised by how fast the project progressed when he received the first transcript of the music.

Michael Hall, Conductor

Michael Hall, Conductor

On first reading, the piece was rich with contrast; it had energy and open themes, Hall said. Beyond the initial appeal of the music, Hall was impressed with the craft, the quality and the compositional cohesiveness of the work.

Constantino will be in the area the week preceding the Oct. 17 concert. He will work with composition students at West Chester University. Hall will be at those sessions to absorb as much of the composer's thinking behind the notes as he can, leading up to the rehearsals and the performance.

Constantino will also work with students at Kennett High School and at Unionville High School. Later in the week he will be available during rehearsals to answer questions.

The new work is entitled “Amidst All Our Brilliance.” The members of the KSO are faced with playing a piece they have never heard before. Hall says that often musicians have to concentrate on difficult sections of music. A new piece will require full attention for the entire piece.

Another young face at the concert will be the cellist, Timotheos Petrin. Petrin is from the Curtis School of Music and came by recommendation of the Head of Curtis, Robert Diaz.

The concert itself will begin with the commissioned piece. Petrin will play the "Saint Saens Cello Concerto." Then the beautiful and melancholy elegy for strings by Puccini is the third piece. The concert ends with a boisterous finale with Respighi’s epic tone poem, "The Pines of Rome."

Hall says he wants the whole season to radiate energy. He is particularly looking forward to the April performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. “Just like The Pines of Rome, the Fifth Symphony is celebratory,” he said.

“Music is a living art form,” said Hall, while describing the new directions of the Kennett Symphony this season. He was delighted with the performance at the Mushroom Festival. For the first time, the orchestra gave a free concert during the festival. Hall asked the audience how many people had seen the KSO perform. Three quarters of the people had never been to a performance. There were glow sticks passed out to the kids and cheery, fun music.

Other new venues this year will be Unionville High School and the Exhibition Hall at Longwood Gardens.

According to Executive Director Monica Buffington, “The Kennett Symphony of Chester County (KSCC) is Chester County’s only fully-professional symphony orchestra, and the Kennett Square community is one of the smallest communities in the nation to support a fully-professional symphony orchestra.”

For more information and tickets, go to the KSO website:  http://www.kennettsymphony.org

About Emily Myers

Emily Myers has lived and worked in Chadds Ford for over thirty years.  She founded the parent company of Chadds Ford Live, Decision Design Research, Inc., in 1982.  ChaddsFordLive.com represents the confluence of Myers' long time, deep involvement in technology and community. Myers was a founding member of the Chadds Ford Business Association and currently serves on its board of directors.  Her hobbies include bridge, golf, photography and Tai Chi. She lives with her husband, Jim Lebedda, in Chadds Ford Township.

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