Symphony en plein air

What should be done with a sound too big for a concert hall? The elegant answer is to perform at Open Air Theatre at Longwood Gardens. The Kennett Symphony will take the explosive keyboard of Thomas Nickell out of doors as part of the "Symphony Under the Stars" scheduled for August 17.

Kennett Symphony Music Director Michael Hall decided on an American music theme. He then selected pieces that would be light, bright and big enough for the out door setting. For Hall, designing a program is picking pieces that go together well yet contrast such as long and short, fast and slow, loud and soft.

In preparation for the performance, Hall begins to study the musical score. "It's fun like reading master classics." Often performers only come to town the day before or even the day of the first rehearsal. The full orchestra rehearses once the day before the concert and once early in the day of the concert. Hall will work individually with the soloists in addition to the full rehearsals.

Hall particularly likes performing at Longwood Gardens because the venue allows a large audience of 1,500 people. He said he enjoys seeing the "regulars" who go to all the concerts but also the opportunity to introduce the symphony orchestra to new people.

This concert has two soloists Kenneth Naito and Thomas Nickell. Violinist Kenneth Naito is the winner of the 2019 Kennett Symphony Annual Instrumental Competition for Young Artists. He is a student at Julliard. Naito will play Barber's Violin Concerto, Movement I.

Symphony board member and musician Dr. Timothy Blair recommended pianist Thomas Nickell after seeing him perform. Although just 21 years old, Nickell has toured Europe and had his debut at Carnegie Hall last June. He started studying the piano at 5 years old and now attends Mannes School of Music in New York and practices 4-5 hours per day. Nickell likes American music and the musical experimentation that occurred in the early 20th century. Nickell will play Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.

Program begins at 7:30 on August 17.

WILLIAMS – The Cowboys Overture
BARBER – Violin Concerto, Movement I
COPLAND – Rodeo
BERNSTEIN – Candide
BOYER – Rolling River (Sketches on Shenandoah)
GERSHWIN – Rhapsody in Blue
DRAGON – America The Beautiful

Below is a video of Nickell's performance of "Rhapsody in Blue" which he will be playing at the Longwood concert.

Hall enjoys the effort and attitude of the symphony board and Kennett Square community. The organization works with Academy of Vocal Arts, The Curtis Institute, Philadanco, Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia to achieve dynamic programming and growth. According to Monica Buffington, the Executive Director of Kennett Symphony, the ticket sales have increased over the last seven years due to symphony partners, to the board and to "Michael’s presence on the podium and the resulting increased artistic level of the orchestra."

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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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