Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Symphony in final week

Tribute to Earl Holding and family concert on the schedule

Express Staff Writer

    The final week of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony is under way with Orli Shaham on piano at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, playing the music of Mozart and Hindemith at the Sun Valley Pavilion.
    Friday night, Aug. 16, it’s Debussy: Preludes and “La Mer” at 6:30 p.m.
    The free music gets familial Saturday, Aug. 17, at 2 p.m., when beloved local Company of Fools actor John Glenn will narrate “Mr. Smith’s Composition,” by Gregory Smith, and a classical music concert suited for all ages with “The Infernal Dance,” from Stravinsky’s “The Firebird,” and music from “Cinderella.”
    Smith’s compositions have been heard in venues as varied as live sporting events, concert halls, and on the silver screen, television and stage dramas.
    Anyone who has traveled to a Disney theme park and attended a production there has heard Smith’s bright, bold style, as he has enjoyed a long-standing association with the Walt Disney Co. College football fans will recognize his compositions of game-day music on Saturdays in the fall, at the beginning of the ESPN/ABC coverage. Television network CBS frequently uses Smith’s music, once as the theme for its election and inauguration coverage.
    In the concert hall, Smith has garnered attention for his popular family/educational compositions, which have been performed by nearly 200 orchestras worldwide.
    The New York Philharmonic Playbill recently called Smith “one of the most significant composers in the genre.”
    “Mr. Smith’s Composition” was the first of seven (and counting) works, commissioned by Marin Alsop, the current music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Alsop was delighted with the piece, and has performed it on numerous occasions, remarking, “It is difficult to find a work that is entertaining, educational and musically satisfying. ‘Mr. Smith’s Composition’ is all of these and more.”
    “Mr. Smith’s Composition” is a piece that depicts a composer in a bind. He knows that he wants to write a piece for symphony orchestra, but he finds that he either can’t come up with an idea, or when he does, he can’t choose exactly how to realize it, with the myriad choices available to him. Inspiration can be found in the most unlikely of places—a dinner plate, pencil sharpener, dreams, the kitchen floor, perhaps—but Mr. Smith will need to look within himself, right side up and up side down, for the answers to his musical conundrums.
    The always engaging Glenn is a founding member of Company of Fools with more than 30 years of experience as a director, actor, designer, manager and author. His acclaimed performances have delighted audiences of all ages.
    Sunday, Aug. 18, will offer “Musicians Choice Chamber Music,” with Onslow, Mozart and Thuille featured.
    And finally, the finale performance will be Tuesday, Aug. 20, with a tribute to a symphony visionary, the late Earl Holding. Holding, who owned Sun Valley Resort, predicted that the resort’s long-running relationship with the symphony—which was held for many years under a tent and on the grassy lawn of the resort—held promise far into the future. With his wife, Carol, he commissioned the permanent fixture that is the Sun Valley Pavilion, which opened in August 2008. The music for the night was selected to demonstrate the image of Holding as a come-from-behind kid who became an unbelievably successful business magnate. Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” will be played in Holding’s honor on Tuesday night.
    Holding died in April at the age of 86. An avid outdoorsman and devoted grandfather, his professional enterprises included Little America Hotels, Sunlight Ranch, Snow Basin Resort, the Grand America Hotel and Sinclair Oil. Holding purchased Sun Valley Resort in 1977 and redefined its elegance and sophistication.
    Lead conductor and music director Alasdair Neale chose music from the “Americana” genre to round out the evening. It includes “America the Beautiful,” Copland’s “Symphony No. 3,” and the closing scene from “Appalachian Spring,” which depicts early 19th century settlers building a home in uncharted territory.
    In the program notes, Neale said this music is appropriate because it “bears more than a passing resemblance to the young Earl and Carol Holdings’ early years together in the 1950s, running the first modest Little America on old U.S. Route 30 on the vast open vistas of Wyoming.”

Symphony winding down
Thursday, Aug. 15, 6:30 p.m.
Orli Shaham, Piano
Mozart and Hindemith
Friday, Aug. 16, 6:30 p.m.
Debussy: Preludes and “La Mer”
Saturday, Aug. 17, 2 p.m.
The Family Concert
John Glenn, Narrator
Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Smith
Sunday, Aug. 18, 6:30 p.m.
Musicians Choice Chamber Music
Onslow, Mozart and Thuille
Tuesday, Aug. 20, 6:30 p.m.
Finale—Tribute to Earl Holding
Adams and Copland
For complete schedule information, call 622-5607 or visit

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