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OVS Gets Hip In Its 20’s

OVS Gets Hip In Its 20’s
By Thomas Consolo

Like most twenty-somethings, the Ohio Valley Symphony is offering a combination of hip style and traditional flair for its next season.

The 2011-12 series marks the OVS’s 22nd season as southeast Ohio’s only professional  orchestra. The five programs cover repertoire ranging from R&B to classical mainstays to holiday favorites. They also feature a lineup of world-class guest artists, including the world’s first electric harpist and a father-son team of trumpet virtuosos.

That variety is key both to the OVS’s mission and its two decades of success, said Lora Lynn Snow, the orchestra’s founder and executive director. “Great music comes in all kinds of packages,” she said, “and we try to show people all the things an orchestra can do. It’s a lot more than just symphonies.”

That will be clear enough to the audience from the first program, dubbed “Hip Harp” for soloist Deborah Henson-Conant. The Grammy-nominated performer, composer and songwriter has built a renegade image on her evocative singing voice and the 36-string, custom-built electric harness harp she plays. Her programs fuse theater, stories and virtuosic playing skill and cover genres from ballads to jazz to flamenco.

For Ray Fowler, the OVS music director, Henson-Conant was an obvious choice. “This is a person who will reach right into the heart and soul of the audience,” he said. “She’s just so natural on stage.”

It’s more than showmanship, he continued. “I was so impressed with how thoughtful she was about her choice of pieces,” Fowler said. “She wanted to choose just the right repertoire to reach our audience.”

Henson-Conant’s performance opens the OVS season on Oct. 8 in Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School’s Wedge Auditorium. It’s the third year the orchestra has performed in Point Pleasant, including a concert to help dedicate the facility’s completion. “We can’t expect everyone to come to us,” Snow said, “so we’re happy to go to them to let them know about this organization.”

The season’s other four performances will be at the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre. The downtown Gallipolis landmark has been reborn thanks to a dedicated citizen-based restoration effort sparked by Snow. It was renamed to honor a gift by Meigs County native Ann Carson Dater, who wanted to ensure that the hall be a permanent home for the orchestra.

The season’s other bookend shows a different kind of virtuosity in violinist Chin Kim. “He’ll reach the audience in a different way,” Fowler said, “and the story will be through the sounds.”

Kim will play Max Bruch’s first violin concerto on April 28, 2012, as part of a program called “The Romantics.” The contrast between the two artists “is the extreme of the season,” Fowler said. It shows just how different music can be, all while touching people deeply.

“The Romantics” also features one of the best-loved orchestral masterpieces of the 19th century, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. It traces a hopeful journey against fate to a joyous finale.

November brings pianist Lori Sims back to the stage of the Ariel to perform the second concerto of Johannes Brahms. Sims is “one of the best-kept secrets of the piano world,” according to Fowler. “Her playing has such integrity and such heart. She’ll bring the audience through the piece.”

The Nov. 5 concert pairs the Brahms with the youthful Symphony No. 2 of Ludwig van Beethoven. For audiences who automatically equate Beethoven with forceful Romanticism, the second symphony is an eye opener full of wry humor and the kind of balance his teacher, Franz Joseph Haydn, would have approved.

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The Trumpets Shall Sound, March 10, 2012

Gabriel and Vincent DiMartino

“Like Father Like Son” 

Vincent and Gabriel DiMartino, trumpet

Arrangements for trumpets and orchestra.

Vince and Gabriel DeMartino are respected trumpet performers and teachers equally at home with an orchestra, band, or jazz combo. Vince has performed and recorded with many major U.S. orchestras, and he has played lead with a who’s-who of jazz greats. Gabriel is carrying on the tradition, recording at Syracuse University, where he teaches, and performs with a variety of groups.

Concerto for Two Trumpets in C Major Vivaldi
Pavane for a Dead Princess Ravel/arr. DiMartino
Danzon No. 2 Marquez
La Virgen de la Macarena Monterde/arr. Koff
Pavane Faure’
Pictures at an Exhibition Mussorgsky/arr. DeMartinos
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The Romantics, April 28, 2012

CHIN KIM, violin

Violinist Chin Kim began playing at age 5 and made his professional debut at 9. A top prize winner in the world’s major violin competitions, Kim has performed and recorded with orchestras around the world.

Bruch, Violin Concerto No. 1 Tchaikovsky, Bruch
Symphony No. 4 Tchaikovsky
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The Christmas Show!, December 3, 2011

Sponsored by Holzer Clinic

March of the Kings Anderson
Away in a Manger Anderson
O Little Town of Behlehem arr. Dragon
The First Noel arr. Dragon
Silent Night arr. Tyzik
Wassail Dances Lane
Bethlehem Down Warlock
The Holly and the Ivy Arnold
Toyland arr. Dragon
Suite from It’s a Wonderful Life arr. Tiomkin
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas arr. Whitney
I’ll be Home for Christmas arr. Gold
Carol of the Bells arr. Dragon
Winter Wonderland arr. Kuster
The Polar Express arr. Brubaker
Sleigh Ride Anderson

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November 5, 2011, 8:00 p.m.

by Thomas Consolo

The “frost is on the punkin'” outside, but the Ohio Valley Symphony will keep “a feller a-feelin’ at his best” with the warm glow of timeless music.

The orchestra, conducted by music director Ray Fowler, welcomes pianist Lori Sims at 8 p.m. Nov. 5 for “The Grand Piano,” a program of Beethoven
and Brahms. It’s the second concert of the 22nd OVS season and the first this year at the orchestra’s permanent home, the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater
Performing Arts Centre in downtown Gallipolis.

The program opens with one of Ludwig van Beethoven’s early symphonies, the second. For audiences who equate Beethoven with forceful Romanticism,
the Symphony No. 2 will be an eye opener: Written just after the turn of the 19th century, it’s full of wry humor, delicacy and the kind of Classical-era balance
that his teacher, Franz Joseph Haydn, would have approved. It’s also filled with enough quirks and surprises to make it clear it’s from the new kid on the block.

Sims joins the OVS after intermission for Johannes Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2. Brahms spent his early years feeling the weight of Beethoven’s legacy,
but, by the time he wrote the second piano concerto, he had shattered that jinx with two symphonies. With a fourth movement — unusual for that kind of
piece — the concerto is like a symphony for piano and orchestra.

It’s Brahms at the top of his game and his most relaxed. It’s a perfect piece for Sims, according to Fowler, who counts her as “one of the best-kept secrets
of the piano world.” Her playing, Fowler says, “has such integrity and such heart. She’ll carry the audience through the piece.”

Sims won over Ariel audiences in 2008 with a performance of Rachmaninoff’s passionate second piano concerto. She has performed in recital, with chamber
groups and as soloist with symphonies in the United States, Europe, and China. She was the gold medal winner at the 1998 Gina Bachauer International Piano
Competition — where she also won the prize for best performance of a work by Brahms. Her 2000 debut at New York’s Alice Tully Hall earned a rave review
in the New York Times. The Colorado native is a Yale graduate who now teaches as the John T. Bernhard Professor of Music at Western Michigan University.

As part of the Ohio Valley Symphony’s mission to bring live, professional, orchestral music to the region and to instill a love of music — especially in children —
the public is encouraged to attend OVS rehearsals for free at 7-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, and 1-4 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Ariel Theatre. Open rehearsals are a great
way for young and old alike to grow familiar with symphonic music, and they offer a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse at the preparation of an orchestral

Concert-goers have another unique opportunity to make a personal connection with the music, too. Thomas Consolo, OVS assistant conductor and program
annotator, offers a pre-concert talk in the newly-restored Ariel Chamber Theater. The casual get-together will put a more personal face on the night’s music
and answer questions about the program, the OVS or the orchestral experience in general. The talk begins at 7:15 p.m. Nov. 5.

Single tickets to “The Grand Piano” with the Ohio Valley Symphony cost $22, $20 (senior) and $10 (student). Tickets and more information are available at
the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre box office, 428 Second Ave., Gallipolis; by phone, (740) 446-2787 (ARTS); and through the
OVS Web site,

Funding for the Ohio Valley Symphony is provided in part by the Ann Carson Dater Endowment. Further support is provided by the Ohio Arts Council, a
state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally and economically.

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The Grand Piano, November 5, 2011

Lori Sims, piano

Brahms, Piano Concerto No. 2; Beethoven, Symphony No. 2.

Internationally known pianist Lori Simms has performed in recital, with chamber groups, and with orchestras in the United States, Europe, and China. The Colorado native is a Yale graduate who now teaches at Western Michigan University. She is the gold medal winner at the  1998 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition.

Piano Concerto, No. 2 Brahms
Symphony No. 2 Beethoven


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