Symphony celebrates 25th season with 'Blessing on the Sun'

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

For 25 years, the Carson City Symphony has enriched the culture of the capital city. Next week, it will celebrate its anniversary with a series of special programs.

Highlighting the celebration is the premiere performance of an orchestral piece commissioned for the event and composed by Dr. Steven Rosenhaus of New York.

He will conduct the orchestra in the premiere of "Blessing on the Sun (Birkat haChamah)" on Saturday at the Bob Boldrick Theater with an encore performance in Fallon on April 26.

"I am pleased and proud and happy and all the good stuff that the orchestra commissioned me to write this piece," Rosenhaus said Wednesday in a phone interview.

The only restriction was that the composition be appropriate for a full orchestra but not something that would only be played by the Carson City Symphony. Such an open commission is "a rarity," Rosenhaus said.

Inspiration for the composition came from a little known Jewish tradition, Birkat haChamah, which holds that every 28 years the sun returns to its location at creation. The 28-year cycle culminated this year on April 8, the same day as the first night of Passover.

"It's an interesting coincidence as well that it was two weeks before the (Carson City) concert," Rosenhaus said.

Just what it means for the sun to return to that spot is ambiguous, he explained.

"The piece became my emotional response to the concept of it," he said.

"Along the way was the idea of the universe rejoicing, in a sense that set the tone of the piece."

Rosenhaus will discuss "Blessing on the Sun" in more detail at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Carson City Library during a free talk .

Rosenhaus' music experience includes composer, lyricist, arranger, conductor, author and educator. He holds a Ph.D. from New York University, where he serves as adjunct assistant professor of composition. He has more than 100 original works and arrangements in print and many recordings.

The Carson City Symphony began rehearsing "Blessing on the Sun" in March.

"It's a lot of fun," said symphony founder and conductor David Bugli. "It starts in kind of an amorphous way, like the world before creation, and breaks into kind of klezmer music (Jewish celebration music).

"We're still trying to work through it, it's a bit rough. Something that we haven't heard before takes awhile to see it all fit together. There's usually that 'ah ha' moment."

The Carson City Symphony was founded in 1984 by Bugli.

"Basically, I enjoyed playing in a community orchestra myself and had done conducting in Virginia. I felt Carson City should have a community orchestra," Bugli said.

The orchestra has been fortunate to attract talented musicians in the region. The extensive music networking experience of Bugli and his wife Elinor has allowed the symphony to bring to Carson City superb guest soloists from around the nation.

"I think we've been doing some interesting programming for a community orchestra," he said, "including a number of premieres (of new compositions) and interesting pieces."

The Carson City Symphony Association will present an evening of music and dessert at 7:30 p.m. Friday at a private home in Jacks Valley.

The recital will introduce virtuoso violinist Gregory Maytan to a select group of music lovers in the Carson City area. Accompanied by Carson City pianist Michael Langham, Maytan will play a variety of favorite pieces, including excerpts from Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 1.

Maytan, winner of several international competitions, studied violin in Stockholm and earned his doctorate in violin performance from the Indiana University School of Music.

He has performed and toured with numerous orchestras.

On his visit to Northern Nevada, Maytan also will be featured guest soloist with the Carson City Symphony in performances of Nicolo Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 1 at 7:30 p.m. April 25 at the Carson City Community Center, and 4 p.m. April 26 at the Oats Park Arts Center in Fallon.

General admission to the house recital Friday is $20; Symphony Association members $10; and children age 12 and under $5. Seating is limited, and tickets will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 883-4154.

For more information about Gregory Maytan, visit www.gregorymaytan.com. For more information on the Carson City Symphony and related concerts, visit CCSymphony.com.

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