Ending on a High Note

By Beacon Staff

Click the image or use the arrows to see photos from a recent Glacier Symphony rehearsal.

As the new beginnings of spring roll into the Flathead, one of the valley’s cultural mainstays is drawing its 28th season to a close.

The Glacier Symphony and Chorale will present their season finale performance, “Masterworks VI: The Dancing Emperor,” on April 30 and May 1. The finale features internationally known pianist Andrew von Oeyen playing Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5, “Emperor.”

“That’s pretty cool; he plays with a lot of major orchestras in Europe and the United States,” said symphony conductor John Zoltek. “It really completes what was a really fabulous and ambitious season.”

The performances will also include “Symphony No. 8 in G Major” by Czech composer Antonin Dvorak and Emmanuel Chabrier’s “Fete Polonaise” from his opera, “The Reluctant King.”

Chabrier’s work is akin to a fiery waltz, Zoltek said, and Dvorak’s creation has distinct elements of Czech dance to it, complementing one another.

Zoltek said “The Dancing Emperor” would be a satisfying conclusion to a successful season, during which he believes the symphony and chorale reached new heights.

“We set a new standard, a new high bar of artistic excellence, in my view,” Zoltek said.

One of the year’s highlights was the GSC performance of “Through the Sacred Veil” in March, which featured Maurice Durufle’s “Requiem” as well as Mozart’s well-known “Requiem.”

Flathead Valley residents also came out to see the performances in strong numbers, Zoltek said, which he considers a feat at a time when people are paying close attention to their expenses.

“We’ve had a very good audience attendance for this season,” Zoltek said. “It’s always a challenge to get people to come out to symphony music, especially during these highly questionable economic times.”

To help relieve some of the financial pressure on families wishing to attend the symphony, GSC offers free attendance for kids up through high school with the purchase of an adult ticket.

It should help out families’ pocketbooks, Zoltek said, and it is a way to expose the younger generation to the culture and surprises of the symphony and chorale experience.

Zoltek said GSC hopes to increase its visibility within the community, and he considers GSC a significant cultural resource within the Flathead.

“It’s our way, the symphony’s way, of opening the doors to people and giving them the opportunity to come to the concerts. We understand that these are tough economic times,” Zoltek said. “We want to really help expose people, and certainly young people, to the great art of symphonic music.”

Of course, the musicians won’t stay idle for long. Once the symphony and chorale closes out the 2010-2011 season, they will take a brief break until their summer concerts. The Summer Classical Pops Concert, July 9 at Rebecca Farm, is particularly popular, Zoltek said. Last year’s performance drew about 3,000 people.

On July 31, GSC begins its fourth annual, weeklong Festival Amadeus with a free concert in Whitefish’s Depot Park.

“We’re pretty excited about it and we have some really fun guest artists coming,” Zoltek.

One of those artists, saxophonist Ashu, is back by popular demand after a performance during last season, Zoltek said. Festival Amadeus runs until Aug. 6 and will feature a variety of shows and artists, including Roberto Plano, Adam Rapa, Natalie Dungey and Nigel Armstrong.

GSC’s 29th season will begin in October. Season tickets will be available at the April 30 and May 1 performances at a 10 percent discount, Zoltek said. Children will receive free admission throughout the 2011-2012 season as well.

The April 30 performance of “The Dancing Emperor” takes place at 7:30 p.m. at the Flathead High School Performance Hall. The May 1 performance begins at 3 p.m.

For more information on show times, tickets and program information, visit www.gscmusic.org or call 257-3421.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.