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Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra - 20th Anniversary Season

The world premiere of a composition by local legend Raymond Harary and much more!

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Published in September, 2018

YPSILANTI -- Music Director Adam C. Riccinto and the Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra (YSO) launch their 20th Anniversary season with a concert at Towsley Auditorium/Washtenaw Community College on Sunday, October 7 at 3:30pm. In keeping with the theme "Local Treasures" (music composed or performed by respected local musicians, as well as American composers), the YSO is thrilled to present the world premiere of "Symphony in F Major" by local WWII veteran, music teacher and composer Raymond Harary. Also included on the program are Leonard Bernstein's Overture to "Candide," Howard Hanson's Symphony No. 2 "Romantic," John Corigliano's "Voyage" for string orchestra and George Frederick McKay's "From a Moonlit Ceremony."

Originally from New York, Raymond Harary fostered his early love of music, playing trumpet with the Flatbush City Band. Mr. Harary served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and, with a college degree in physics, worked as a radar engineer. However, his desire to follow his musical aspirations led him to study and play throughout Austria and Germany, where he met his wife. After studying at the distinguished University of Goetingen, he received a Master's in Music from the University of Michigan. Mr. Harary earned his living as a band director for Redford High School and Dundee High School, and devoted himself to composing music suitable for high school bands to play. He produced over 100 pieces of music, to be played by an estimated 6,000 students over the course of his career. His body of work grew to include 9 symphonies. Now approaching his 92nd birthday, Raymond Harary will finally realize his aspiration of having one of his symphonies performed by a live orchestra, with the debut of his "Symphony in F Major." The YSO is truly honored and humbled to have this opportunity to help realize this dream.

The season-opening concert will also feature a performance of Leonard Bernstein's energetic Overture to "Candide." The overture is one of the most frequently-performed pieces by an American composer, incorporating

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melodies from songs in the well-known operetta. Opening with a brass fanfare and continuing at a break-neck pace, this work is enormously popular with musicians and audiences alike.

Howard Hanson, an American composer who served for decades as the director of the Eastman School of Music, premiered the three-part Symphony No. 2 "Romantic" in 1930. Hanson explained that his aim was "to create a work young in spirit, Romantic in temperament, and simple and direct in expression." Bold and colorful, the symphony's first movement features the well-known "Interlochen" theme, performed at the conclusion of every concert at the prestigious northern-Michigan summer camp.

Corigliano's "Voyage," which premiered in 1976 as an a capella choral composition, is a string orchestra adaptation of the lush and sensual original. Beginning with a contemplative tempo, the theme conveys Baudelaire's original text, "there is nothing else but grace and measure, richness, quietness and pleasure." Corigliano, now in his eighties and the recipient of an Oscar, a Pulitzer and five Grammy awards, serves on the faculty at the Juilliard School.

George Frederick McKay's "From a Moonlit Ceremony" is a lovely suite inspired by native American folk songs McKay observed during a ceremony on the Muckleshoot Indian reservation. McKay, like Harary and Hanson, was an educator as well as a composer, being the first-ever composition graduate of the Eastman School of music and a mentor to many well-known composers. He composed nearly 1000 works including 70 orchestral works.

The YSO is proud of its unique and significant cultural contribution to the Ypsilanti area. The YSO's mission is "to share our passion for music through innovative programming, creative collaboration, and arts advocacy," and to "actively contribute to the music appreciation and education of our musicians, organizational members and audience." Led by Founder and Music Director Adam C. Riccinto, the Symphony marks its 20th anniversary with its 2018-19 season.

YSO's growth has been driven by its partnerships with regional organizations, strengthening community ties and offering diverse musical experiences to its audiences. In addition to the traditional concert season, YSO traditionally works to showcases and collaborate with local performing arts groups. YSO also performs its annual "Ypsi Pops" outdoor concert at Riverside Park in May. Sponsored by the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Association, this very popular event draws over 500 residents and friends over Memorial Day weekend, to sit by the Huron River and kick off the summer with the music of its own community orchestra.

Other programming highlights of YSO's 20th anniversary season include collaborations with beloved local institutions such as the BoyChoir of Ann Arbor and jazz composer Paul Keller.

.     (end of article)

[Originally published in September, 2018.]


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