DOWNEY - Early in 2008, when Sharon Lavery stepped onto the conductor's podium as our symphony's new music director, she was determined to advance the orchestra's reputation as a community asset, and to launch a pair of important programs: an annual Young Artist Competition, and the premiere performance of an orchestral work each season.To date, mission beautifully accomplished. At tomorrow evening's Downey Symphony concert, the first in our 55th season, we will hear the premiere of a work composed just last year by Joshua Roach, who holds a master's degree in conducting and a graduate certificate in film scoring at USC. He is also Lavery's DSO assistant conductor. She says, "Josh is a phenomenal musician and a triple threat: a wonderful conductor, composer and trumpet player!" Talk about busy. Concerning his "Overture Dodeca," which refers to the year 2012, the composer writes, "This year has been prophesied to bring either some great apocalypse, or perhaps a new spiritual beginning for humankind. Personally, it is not clear to me that we necessarily have anything that grandiose in store for us this year. As has been, the human race continues to make great strides in some areas and struggles in others. Thus my commentary on 2012 is this; let us take the moment to celebrate the human experience and our accomplishments, which in turn inspire us to look forward as we make exciting progress." Following this freshly-minted overture are two works long in the repertory but with interesting twists for an audience in 2012. Incidental music from Georges Bizet's L'Arlesienne has flourished in the form of two suites for orchestra; the twist here is that Lavery has put together a suite of her own that includes some of her favorite music from both suites. And this year marks the 103rd birthday for Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concert No. 3, the famous knuckle-buster in the film, "Shine." Our performance is by Keenan Reesor, part hero, part madman. Not only is he tackling a singularly gorgeous and difficult performance work, but he is currently pursuing a doctorate in Historical Musicology at USC's Thornton School of Music. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their three children. Talk about busy. So, the details you need are these: Downey Symphony concert Saturday evening, Oct. 20, 8 p.m. Preview discussion at 7:15 p.m. Theater address is 8435 Firestone Blvd. at Brookshire Avenue, parking is free. Tickets, $30 and $35, $10 with student ID, available by calling (562) 861-8211, or at the theater box office Saturday after 6 p.m. And you will enjoy visiting our website, downeysymphony.org.
********** Published: October 18, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 27