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The Philadelphia Classical Symphony Presents American Mosaics Concert


Ryan BrandenburgThe Philadelphia Classical Symphony will present a unique concert Friday, May 21, 2010, 8:00 PM at the Church of the Holy Trinity, 1904 Walnut Street. The concert is a part of the Symphony’s third annual American Mosaics series. The Mosaics series focuses on American music- some old, some new. The theme of this presentation might well be the American manner of weaving folk and indigenous music into classical forms with classical orchestration.

An exciting feature of this year’s series is a world premiere of Philadelphia composer Maurice Wright’s “Wissahickon Scenes:” a concerto for violin, string orchestra and harp, with guest violinist Hirono Oka. Wright’s work is based on songs of the Lenape Indians who populated our region through the 18th Century. Karl Middleman, PCS Artistic Director, discovered the songs, recorded in 1928, in the audio archives of the American Philosophical Society. Wright used the recordings as basis for the five movement work and after processing them even utilizes bits of the recordings in the piece.

Two-time Grammy winner and one of country music’s favorite musicians, Mark O’Connor’s work “Strings and Threads” will be played by Philadelphia Orchestra violinist and “Time for 3” member, Jason Depue. O’Connor’s work blends Appalachian melodies and elements of classical, jazz, and country fiddling. You can check out a video of a slightly different version of the work for guitar and violin, performed by O’Connor himself and the great guitarist, Sharon Isbin here. “Classical composers of all eras have often woven folk tunes into classical composition,” said Middleman. This is a theme inherent in the works presented on this concert.

Carol BatesAlso presented on the concert is a well-known work by the pre-eminent NY composer David Diamond. His “Rounds” is one of his most famous works, for string orchestra. You can hear the rhythmically exciting first movement of the work here. One of America’s first composers, Johann Freidrich Peter’s “Quintet in D” is presented in an arrangement, now the “Symphony in D”, created for the PCS by the multi-talented Maestro Middleman. He wrote six quartets, among the earliest of the form from North America. Peter worked in the and lived in the 18th century (1746-1813) as an organist and composer in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Maestro Middleman founded the Philadelphia Classical Symphony in 1993. It is a chamber orchestra, with 20 members, devoted to discovering interactive ways of engaging audiences. The Philadelphia City paper says “Director Karl Middleman allows the fun to spill over into the concerts, and his period instrument players make quite a raucous, joyous noise.” This should be an exciting and accessible concert-going experience for veteran listeners of classical music and also for those who want to try something new. These are approachable and engaging works. Under the masterful execution of the PCS with Middleman directing this promises to be a great concert experience.



Joe is a native Philadelphia who began writing music at the age of 12. He has worked with the cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, and Seattle Symphony, among others. He has also entered the world of pop music and remixing. He teaches both privately and at Drexel University. Joe has been writing for the arts for 10 years. You can follow Joe on twitter at twitter.com/HallmanComposer. You can find his music on iTunes and all other major digital retailers. For a taste of his music, check out: www.reverbnation.com/JosephHallman 

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