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Huntington Symphony Orchestra opens Winter Series

Oct. 13, 2013 @ 12:15 AM

HUNTINGTON - The Huntington Symphony Orchestra began its expanded Winter Series Saturday night with a "birthday bash" celebrating the lives and works of Benjamin Britten and Richard Wagner.

Although attendance was down from the symphony's popular summer Pops series, concert regulars came out for the first show of the season at the historic Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center to hear the 55-member-strong symphony, led by Kimo Furumoto, perform selections from the two classical composers.

T. Hogan Haas, executive director of the symphony, said Saturday's performance was a celebration of Britten's 100th anniversary and Wagner's bicentennial.

"They both complement each other," he said. "They're very close in their styles."

Under the direction of Furumoto and Elizabeth Reed Smith, concertmaster, the symphony switched between the two composers, beginning with Wagner's "Rienzi Overture," then performed Britten's "Young Person Guide the Orchestra" and "Courtly Dances from Gloriana."

After intermission, they went back to Wagner with the dramatic "Siegfried's Rhine Journey from Gotterdammerung (Twilight of the Gods)" and then finished the evening with his "Ride of the Valkyries."

Before the concert got underway, the audience had the opportunity to learn about the composers in a new feature the symphony is including before all of its concerts this season.

"We're having a pre-concert lecture series," Haas said. "It's a new thing we're doing to tell the audience about what's going to be performed."

Because of the growing support the symphony experienced this summer, it will be adding an additional show to its winter line-up this year.

Dr. Maurice Mufson, president of the board of trustees, said the community and sponsors deserve thanks for all of their support.

"We had the best Pops season we've had in a long time this past summer," he said. "But we need continuing support. It's a wonderful orchestra, and we're building back up to what we used to have so this winter we're playing four concerts."

The next three concerts are scheduled at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center on Dec. 13, Feb. 14 and April 11.

Coming up next month, the symphony is asking for support at its first Composer Series Fundraiser of the season at the Touma Museum from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Nov. 7. Tickets are $25 for the fundraiser, which will feature selections from John Phillip Sousa.

More information on the Huntington Symphony Orchestra can be found at www.huntingtonsymphony.org.

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