Alan McIntyre of Darien, Stamford Symphony’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, quotes Gustav Mahler to describe the symphony’s central goal: to increase the appreciation of traditional classical music: “Tradition is carrying the flame, not worshipping its ashes.”
The symphony’s major desire has always been to bring understanding and enjoyment of classical music to more people of different generations. After all, this music has survived centuries because it’s such good music. To have it disappear would be a tragic loss. Yet many orchestras in the United States have only a fraction of what it costs to run the orchestra. Stamford Symphony has loyal subscribers, devoted donors and an enthusiastic community. “It’s the job of the board to show why this music is so worth supporting,” says McIntyre. While the symphony represents the best quality performance of classical music, with world-class guest artists, there is also recognition of the value of including new talent. In addition to Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak and more, the 2015-16 season’s programs feature several contemporary composers. Since the season consists of five weekend concerts, plus three special musical events, the planning aims to make sure that the programs attract as many varied audiences as possible.
“In addition to increasing appreciation of classical music, it’s important for audiences to experience the power of live music, played in a communal setting, instead of the isolation of music heard digitally,” says McIntyre.
Alan McIntyre was born and raised in Scotland. “I grew up playing the piano and I became a very keen player. I was a subscriber to the Scottish National Orchestra. When I came to Darien, in 2005, I learned about the Stamford Symphony through a friend.” McIntyre is passionate about music. He is a member of the National Board of the League of Symphony Orchestras. He recognizes that “the driving force of the orchestra is our music director and conductor, Eckart Preu (pronounced Proy). He is a great communicator.” An hour before the concert, Maestro Preu’s free, “Behind the Baton” talk previews the program, gives some history about the music and composers and introduces the guest artist to the audience, On Sunday matinees, there is a free interactive Musikids program at 2 p.m. which helps youngsters learn how to listen. Children under 18 attend free on Sundays.
Stamford Symphony has a very stable roster of 60 musicians who are all professionals from the tri-state area. Some of them have been with the orchestra for 10 to 20 years.
“The caliber of our guest soloists is outstanding. Violinist Sarah Chang played with us as a teenager and she has become a star. We believe that audiences today will hear the stars of tomorrow,” says McIntyre.
Barbara Soroca has been the symphony’s CEO and president for more than 35 years. “Our new season is quite spectacular,” she says. “Our music director Eckart Preu chooses the program and guest soloists, who are the finest musicians in their fields: pianists Andreas Boyde, Yevgeny Sudbin, Yefim Bronfman; violinists Benjamin Britten, Rachel Lee Friday; cellist Julie Albers.
“With these skilled performers, Eckart isn’t the kind of conductor who waves his baton and leaves the stage. He develops a relationship with his orchestra and his audience that leads to lively interactions and better listening. We also have a very active 25-person board whose members come from Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Wilton, Westport, Norwalk, Redding.”
Concerts are Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm. at Stamford’s Palace Theater, 61 Atlantic Street. (Exception: Handel’s Messiah) For subscriptions and tickets, call 203-325-1407, ext.10 or www.stamfordsymphony.org
October 24, 25
Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Higdon
Andreas Boyde, piano
November 14, 15
Yevgeny Sudbin, piano
At the Basilica of St.John the Evangelist,Stamford
Pro Arte Singers
January 16, 17
Benjamin Bellman, violin
February 27, 2016
Yefin Bronfman Piano Recital
March 12, 13
Rimsky-Korsakov, Lalo, Surinach, Bizet
Rachel Lee Friday, violin
April 16, 17 2016
Dvorak & Elgar
Julie Albers, cello
Jazz Night in April with the
Wynton Marsalis Quintet