Last week’s editorial praised the local arts and culture scene, after Oneonta and Otsego County were identified as “eighth most vibrant arts community” in the U.S. by SMU’s DATA ARTS’ report.
Silas Huff’s conducting of the Catskill Symphony Orchestra Saturday evening, Sept. 7, added several exclamation marks to all of last week’s positive conclusions.
Huff is the first of three conductors competing to succeed Maestro Chuck Schneider as CSO conductor. Carolyn Watson conducts Oct. 12, and Maciej Żółtowski Nov. 16. The new conductor will lead the CSO at the annual cabaret concert next March.
Two of Huff’s selections – the bookends – a Strauss overture and Stravinsky’s “Firebird,” brought standing ovations. The centerpiece, a Haydn cello concerto, drew a more subdued response, although soloist Andrew Janss impressed.
As for Huff himself, his direction was tight, intense, authoritative, subtle but effective; no showy flourishes. First rate. A top candidate.
If you believe competition brings out the best in people, Watson and Żółtowski appearances will be gripping. Huff’s sure was. If you’ve never attended a CSO performance before, treat yourself. (Tickets available at www.catskillsymphony.net.)