CSO season to focus spotlight on different orchestra sections

The Catskill Symphony Orchestra will stage its first concert since before the coronavirus pandemic, with a show Saturday, Oct 23, at Foothills in Oneonta. (contributed)

CSO season to focus spotlight on different orchestra sections

By PATRICK DEWEY • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The Catskill Symphony Orchestra’s new season will begin Saturday, Oct. 23, with a performance at the Foothills Performing Arts Center in Oneonta.

In addition to being the CSO’s first performance since before the coronavirus pandemic began, the October date will also mark the first CSO performance with new Music Director Maciej Zoltowski.

The October concert will feature the string section performing works by Mozart, Bartok and Grieg.
The second CSO concert will take place Saturday, Nov. 20, at Foothills. The concert will feature the wind section performing a variety of works by Mozart, Strauss, and Dvorak.

Zoltowski said several different considerations played into the decision to spotlight the two main sections of the orchestra in their own distinct shows. He said focusing by major section limits the number of performers onstage at one time, thereby limiting health risk as
coronavirus concerns continue.

However, this choice is as much artistic as practical. Zoltowski said playing in smaller sections gives each musician more responsibility and, in turn, pleasure and fulfillment. Zoltowski said wind sections are not frequently seen or spotlighted, typically remaining near the back of the orchestra, so this gives CSO the opportunity to spotlight the wind section as well.

In March, the annual Cabaret fundraiser will showcase renowned jazz vocalist and America’s Got Talent Golden Buzzer winner Mandy Harvey, who was originally scheduled to perform at the March 2020 Cabaret, and got postponed because of the pandemic.

“Harvey is a prodigy in my opinion,” Zoltowski said.

The season finale, titled American Heritage, will take place in May 2022.

The performance will feature works by American composers, including Amy Beach and George W Chadwick. It will also spotlight the work of Florence Price, a Black American whose “Violin Concerto No. 1” was among manuscripts discovered in 2009, according to CSO officials.

Zoltowski said the goal for the finale is to present the finest American orchestral works.

“It is important for every country to be aware of their heritage,” Zoltowski continued.

Zoltowski began his study of music at the Chopin Academy in Warsaw, Poland. There, he decided to pursue both musical composition and conducting. Upon graduation from the Chopin Academy in 1997, Zoltowski studied at Wiepersdorf, an educational and arts center near Berlin, Germany. In Germany, he wrote two musical compositions. He has conducted orchestral performances at London’s Palladium, the Acropolis in Athens, and in Paris, among many others.

CSO Executive Director Cassandra Miller said Oneonta is the second smallest U.S. city to have a professional symphony orchestra.

Founded in 1953, the CSO became a professional union orchestra in 1974.

“Artistic organizations such as the CSO add to the cultural richness of this area, making it a great place to live and work,” Miller said.

Earlier this month, the CSO learned it was awarded two grants, totaling $20,000, by the New York State Council on the Arts. These will support the CSO’s two fall concerts.

“Only a small number of organizations received both grants and we are very proud and appreciate the support,” Miller said. She added that the grants help keep ticket prices relatively low.

Go to www.catskillsymphony.org for more information.

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