The last Catskill Symphony Orchestra performance con-ducted by Maestro Maciej Żóltowski will be held on Saturday, May 13 in Oneonta. The question being asked by many attendees, sponsors and members is why his contract has not been renewed. The CSO has had nothing but praise for him in the local papers and yet they did not poll the musicians or CSO members regarding the board’s decision not to renew his contract. The only reason offered was that CSO would be taking a “new direction.” Why weren’t key stakeholders’ opinions considered on whether he should remain as music director of the CSO and whether they desired a new direction for the orchestra?
Maestro Żóltowski has brought new life to the CSO and a high standard of music and excellence to the performances. He has received praise from those who attended his concerts and yet the CSO board is not interested in retaining this outstanding skill to ensure their future. Certainly, no articulated reason has been given to those of us who attend, sponsor and contribute to the CSO.
Orchestra, Choral Society Team Up for Silver Screen Concert
ONEONTA—The Catskill Symphony Orchestra will conclude its 2022-2023 season with “Music from the Silver Screen” on Saturday, May 13, in partnership with the Catskill Choral Society. This unique concert, the largest yet for CSO, will feature legendary music from some of the most important films in history, including “Ben-Hur,” “Star Wars,” “The Bride of Frankenstein” and “The Lord of the Rings.”
CSO Executive Director Ryan Geraghty is looking forward to this highly anticipated concert.
“The CSO could not be happier to be a part of such a special night of music, memories and fun, together with our friends and neighbors from the choral society,” she said.
I think we can all share in my excitement and new-found appreciation for the growing arts community that surrounds us all. As the executive director of the Catskill Symphony Orchestra, I have been blown away by the dedication and enthusiasm that our board, staff, volunteers, musicians, and community partners put into this effort every single day.
The CSO has been around for almost 70 years, and we are proud to be a part of the fabric of this community. I’m sure that many don’t realize that: 1) yes, we have been here for 70 years, and; 2) we employ an average of 50 musicians every concert, all of whom live, work, and shop here in our community. We provide educational opportunities for young people through our annual collaboration with BOCES and we are able to offer free tickets to all students (and their parents!) thanks to an anonymous donor.
EAGER EAGLES: The Leatherstocking Council branch of the Boy Scouts of America awarded 45 of its scouts with the organization’s highest honor, Eagle Scout, for the 2022 calendar year. Members of the Eagle Scout Class logged an average of 190 hours of community service, either individually or as group leaders, to 45 nonprofit organizations across the BSA’s council. The scouts were honored at the Utica Maennerchor Hall in Marcy, New York on January 8. The Leatherstocking Council’s mission is to “provide character development programs and leadership skills training to families across Delaware, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Otsego, Schoharie, and parts of Lewis and Hamilton counties.” Pictured in the front row, from left to right: Kolgan Deforest, Chittenango; Stephen Copperwheat, New Hartford; Dylan Powers, Ilion; Jacob Eschenbach, New Hartford; Grady Grimm, Clark Mills; Paul Caruso, Utica; Logan Hosler, Clark Mills; Will Shamblen, Cazenovia. Second row: Christian Valentine, Laurens; Cole Narolis, Taberg; Matthew Bongiovanni, Chittenango; Sean Bednarczyk, Whitesboro; Robert Clemons, Trenton; Joshua Wentworth, Mohawk; Jenna Deep, Waterville. Back row: Jonathyn Langone, Rome; Jesse Jandreau, Waterville; John Musante, Clark Mills; Sydney Labayewski, Clinton; Frank Richer, Chittenango; Anthony Tisi, Clark Mills; Ashlie Willson, Clark Mills. (Photo by Jim Gemza)
Żółtowski To Lead Final Concert in May; Buttermann is Guest Conductor
By IAN KENYON ONEONTA
A triumph!” noted Catskill Symphony Orchestra Chair Sarah Patterson, when asked about the 2023 “Le Cabaret” fundraiser at SUNY Oneonta on March 25. The annual event, the second hosted following a pandemic pause in 2020, convened several hundred concertgoers in the Dewar Arena—transformed into a tasteful concert hall, embellished in the CSO’s purple and gold color scheme.
This year’s benefit—emceed by Oneonta Mayor Mark Drnek—highlighted the work and mission of the CSO, honored longtime CSO supporter and community member Wendy Brown, included a guest performance from the Brooklyn-based Jeremy Pelt Quartet, and featured the annual Guest Conductor contest, under the direction of Maestro Maciej Żółtowski.
Why did I say yes? How could I have let myself be persuaded to compete to be the guest conductor of the Catskill Symphony Orchestra? Especially for the Cabaret concert, which is the symphony’s biggest fundraiser. Thinking back to my experience in the late 1990s, I can’t help but reflect and recall that without the extra money from this annual event, the symphony would have folded and our region would have lost a most valuable asset.
Classical music for families in rural upstate New York? The Cabaret concert is one of our region’s most prized annual events. Entire families dressed up and sometimes trudged through snow for this mid-winter concert, carrying beautiful picnic baskets with table cloths, special drinks, wine, and beautifully prepared hors d’oeuvres—and even desserts—with thermoses of hot drinks. Some concertgoers left their kids home and used this as a date night, or an excuse for a night out with friends.
AUDITIONS—5 p.m. Love to sing? Have prior choral experience? The Catskill Choral Society is seeking new members for their 2023 performances. Upcoming dates include a concert of Brahms choral works to be performed April 21 and 23 as well as a collaboration with the Catskill Symphony Orchestra on famous Hollywood movie scores. Rehearsals are held from 7-9 p.m. Thursday evenings starting 1/26. Auditions are by appointment at the Unitarian Universalist Soceity Chapel, 12 Ford Avenue, Oneonta. (607) 435-7008 or visit catskillchoralsociety.com
ONEONTA—The Catskill Symphony Orchestra Council will host a Gift-Wrapping Fundraiser on Saturday, December 17, 2022.
Volunteers will be at the Oneonta Farmers’ Market between 9 a.m. and noon to wrap gifts large, medium and small.
Later, stop in at the Atrium of Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center, Market Street in downtown Oneonta, and volunteer wrappers will make your special gifts as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside.
SYMPHONY – 7 p.m. The Catskill Symphony Orchestra presents their second concert ‘Slavic Spirit’ featuring some of Maestro Maciej Zoltowski favorite works from his native Poland and neighboring Bohemia like ‘The Bartered Bride’ overture by Smetana and Symphony #6 by Dvořák. Tickets, $40/adult at the door. Held at The Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. (607) 436-2670 or visit catskillsymphonyorchestra.org
BE AN ANGEL – The Angel Tree Program has returned. The community is invited to adopt a family and then find Christmas gifts for each of the children listed. Gifts are due unwrapped and without tags to either the office of The Freeman’s Journal at 21 Railroad Ave. in Cooperstown, or at the Salvation Army Church at 25 River St. in Oneonta by December 9. Visit allotsego.com/angel-tree-program/ for details
ONEONTA – Catskill Symphony Orchestra Music Director Maciej Żółtowski could not be more direct: “Czech composers occupy a very special place in my heart.”
Reflecting on his own graduation concert in 1997, Żółtowski elaborates.
“It opened with Smetana’s Overture from “The Bartered Bride.” I love the downright contagious optimism and inexhaustible energy. Since then, my programs frequently feature symphonies by Dvořák, including those lesser known—like the ‘Fifth’ or the ‘Sixth’—which we are going to play with the CSO.”
SYMPHONY – 7 p.m. The Catskill Symphony Orchestra opens the season with ‘The Revolutionaries’ featuring works from Beethoven’s ‘The Creatures of Prometheus Overture’ to Ives’ ‘The Unanswered Question.’ Includes performance from world renowned concert pianist Sara Daneshpour. Tickets, $40/adult at the door. Held at The Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. (607) 436-2670 or visit catskillsymphonyorchestra.org
Catskill Symphony Orchestra Chair Sarah Patterson cites the Russian writer, Alexander Blok: “With your whole body, with your whole heart, with your whole conscience, listen to the Revolution…This is the music everyone who has ears should hear.”
With this excitement, the CSO announced its return for a blockbuster 69th season at 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 15 at the Foothills Performing Arts Center in Oneonta. After halting concerts during the pandemic and successfully completing a thoughtful return in 2021, the 2022-23 season presents a brand-new concert series carefully crafted under the direction of Maestro Maciej Żółtowski, now in his third season with the CSO.
Saturday’s concert, “The Revolutionaries,” opens the CSO’s next chapter with an invigorating celebration of the “Great Revolutionaries,” Ludwig von Beethoven, Charles Ives and Luigi Cherubini—Beethoven, a brilliant composer who never gave up on the ideas of human liberty, fraternity, and equality; Cherubini, highly acclaimed for his work for the young French Republic; and Ives, the great American Modernist who purposely left “The Perennial Question of Existence” unanswered.
Rosemary Summers brings a lot of experience to the new Fenimore Chamber Orchestra.
“I actually got my start in the music business with the Catskill Symphony Orchestra and the Catskill Conservatory back in the 70s,” Ms. Summers, Chief Operations Officer of the new orchestra said.
“Everything that is involved in the physical production of a concert is what I am in charge of. Hiring the appropriate musicians, securing the venue, providing the sheet music for everyone…chairs, stands lights, front of house, ticketing ushers…that’s what I’m in charge of.”
“That was back in the 70s. I was a student of Carleton Clay, the founder of the Conservatory. He offered me a job and taught me how to be a music copyist. Chuck Schnieder saw my work and he asked me to be a copyist as well for Catskill Symphony.”
“I am still the Music Director at Catskill Symphony Orchestra and am now the Music Director at Fenimore Chamber Orchestra!”, he said. “It’s not unusual to be music director for two or three companies. I remember my first meeting with Thomas Wolf, Executive Director, and we developed a fruitful relationship. It just all grew from there.“
“In every organization, the music director is always the conductor of the orchestras that we are talking about. This works for me because my idea is to fill the seasons to compliment our concerts so we can provide the audiences in the area with a full season of symphonic concerts, chamber concerts, of different character that don’t conflict with each other. They are completely different types of music being presented,” Mr. Żółtowski said.
KNOXVILLE, TN – Joseph L.G. Mone will be sorely missed by his loving family and the many students and music communities he influenced and inspired over the years. Known to all as Joe, he was born in Suffern, NY on November 18, 1936. He attended Ithaca College for music education, and then stepped into a lifetime of music!
Joe was an accomplished musician. Playing upwards of 30 instruments, he was most known for drums, percussion, trumpet, flugelhorn, and woodwinds. He performed his entire life as a professional musician as well as being a formidable force as a music teacher.