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Celebrating Winter at the Symphony
Glacier Symphony Masterworks concerts scheduled for Feb. 22-23
John Zoltek conducting the Glacier Symphony. - Brenda Ahearn | For Glacier Symphony & Chorale
For its 31st season, the Glacier Symphony and Chorale wanted to honor nature and all that it gives to artists to keep their creativity inspired and their souls recharged.

In August, the symphony paid tribute to the autumnal giants of the music world, so it is fitting that the winter season would bring out the crisp, cool talent to be featured in the Masterworks concert “Winter’s New World,” taking place Feb. 22 and 23.

This show will feature Antonin Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 9 in E,” commonly referred to as the “New World Symphony,” which is one of the Czech composer’s signature works.

Dvorak’s symphony is popular on Earth and beyond; it was the first piece of music to make it to the moon, when Neil Armstrong took a recording of it with him on Apollo 11 for the lunar landing in 1969.

When Dvorak wrote the piece in 1893, he was the director of the National Conservancy of Music in New York City. He longed for the countryside of his native country, and the symphony reflects the new world of the city. Many musicologists surmise that the melodies in New World Symphony are based on African American spiritual and plantation songs of the American south, which the composer admired.

GSC executive director Alan Satterlee said Winter’s New World would fit the 31st season theme of “Songs of the Earth” well, with its familiar yet exciting sounds and the classic sense of the pieces presented.

The other main piece of the show will feature soloist Alon Goldstein playing Edvard Grieg’s “Piano Concerto in A.” Grieg is a Norwegian composer, which Satterlee said fits the winter theme quite well.

Goldstein first came to the Flathead Valley in 2012 to play in the annual Festival Amadeus, and was very popular during his time here, Satterlee said.

Goldstein is an Israeli-born pianist living in New York City, where he is heralded as “an irresistible powerhouse,” by the New York Times, and “a stylish and spirited player” by the Chicago Tribune.

In his last visit to the Flathead, Goldstein meshed well with the Glacier Symphony, Satterlee said.

“He’s a very engaging guy,” Satterlee said. “He’s a world performer, and loves what he does. The orchestra really enjoyed working with him.”

Each performer brings their own chemistry to the show, he said, and sometimes these visiting soloists are surprised by the talent and passion within the Glacier Symphony. Many are used to working with professional musicians in a more business-like manner, Satterlee said, but the warmth and family-like atmosphere in Kalispell draws them in.

“They’re playing their hearts out and the guest artists recognize that,” Satterlee said.

The Feb. 22 and 23 performances will take place at the Flathead High Performance Hall; the Saturday showing is at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday showing is at 3 p.m.

Alon Goldstein | Courtesy photo

On the Thursday before the main performances, Goldstein will play a more intimate setting at the Alpine Lighting Ballroom at 333 Main St. in Kalispell. Doors open at 7 p.m. and Goldstein will be there for socializing over a glass of wine or beer before the 7:30 p.m. show begins. Tickets for this event are $15.

The following day, Goldstein will play a free concert for students at Flathead High School.

So far, the 31st season at the GSC has gone well, Satterlee said, though there has been a bit of a drop in audience size compared to last year’s powerhouse season based on Beethoven’s works. Such shows, with Beethoven’s Ninth and Peter and the Wolf, drew major crowds due to their popularity, Satterlee said.

This season has less well-known works, but they are drawing sizeable crowds as well. Overall, Satterlee said he is pleased with Songs of the Earth.

“It’s gone wonderfully,” he said.

For ticketing information, visit www.gscmusic.org or by calling the GSC box office, which is located at 69 N. Main St. in Kalispell, at 407-7000.
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