Ten Years – Lawrence Isaacson

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7878-LAs we approach our 10th anniversary, it’s amazing to look back at what has been accomplished. Only 65% of arts non-profits last beyond a few years so it is surprising to all of us that we’ve made it this far. (https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/Research-Art-Works-Harvard.pdf) To get here, we achieved a lot; creating and marketing two different names, establishing ourselves in two home bases, and putting on a wide array of performances. By the numbers: 13 orchestral concerts, 20 chamber concerts (many of them repeated), 20 in-school presentations, 5 side-by-side opportunities with youth orchestra, 27 Fellows graduated or currently participating, 23 entrepreneurial classes presented to our Fellows, and well over $1,000,000 raised to pay our musicians and vendors. But how did it all start?

In 2007, when I had some free time on my hands – which is always dangerous – I decided to start an orchestra in the Boston area. First, I bought a map, and circled every town that already had an orchestra. Next, I made a 20-mile radius circle around each. Then I looked at demographic data for the towns that were not served, and ended up picking an area with a level of education and median income that I felt could sustain an orchestra. Thus began our first iteration, the Neponset Valley Philharmonic, based in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

It seemed like such a good idea. A well-educated community in need, with the ability to support a semi-professional orchestra. As it turned out… when you pick an area because it has no arts organizations, there could be a reason why. I loved the people down in the Neponset Valley, but we had trouble getting the kind of support we needed to keep operating in that community. So, in 2012, we decided to make the move to Boston. We had numerous meetings about who and what we wanted to be, and ultimately changed our name to Symphony Nova.

Starting in 2014, we created a Fellowship program that fulfilled our original mission to support up-and-coming artists. Our goal is to help recent graduates from music programs around the country by giving them the opportunity to bridge the gap from school to their career. We offer high-level orchestral performances, chamber performances, educational classes, and the opportunity to create concerts from scratch (with the support of our staff).

As we enter our 10th season, we are looking to the future. We have a 5-year plan that will take us into 2022 which includes adding more Fellows, programming more orchestra concerts, growing the Board, and increasing staff support.

We look forward to impacting more lives – musicians, audience, Board, and staff – and are excited to see what the next 10 years hold for us. Starting a non-profit is one of the most difficult things I have ever taken on, but it is also one of the most rewarding. See you in 2027 for the next update!

Help Emerging Artists

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picture1You and I know creating music is not just about playing the right notes. What I love about making music, and about the Nova experience, is the chemistry within the group. The final product you see is truly made of individual ideas coming together to become one through many discussions, laughter, and passion.

Symphony Nova’s collaborative creativity, and the artistry you experience at our concerts, is truly unique among orchestras and ensembles. We put creative decisions in the hands of talented emerging artists, and give them the skills they need to pursue their creative endeavors at Symphony Nova and beyond.  Read More

Tascha Anderson

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imageMezzo-soprano Tascha Anderson has received praise from audiences on both the east and west coasts. A native of Montana, she is hailed as “emotionally rich” and, “a brassy mezzo with flair.” Ms. Anderson was most recently seen in the world premiere of Evan Mack’s acclaimed American opera Roscoe at the Seagle Music Colony. Other recent roles include Lady in Waiting (Macbeth), Olga in the Boston premiere of Elena Langer’s Four Sisters, Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Isabella (L’Italiana in Algeri), Mother Goose (The Rake’s Progress), Bianca (The Rape of Lucretia), Mrs. Pasek (The Cunning Little Vixen), and Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus). Read More

Beethoven Serioso Quartet

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img_0101Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, also known as “Serioso”, was composed in 1810, which is thought to be the “middle period” of his career, between his early and late works. This piece is unique in not only its compactness, but also in the extreme changes in harmonic structure and mood from movement to movement. Beethoven experiments with ideas from both the classical and romantic periods.
Although it is respected now for its experimentation and uniqueness, Beethoven was not so sure it would be so easily accepted in 1810, and he wrote in a letter that it was “…written for a small circle of connoisseurs and is never to be performed in public”. The piece then premiered in 1814, but was not printed until 1816.

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Respighi – Il Tramonto

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img_0099Il Tramonto is considered one of Respighi’s greatest masterpieces, written for mezzo soprano and string quartet/string orchestra in 1914. It is a setting of the poem “The Sunset”, by P.B. Shelley, which is a story of young love cut short by tragedy. Resembling a smaller-scale opera, it is clear that the music was influenced by some of the great opera composers, such as Monteverdi and Puccini, mimicking the recitative and arioso styles that were typical of early opera. Read Shelley’s poem below!

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Haydn Sunrise Quartet

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img_0100Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 76 No. 4 was composed in 1796/1797 as one of six string quartets which were dedicated to the Hungarian Count Joseph Georg von Erdody. Published in 1799, these six quartets were the last set Haydn  composed, and are often considered to be Haydn’s greatest. No. 4, written in four movements, is often called “Sunrise” because of the ascending theme in the beginning. These quartets were distinct in the fact that they did not conform as strictly to sonata form, and there is clear thematic continuity through the pieces. “Sunrise” demonstrates this with its frequent changes in character and mood and constant reference to the main theme, whether it be an explicit reference or a derived melody.

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Weill: Symphony No. 1

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An early work of Kurt Weill’s, the 1st Symphony evokes a wide variety of characters in its short span, from a broad, reverberant opening, to intimate, expressive chamber music between solo instruments. In 1921 Weill composed music for a competition to collaborate with the playwright Johannes R. Becher, then later reworked that music to fit the scale and instrumentation of this symphony. Although the piece unfolds in a single movement (traditional symphonies have four movements), its episodic nature suggests that each section belongs to a particular scene in Becher’s play. The dramatic context of each “scene” of Weill’s piece is unknown, but the audience is invited to imagine what might be happening on stage if it had accompanied a play. Read More

Nova Alum Wins Job at Major Orchestra

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xi-zhangFormer Nova Violist, Xi Zhang, is making her professional debut with the St. Louis Symphony.

Zhang, a graduate from New England Conservatory, began her career with Symphony Nova in 2011 and performed as second viola in the orchestra until 2014. She very much enjoyed the experience of working with different conductors and playing at various events, while getting the opportunity to learn more repertoire.

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Le Tombeau de Couperin

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maurice_ravel_1925“Le Tombeau de Couperin”, by Maurice Ravel, was originally composed from 1914-1917 as a piano suite in six movements. Each movement was intended to evoke a specific memory of a close friend who had died fighting World War I. Ravel paid hommage to the baroque composer Couperin by imitating the style of a baroque dance suite. Later on, in 1919, Ravel omitted two of the movements and produced a version of the piece for orchestra. Read More

Haffner Symphony

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Commissioned by the Haffner Family in 1782, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart originally composed the “Haffner Symphony” (No. 35 in D Major, K. 385) as a serenade for the enoblement of Sigmund Haffner. Unfortunately, this deadline caused Mozart a great deal of stress. Not only had he just finished his opera, “Die Entführung aus dem Serail”, but he was also planning his wedding to Constanze Weber, much to his father’s dismay. Mozart struggled to complete the “Haffner Symphony” in time for the enoblement, and the piece originally debuted as a serenade, including a march and two minuets.

Although historical evidence points to the fact that Mozart may or may not have met the original deadline for Haffner’s enoblement, he did find a completely different use for the piece. Mozart was beginning to prepare for another concert he was going to be presenting in Vienna, and since the Haffner piece had only been heard in Salzburg, he decided to revise the score and expand what was a serenade into a symphony. This vibrant, joyful symphony was a great success at the debut in March of 1783.

Hear this work live at our first concert of the season on October 21 at Old South Church.

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