LSM Newswire

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Portland Symphony Orchestra Hires Leah Robertson as New Associate Director, Development & Special Projects

PORTLAND, Maine - The Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO) today announced the appointment of Leah Robertson as the Portland Symphony Orchestras new associate director, Development & Special Projects.  In her work with the PSO, she will oversee the operations of the Symphonys fundraising and donor stewardship strategies. Robertson previously served as the development coordinator for the Gulf of Maine Research Institute where she was responsible for Development communications, Board support, donor stewardship, and its highly successful Lunch & Learn series.  From 2004 to 2006, Robertson served as development assistant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  A graduate of Colby College , Leah led the 2003 Women's Crew team to a NCAA Championship Title.

For information on the Portland Symphony Orchestra, visit www.portlandsymphony.com.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Portland Symphony Orchestras First Concert of 2010 Focuses on Head and Heart Sunday, January 24


January 5, 2010

PORTLAND, Maine New Years resolutions often focus on change, a desire to open up to new experiences, gain knowledge. The Portland Symphony Orchestras first concert of 2010 is a perfect example, as conductor Robert Moody takes the audience on an inspirational and moving journey of Head and Heart. This emotionally charged concert pairs the heartfelt poignancy of Ravel's exquisite musical lament Pavane pour une enfante defunte (Pavane for a Dead Princess) with the frenetic and brilliant genius of Mozarts Symphony No. 29 in G minor (the opening music in Milo Formans film Amadeus). Apropos of both head and heart, the centerpiece of the program is Headcase, a multimedia musical exploration of living composer Brett Dietz's struggle to regain clarity after a suffering a stroke at the age of 29. The Pittsburgh Tribute Review called Headcase haunting and powerful - a remarkably sophisticated score that blends words, music and visual displays to touch the heart and mind.

Sponsored by New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland (NERHP), Head and Heart takes place on Sunday, January 24 at 2:30 p.m. in Merrill Auditorium. Please note that Headcase does contain some potentially disturbing language and imagery and may not be suitable for younger audiences.


Tickets range from $17-$56 and are available through PortTix at (207) 842-0800 or
www.porttix.com. Phone and internet orders are subject to $6-per-ticket handling fees. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the box office at 20 Myrtle St., Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.

Related activities:


Ģ
Composer Symposium by Brett Dietz on Friday, January 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the Dana Center on the Maine Medical Center campus. A joint presentation of the PSO, NERHP and Maine Medical Center. $5 suggested donation to benefit the PSOs Community Connections program, RSVP to education@portlandsymphony.com


Ģ Open Dress Rehearsal for high school and college students on Sunday, January 24 at 10:00 a.m. Email education@portlandsymphony.com for reservations.

Ģ Work by artist and brain-injury survivor Hilary Zayed will be on display in the lobby of Merrill Auditorium at the concert.

Ģ Concert Conversation with Robert Moody and Brett Dietz at 1:15 p.m. prior to the concert.

Ģ PostConcert Q&A with the artists immediately following the concert.

Ģ MaineStage broadcast of this concert on MPBN, Wednesday, February 10 at 8:00 p.m.

The PSOs 2009-10 season is sponsored by IDEXX Laboratories. For complete season information, including artist biographies; program notes; and Online Insights, provided with support from Season Enrichment Sponsor Fairpoint Communications; visit www.portlandsymphony.com.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Magic Is In the Air - Portland Symphony Orchestras 30th Magic of Christmas Opens Friday


ĮDecember 7, 2009


PORTLAND, Maine The Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO)s Music Director Robert Moody conducts the 30th anniversary production of Magic of Christmas, which opens Friday, December 11 and runs through December 20 at Merrill Auditorium. Tickets are still available for all performances, though seating is limited for the December 12 and 13 matinees.


The PSOs Magic of Christmas is sponsored by Hannaford Supermarkets, IDEXX Laboratories and Northeast Delta Dental.


Magic of Christmas tickets range from $25 to $55 and can be purchased online at www.porttix.com, by phone at 207-842-0800, or at the PortTix box office, 20 Myrtle St., Monday through Saturday from noon to 6:00 p.m. Discounts for most performances are available for students, seniors and groups of 10 or more. New this year, Magic Magic tickets are available: if there are concerns about the weather, these tickets can be exchanged for other Magic performances (restrictions apply). Phone and internet orders are subject to $6 per-ticket PortTix handling fee, and all tickets include a $2 Merrill Restoration fee.



Full list of 2009 PSO Magic of Christmas performance dates and times:
Kotzschmar Organ Prelude begins one hour before each concert except for the Sunday 1:00 p.m. matinees which will feature students from the Maine Suzuki Association.
Ģ Friday, December 11, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. (Preview)
Ģ Saturday, December 12, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. (balcony only) and 7:30 p.m.
Ģ Sunday, December 13, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. (balcony only) and 5:00 p.m.
Ģ Friday, December 18, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Ģ Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Ģ Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.


2009 PSO Magic of Christmas full program:
Beckel Christmas Fanfare
Anderson Christmas Festival Overture
Torme/Wells arr. The Christmas Song (with singer)
Tchaikovsky Trepak from Nutcracker
Runyan A Christmas Carol (with narrator, dancers and puppets)
Shaw/Bennet Many Moods of Christmas, Suite IV (with chorus)
Massenet Meditation from Thas (with dancers)
Reading One Solitary Life (over Ravels The Enchanted Garden)
Adam/Rutter O Holy Night (with singer)
Anderson Sleigh Ride
Tchaikovsky/Moody Sugar Plum, the Oratorio (comedy duet)
Finnegan, arr. Christmas Sing-a-Long (with audience and chorus)
Foster My Grown-up Christmas List (with singer)
Santa Dance Medley
Ades, arr. Let There Be Peace on Earth (full cast)

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Portland Symphony Orchestra's Festival of Trees Lights up the Holiday Season

PORTLAND, Maine The Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO) is delighted to announce a new Portland holiday tradition, the Festival of Trees. A display of beautifully decorated Christmas trees will fill the lobby of Merrill Auditorium during this holiday season, December 7 through 21. The lobby of Merrill will be transformed into an enchanting winter wonderland by local companies who have donated the trees and their creative talents to provide a captivating, festive atmosphere. Each tree will have its own unique style, all charming and inspirational.

"We're thrilled to commence a new tradition this year on the 30th anniversary of Magic, and the first year Maestro Moody is conducting the performances," said Susan Dench, PSO Festival of Trees volunteer coordinator. "In conjunction with Magic of Christmas, Festival of Trees is sure to become an annual event anticipated by PSO sponsors, audience members and the larger community who can come and visit the Merrill lobby to get in the holiday spirit."

The PSO presents the 30th year of Magic of Christmas with eleven performances December 11-20, led for the first time by Music Director Robert Moody. Visit www.portlandsymphony.com for performance and ticketing information.

2009 Festival of Trees' founding sponsors are: Acadia Insurance, Cardiovascular Consultants of Maine P.A., Compositions, Cumberland Club, Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ, Haven's Candies, IDEXX Laboratories, Maine Lobster Direct, OceanView at Falmouth Retirement Community, Planet Dog, and Portland Pirates.

Members of the Festival of Trees' team are: Cindy Wilson (chair), Harper Lee Collins, Susan Dench, Nancy Greenblatt, Andrea Gross, Mary Jo Kolkhorst , Melissa LaCasse, and Paula Spencer. Joe Boucher, Gregg Carville, Andy Downs, Allison Earnhard, Jessica Ferris, Alice Kornhauser, Christopher LaCasse, and Pandora LaCasse also helped with the creation of this new holiday tradition.

About the Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO):

Serving the city of Portland, the state of Maine, and northern New England, the PSO is the largest performing arts organization in Maine. With critically acclaimed performances and broad community engagement, the PSO is widely regarded as one of the top symphony orchestras of its size in the country. For complete season information, including artist biographies; program notes; and Online Insights, provided with support from season Enrichment Sponsor Fairpoint

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Full Program Announced for Portland Symphony Orchestra's 30th Magic of Christmas

PSO Music Director Robert Moody conducts Magic for the first time with many new program additions


PORTLAND, Maine For 30 years, the Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO)'s Magic of Christmas productions have brightened the holidays of thousands of New Englanders. This season, for PSO Music Director Robert Moody's first year leading the Magic performances, the Symphony will continue this joyful tradition while adding exciting new elements that are sure to enchant those who've been coming for 30 years as well as those who are new to Magic. Eleven performances of Magic of Christmas will run from December 11 to December 20 at Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle Street in Portland.

30th anniversary Magic highlights:
Magic memories this year will range from fun and spirited to solemn and sacred. There's something for everyone as the PSO evokes the spirit, story and traditions of Christmas.

Favorite Magic traditions:
Ģ "Sleigh Ride" returns always a favorite of PSO musicians and audiences alike. Each year, Magic attendees anticipate the lively crack of the whip and the sleigh bells jingling as the musicians try to outdo each other with their festive and comical attire.
Ģ The lively audience sing-along to some favorite Christmas tunes lets audience members lift their own voices at each performance.
Ģ Carols and holiday tunes sung by the Portland Community Chorus, this year including Many Moods of Christmas and the beautiful "O Holy Night."
New Magic traditions:
Ģ Freeport's Figures of Speech Theatre (FST) has been commissioned to create dramatic and imaginative puppetry figures for a condensed adaptation of the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. With an accompanying musical score by Michael Runyan, dancers animate the puppets and perform multiple roles while a solo actor provides the story's narration and character voices. The PSO expects this to be a centerpiece of Magic for years to come, and each year will commission a new set of puppets to build the "cast of characters."
Ģ Dancers will form a Rockettes-style kickline of dancing Santas, sure to add a sensationally fun element to the show.
Ģ At the Sunday 1:00 PM matinees, students from the Maine Suzuki Association will perform for audience members before the concert begins. At all other performances, audiences will enjoy the traditional Kotzschmar Organ Prelude Concert.
2009 Magic guest artists include:
Ģ Magic of Christmas concert soloist Joe Cassidy, tenor, has been seen on NBC's Law & Order as well as on Broadway as Freddy in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and in 1776, Les Misrables and A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden. As a concert soloist he has performed with over fifteen symphony orchestras around the country. In addition to crooning throughout Magic, Cassidy will narrate a choreographed retelling of the Nativity, and he and Maestro Moody even have a special duet surprise planned!
Ģ Figures of Speech Theatre (FST), the creators of the larger-than-life puppetry figures for Magic in 2009, explores the interplay of puppets, actors, shadows, music, movement and masks, believing that audiences experience art most vitally when they are called upon to engage their imaginations fully. The company produces visual theater that emphasizes myth, metaphor and transformation. They have performed at venues such as the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institution and the New Victory Theatre on Broadway and they are a four-time recipient of the coveted UNIMA Citation of Excellence, the highest distinction in American puppet theatre.
Ģ The Portland Community Chorus, conducted for Dr. Richard Nickerson, consists of over 150 singers as annual members. They will join the stage at Magic after intermission for rousing renditions of classics such as "O Holy Night" and more, as well as leading the audience in the annual favorite audience sing-along.
Ģ New this year, the PSO has assembled the Magic of Christmas Dancers from local companies and studios throughout southern Maine. The dancers are Bethany Field, Jeff Decareau, Hilary Melcher Chapman, Jennifer Bourgeault, Ren Morrill, Michelle Bernier and Vincent Ratsavong.
Many more surprises await at this year's 30th anniversary of PSO's Magic of Christmas, sponsored by Hannaford Supermarkets, IDEXX Laboratories and Northeast Delta Dental.

Magic of Christmas tickets start at just $25 and can be purchased online at www.porttix.com, by phone at 207-842-0800, or at the PortTix box office, 20 Myrtle St., Monday through Saturday from noon to 6:00 PM. Discounts for most performances are available for students, seniors and groups of 10 or more. New this year, "Magic" Magic tickets are available: if there are concerns about the weather, these tickets can be exchanged for other Magic performances (restrictions apply). Phone and internet orders are subject to $6 per-ticket PortTix handling fee, and all tickets include a $2 Merrill Restoration fee.

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Full list of 2009 PSO Magic of Christmas performance dates and times:
Kotzschmar Organ Prelude begins one hour before each concert except for the Sunday 1:00 PM matinees which will feature students from the Maine Suzuki Association.
Ģ Friday, December 11, 2009 at 7:30 PM (Preview)
Ģ Saturday, December 12, 2009 at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM
Ģ Sunday, December 13, 2009 at 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM
Ģ Friday, December 18, 2009 at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM
Ģ Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM
Ģ Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM

2009 PSO Magic of Christmas full program:
Beckel: Christmas Fanfare
Anderson: Christmas Festival Overture
Torme/Wells arr.: The Christmas Song (with singer)
Tchaikovsky: "Trepak" from The Nutcracker
Runyan: A Christmas Carol (with narrator, dancers and puppets)
Shaw/Bennet: Many Moods of Christmas, Suite IV (with chorus)
Massenet: Meditation from Thas (with dancers)
Reading: "One Solitary Life" (over Ravel's "The Enchanted Garden")
Adam/Rutter: O Holy Night (with singer)
Anderson: Sleigh Ride
Tchaikovsky/Moody: Sugar Plum, the Oratorio (comedy duet)
Finnegan, arr.: Christmas Sing-a-Long (with audience and chorus)
Foster: My Grown-up Christmas List (with singer)
Santa Dance Medley
Ades, arr.: Let There Be Peace on Earth (full cast)

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

PSO POPS! Presents A Tribute to Louis Armstrong, November 14 and 15

October 22, 2009

PSO POPS! Welcomes Trumpeter Byron Stripling and Guest Conductor Matthew Fritz for A Tribute to Louis Armstrong, November 14 and 15

PORTLAND, Maine The Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO) welcomes guest conductor Matthew Fritz and special guest artist Byron Stripling for a POPS! tribute to the legendary jazz trumpeter and singer Louis Armstrong. The performances take place November 14 and 15 at Merrill Auditorium.

World-renowned trumpet virtuoso and a graduate of the Eastman School of Music (also PSO Music Director Robert Moody's alma mater), Byron Stripling pays homage to the great "Satchmo." Performing pieces made famous by Armstrong such as "Do You Know What It Means to be Miss New Orleans?", "Honeysuckle Rose", "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Sweet Georgia Brown" in addition to special tribute arrangements, Stripling sings with the same gravelly voice as Armstrong, dresses the way he would have back in the 1930s, and plays the trumpet in the artist's style. Stripling is the artistic director and conductor of the Columbus (Ohio) Jazz Orchestra, has soloed with the Boston Pops and played the lead role in the Broadway production of Satchmo.

Guest conductor Matthew Fritz was Maestro Moody's first student of conducting while an undergraduate and went on to receive his Master's degree in orchestral conducting from the Eastman School of Music. While just commencing his conducting experiences, Fritz has already had the opportunity to conduct the Southern Arizona Symphony, Quincy and Cape Ann Symphonies in Massachusetts, the Phoenix Symphony Guild Youth Orchestra, and the PSO's 2008 Summer Serenade concerts.

In conjunction with the Tribute performances, community members are invited to attend a lecture titled "Three Keys to Musical Success" with Byron Stripling on Friday, November 13 at 1:00 PM at Corthell Hall (on the USM Gorham campus).

Sponsored by Holiday Inn by the Bay and New England Coffee, A Tribute to Louis Armstrong will take place at Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle Street in Portland, Saturday at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 2:30 PM. The shows are recommended for the entire family (ages 8 and up).

The PSO's 2009-10 season is sponsored by IDEXX Laboratories. Tickets range from $20-$64 and are available through PortTix at (207) 842-0800 or www.porttix.com. Phone and internet orders are subject to $6-per-ticket handling fees. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the box office at 20 Myrtle St., Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 PM. Special pricing may be available for students, seniors, and groups of 10 or more.

For complete season information, including artist biographies; program notes; and Online Insights, provided with support from season Enrichment Sponsor Fairpoint Communications; visit www.portlandsymphony.com.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Portland Symphony Orchestra Welcomes Special Guest Judd Nelson for "Great Stories to Tell" at Merrill Auditorium, November 8

PORTLAND, Maine For the first Sunday Classical concert of the 85th anniversary season, the Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO) welcomes celebrity guest narrator Judd Nelson for "Great Stories to Tell!" Led by Music Director Robert Moody, the matinee performance will also feature members of Portland Ballet Company. The concert takes place on Sunday, November 8 at 2:30 PM in Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle Street in Portland.

"Great Stories to Tell!" blends music, story-telling, dance and colorful costumes to appeal to all the senses. The concert begins with Respghi's Ancient Airs and Dances (Suite No. 1), composed in 1917 and based on themes of Renaissance-era lute music, followed by selections from Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 61, written to accompany the Shakespearean romantic comedy.

The centerpiece of the program is Stravinsky's L'histoire du Soldat ("A Soldier's Tale") a 1918 theatrical work "to be read, played, and danced" ("lue, joue et danse"). L'histoire du Soldat is a parable based on a Russian folk tale about a soldier who trades his fiddle to the devil for a book that predicts the future of the economy. The music is witty and acerbic, and includes elements of ragtime, early jazz, and tango. Dancers from Portland Ballet Company portray the Soldier, the Devil, and the Princess, while Nelson narrates, all accompanied by a virtuoso ensemble of select PSO players.

Judd Nelson, best known for his roles as John Bender in The Breakfast Club, Alec Newbary in St. Elmo's Fire and Jack Richmond in Suddenly Susan, is a native of Portland, and returns to the city to narrate this exciting performance. Nelson's father Leonard is a past Board President of the Portland Symphony Orchestra.

Sponsored by Cardiovascular Consultants of Maine, "Great Stories to Tell!" will take place at Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle Street, at 2:30 PM on November 8. Tickets range from $20-$70 and are available through PortTix at (207) 842-0800 or www.porttix.com. Phone and internet orders are subject to $6-per-ticket handling fees. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the box office at 20 Myrtle St., Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 PM.

A Concert Conversation with Dr. Scott Harris, Director of the USM School of Music, takes place at 1:15 PM in the Rehearsal Hall, and a Post Concert Q&A will be held onstage with the artists immediately following the performance. Cardiovascular Consultants of Maine will be providing free health screenings in the auditorium lobby. A live recorded broadcast of the concert can be heard on Maine Public Broadcasting Network on Wednesday, December 9, 2009.

The PSO's 2009-10 season is sponsored by IDEXX Laboratories. For complete season information, including artist biographies; program notes; and Online Insights, provided with support from season Enrichment Sponsor Fairpoint Communications; visit www.portlandsymphony.com.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

PSO POPS! Brings Cirque de la Symphonie to Merrill Auditorium, October 24 and 25



PORTLAND, Maine For the first Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO) POPS! performance of the 85th anniversary season, Music Director Robert Moody leads the PSO along with performance troupe Cirque de la Symphonie for an spectacular collaboration of cirque artists and full orchestra, sharing the stage of Merrill Auditorium.

A dazzling partnership to match the PSO's impeccable artistry, the Duluth News Tribune called Cirque de la Symphonie "Ķstellar entertainment, with a lush-sounding orchestra and [cirque performers] taking us beyond what seems possible." It's an exciting adaptation of artistic performances widely seen in theaters and arenas everywhere, and it showcases many of the best cirque artists in the world, bedazzling the audience with aerial flyers, acrobats, contortionists, dancers, jugglers, balancers, and strongmen. Audiences will hear Dvorak's Carnival Overture, dramatic excerpts from Bizet's Carmen, Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, Khachaturian's Gayane and Masquerade, Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 and more. These powerful orchestral works amplify the visual effects of classic cirque artistry as the music literally comes to life.

Sponsored by L.L. Bean, Cirque de la Symphonie will take place at Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle Street in Portland, Saturday at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 2:30 PM. The shows are recommended for the entire family (ages 8 and up).

The PSO's 2009-10 season is sponsored by IDEXX Laboratories. Tickets range from $20-$64 and are available through PortTix at (207) 842-0800 or www.porttix.com. Phone and internet orders are subject to $6-per-ticket handling fees. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the box office at 20 Myrtle St., Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 PM. Special pricing may be available for students, seniors, and groups of 10 or more.

For complete season information, including artist biographies; program notes; and Online Insights, provided with support from season Enrichment Sponsor Fairpoint Communications; visit www.portlandsymphony.com.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Portland Symphony Orchestra Features Concertmaster Charles Dimmick in Performances of Brahms, Berg, and Sibelius, October 27

October 7, 2009 - PORTLAND, Maine The Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO) and Music Director Robert Moody presents a program titled "It Is Enough" on Tuesday, October 27 at Merrill Auditorium with music by Brahms, Berg and Sibelius, and featuring a solo performance by PSO concertmaster Charles Dimmick.

"It Is Enough" opens with Brahms' lively Academic Festival Overture, composed in 1880 as a "thank you" to the University of Breslau for awarding him an honorary doctorate, and based on boisterous student drinking songs of the time. The powerful Violin Concerto by Berg, with PSO Concertmaster Charles Dimmick in the soloist role, is often considered a "double requiem" for the daughter of a close friend as well as for Berg himself, who died shortly after finishing the piece. Sibelius' vivid, fresh and powerful Symphony No. 2, often connected with Finland's struggle for independence, will close the program.

Charles Dimmick joined the Portland Symphony Orchestra as a member of the violin section in 1999, and became Concertmaster of the orchestra in 2002. Dimmick, also Concertmaster of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and a member of the Rhode Island Philharmonic, began playing the violin at age 5, and has worked with the Tokyo and Juilliard String Quartets. He attended the prestigious Tanglewood Music Center, and performed as a soloist with the University of Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra, Maine Mid-Coast Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic and Miami Valley Symphony.

Sponsored by Verrill Dana, "It Is Enough" will take place at Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle Street, at 7:30 PM. Tickets range from $20-$70 and are available through PortTix at (207) 842-0800 or www.porttix.com. Phone and internet orders are subject to $6-per-ticket handling fees. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the box office at 20 Myrtle St., Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 PM.

A Concert Conversation with Robert Moody and Charles Dimmick precedes the performance at 6:15 PM and the concert will be followed by a PostConcert Q&A with the artists. A live recorded broadcast of the concert can be heard on Maine Public Broadcasting Network on Wednesday, November 11, 2009.

Audience members are also invited to attend Afterglow, a new afterparty at Restaurant Grace immediately following all Tuesday Classical performances. Patrons can mingle with the artists while supporting the PSO, as Restaurant Grace will donate a portion of the evening's proceeds to the PSO.

Students in grades 5 and up are invited to attend the open dress rehearsal on Monday, October 26 at 10:00 AM. Dress rehearsals are free, but space is limited and reservations are required. Email education@portlandsymphony.com or call (207) 773-6128 ext. 308 for more information.

The PSO's 2009-10 season is sponsored by IDEXX Laboratories. For complete season information, including artist biographies; program notes; and Online Insights, provided with support from season Enrichment Sponsor Fairpoint Communications; visit www.portlandsymphony.com.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Portland Symphony Orchestra and Portland OvationsSpearhead Portland's First "Incubator" for the Performing Arts

PORTLAND, Maine The Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO) and Portland Ovations (formerly known as PCA Great Performances/Portland Concert Association) began co-habitating over 10 years ago when they decided to share office space in addition to their already shared venue space and box office systems. The shared space and systems worked so well for Portland's two largest performing arts organizations that they began to think on a grander scale. They hatched the idea of creating an arts "incubator" a shared space where performing arts organizations can work together, pool resources and collaborate on concepts, projects, and back-office needs.

That concept came to fruition last August when the PSO and Portland Ovations moved to a larger space. The two organizations signed the lease, and invited the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ (FOKO) to join them. Portland's Choral Art Society and the LARK Society for Chamber Music joined the group at their new home, 50 Monument Square, in the spring of 2009.

"We'd already made the decision that if an appropriate larger space became available, we'd move our offices together and invite other, smaller performing arts organizations to join us," said PSO Executive Director Ari Solotoff. "We know how hard it is for small organizations to afford office space and overhead on their own, and the collaboration seemed like a natural fit."

In the shared space the organizations are able to share conference facilities as well as costs of overhead including office equipment and machinery.

But more than just a fiscally responsible option, the shared space also represents an opportunity for artistic collaboration between groups that often already worked closely together. They now have immediate access to one another and an easily shared network of volunteers.

"Many of us often worked closely together before, but now everyone is together, sharing space and energy and ideas and everyone benefits," noted Portland Ovations Executive Director, Aime Petrin. "There's a terrific amount of vitality and artistic collaboration going on here. It's a great place to be."

The 50 Monument Square building is owned by Youth Alternatives Ingraham, a Portland social services agency that is dedicated to advancing healthier lives, happier families, and stronger communities.

"The fact that our building is owned and managed by a local organization dedicated to strengthening community and serving other local organizations feels good," said Kathleen Grammer, FOKO's executive director. "And the fact that we're all in the arts district together alongside galleries, museums, and right down the street from our home venue is perfect."

Around the corner from their administrative space, Merrill Auditorium is the artistic home of the PSO (and their 82 professional musicians), Portland Ovations and FOKO. A 1,908-seat performing arts facility located in the Arts District of downtown Portland, the Auditorium was originally built in 1912 to replace two former halls both destroyed by fire. In 1997 Merrill Auditorium was completely renovated with improved acoustics, sightlines and stage facilities. Since the restoration, Merrill Auditorium has established itself as one of New England's finest performing arts centers. Merrill is also home to PortTix, Portland's box office and ticketing system for many arts events in Portland.

"Portland has a strong history of collaboration among its arts organizations, and our programming represents that more every year," said PSO Music Director Robert Moody. "We are especially proud to have begun Portland's first 'performing arts incubator', so to speak, and we are already seeing an upsurge in the energy and teamwork taking place between all of these great organizations."

About Portland Symphony Orchestra:ĮServing the city of Portland, the state of Maine, and northern New England, the Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO) is the largest performing arts organization in Maine. With critically acclaimed performances and broad community engagement, the PSO is widely regarded as one of the top symphony orchestras of its size in the country. Established in 1923, 2009-10 marks the organization's 85th anniversary season. For more information about the PSO visit www.portlandsymphony.com.

About Portland Ovations:ĮFor nearly 80 years, Portland Ovations, the non-profit organization formerly known as PCA Great Performances/Portland Concert Association, has brought a dynamic season of exceptional performing artists to Maine including classical music, jazz, opera, world, dance, theater, and Broadway. In addition to their live performances, Portland Ovations brings the exhilaration of the performing arts out into the greater Portland community with season-long educational and outreach programs called Ovations Offstage. For more information about the organization and their programming visit www.portlandovations.org.

About FOKO:ĮFriends of the Kotzschmar Organ (FOKO) was founded in 1981 as a result of the city of Portland's need to withdraw funding for the municipal organ housed in Merrill Auditorium due to financial limitations. Dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the Kotzschmar, FOKO's responsibilities include raising funds, presenting concerts and engaging the services of a Municipal Organist. For more information about the Kotzschmar, the guest organists and the season, visit www.foko.org.

About CAS:ĮThe Choral Art Society (CAS) has more than 150 singers who perform in three distinct ensembles: the symphonic Masterworks Chorus, the mid-sized Choral Art Singers, and the intimate a cappella Camerata. All singers are skilled amateurs, selected by audition. The Society offers an annual concert series and appears regularly as guests of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Robert Russell, professor of music at the University of Southern Maine, is the conductor and artistic director of the CAS. For more information about the CAS and performances visit www.choralart.org or call (207) 828-0043.

About The LARK Society for Chamber Music:ĮTaking its name from the initials of the Portland String Quartet (PSQ) members' surnames and from a Haydn quartet, "The Lark", The LARK Society for Chamber Music was formed in 1980 to promote chamber music and music education in Maine. In addition to presenting the Portland Concert Series, LARK supports the PSQ's educational outreach activities throughout the state. For more information visit www.portlandstringquartet.org or call (207) 761-1522.

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