GALLIPOLIS — Ohio Valley Symphony concert goers have gotten used to a starting time of 8 p.m., but this year there is a new time of 7:30 p.m. to kick off the new season with the “Suite Sounds of Jazz” on Sept. 12.
Conducted by Maestro Ray Fowler and with pianist Thomas Pandolfi, the concert features jazz pianist-composer Claude Bolling’s Suite for Jazz Trio and Chamber Orchestra.
Bolling ranks among the great French jazzers. Born in Cannes in 1930, Bolling started piano studies at age 11 and became interested in jazz as a teenager when a friend introduced him to recordings of pianist Fats Waller. At 14, Bolling was already playing jazz professionally, including in a local Dixieland band.
His music investigates the connection between jazz and traditional classical music — specifically, Baroque music. In the ’70s, he composed his Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio, the first of what would be a series of works that sought to blend the old and the new. The work would surprisingly become a hit, staying on the Billboard Top 40 for over 10 years!
Pandolfi is a virtuoso who is sought after by audiences worldwide and showered with superlatives by critics for his artistry and technique. His orchestral appearances feature not only classical masterpieces by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Liszt, but also those of the pops genre such as Gershwin, Bacharach, Manilow and Hamlisch.
Rounding out the rhythm section is Roger Hines on bass and Antoine Fatout on drums. Hines was music director for jazz greats like Ray Charles and Diane Schurr. Fatout, a native of France, is a Paris Conservatory and Berklee grad specializing in jazz and Brazilian music.
The OVS will also perform Respighi’s The Birds. Composer Ottorino Respighi is most well known for his triptych for large orchestra, his “Roman” tone poems: Fountains of Rome, Pines of Rome, and Roman Festivals, pieces that were successful due largely to their evocative depiction of Roman scenes and places.
In this smaller suite, The Birds is actually a transcription of pieces and material by various Baroque composers. While some movements have obvious mimicry of bird calls (e.g., the hen, cuckoo), others are simply ornithologically inspired. It may be more useful to hear each movement less as an imitation of bird call, than as music only inspired by the animal itself.
Chef Brad Deal will present a Fabulous French Feast in the Ariel Banquet Room at 5:45 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person and must be purchased in advance. The menu includes classic French cuisine including coq au vin, pomme de terre gratinées, haricot beans, salad de Provence, pain de campagne, macaron d’amiens, and mousse au chocolat.
The OVS has a mission of bringing music played by well-known artists to the Ohio Valley — and making orchestral music easy to love. To get a unique perspective on making music, the public is welcome to attend OVS rehearsals for free between 7-10 p.m. Sept. 11, and 1-4 p.m. Sept. 12.
Open rehearsals are a way for young and old to become more familiar with symphonic music, and they offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what goes into preparing an orchestral performance.
Concertgoers — new or veteran — have another chance to learn more about the music with a free pre concert chat hosted by Steven Huang, director of orchestras at Ohio University and OVS program annotator. Held in the third-floor Ariel Chamber Theatre, the pre concert talks are interactive and informal and begin at 6:45 p.m.
Tickets for The Ohio Valley Symphony’s concerts are $24 for adults, $22 seniors and $12 for students. Tickets are available on the website at arieltheatre.org or ohiovalleysymphony.org or at the box office.
This concert is sponsored by Ohio Valley Bank, and additional funding is provided in part by the Ann Carson Dater Endowment.