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OVS Gets Hip In Its 20’s

Poster shoing Deborah Henson ConantOVS Gets Hip In Its 20’s
By Thomas Consolo

Like most twenty-somethings, the Ohio Valley Symphony is offering a combination of hip style and traditional flair for its next season.

The 2011-12 series marks the OVS’s 22nd season as southeast Ohio’s only professional orchestra. The five programs cover repertoire ranging from R&B to classical mainstays to holiday favorites. They also feature a lineup of world-class guest artists, including the world’s first electric harpist and a father-son team of trumpet virtuosos.

That variety is key both to the OVS’s mission and its two decades of success, said Lora Lynn Snow, the orchestra’s founder and executive director. “Great music comes in all kinds of packages,” she said, “and we try to show people all the things an orchestra can do. It’s a lot more than just symphonies.”

That will be clear enough to the audience from the first program, dubbed “Hip Harp” for soloist Deborah Henson-Conant. The Grammy-nominated performer, composer and songwriter has built a renegade image on her evocative singing voice and the 36-string, custom-built electric harness harp she plays. Her programs fuse theater, stories and virtuosic playing skill and cover genres from ballads to jazz to flamenco.

For Ray Fowler, the OVS music director, Henson-Conant was an obvious choice. “This is a person who will reach right into the heart and soul of the audience,” he said. “She’s just so natural on stage.”

It’s more than showmanship, he continued. “I was so impressed with how thoughtful she was about her choice of pieces,” Fowler said. “She wanted to choose just the right repertoire to reach our audience.”

Henson-Conant’s performance opens the OVS season on Oct. 8 in Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School’s Wedge Auditorium. It’s the third year the orchestra has performed in Point Pleasant, including a concert to help dedicate the facility’s completion. “We can’t expect everyone to come to us,” Snow said, “so we’re happy to go to them to let them know about this organization.”

The season’s other four performances will be at the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre. The downtown Gallipolis landmark has been reborn thanks to a dedicated citizen-based restoration effort sparked by Snow. It was renamed to honor a gift by Meigs County native Ann Carson Dater, who wanted to ensure that the hall be a permanent home for the orchestra.

The season’s other bookend shows a different kind of virtuosity in violinist Chin Kim. “He’ll reach the audience in a different way,” Fowler said, “and the story will be through the sounds.”

Kim will play Max Bruch’s first violin concerto on April 28, 2012, as part of a program called “The Romantics.” The contrast between the two artists “is the extreme of the season,” Fowler said. It shows just how different music can be, all while touching people deeply.

“The Romantics” also features one of the best-loved orchestral masterpieces of the 19th century, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. It traces a hopeful journey against fate to a joyous finale.

November brings pianist Lori Sims back to the stage of the Ariel to perform the second concerto of Johannes Brahms. Sims is “one of the best-kept secrets of the piano world,” according to Fowler. “Her playing has such integrity and such heart. She’ll bring the audience through the piece.”

The Nov. 5 concert pairs the Brahms with the youthful Symphony No. 2 of Ludwig van Beethoven. For audiences who automatically equate Beethoven with forceful Romanticism, the second symphony is an eye opener full of wry humor and the kind of balance his teacher, Franz Joseph Haydn, would have approved.

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Poster featuring Maestro Scott Woodard and violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn with the Red Violin

October 2, 2021
at 7:30 p.m.
Concert will be at Wedge Auditorium at Pt. Pleasant WV Jr./Sr. High School.
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We re-open The Ohio Valley Symphony season as we celebrate the life of Ariel Board President Paul Simon when his longtime family friend, Elizabeth Pitcairn, joins The Ohio Valley Symphony in a program of Mostly Mendelssohn.

This season opens with Mendelssohn’s energizing and uplifting Symphony No. 4 and Elizabeth performs the much loved Concerto for Violin, Op. 64, under the baton of Maestro Scott Woodard.

Purchase your season subscription so you don’t miss a single note of this new season!

Sponsored by

Scott Woodard, conductor
Dr. Scott E. Woodard is the Music Director of the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra in Hamilton, Ohio, the Ashland Ballet Orchestra, and is the Founding Music Director and Conductor of the West Virginia State Philharmonic Orchestra (formerly known as the Charleston Chamber Orchestra). Woodard’s study and pursuit of conducting has taken him all over the world.

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Poster showing conductor and clarinetist Carl TopilowNovember 6, 2021
at 7:30 p.m.
Concert will be at Wedge Auditorium at Pt. Pleasant WV Jr./Sr. High School
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75 years ago at the end of World War II the music style of the Big Band era was flourishing and Cleveland Pops conductor Carl Topilow will lead the The Ohio Valley Symphony through a rousing romp of the stylings of Glenn Miller, Hoagie Carmichael, Irvin Berlin and other big band greats.

In this Veterans Day celebration, Carl will invoke the spirit of Benny Goodman when he picks up his clarinet and joins in the fun.
Veterans get a 10% ticket discount, order tickets online today!

Sponsored by

Carl Topilow, conductor and clarinetist
Carl Topilow is renowned worldwide for his versatility, whether he is holding a conductor’s baton or his trademark red clarinet. He is a multi-talented virtuoso who is equally at home in classical and popular music both as conductor and instrumentalist.

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Poster with conductor Steven Huang and soloists Geena Jeffries Maddox and Carline WaughMarch 26, 2022
at 7:30 p.m.
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Takes you on a musical visit to 19th century Paris when Phantom of the Opera star Geena Jeffries Mattox joins The Ohio Valley Symphony for some Perfectly Parisian music. Carline Waugh joins in the fun as well and both sopranos finish off the evening with some delicious duets.

Steven Huang, conductor
Maestro Steven Huang is thrilled to return to Southeastern Ohio to the podium of The Ohio Valley Symphony. He has conducted orchestras and operas across the country and throughout the world.

At the age of twenty-one Mr. Huang served as Music Director of the Bach Society Orchestra of Harvard University, where he received his undergraduate degree. While at Harvard, Mr. Huang also directed the Lowell House Opera (the oldest continuously running opera company in New England). Most recently, he successfully concluded a sixteen-year appointment as Associate Professor and Director of Orchestras at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where he brought the program to new achievements, including earning competitive accolades and awards from Ohio Music Educators Association and Columbus Roundtable Awards, through over 200 performances, including symphonic concerts, opera, musical theater, and Halloween pops.

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Poster of conductor Steven Huang and The Ohio Valley SymphonyDecember 4, 2021
at 7:30 p.m.
Purchase Tickets Now

In this season of hope and renewal The Ohio Valley Symphony will warm your hearts with their annual Christmas Show under the baton of Steven Huang. Traditional carols along with newer holiday favorites will awaken your holiday spirit.

Gather family and friends and get your tickets early as it is always sold out!

And if you have ever had a secret desire to lift the baton and bring out beautiful music, you too could be a Maestro For A Moment at this annual symphony fundraiser. Contact us to be a part of this fun and wonderful event.

Sponsored by

Steven Huang, conductor
Maestro Steven Huang is thrilled to return to Southeastern Ohio to the podium of The Ohio Valley Symphony.  He has conducted orchestras and operas across the country and throughout the world.

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A Virtual Ariel Merry Tubachristmas!

Enjoy the low brass sounds of the Ariel’s Merry Tubachristmas! This annual event has brought together tuba and euphonium players from across Ohio and West Virginia, young and old, beginners and experts!

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