The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra is looking to hit the right note with their recently unveiled 2020-2021 season. With Music Director Gemma New at the helm, the coming season boasts three unique series, each with their own themes and orchestral offerings. Best of all, this concert series will be available to watch from the comfort and safety of your own home through virtual monthly broadcasts.
The Hamilton Series kicks off the season, running from September to January, with music chosen by the HPO musicians themselves and performed in iconic venues around the city.
“All of the staff, board members, musicians and myself have gone through very thoughtful discussions on how we will effectively and exquisitely share music with our wonderful Hamilton audiences,” says New. “It’s an opportunity for everyone to get to know our HPO principal woodwind players on a personal level.”
Following the Whimsical Woodwinds of October comes the string-based Reflections of Russia in November, the festive Holiday with the HPO Brass in December and A New Year’s Celebration in January, featuring works by Dvorak and Tchaikovsky, to round out the year.
It is undoubtedly an unconventional time to be in the performing arts. Due to COVID-19, it’s not possible to perform for the large crowds they are used to seeing at concerts, but this hasn’t stopped the HPO from offering Hamilton a musical reprieve.
“I think for the brass quintet, who are performing our December holiday program, it will be hard not to hear the audience laughing at their jokes,” says New. “There’s always a relationship between the musicians and audience; often we gain energy from the audience’s presence and reactions. To perform together means so much to us, and I know our players are really looking forward to returning to the stage to create some magic that our audiences can love hearing at home.”
February ushers in the Concert Hall Series, which reunites the full orchestra on the FirstOntario Concert hall stage for Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, conducted by New. Beethoven’s Eighth follows in March, with some South American sounds in April courtesy of Postcards From Buenos Aires.
“We always have our audiences and our musicians in mind as we go through the programming process,” says New. “For our audience, we want programs that delight everyone, whether you’re coming to enjoy orchestral music for the very first time, or you’ve been a die hard fan all your life.”
The Intimate and Immersive Series returns in June, featuring works by contemporary Canadian composers and offering diverse voices and a more laid-back vibe.
“Through researching contemporary works for both the Main Stage and the Intimate and Immersive concerts, we search widely for unique and interesting compositional voices, for pieces that we sense will wow our audience and, collected into an evening, will create a well-paced and insightful program. Naturally, in this search we consider many diverse and talented voices from Ontario, as well as pieces with inspirations from around the world,” says New. “Music is the language of emotion, it is for everyone. There are infinite layers of appreciation and sources of inspiration that one can discover in experiencing these concerts. The experience is yours, your personal reaction to the music is valid and correct, that’s the beauty and the power of music.”
For more information on the 20-21 season or to subscribe for access to the concert broadcasts, head to hpo.org.