Remember when the Charleston Symphony Orchestra had to shut down mid-season due to a lack of funds? It wasn’t too long ago that the organization was going through some seriously dark times, but things are definitely looking up. The CSO will finish out the 2012 fiscal year with a surplus of $71,000, and it’s the second consecutive year they’ve finished in the black (last year’s surplus was $17,000).
The news was announced at the organization’s annual board meeting earlier this month. Fundraising for the 2012 fiscal year includes a $100,000 anonymous gift in acknowledgment of last season’s success. The S.C. Arts Commission also provided a $17,349 general operating grant. You can see the full report at charlestonsymphony.org/annualreport.
The Charleston Symphony Orchestra’s Gospel Choir and Spiritual Ensemble have announced their 2012-2013 seasons, promising plenty of inspirational performances throughout the Charleston area from September through next April. The CSO Gospel Choir, founded in 1999, consists of 80-plus voices performing gospel music and spirituals. The CSO Spiritual Ensemble, more recently founded in 2008, is a 35-member ensemble which honors the “spiritual” and historical music born from the suffering and resilience of African slaves after arriving in the south.
The CSO Gospel Choir's season opens with the production of 40 Acres and a Mule on Sept. 22. Taking place at Calvary Baptist Church, this production will tell an epic story through music and narration of emancipated African-Americans who continued to toil and survive as sharecroppers on nearby land where they were once enslaved.
The CSO Spiritual ensemble begins their season on Oct. 6th with Mozart Requiem: Ode to Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, honoring the Afro-French composer, violinist, and conductor referred to by Europeans as the "Black Mozart" with his classical music. Also in October, they'll present Circa 1871: An Ode to the Fisk Jubilee Singers at Battery Creek High School Performing Arts center, with two encore performances later in February at the College of Charleston and in Walterboro in honor of African-American History Month.
In November and December, both singing groups will join forces to entertain with their 12th Annual CSO Gospel Christmas at the Sottile Theatre. They’ll return to North Charleston in January to remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with their production of This Little Light of Mine: I’m Gonna Let It Shine, a moving musical portrait and multimedia performance. The Spiritual Ensemble will continue the celebration of Dr. King with Freedom Rides On: A Tribute to Freedom Riders that following Sunday.
To celebrate Palm Sunday in March, the Gospel Choir welcomes the holy season with their performance of The Wind and the Mocking Bird: Story of How The Written Word Changed Society. The season closes with a bang with the Fifth Annual Charleston International Festival of Choirs in April, which both groups will be performing in. The festival, free to the public, will take place over three days with performances by vocal ensembles from around the world, concluding with a dramatic combined Massed Sing performance directed by guest conductor Dr. Rollo Dilworth.
The Charleston Symphony Orchestra might be losing their home base while the Gaillard closes for renovations, but they’re moving forward with a jam-packed new season, which they announced on Monday. They’re temporarily setting up shop at the Sottile Theatre, and they’ll be offering more performances of each concert due to the reduced venue size.
The 2012-2013 season will include all three of the CSO’s subscription series concerts, with five Masterworks, three Pops, and five Chamber Orchestra concerts, plus special events. The Masterworks Series includes Gustav Holst’s The Planets, Verdi’s Requiem, Philip Glass’ Violin Concerto No. 2, and more. The Pops Series features Cirque de la Symphonie, a blend of acrobatics, aerialists, and music, along with a collection of American standards from the 1920s and beyond. And the popular Chamber Series, which will again be held in the Dock Street Theatre, will feature works by Bach, Haydn, and Vivaldi.
In other news, the CSO is officially looking for a new music director. Previous director David Stahl passed away in October 2010. The CSO has formed a committee of musicians, board members, community leaders, and advisory staff to review applications and nominations. They’ll be accepting applications through May, and final candidates will be announced in September.
Find out more at charlestonsymphony.org or call (843) 723-7528.
The College of Charleston Music Department has partnered with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra for a new project called Magnetic South. The series of concerts and classes highlights music from contemporary composers like Bela Bartok, Theodore Antoniou, Cindy Cox, and Paul Chihara in an effort to bring masterworks of the 20th and 21st century to the Lowcountry.
The series kicks off on Fri. Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. with the concert Dances and Reflections, and ticket-holders can show up a half hour early for a pre-concert talk with the composers at the Simons Center Recital Hall. The series will also offer free master classes with a focus on film music from composers Cox and Chihara at the Simons Center on Jan. 18 and 19.
Here's the official program lineup:
The second concert in the series, Bookends: Chamber Symphony Then & Now, features music from Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky, Arvo Part, and John Adams on March 30.
The events are open to the public, and tickets cost $20, $10 for students. Call (843) 723-7528 or see charlestonsymphony.org for more details.
The classical music scene tends to attract an older crowd, but the Charleston Symphony Orchestra is setting out to change that with a new group targeting young patrons. The Forte Club was created to unite young professionals between the ages of 21 and 39 with fellow CSO supporters. Membership is free, and it includes discounted tickets to concerts along with invitations to events where members can meet the musicians.
The club is hosting a gathering at Ted’s Butcherblock on Sat. Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. before the Holiday Celebration Concert. Attendees will be treated to light hors d'oeuvres and drink specials. The event is open to members and anyone interested in joining the club. Find out more at charlestonsymphony.org/forteclub.