To kick off its 2023-24 season at the Garde Arts Center, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra will present a festive program of shorter works in several styles. This concert is generously sponsored by Olde Mistick Village. First up: a world premiere, Monhegan Sunrise (Peace Fanfare), by Massachusetts-based composer Tom Myron, inspired by dawn on the rocky Maine island. Originally a waltz for solo piano, the 1893 Bal masqué by New Hampshire-born Amy Beach, the first successful woman composer in the U.S., will follow, depicting the spirited masked ball of the title.
Closing out the first half, the most famous clarinet “smear” in classical music will signal the start of George Gershwin’s jazz-influenced Rhapsody in Blue, which turns 100 this year. Taking on the solo keyboard part that Gershwin himself played at the 1924 premiere—will be versatile Connecticut-based pianist Gary Chapman. Speaking of rhapsodies, The Bamboula, composed in 1905 by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, the son of an English mother and an African father, is subtitled Rhapsodic Dance for Orchestra.
The evening will go out in New Orleans style, with traditional jazz arrangements of familiar tunes performed by the Tom Brown 6, a Dixieland band, led by former ECSO Principal Trumpet Thomas Brown, who was also a U.S. Coast Guard Band member since 2002 until his recent retirement.