NOTES FROM THE CONDUCTOR

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all RSO friends! I’m looking forward to a restful break after an eventful fall. It’s been a great first half of the season for the RSO – the RIFF concert, the Liszt concerto, a chamber ensemble concert, and especially our recent marvelous collaboration with Rome’s Own Gospel Choir. I was really moved by the Christmas spirit that was created and I hope you were there to enjoy it as well. Three of the four concerts this fall were given twice for a total of seven RSO performances in three months, which I think is an RSO record. I’m already looking ahead to the 2017-2018 season and I have several intriguing concert ideas in the works. The RSO is in very good shape, musically and organizationally (if that’s a word) and I think great things are just around the corner. Of course, money is always a concern. Money raised in the calendar year of 2016 will go to support the 2017-2018 season, so what we can accomplish will depend on the results of the 2016 fund raising campaign. If you have not yet made a gift to the RSO, won’t you please consider it? We welcome donations of any amount, though we are especially looking for people or companies that can underwrite an entire concert. If you’d like more information on what your support can provide, please contact the RSO at symphony@romesymphony.org. All the best to you and yours,...

What A Beautiful Fall!

What a beautiful fall day today – finally!!  And with it the concert season begins in earnest.  The first concert by the full RSO will be on Monday, October 24.  Yes, you read correctly – it’s on Monday (to avoid a conflict involving many of our principal players) and it will be interesting to me to see how a weekday night concert is received.  The program is called ‘Making a Liszt and Czech-ing It Twice’, and no, we will not play ‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town!’ We’ll open the evening with music by two Czech composers, including a rarely heard march by Dvorak and the delightful Polka and Fugue by Weinberger.  The second half will feature Liszt’s brilliant Piano Concerto #1 with Alex Wasserman, the artist piano professor at Reinhardt University.  We’ll close with a new ‘Just for Fun’ arrangement of mine.  I certainly hope you will join us for this exciting evening of great music! Before I close, let me remind you that the RSO’s fundraising season aligns with the calendar year.  If you are able to support the RSO financially, please consider doing so before the end of the year.  Thanks a lot!    Sam...

A New Season Begins

A new school year has begun and with it, a new RSO season! Our new season brochures are available at the Rome City Auditorium, the Rome Visitors Center, the RSO office, and other locations around town. Getting a brochure, or visiting the website at www.romesymphony.org, is the best way to find all the details for the season. And what a season! We have tons of variety, with events for all tastes and ages. Just some of the highlights include: • A concert to open the Rome International Film Festival, including live music for a hilarious Buster Keaton short comedy. • ‘Making a Liszt and Czeching It Twice’ concert with music by Dvorak and the Liszt Piano Concerto #1 • A Rome Gospel Christmas, featuring the full orchestra with a Gospel choir • ‘The Best of Frank Sinatra’ featuring the Clock Tower Jazz Ensemble and local singers • Mozart’s masterful Requiem, with outstanding soloists and the choirs from Berry College • Our annual Young Artist Competition winners • AND MUCH MORE!! Partnerships with Harbin Clinic, the Rome Area Council for the Arts, and support from our many donors and sponsors make all of this possible, and we are grateful to all of our partners. I invite all of you to join the excitement and attend as many of our concerts as possible. And while you’re at it, bring a busload of your friends! See you...

Looking Forward . . .

I expect by the time most of you read this, our final RSO event of the 2015-2016 season (the CTJE concert on June 11) will be history.  It’s been a great one – from Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto #1 to The Nutcracker to A Clock Tower Christmas to Birth of the Cool to our great Young Artist winners and Mendelssohn’s Symphony #4 and other points in between!! Plans are nearly complete for the 2016-2017 and the new season brochure is almost ready to go to press.  And now the important work begins – raising the money needed to make all this magic happen.  The RSO fundraising operates on a calendar year basis, so we are about halfway through.  I hope you will consider a generous gift to the orchestra (beyond your purchase of season tickets!) so we can focus on the music making.  I promise that we’ll work hard to create music that you and Rome will be proud of!  Thanks a lot for your support!...

A successful season!

I was so proud of the orchestra and especially of the four amazing soloists for the outstanding concert given on April 23 at the Rome City Auditorium.  It’s a wonderful thing to be able to highlight the rising stars in our area and to provide them a platform to display their talents. There’s one more event on this season’s schedule:  the Clock Tower Jazz Ensemble at Darlington Huffman Center on June 11.  It will be great to be inside in air-conditioned comfort for the annual pops concert and we hope you will bring a picnic and enjoy the show!  (Don’t forget our annual cookie/brownie contest – I’m the happy judge!) I’m happy to report that the 2016-2017 RSO concert series is nearly planned.  We will again present eight exciting events with music by composers ranging from Liszt and Prokofiev to George Gershwin and Duke Ellington.  We’ll again perform for the opening of the Rome International Film Festival, we’ll present ‘A Gospel Christmas,’ and we’ll collaborate with the Berry College choirs and four soloists in Mozart’s masterful Requiem.  And, of course, we’ll present more Young Artists and other area vocalists with ‘The Best of Frank Sinatra.’ It’s one thing to plan exciting events, and another to bring them to life.  To do that, we need your help.  The RSO fund raising campaign for 2016-2017 has begun.  Won’t you please consider a generous gift to the RSO to assist in bringing these musical gems to life?  Contact the RSO office for more information. Thanks and I hope to see you at Darlington on June...

April 23 Concert

Later this month, the RSO will feature the winners of our Young Artist Competition.  I’m sure you will be amazed, as I was, at the talent of these young musicians.  I’m also very pleased that we can showcase students from Berry and Shorter, and from Rome and Adairsville High Schools.  We are so fortunate to have these fine music programs in the Rome area!  On April 23, you’ll hear us perform two very soulful arias by Puccini and Massenet, and two very exciting piano pieces by Chopin and Kabelevsky.  Plus we’ll play Mozart’s effervescent overture to ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ and the sunny Symphony #4 (The Italian) by Mendelssohn.  There’s something for everyone and I hope you can attend – and bring a busload of friends!   See you at the Rome City Auditorium! ...

March Conductors Blog

HI Friends,   February was another great month for the RSO!  Nine of Rome’s best jazz musicians re-created Miles Davis’ ‘Birth of the Cool’ album.  RSO hornist Ellie Jenkins was able to obtain the original parts from Miles’ recording sessions in 1949-1950, and the RSO jazz nonet performed beautifully and in a very authentic manner.  I was proud to MC the concert and to provide some background information.  We also performed the concert at the Creative Arts Guild in Dalton and so are beginning to develop a regional reputation for our RSO ensembles. The RSO concert on March 19 should be another exciting program.  It will begin at 7:30 pm at Berry College Ford Auditorium and features three great pieces from the 20th century – and one piece ‘just for fun.’  The program will feature pianist Kris Carlisle, clarinetist John Reams, and classical guitarist Sean Thrower, performing works by Bloch, Copland, and Rodrigo.  And here’s a teaser for the ‘Just for Fun’ number:  it’s a tune you’re more likely to hear in a Dublin pub than in a concert hall!  I hope to see you there – and at the reception following!  ...

Young Artists Competition Auditions

            Since this was my first time judging the Young Artist Competition, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  But I was quite impressed with all of the applicants.  Each one was very well prepared and professionally poised, and each performed beautifully.  I would have been proud to share the stage with any of the group, and several factors went into our selection.  I’m pleased that our winners represent some of the great school music programs in our area and also some of the great private teachers we have available.  I can’t wait for the concert! Congratulations to the Collegiate division winners – Savannah Roberts, soprano, a senior at Berry College, and Mary Saintfort, soprano, a sophomore at Shorter University.  Our high school division winners are Phoebe Shane, piano, a sophomore at Rome High School; Helen Bryant, piano, a freshman at Adairsville High; and Victoria Hill, soprano, a dual enrolled homeschooled high school junior also taking classes at Chattahoochee Technical College. Dr. Sam Baltzer, RSO Artistic Director and...

The impact of Miles Davis

February 7, 2016 – Sam Baltzer, RSO Artistic Director and Conductor I don’t often take the time to look backwards.  This is mostly because there are so many exciting musical events just around the corner that need my focused attention.  But last night deserves a bit of reflection.  I had the pleasure of emceeing a concert co-sponsored by RSO and R.O.M.E.  Nine of Rome’s best jazz performers (four of whom are in the RSO) re-created the 11 songs that were released on Miles Davis’ album called ‘The Birth of the Cool.’  Miles and friends recorded these tunes in 1949-1950, but the album was not available to the public until 1956.  The RSO Jazz Band was able to get the original charts (thanks to Ellie Jenkins, our outstanding horn player) and the performance last night sounded very much like the original.  It was a great tribute to Miles and a great treat for Rome’s musical community.  In preparing the concert, I learned a lot about Miles’ impact on the evolution of jazz.  I know the nine musicians also appreciated the chance to engage with these outstanding arrangements.  I realized that, more than opening the ‘cool age’ of jazz, these charts represent the culmination of bebop.  In any case, it’s great music and I’m grateful for the opportunity to hear it performed live.  And now, I can turn to the RSO’s next exciting event:  our concert on March 19.  Please put it on your calendar!    Musically yours,...

Birth of The Cool Concert

Our next concert starts off the new year with a wonderful performance for all audiences. Nine local musicians will recreate tracks from the 1957 album “Birth of Cool” by Miles Davis.  We’ll perform each track from the original album.  Our musicians will play the ensemble parts exactly as they are played on the Miles Davis album but our players will perform original improvisations. We have a small but loyal number of jazz fans here in Rome and I hope that number will grow as area residents have more opportunities to experience live jazz performances. Tickets are available or online.  I hope to see you on February 6th at the Ford Auditorium at Berry College. Sam Baltzer, RSO Artistic Director and...