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A 'giant' season ahead for BSO: Symphony Orchestra opens 80th season with ‘Giants’

Eve Sumsky rehearses on Tuesday night ahead of the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra’s season opening performance of “Giants,” set for 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Bemidji High School Auditorium. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer) 1 / 2
From left: Kyle Riess, Scott Guidry and Craig Swartz rehearse for the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday at BSU. The BSO will open its 80th season at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Bemidji High School Auditorium. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer) 2 / 2

BEMIDJI—The Bemidji Symphony Orchestra will open its 80th season, titled "Music Will Be Our Reply," at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Bemidji High School Auditorium. It is the first of six performances by the orchestra from October through April.

Saturday's concert, "Giants," will feature world-renowned violist Brett Duebner and guest composer Max Wolpert. Duebner performs Wolpert's Viola Concerto No. 1 "Giants." The orchestra also will perform "Cavaleria Rusticana" by Mascagni, "Symphony No.4" by David Diamond, and Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man."

Born in San Francisco in 1968, Deubner began his studies at the Eastman School of Music in New York where he quickly made a name for himself as a violinist and violist, performing as soloist with the Eastman Philharmonia as well as leading the orchestra in the Heidelberger Schlossfestspiele.

While at Eastman, his principal teachers were Zvi Zeitlin on violin and Martha Katz and John Graham on viola. Since the world premiere performance and subsequent critical acclaim of Lalo Schifrin's Triple Concerto with the Grammy award-winning New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, he has gone on to perform worldwide as soloist with over 70 orchestras in 11 countries on five continents.

Wolpert teaches privately and at workshops throughout New England and the Midwest, and serves on the faculty for the Rocky Ridge Music Academy and Mountainside Music Academy in Colorado.

The Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, led by Maestra Beverly Everett, is a regional/community orchestra, comprised of approximately 70 musicians. Individual concert tickets and season tickets are available prior to each concert either at the door, online at, or by mailing payment and request to Bemidji Symphony, Box 3136, Bemidji, MN, 56619.

The title of the BSO's season comes from a Leonard Bernstein quote, "This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before."

That quote came in response to President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963.

"Many of the pieces this season, both old and new, were composed in response to violence in our world, and were programmed to highlight how music can help provide a context of peace, justice, and healing amidst violence and adversity," Everett wrote in her welcome message for the BSO's season opener.

Additional concerts are scheduled at the BHS Auditorium as follows:

• Sunday, Nov. 11 at 3 p.m.—"Romantic." Hanson's Symphony No. 2 names this concert as guest cellist Eric Haugen returns to his hometown, featured in Walton's Cello Concerto. And, in honor of the BSO's 80th season, Everett has composed her first fanfare to celebrate.

• Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.—"Let There Be Peace on Earth." Guest artist will be vocalist Emily Walter. The Bemidji Symphony will again show the film, "The Snowman," while playing the live music that accompanies. Vocal soloist Matthew Hanson will be featured. In addition, Walter will perform holiday favorites.

• Sunday, Feb. 17 at 3 p.m.—"Hamlet." Guest artist will be Clay Jenkinson. Tchaikovsky's "Hamlet Overture" was inspired by Shakespeare's play. Jenkinson will perform "Shakespeare the Magic of the Word." In addition, the orchestra will perform Mendelssohn's "Midsummer Night's Dream" and Debussy's "Music for King Lear."

• Sunday, March 31 at 3 p.m.—"Lincoln Portrait." Bemidji welcomes home the local talents of violinist Sadie Hamrin and violist Sarah Hamrin. Each pursuing musical careers, they will exhibit their talents in Mozart's "Sinfonia Concertante." The orchestra also will perform Copland's "Lincoln Portrait," Dorsey's "Fanfare" and Williams' "Schindler's List."

• Sunday, April 28 at 3 p.m.—"Symphony This Will Be Our Reply." For the season finale, the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra will be joined by the Bemidji Choirs, Bemidji Chorale and Matthew Hanson, boy soprano for Richman's "Symphony This Will Be Our Reply," Bernstein's "Chichester Psalms" and Elgar's "Enigma Variations Nimrod Movement."