BEMIDJI -- The first time Anthony Arnone performed Dvořák’s famous Cello Concerto, he did so after running a full marathon earlier in the day.
“It was the most relaxed I’ve ever felt playing with an orchestra,” he said. “I think I still had the endorphins swimming around.”
There will be no marathon to run when Arnone joins the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra for its season-opening "Heartbeat of the Orchestra" concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29 at the Bemidji High School Auditorium. This will be the fifth time Arnone has performed the Dvořák’ concerto, which is sort of a marathon of its own at 40 minutes in length.
The BSO also will perform Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony and Max Wolpert’s piece titled “The Man Whose Gloves Were on the Wrong Hands.”
It will be the first of six concerts on the BSO schedule this season.
A native of Honolulu, Arnone received his bachelor of music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. He is associate professor of cello at the University of Iowa School of Music, and is also on the faculty of the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City, where he teaches and conducts.
Before coming to the University of Iowa, Arnone was principal cellist of the Madison Symphony, and taught at Ripon College in Wisconsin. He has also taught and performed at the Madeline Island Music Camp, Eastern Music Festival, the Stonybrook Music Camp, the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC. and the Festival Dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy where he was co-principal cellist for seven years.
BSO conductor Beverly Everett met Arnone when she was a graduate student at the University of Iowa. In addition to their musical connections, they’ve also stayed in touch because of their mutual love of running and triathlons. It was three years ago when Arnone joined the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra, which also is conducted by Everett, to perform Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. It happened to be on the same day as the Bismarck Marathon.
Arnone ran the full marathon, but Everett chose to run the half so she would have enough energy to conduct that evening’s concert.
Arnone, 54, said the Cello Concerto is familiar to almost everyone who plays the instrument. “The first page of the first movement is very commonly asked for orchestra auditions,” he said. “So every cellist knows the first page, and is scared of it because it’s a difficult first page and that’s why they pick it. It’s a big one, and I play it by memory. It’s a big journey for me and the audience.”
He also played the piece in front of his parents and sister last year with the Kamuela Philharmonic in Hawaii. It was the first time they got to hear Anthony perform with an orchestra. Another career highlight came when Arnone was conducting the Brahms Requiem with the orchestra at Ripon College in Wisconsin. His mother, who sings in a symphony choir in Hawaii, was in the choir that day. “It was very special to me,” Arnone said.
Everett said the audience will likely recognize parts of Beethoven’s Seventh from movies or the radio.
“I think people are drawn to that symphony because the first movement is just delightful,” she said. "Then it goes into this almost pony race, a joyous kind of rousing, jovial theme, kind of like a romp. Then it goes into this somber, funeral-like dirge in the second movement. Then another joyous movement that goes very fast, and then the last movement sums it all up. The whole Symphony in A Major really exudes a lot of joy, and even that second movement, even though it’s like a funeral march, it has these beautiful lyrical moments as well.”
Wolpert, who grew up in Crookston, played violin in the Bemidji Symphony when he was in high school. He has since moved to Boulder, Colo., working as music theory teaching assistant at the University of Colorado, while also conducting, composing and performing as a violinist.
His piece, “The Man Whose Gloves Were on the Wrong Hands,” was influenced by Wolpert’s love of scary stories as a child.
If you go:
What: Bemidji Symphony Orchestra’s “Heartbeat of the Orchestra” concert
When: Sunday, Sept. 29, 3 p.m.
Where: Bemidji High School Auditorium
Tickets: All general admission. Season tickets $90. Single tickets $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62 and over, $10 for college students with ID, free for K-12 students. Available at the door, at Lueken's Village Foods stores or online at brownpapertickets.com (type "Bemidji" in the "Find an Event" box.
The remaining 2019-20 schedule (all concerts at 3 p.m. at Bemidji High School Auditorium).
World-renowned opera singer Tammy Hensrud returns to Bemidji for an afternoon of the music of Mahler and contemporary composer Richard Pearson Thomas. The BSO also features Aaron Copland's beloved "Tenderland" Suite.
"Rhythms of the Season"
Music educator and former Burning Hills singer Brandon Box-Higdem will be the featured soloist at this year's holiday concert. Brandon will perform holiday favorites as sung by Michael Bublé and more.
"Big Screen Rhythms"
The BSO brings to life the epic masterpieces of the silver screen, including favorite cinema music with classics such as Jurassic Park, Star Wars and the theme from E.T.
World class saxophonist Scott Sandberg makes his solo debut in Bemidji with the music of Eric Ewazen and the orchestra fuses jazz with an orchestra in the presentation of Duke Ellington's "Black, Brown and Tan."
" Across the Pond"
Piano virtuoso Gareth Cordery returns to Bemidji with a special program of English piano music, following his studies this year at Oxford. The BSO will play Edward Elgar's epic Enigma Variations in their entirety.