Take Note: February News from the PSODo you need a "breath of color" this month? Join us at Jimmy's!
Take Note February 2022
From the Maestro
In the depths of a grey, cold and snowy winter, we all long for a breath of color. This month's "Up Close & Personal @ Jimmy's" chamber music performance promises to provide just that.
The wind section of an orchestra is a repository of instrumental color and variety, much more than any other section. The way each instrument produces sound is remarkably different – blowing across an aperture, making a single or double reed vibrate – and the result is a unique color from each instrument family.
The art of playing in a wind section is simultaneously celebrating each instrument’s unique quality whilst unifying and blending sound, like a masterful painting. It’s a play of color in breath and this month’s "Respiro di colori" performance at Jimmy's will showcase this beautifully.
This is also the time of year when we solicit and review submissions by student musicians as part of our Young Artist Competition. Each year, we select one outstanding musician (among a field of exceptional applicants) to perform at the PSO's final concert in June. It's one of the highlights of our season. Please help us spread the word.
Until next time,
Meet Your Orchestra
John Ferraro, Clarinet Age started playing: 4th grade Years playing with the PSO: 12 years Lives in: Danvers, MA
Why did you choose the clarinet?
I began on the trumpet! I was AWFUL and really disliked how it made my lips hurt! I switched to the clarinet after a few months of struggling with the trumpet and never looked back.
I ended up picking the clarinet as my second choice because I really liked the way it sounded. I had heard Peter and the Wolf so I was familiar with the clarinet and the cat. I also knew I wanted to pick a woodwind instrument since I hated playing the trumpet so much. I didn’t really want to lug around a saxophone and the flute looked awkward, so clarinet was an easy choice.
What do you like about playing with a symphony orchestra?
What I love the best about playing in a symphony orchestra is the sonic energy that surrounds you. It doesn’t matter how soft/loud or slow/fast a piece of music is, you are surrounded by intense energy that really can’t be replicated.
Being a clarinetist, you are always on the spot because typically you are one of two playing that instrument, and you are also the only person playing that part. I love having that responsibility to play well for myself, my section, and my orchestra. Being a part of recreating someone else’s musical vision and doing that with so many amazing people is very rewarding.
What is your favorite piece of music to play on your instrument?
That is actually a very tough question! There are pieces I love to listen to, but HATE to play!! I would say my favorite chamber music piece would be Brahms Trio in A minor Op. 114 for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano. It is such a wonderful combination of instruments, Brahms is brilliant, and all the instruments get to play such beautiful and haunting melodies. I would say my favorite orchestral clarinet part would be Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. It has a little bit of everything for the clarinet and it is so rewarding to play.
How do you spend your time outside of the PSO?
Besides playing clarinet whenever I can, I am a music educator in the Boston Public Schools where I teach high school music. I also love sports and like to play sports for fun and go to Bruins games. Of course, having two young children, I am very busy with them!
You can hear John perform as part of "Respiro di colori" on February 27 at the Up Close & Personal with the PSO's chamber music concert at Jimmy's Jazz & Blues Club.
The Next Generation
Be a Solo Performer with the PSO!
The PSO is now accepting applications for the 2022 Young Artist Competition! The first round will be by video submission and the deadline to be considered is March 1, 2022. The 2nd round of judging will be conducted in person at Riverwoods, Exeter on April 16, 2022.
The winning musician will have the opportunity to perform at the PSO's spring concert on June 5.
Do you know a talented young musician? Help us spread the word about this terrific opportunity!
Performances Not to Be Missed
Please note: All of the PSO's concerts have COVID-19 audience policies in place. You can review the policies for each of the venues here.
Up Close and Personal with the PSO @ Jimmy's
"Respiro di colori" February 27, 5:30pm
Jimmy's Jazz & Blues Club, Portsmouth
Experience a “Breath of Colors” in this special performance with the PSO principal musicians Aubrie Dionne on flute, Sarah Krebs on oboe, John Ferraro on clarinet and special guest pianists Tianhong Yang and Chris Gantner.
Colorful combinations of wind ensembles will play selections by Williams, Debussy, Beethoven and more that blur the boundaries of classical and jazz. Audiences will be treated to an array of pieces from the vast body of music written for wind ensembles, which are rich in rhythmical playfulness, melancholy laments, and the most elegant of musical dialogues.
Tickets: $75 for adults and include the concert, appetizers, dinner, and dessert from an a la carte menu that will change seasonally. Buy your ticket today!
Join us for the full series of unique and wonderful performances at Jimmy's. All performances take place on Sundays at 5:30pm. Full program details can be found on the PSO’swebsite.
The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra Winter Concert program features a sublime trio of works that highlight the full symphony’s capacity for melodic richness. Opening the program is Kareem Roustom’s Ramal, a rich and optimistic work, deeply imbued with elements from the composer’s Syrian heritage.
Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration is a tour-de-force tone poem, offering Strauss’ legendary symphonic richness while thematically dealing with the passage from darkness to light.
The concert concludes with Rachmaninov’s 2nd piano concerto—one of the crown jewels of the piano concerto repertoire—performed by internationally renowned pianist Ya-Fei Chuang.
Jan Heirtzler Joins PSO Board of Directors
The PSO Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment Jan Heirtzler to its board of directors.
Jan is a small business owner who also currently serves as the coordinator for New Hampshire Space Grant Consortium, a NASA program that distributes funds to each state for STEM education and research. Previously, Jan served on the boards of the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance and Babywearing International.
Jan, a violist, has played with the PSO since 2009 and has served as the organization's librarian since 2013.
Investing in Music
As a nonprofit organization, the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra relies on ticket subscribers, corporate sponsorships and individual donors to keep the music alive.