When we talk about making the arts, and in our case classical music, accessible to a broader audience, what does that really mean?
Accessibility takes many forms. In practical terms, the cost of a ticket along with the time and location of a performance impacts who can attend.
Accessibility also has a psychological component. Do people perceive the selection of music on the program to be familiar, relatable or representative in some way?
Our roots as a community orchestra mean that accessibility has always been, and remains, a guiding principle of the PSO and for me personally. When we construct our programs, we consider these aspects of accessibly alongside thematic elements. One of my favorite parts of each performance is the pre-concert talk where I have the chance to pull back the veil of mystery about a composer or a piece of music and help the audience more fully access the story or the context that a particular piece of music conveys.
As an organization, we are careful to set our ticket prices well below the true cost of producing a performance to minimize the financial barrier to attendance. We schedule our regular season concerts at The Music Hall at 3pm on Sundays to encourage people of all ages, and from a broader geographical area, to attend the performances. And we hold our Holiday Pops performances at the local high school so that we can accommodate more families in a space that feels familiar to them.
Any successful art form needs patrons and the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra is no exception. Subscriptions for the 2021-2022 season will go on sale later this month and we encourage you to invest in our full calendar of performances. Together we can ensure ongoing accessibility to classical music in our community.
Be well until next time,
PSO Music Director
Meet Your Orchestra
Adam Gallant, Trumpet
Years playing with the PSO: 12 Age started playing Trumpet: 10 Lives in: Greenland, NH
Do you play any other instruments?
The trumpet was my first instrument. In college, I played every instrument as part of my music education training. I didn’t have a knack for anything else! I hold a Bachelor of Music in Music Education as well as a Master of Arts from UNH.
Do you play with any other groups?
I play in the Portsmouth Brass Quintet, Symphony by the Sea, and Maine State Ballet Orchestra. I also play at a variety of local churches including South Church Unitarian Universalist (Portsmouth), Exeter Congregational Church, St. Theresa Church (Rye), Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish (Hampton) and St. John’s Episcopal Church (Portsmouth).
What do you like about playing with a symphony orchestra?
The repertoire is the best there is. The combination of strings, winds, brass, and percussion cannot be beat. I also appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with so many great colleagues.
How do you spend your time outside of the PSO?
I am the academic administrator for the University of New Hampshire Music Department. I also enjoy hiking, playing tennis, dining out around the Seacoast, and going to the movies.
In the April issue of Take Note, we shared the individual "Meet the Orchestra" videos the PSO principal players recorded as part one of the PSO’s ongoing Explore & Learn partnership with the Portsmouth Elementary Schools.
Subsequently, teachers Abigail Keller (Dondero School), Karen Marceau (New Franklin School), and Gina Connolly (Little Harbor School) created a wonderfully engaging story line that tied the instrument introduction videos together for one complete and captivating presentation linked below.
Performances Not to Be Missed
PSO Brass Quintet "Live Under the Arch" The Music Hall, Portsmouth Saturday, July 11 at 5 & 7pm
Join us in downtown Portsmouth for a toe-tapping evening as the PSO Brass Quintet presents a program of Americana perfectly suited for a summer evening.
Alongside marches, quicksteps, rags, and polkas, the quintet will perform several selections from Broadway. Leonard Bernstein’s rhythmic score to West Side Story will be juxtaposed with the sultry melodies of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and the wholesome tunes of Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man.
Tickets are priced per tables of 2, 4 or 6. To learn more about the program or buy tickets, visit our website.
Julius Eastman, A Misunderstood Composer, Returns to the Light
Diversity was on our minds when we set to selecting the music for our 2021-2022 season. For each program we strove to highlight lesser known works by popular composers as well as pieces by newer or less familiar composers. Among the selections for our October 2021 concert is a work by 20th century composer Julius Eastman.
On June 21, NPR's All Things Considered did a segment on the sometimes controversial Eastman:
"There have been many misfits in classical music, but Julius Eastman stands tall among them.
In a combustible career, the late composer swerved from critical acclaim to gate-crashing controversy, and from success to homelessness. To be proudly gay as a composer in the 1970s was brave enough; to be Black and gay in that world, even more so....
...Beyond exploring our authentic selves, he seemed to ask that we wave our own flags vigorously, especially in the face of opposition. It wasn't just his startling music that was ahead of its time."
You can read the full transcript and listen to the segment on NPR's website.
Investing in Music
Subscriptions for the 2021-2022 season will go on sale later this month through The Music Hall website.
Starting July 17, past PSO subscribers can renew their subscriptions and seat selections (please note the deadline to renew with your current seat selection is July 31.)
New subscriptions will go on sale July 24 and single concert tickets will be available starting July 31.
We are looking forward to seeing you back in the concert hall!