When I assumed the role of Executive Director of the PSO in the Fall of 2019, I of course had no way of knowing that we would only have the chance to perform our fall and holiday concerts before a global pandemic would shutter our live performances, along with those around the globe, for nearly two years. In the blink of an eye, the shape and focus of my role as Executive Director became something very different from anything I had expected.
Now, just days away from our 2021-2022 season opener and return to the concert hall, I find myself feeling an accumulation of anticipation. Anticipation on the part of all of the PSO musicians, who are eager and ready to take the stage once more and bring to life the music we love to play. And anticipation on the part of our audiences and faithful supporters who have helped us to stay connected and who invest in the PSO in small and large ways everyday.
As grateful as we are that we have technology to keep us entertained and connected, these past 18 months have laid bare an important truth: live music is a unique and powerful experience that cannot fully be conveyed through a screen. Creating a moving performance goes beyond the notes on the page. Musicians need each other. We need the energy of the audience. And all of us need the communal concert experience to feel the full power of music. There is simply nothing like being in the presence of a full symphony orchestra playing with joy.
Will you be joining us this Sunday, October 24 at The Music Hall as we kick off our new season? I certainly hope you will. Buying a ticket and celebrating our return to the stage is one of the best ways you can keep classical music alive. And if you have questions about the COVID-19 safety protocols, you can find our full policy on our website.
See you at The Music Hall,
PSO Executive Director
Meet Your Orchestra
Celebrating 10 Years John Page, Music Director, Conductor, Maestro
The PSO's return to the stage is also significant in that it marks Maestro John Page's 10th season as Music Director and Conductor of the PSO. Creative, charismatic and deeply passionate about making classical music accessible and exciting for listeners of all ages, the PSO would simply not be what it is today without John.
As an award-winning conductor, Johnwas appointed Music Director of the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra in 2011. Originally from Ireland, John's conducting career began with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and the Irish opera ensemble, Opera Theatre Company. His 2002 performances of Viktor Ullmann’s The Emperor of Atlantis garnered the prestigious Irish Times Opera of the Year award.
In 2003, John moved to the US and was appointed Zander Fellow to the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and from 2005 to 2009 he was the orchestra’s Assistant Conductor. He joined the Faculty of New England Conservatory (NEC) in 2006 as Resident Conductor and Music Director of the NEC Sinfonietta and later, NEC Symphony. Just prior to assuming his role with the PSO, John was a Visiting Associate Professor at Boston University assuming the duties of Director of Orchestral Activities.
Since 2012, he has served as the Director of Orchestral Activities at Tufts University with responsibility for the Tufts Symphony Orchestra, Tufts Chamber Orchestra and Tufts Youth Philharmonic.
In Fall 2017, John was invited to direct Carmen with the newly formed Foyle Opera in his hometown of Derry, Northern Ireland. In recognition of his work with younger musicians John was selected to conduct the 2018 NH all-state festival orchestra.
From December 2011 to 2014, John conducted the extremely successful Celtic Woman Symphony Tours of the US. He has also conducted many major orchestras including the Atlanta Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Virginia Symphony and West Virginia Symphony, the Ulster Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland.
Performances Not to Be Missed
PSO Fall Concert & Season Opening Celebration The Music Hall, Portsmouth Sunday, October 24, 3pm BUY TICKETS
The full Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra returns to The Music Hall stage with a live, in-person audience for the 2021-2022 Season Opening Celebration featuring Tchaikovsky’s magnificent Tempest, Julius Eastman’s powerful Gay Guerilla, and Beethoven’s glorious 5th Symphony.
The PSO will take listeners on a musical and emotional journey that includes a complex musical metaphor of weathering and coming out of a storm; a daring musical offering that challenges the listener while offering a powerful message of the invincible human spirit; and a moving transition from darkness to light.
All concerts are preceded at 1:45 pm by "Inside the Music," a free pre-concert discussion that provides entertaining insight into the afternoon’s program.
All of our orchestral musicians and staff are fully vaccinated and are requested to wear masks indoors at all times. The PSO performance is subject to the The Music Hall’s COVID-19 attendance policy.
JUST ANNOUNCED! Up Close and Personal with the PSO @ Jimmy's
The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra has partnered with the newly opened Jimmy’s on Congress to host a special “Up Close and Personal with the PSO” Sunday chamber music series that will explore the borderlands between jazz and classical music.
Chamber music was written to be performed in small intimate spaces. The newly opened Jimmy’s on Congress, with its superb acoustics and richly evocative interior, inspired us to expand and evolve our chamber music series.
In this six concert series, ensembles of Portsmouth Symphony musicians will showcase the richness, flexibility, and often surprising range of the classical chamber music repertoire in Jimmy’s century-old, spectacularly restored, state-of-the-art club. Paired with fine food and libations, this series promises chamber music like audiences have never experienced before.
Up Close and Personal with the PSO at Jimmy’s will blend the traditional with some edgy fringe masterworks to surprise and delight and stretch the listener’s ears. This intimate setting, where many of the traditional barriers between performer and listener are removed, promises to create memorable experiences.
We hope you'll join us for the full seriesof unique and wonderful performances. All performances take place on Sundays at 5:30pm. Full program details can be found on the PSO’s website :
Tickets are $75 for adults and includes the concert, appetizers, dinner, and dessert from an a la carte menu that will change seasonally. Tickets are now on sale!
Investing in Music
Fill a Seat and Bring a Friend
A symphony orchestra is not complete without its audience. Every time you buy a ticket and attend a live performance you are investing in the future of classical music.
As the start of our new season approaches, we encourage you to share your love of classical music and your support of the PSO by inviting a friend or a family member to attend an upcoming performance with you. Together, you can discover all the joys of live music and all that the PSO has to offer.