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Con spirito: Inside the SSO
THIS MONTH: A Classic Weekend
June  2011
In This Issue
Guest conductor: Roberto De Clara
Piano soloist: Angela Park
Ron Laurie: SSO cellist
SSO golf outing
New supporters club
Final concert July 9

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June 18 


A Classic Weekend   

Symphony goers will be treated to an all-Mozart concert Saturday, June 18, as the Stratford Symphony presents A Classic Weekend. The orchestra will perform under the baton of guest conductor Roberto De Clara, and pianist Angela Park will be the featured soloist. (See notes on both guest performers below.)


The program will open with Symphony No. 23 in D major, composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart when he was 17 years old. Then Ms. Park will play Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, written by Mozart 12 years later (1785). The concerto is also known as Elvira Madigan for its use in a 1967 Swedish film of the same name. The program will close with Symphony No. 41, also known as Jupiter. It was completed in 1788 and was the last symphony Mozart would compose. He died of rheumatic fever in 1791.


The concert will be held at Central United Church, 194 Avondale Avenue, Stratford, beginning at 7:30. Tickets ($30) are available at Fanfare Books and Anything Grows, as well as online

Guest conductor Roberto De Clara

leads Oakville Symphony Orchestra   

Roberto De Clara has been music director and principal conductor of the Oakville Symphony Orchestra since 1997. He has also recently concluded a residency as artistic director of the Etobicoke Philharmonic of Toronto.


Mr. De Clara's symphonic guest conducting has included engagements with the Winnipeg Symphony, Hamilton Philharmonic, Orchestra London, the Vienna Pro Arte Orchestra and the orchestra of the National Theatre in Prague. His European operatic debut took place in the historic Estates Theatre in Prague, conducting a new production of Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte for the National Theatre of the Czech Republic. He has also served as a guest conductor for highly successful productions of Gianni Schicchi and Don Pasquale for the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel-Aviv.


A summa cum laude graduate of McMaster University, Mr. De Clara also holds diplomas in conducting from the Mozarteum Sommerakademie in Salzburg and the Wiener Meisterkurse of the Vienna Conservatory. He began his professional career as assistant conductor of both the Hamilton Philharmonic and Opera Hamilton.

London-born piano soloist Angela Park 

has achieved international recognition 

Angela Park has established herself as one of Canada's leading young pianists. She has performed across Canada, as well as in the United States, Europe, Japan and Mexico. She is equally accomplished in both solo and chamber music experience.

Born in London, Ontario, Ms. Park began her musical studies at the age of three. Her musical and academic education includes violin performance at the national level for ten years and studies in biology at the University of Western Ontario. She was the youngest Gold Medal winner of the Western Ontario Conservatory of Music.

In recent years, Ms. Park has achieved further success at the international level, winning the grand prize at the 2001 Grace Welsh Prize for Piano in Chicago, and fifth prize at the 2003 World Piano Competition in Cincinnati. In 2006 she was the only Canadian representative and semifinalist prizewinner at the prestigious Honens International Piano Competition in Calgary, and in 2007 she was a medallist at the Maria Canals International Competition in Barcelona.

Ms. Park has performed as soloist with Orchestra London Canada, Sinfonia Toronto, Canadian Sinfonietta, UWO Symphony Orchestra, University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Northern Lights Festival Orchestra in Mexico.
She is a founding member of Made In Canada, an award-winning ensemble that received the CBC Galaxie Rising Stars Award in 2006, and was included in Chatelaine's 2008 anniversary list of "80 amazing Canadian women to watch."


Ron Laurie, a TSO cellist for 40 years,  

had rare close-up view of Rostropovich 

SSO cellist Ron Laurie recalls that when he was 13 or 14 his mother retrieved from the attic a cello that had been stored there "for years" and suggested he give it a try. "I fell for it immediately," Ron says now, more than 65 years after that introduction.


His appreciation for classical music had been sparked by "a forward-thinking [Anglican church] choirmaster" who introduced him to Handel, Bach and others. Ron attended Lawrence Park Collegiate high school but studied cello privately under several Toronto Symphony Orchestra cellists. Ron himself became a cellist with the TSO in 1956 and stayed there 40 years, retiring in 1996.


One of his greatest thrills as a TSO musician was witnessing an impromptu concert by cello virtuoso Mstislav Rostropovich in the living room of one of Ron's TSO colleagues who was Russian. Rostropovich was a guest performer with the TSO and "astounded everybody" with his artistry, Ron remembers.


During his years with the TSO, Ron also played lots of pickup jobs on the recording circuit, doing advertising jingles and backup work for performers such as Anne Murray and Gordon Lightfoot and composer-conductor-musician Hugh Haygood Hardy.  He did film work as well and also toured Eastern Canada with the Hart House String Orchestra, conducted by Boyd Neel. "I've always loved to play," he says. "I was born in the right place at the right time." He feels there's not as much work for professional musicians starting out now. He worked in the TSO personnel office for a time and recalls the orchestra processing 120 applications for one oboe opening.


Ron, now 80, lives in Stratford with his wife, Julie Brierley, also a Stratford Symphony cellist. They were married in 1999 and lived in Oshawa before moving to Stratford in 2000 to be closer to Julie's parents.


First SSO golf outing July  25

Lunch. Golf. Dinner. Prizes. Music by SSO musicians. A great way to enjoy a late July afternoon and evening.


ForePlay, the SSO's first-ever golf outing, is being planned for Monday, July 25. It's a fundraiser to help clear the orchestra's debts. Registration is $125 per person ($115 for Stratford Country Club members); tax receipts are available. Registration includes barbecue lunch, green fees (I p.m. shotgun start), cart and dinner. Specific registration information will be appearing on the SSO website in the next few days.


So plan to bring yourself and your spouse, and invite friends, co-workers and colleagues from far and wide to share in the fun and support the SSO.


SSO board member Nigel Howard is coordinating the event.

New Symphony supporters club

A new SSO supporters club has been formed, coordinated by board member Jean Hewitt. Members will be invited to a garden party being planned for August. They will also receive a pass to attend a concert rehearsal of their choice and a complimentary ticket to bring a friend to a concert, plus an opportunity to join a music lovers dinner group. The annual membership fee is $25.


To join, send $25 to The SSO Club, Stratford Symphony Orchestra, 163 King Street, Stratford ON N5A 6W4. Include your name, address, phone number and email address. Membership forms will also be available at concerts.

Final concert to feature Bach concerto for oboe and violin

Baroque and Beyond will be the SSO's final concert, scheduled for Saturday, July 9. The concert will be presented in St. John's United Church, at Waterloo and Douro in Stratford, a departure from the usual venue, Central United Church.


The guest conductor will be Judith Yan, recently named conductor of the Guelph Symphony Orchestra. The concert will feature Bach's Double Concerto for Oboe and Violin, played by Mark Rogers, principal oboe of the Canadian Opera Company, and Andrew Chung, a member of the Factory Arts String Quartet and artistic director of INNERChamber, a new chamber music concert series in Stratford. The orchestra will also perform Elgar's Serenade for Strings and Handel's Water Music.


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George Pearson / Editor, Con Spirito