Carmel Symphony Orchestra tunes up for ‘Masterworks 2’

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Janna Hymes has a host of reasons for looking forward to the Carmel Symphony Orchestra’s “Masterworks 2” program – not the least of which is presenting the music of a historically significant composer, Florence Smith Price.

“I’m very excited about the music that we’re playing,” said Hymes, CSO’s artistic director. “We’re playing a very important piece on this program, a piece by Florence Price. She was the first Black woman composer to be played by a major orchestra.

“I just think that’s really a great thing, and her music is extraordinary.”

Hymes will conduct the Nov. 13 concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts, 1 Carter Green, Carmel. Besides the Price piece, “Masterworks 2” will include selections by Russian composers Mikhail Glinka and Dimitri Shostakovich and Mexican composer Arturo Marquez.

Each selection, Hymes said, strikes unmistakable notes of each composer’s homeland.

“All the pieces, they’re very melodic, and their very nationalistic,” Hymes said. “They sound like their country. There’s a combination of very melodic music that is just typical of the places where these composers are from, and so it’s fun, it’s really fun.

“I think that a lot of the music will be new to the audience.”

Especially the featured selection, “Symphony No. 3 in C Minor,” by Price, an Arkansas native who became the first Black woman to have a composition played by a major orchestra when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed one of her pieces in 1933.

Besides being a classical composer, Price (1887-1953) also was a pianist, organist and music teacher.

“She had her own voice when she wrote music,” Hymes said. “She was very influenced, of course, by the Black church growing up. It’s a real American sound. You can hear a little bit of gospel, you hear almost a cross between some (George) Gershwin, maybe a little bit of that jazz-era gospel, folk, it’s all in there. It’s just really extraordinary and a pleasure to play.”

Hymes is equally enthusiastic about the other selections of the “Masterworks 2” program. The pieces are Glinka’s “Russian and Ludmilla Overture”; Marquez’s “Danzon No. 2”; and Shostakovich’s “Ballet Suite No. 1.”

“I am excited about it. I can’t wait to get started,” Hymes said. “Every time we play, it’s epic. The orchestra’s playing so well, and we are just so together as a unit right now, playing music together. Every time we play, people are just going crazy. The audience is really picking up on the fact that we’re playing from our heart, and we play really from our heart and soul, and that’s every time.

“There are some very exciting moments in this concert, and beautiful moments in this concert. I think the audience is going to love it. I know they will.”

Per COVID-19 protocols at the Center for the Performing Arts, face masks are required upon entry for everyone 3 and older. All patrons 12 and older must show proof of full vaccination, in the form of either a vaccination card, photocopy, photo or digital image, along with a valid ID.

For more or for tickets, visit carmelsymphony.org or call the CSO box office at 317-844-9717.


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