From '1812' to 2019 at the Philharmonic

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The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra closed its 2018-2019 season with Guest Conductor Alexander Mickelthwate leading the orchestra in a rousing rendition of Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony, Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1, and Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”

The Shostakovitch is one of my favorites because it is an equal opportunity employer. Every instrument is essential to the symphony, with many performing beautiful solos. Mickelthwate, director of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, nailed it.

Violinist Benjamin Beilman had the audience on their feet, mastering the difficult Prokofiev and even giving us an encore. While not my favorite piece, the talented musician blended perfectly with the orchestra and captured the difficult passages.

What better way to end the season than with the “1812 Overture,” a number usually reserved for outdoor summer concerts. The Philharmonic couldn’t bring a canon into the hall for the conclusion, but a huge drum with the percussionist lifting a long, heavy wooden mallet sufficed.

Classical music lovers would be wise to order their 2019-2020 season tickets now, as Bramwell Tovey steps to the podium on September 28 for the season’s inaugural concert. He will be joined by pianist Yerfim Bromfman, playing Brahms’ Piano Concerto #2. Tovey conducts the orchestra every month for the rest of the year, concluding with the traditional Messiah concert on December 14.

Francisco Noya will come to a park near you this summer, leading the Pops in one of a series of free outdoor concerts. I never miss the one at Roger Williams Park.

For information on next season’s subscriptions call 248-7000.

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