After 18 months closed due to pandemic, in-person concerts return

By Staff Report

Get ready for the return of the South Valley Symphony. After a year and a half of no live concerts because of COVID-19, the orchestra returns for in-person performances with the opener Harvest of Harmonies concert.

The concert will be filled with pieces that are “crowd pleasers” and “orchestra pleasers,” said SVS conductor Anthony Quartuccio. Music includes “The Star-Spangled Banner” to open the concert, Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Procession of Nobles,” Grieg’s “Peer Gynt No. 1,” Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain,” and three dance numbers from Stravinsky’s ballet “The Firebird.”

During COVID, the symphony performed virtually to entertain audiences and help the musicians keep in touch.

“We’ve been staying together and doing things online and little things to keep the momentum going,” Quartuccio said. “With the live concert, we really want to do pieces that will really excite the orchestra and that will go out to the audience. All the pieces were picked for that reason. Each one has a reason behind it whether it’s an audience favorite or an orchestra favorite or a piece we had to put on hold.”

Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” is well-known among classical music fans and contains a lot of energy, he said.

“It sounds very colorful from the orchestra. A piece like ‘Firebird’ is a chromatic kaleidoscope that we are so hungry for after the past year and a half.”

Grieg’s “Peer Gynt” suite is filled with vivid music that many in the audience will recognize from films and popular entertainment including “In the Hall of the Mountain King.”

“It’s a piece that makes the orchestra sound so well, and creates a beautiful mood in the audience,” Quartuccio said. “It gives everyone in the orchestra something interesting to do with their instruments. It’s really well constructed and your imagination is taken far away from the existential reality of the day.”

“Procession of the Nobles” is a piece meant to welcome back the audience to live symphonic performances

“It’s a really rousing overture piece. It’s a bold Russian kind of pomp and circumstance piece that says, ‘We’re here, and we’re back,’ and that’s why I picked it.”

Marty Cheek