New England Philharmonic launches conductor search

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Richard Pittman (file photo)

After the challenges of the past year and a half, being with an orchestra right now is like participating in a ritual from an analog era gone by, but one that has vital meaning for my life today, maybe more. than ever. It is such a joy to play orchestral music live again.

In our divided and remote world, it is a remarkable act for seventy people to come together in one room to create something new together, to understand each other without the need for words, and to achieve it through the work of team, precision, focus and by really listening and getting along with each other. When I have stood in front of the New England Philharmonic as a conductor for the past few weeks, the masks we wear and the distance that has separated us for so long seems to fade for a few hours. A full body of orchestral sound embraces us, and the feeling of seventy pairs of eyes and ears all listening to something beyond themselves connects and transports, even in our humble room. Sunday night rehearsal.

I’m conducting the NEP season opening concert in October, and this comes at an important time for the orchestra as we reunite after more than a year apart. I began my role as composer in residence in the fall of 2019, at the invitation of Richard Pittman, Music Director Emeritus. Since then, I have worked with principal violin Danielle Maddon and the orchestra board behind the scenes as we reimagine our presence during the pandemic. We’ve launched a new online interview series featuring guest composers and performers, “Listening In: A Deep Dive Into The Music With the NEP. We then programmed our current season as a look into the future of NEP and the search for its new musical director.

I have seen with my own eyes what a unique space the NEP inhabits on the Boston music scene as a volunteer community ensemble, which has served as composer-in-residence continuously for over thirty-six years and has demonstrated ‘a strong commitment to presenting the music of living composers alongside historical works from the past. NEP members are highly skilled musicians, many of whom are professionals in careers outside of music. The excitement of musical discovery is palpable during rehearsals as we tear up pieces of music, some not even a year old and others born a century ago.

I asked two NEP players what they thought of coming back on stage. Principal clarinetist Tammy Avery Gibson, who worked in the intensive care units of a Boston transplant / trauma center during the Covid pandemic, shares that “Returning to live music means a more normal existence, getting back together with my friends and break free from the daily stress of constant change and uncertainty in healthcare. Even though the way we come together is different and with more security in place, I am grateful to have the opportunity to play with the orchestra again.

John Kessen, NEP horn player, chairman of the board and owner of three popular Boston-area restaurants, adds, “COVID has ended the rallies. In my restaurants, in the concert hall and in the community it must have stopped for our health, but we all felt a loss. Now I am delighted to be back on stage with the NEP musicians and to be able to share music and space with the audience once again.

We hope that our October program will help the NEP triumphantly open a door to the future as we return to performing, while also giving us space to recognize as a community the experiences and challenges of the past year. and a half – to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we’re going from here.

As a composer, it has been a privilege and an eye-opening experience to have been able to play such an active and varied role in the life of an orchestra this year. A composer’s residency can be more than the music created by the composer-in-residence. I encourage orchestras to explore the many ways they can incorporate an outside composer or artist into their organization.

I look forward to hearing all the music coming up this season, many from new voices to the orchestra, and others that deserve to be heard better. Hope to see you at a concert this season.

Eric Nathen was composer in residence in the fall of 2019, at the invitation of Richard Pittman, Music Director Emeritus.

New England Philharmonic Orchestral Season 2021-22:

Open a new door

  • October 16, 2021 | 8:00 p.m. 9:30 p.m.
  • All Saints Parish (1773 Beacon Street, Brookline)

Conducted by NEP Composer-in-Residence Eric Nathan

Bernard hoffer Fanfare for Dick
Eric Nathan the space of a door
Hannah kendall Spark catches
Igor Stravinsky Suite of the Firebird (1919)

Sherlock, Jr.

  • November 4, 2021 | 6.30 p.m. 8.30 p.m.
  • Boston Athenaeum

The NEP Chamber Players and the Boston Athenaeum present Sherlock, Jr., a silent film by Buster Keaton with a new score by NEP-winning composer Bernie Hoffer, commissioned by the Boston Athenaeum. This new score will accompany a live screening of the film, accompanied by a septet composed of musicians from the NEP Chamber Players.

Sherlock, Jr. was commissioned by the Boston Athenaeum.

Dreams of love and war

  • December 5, 2021 | 3:00 p.m. 4:30 p.m.
  • BU Tsai Performance Center

Conducted by Music Director Adam finalist Kerry Boyles

Michel Gandolfi Fanfare in honor of Richard Pittman
Bernard Rands DREAM
Boston premiere
Amy Beach Jephthah’s daughter
Sarah Pelletier, soprano
Winner of the Concerto of the Young Artists Competition, to be determined
Maurice Ravel Daphnis and Chloé, Suite 2

Our stories, ourselves

  • February 26, 2022 | 8:00 p.m. 9:30 p.m.
  • BU Tsai Performance Center

Conducted by finalist Music Director Nicholas DeMaison

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Fanfare in honor of Richard Pittman
Jonathan Bailey Holland Home stories
George tsontakis Violin Concerto No.3
Danielle Maddon, Violin
Boston premiere
Jean Sibelius Symphony No.5

Fold, rebuild, REVUELTAS!

  • May 1, 2022 | 3:00 p.m. 4:30 p.m.
  • BU Tsai Performance Center

Conducted by Music Director Tianhui Ng’s finalist

Yehudi Wyner Fanfare in honor of Richard Pittman
Sofia rocha Answering machine
Winner of the call for scores 2020
World premiere
Chen Yi Spring in Dresden
Danielle Maddon, Violin
Silvestre Revueltas La Noche de los mayas

Under the projectors

  • June 18, 2022 | 8:00 p.m. 9:30 p.m.
  • All Saints Parish (1773 Beacon Street, Brookline)

Conducted by Music Director Finalist Yoichi Udagawa

Catherine salfelder Fanfare in honor of Richard Pittman
Igor santos ploy, pivot
Winner of the 2021 call for scores
Boston premiere
TJ Cole Nocturnal landscape
Eric Nathan Double Concerto for solo violin, solo clarinet and strings
Stefan Jackiw, violin, and Yoonah Kim, clarinet
Co-commissioned with The New York Classical Players
Boston premiere
Witold Lutoslawski Concerto for orchestra


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