An incredible musical lineup awaits regional residents as the Symphony of the Mountains celebrates its diamond anniversary through the coming performance year. Now is the time to sit down with this schedule and transfer it to your calendars.
The symphony began when a group of musicians formed the Kingsport Symphony Orchestra in 1946. Twenty-seven musicians attended the first rehearsal, and the number quickly grew to more than 40. Through the decades the musical enrichment included classical concerts, entertaining pops and light musical offerings, and in 1965 the Kingsport Symphony Youth Orchestra was formed, currently consisting of 80 young people.
In 1994 Musicians in the Schools began, and in 2003 the Kingsport Symphony was renamed Symphony of the Mountains.
The chorus merged with the Bristol Concert Choir under the name Voices of the Mountains. In the ’80s and ’90s the orchestra grew steadily and increased its outreach, and in 1998 it adopted the goal of becoming an orchestra for the entire Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia region.
Today the orchestra consists of more than 70 professional musicians and is conducted by Cornelia Laemmli Orth. It’s a proud heritage at a performance level that has earned the region’s respect. Here’s some of what’s coming:
• Music from Around the World July 24-25. Bring a picnic and take a musical trip around the world, enjoying music from every continent. Bass baritone Michael Rodgers will join the orchestra in performances July 24 at UVA Wise and July 25 at the Allandale Mansion.
• Diamond Jubilee Concert Sept. 18 at the Eastman Employee Center auditorium, when Tennessee’s Oak Ridge Boys will join the orchestra.
• Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony followed by his Fifth Piano Concerto featuring pianist Miri Yampolsky Oct. 16 at the Eastman Employee Center auditorium.
• Voices of the Mountains Nov. 5 will perform Cecil Effinger’s “Four Pastorales” along with the music of Dale Trumbore and Gwyneth Walker at Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church in Johnson City.
• By the Fireside with Symphony of the Mountains Dec. 4-5. The annual holiday concerts offer an afternoon of warmth and wonder with performances on Dec. 4 at the Eastman Employee Center and Dec. 5 at McGlothlin Center for the Arts on the campus of Emory & Henry College. Featured guests include the Academy of Strings, Mountain Empire Children’s Choral Academy, Mountain Mission School Choir and Voices of the Mountains.
• Woodwinds and All That Jazz Feb. 5 as the Woodwind Quintet plays works by Gunther Schuller and Appalachian music by regional composer Greg Danner, followed by Claude Bolling’s “Suite for Cello and Jazz Piano Trio” featuring SOTM’s principal cellist, Mathew Wilkinson. The concert will be held at Bristol’s Paramount Center for the Arts.
Tickets are available online at symphonyofthemountains.org or by phone at (423) 392-8423.