Olympia Symphony Orchestra

by Jennifer Crain for OLY ARTS

In October, Olympia Symphony Orchestra embarks on an ambitious celebration of its 65th year. The program Opening Statements launches the season with “Awakening,” a contemplative, three-movement piece by Joseph Curiale, an American composer who’s created works for the screen and concert stage for more than three decades. Maestro Huw Edwards, OSO music director and conductor, says he and guest conductor Jeffery Bell-Hanson chose the work because they “liked the idea of the piece opening up the season, almost like the sun rising on the anniversary year.”

The symphony will also play Carl Neilsen’s Flute Concerto, an internationally celebrated piece that premiered in 1926 in Paris, with principal flutist Mary Jensen as the season’s featured soloist. The evening concludes with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F minor. That towering work begins with a fanfare of French horns and ends with a theatrical flourish.

Making music for this many years deserves some drama, Edwards says. “It’s no small achievement for the organization.” To mark the occasion, the year’s theme is “Thinking Big,” with performances of landmark orchestral works at every concert. The Four Funerals and a Wedding program November 12 brings the tone poem “Totenfeier” by Mahler, Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Cantus in Memoriam by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique.

The season closer is Beethoven’s famed Ninth Symphony, a collaboration with Olympia Choral Society and Timberline High School choral students. Along with the Beethoven piece, the symphony will play Mozart’s overture to Don Giovanni, the first piece played by OSO at its inaugural performance in 1947. They’ll also play the world premiere of a new work, Festschrift, composed by one of their own. Austin Schlichting is a violist with the symphony and grandson of former OSO music director Fred Schlichting. It’s a fitting way to honor the past and present at once.

What: Opening Statements

Where: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts,
512 Washington St. SE, Olympia

When: 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8

How much: $10-$63

Learn more: 360-753-8586 / OSO