In its 2018-2019 season — its first full season under the direction of conductor Nicholas Carlson — the Olympia Chamber Orchestra will go beyond the expected classical repertoire. Small by orchestra standards, the group of 40-odd musicians in their 20s through 80s aims to have a big impact on Olympia’s classical-music scene.
“My goal for the orchestra is for us to make ourselves indispensable to the community,” Carlson said in a recent email interview. “I want the ensemble to remain an important outlet for the players, and I want to continue to expand our audiences and their appreciation for orchestral music. I also want to challenge the orchestra to continue to improve.”
In keeping with that goal, the orchestra will tackle such unexpected pieces as Franz Berwald’s Symphony No. 3, “Singuliere,” which the orchestra will play at its November concert, and Wilhelm Stenhammar’s Piano Concerto No. 2 on the June program. “It is important to widen the audience and the orchestra’s knowledge of the repertoire,” Carlson said. “One of my goals in choosing the repertoire for the orchestra is to choose pieces that are not necessarily in the core repertoire but will still be crowd-pleasers.”
He’s most excited about the Stenhammar concerto, with soloist Hannah Cho, and three excerpts from Englebert Humperdinck’s opera Hansel and Gretel, also on the June program. Of the former, he said, “The music is lush and romantic and will seem familiar even to those who don’t know the piece.” And he’s even more enthusiastic about the latter. “The Hansel and Gretel excerpts contain some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. Humperdinck’s music brings the fairy tale to life.”
Olympia Chamber Orchestra’s November concert
2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4
St. John’s Episcopal Church,
114 20th Ave. SE, Olympia