Symphony Nova Scotia announced the details of its 2014/15 season yesterday, promising audiences a diverse lineup, as organizers walk that fine line of satisfying the classical diehards that comprise its season-ticket base, while also attracting new fans. “There is so much to hear in our 2014/15 season,” says music director Bernhard Gueller. “A special highlight for me is Italian pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concertos no. 2 and 3. Then there is pianist Sara Davis Buechner—I have performed with her before, and can promise you a wonderful Beethoven. We also have the BachMagnificat in the Baroque series, and Howard Cable, Natalie MacMaster, Jill Barber, and the music of Michael Jackson in the Pops. Not to mention our annual Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra collaboration, also featuring Rachmaninoff; an exciting concert of contemporary music; and Ballet Jörgen’s Cinderella.”
The season begins on October 3 (after a tune-up with some free smaller Symphony Week shows in September) with a Maritime Pops celebration showcasing Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster. One of the most interesting concerts of the season comes on October 24, as the Symphony teams up with indie-darlings Whitehorse for a Halifax Pop Explosion concert. The classical purists get their fill in November, as Sara Davis Buechner takes the stage for a celebration of Beethoven. On November 11, the Symphony marks Remembrance Day with Brahms’ Requiem. December sees the return of perennial favourites The Nutcracker and Handel’s Messiah.
The January lineup features a whole lot of Mozart (concerts on January 8 and 29), with the Jean’s n’ Classics band returns on January 16 and 17 to celebrate The Music of Michael Jackson. February begins with the Symphony making a rare visit to Dartmouth, encoring the Magnificent Mozart concert at Alderney Landing on February 1. The month stays relatively lighthearted, as singer-songwriter David Myles performs on February 6 and 7, and the Symphony presents The Music of the Oscars on February 20 and 22.
While March sees the return of folk songstress Jill Barber, I have to pick March 8’s Bach’s Magnificat and Vivaldi’s Gloria as the Concert of the Month. Jon Washburn conducts as the Vancouver Chamber Choir joins the orchestra at St. Andrew’s Church—trust me: it’s going to be mind-blowing. As the season winds down, Symphonic Tango on April 10 (delivering exactly what the name promises) is sure to be another highlight. And the season ends with the always-popular Beer and Beethoven fundraiser, a chance to enjoy the symphony in a relaxed atmosphere, with a few brews.