GBS PACKS THE HOUSE AT THE KLEIN!
Under conductor Eric Jacobsen, GBS performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on Saturday night, December 12, 2015, joined by the Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut and the Fairfield University Chamber singers, to a sold-out house.
The Ninth Symphony, with its familiar “Ode to Joy” chorale, was performed with exuberance by some 57 musicians of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony, all top-flight professionals, several of whom travel thousands of miles to play in Bridgeport. The choir of 105 members sang the memorable Fourth Movement to its stunning climax. An immediate standing ovation lasted over six minutes as Maestro Jacobsen, Choirmaster Carole Anne Maxwell, and the four soloists took their bows.
The sold-out house is a first in many seasons, and is part of a trend which may be attributable to the vibrant new sound of conductor Jacobsen, now in his second season with GBS. Jacobsen is a world-renowned conductor and cellist, based in Brooklyn, New York, who recently headlined with Yo-Yo Ma at Caramoor. His youth and electricity as a conductor are attracting a new generation to Classical music. In addition, he has brought serious modern music to GBS, most recently including up-and-coming cellist Joshua Roman in September, who soloed in a new work written for him by American composer Mason Bates.
As part of its education and cultural mission, GBS provided free and reduced-price tickets to music students from Bridgeport and the region, from programs such as KEYS (Kids Empowered by Your Support), the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras (GBYO), Music For Youth, and the Regional Center for the Arts, as well as from the University of Bridgeportand Fairfield University. GBS will sponsor a Youth Competition this coming spring, open to student musicians aged 11 through 18.
GBS also sponsored a food drive at the concert to benefit the Bridgeport Rescue Mission. Patrons responded enthusiastically, and the Mission’s volunteers reported that their van was filled at the end of the night.
The GBS 2015-16 Season includes two more concerts. “Mahler Returns to Bridgeport” on Saturday March 12, 2016 will mark the first time in almost 30 years that Gustav Mahler’s work (his Fifth Symphony) will be played in Bridgeport; the piece is a grand production, and requires over 80 musicians in concert. On Saturday April 9, 2016, “Northern Lights: A Celebration” will feature the works of composers from northern Europe, including Edward Elgar, Jean Sibelius, Edvard Grieg and Igor Stravinsky; concluding the season, the concert will finish with the famous Firebird Suite.