From Music Director Daniel Meyer

Welcome back!  The summer is drawing to a close, a tinge of fall has crept into the air, and the Warner Theatre will soon be humming again with the sound of the Philharmonic musicians tuning their instruments, rehearsing, and performing great music as we embark on our 17-18 season.  I certainly relish hearing our musicians as they perform in chamber music groups on the patio of the Erie Art Museum over the summer, but I am particularly excited to get back to work with the entire orchestra.  We haven’t assembled as a full group since last spring, and as August started to fade I felt that itch to get back into rehearsals and experience the thrill of working out the details of an impending performance.  

In the span of two weeks, we will flex both our Pops and Symphonic muscles to launch the 17-18 season, and I am particularly excited to welcome one of the most brilliant stars of the modern Broadway stage on September 23rd in Lisa Vroman, and to introduce one of the finest young trios of the American classical music scene on October 7th with Elena Urioste, Nick Canellakis, and Michael Brown.

Our Pops opener (September 23) is the result of a friendship and collaborative partnership that I have had the good fortune to develop with Lisa Vroman.  Lisa sang Christine in the Phantom of the Opera over 2,500 times on Broadway, and she certainly had developed an impressive group of admirers based on that run alone.  But I have to say that over the concerts in which I have collaborated with her, she continues to astound me with her keen ear for combining the obvious greatest hits of the American musical theatre catalogue with the wonderful music that falls just off the beaten path.  She also has such a knack for pacing and how to hold an audience’s attention, that I consider it a joy and privilege to assemble program with her.  As a performer, Lisa gets right to the heart of a song, and lays bare all the emotion and beauty that each new turn-of-phrase has to give.  I know you will love how she has created an opening night concert that celebrates all that we love about classic Broadway.  Lisa will also arrive early to Erie to lead masterclasses and work with young performers, so don’t miss a chance to see her at work off the Warner stage.

For our Symphonic opener (October 7), I wanted to have the chance to bring a very popular artist in Elena Urioste back to the Philharmonic as soon as possible.  You might remember that Elena played a searing and beautifully-shaped Elgar Violin Concerto with us two years ago, and it was at that time that she told me about two of her talented collaborative partners.  Cellist Nick Canellakis and pianist Michael Brown have made significant names for themselves in the past few seasons, and to have the chance to bring them all together for one evening performing the Beethoven Triple Concerto was frankly too good an opportunity to pass.  Nick and Michael joined us at the Erie Art Museum last June to perform at our ‘Coda’ celebration and give us a taste of the chemistry they have as collaborative partners.  Beethoven’s ‘Triple’ features a brilliant interplay of virtuoso gestures for all three to shine, and it makes a perfect complement to the works of Brahms and Barber that the Philharmonic musicians will perform for you to welcome you back to another season of music-making at the Warner.  Additionally, the trio is offering a free preview of their amazing talents on Friday, October 6, at noon at WQLN as part of their collaborative Live from Studio Q series.  

Nick Canellakis, Elena Urioste and Michael Brown

So whether you plan to join us for the Pops Opener, the Symphonic Opener, or both, I hope you will get a sense for how excited I am to get back to making music with the musicians of the Philharmonic and to welcome some important musical friends to take the stage as soloists for our Broadway tribute and our performance of Barber, Beethoven, and Brahms.  Let me be the first to say ‘welcome home’ – your musical home is right here with us at the Warner Theatre as we launch our 17-18 concert season together!

~ Daniel Meyer