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News & Notes

Symphony kicks off season with Sunday concert
by Mike McInally, The E | October 12, 2016

When vocalist Katie Smith performed last season with the Corvallis-OSU Symphony, it was part of a program devoted to ill-fated love — songs about relationships that, in some cases, went horribly awry.

It seemed only fair to the orchestra's musical director, Marlan Carlson, to invite Smith back to perform somewhat sunnier tunes. And so it is that Smith, working again with arranger and guest conductor Rob Birdwell, will perform as part of the symphony's season-opening concert, scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday at LaSells Stewart Center on the Oregon State University campus.

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Symphony tackles Mahler's 7th
May 18, 2016 • By James Day, Corvallis Gazette-Times

“It’s Mahler at his most ebullient and joyful. An outburst of optimism that is almost out of control. You usually don’t throw around the word 'festive' with Mahler, but this movement is so festive and happy,” says Maestro Marlan Carlson.

Carlson will use 110 players in Tuesday’s concert, down from the 130 who crowded the stage for the 6th. And he has so many horn players that he will rotate in a new set between the third and fourth movements like a sports coach sending in fresh reserves.

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Corvallis-OSU Symphony to perform acclaimed Holocaust memorial oratorio
January 2015  •  By Polina Olsen, Oregon Jewish Life

It starts with three blasts of the shofar and moves on to the prayer, Sh’ma Yisrael. Then the oratorio, “To Be Certain of the Dawn,” sets the theme Love Your Neighbor as Yourself to beautiful music with an orchestra, adult choir, children’s choir and four soloists including a cantor.

The performance on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, 7:30 pm at the LaSells Stewart Center on the Oregon State University campus will bring composer Stephen Paulus’ haunting piece to Oregon for the first time.

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OSU Symphony set for patriotic program of American Music
November 20-27  •  JAMES DAY The E

Sunday’s concert features an arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner by Igor Stravinsky, a Russian who emigrated here and became a citizen in 1945.

Also on the program, whose compositions Carlson calls “historical documents,” is the rarely-performed Concerto for Piano by Aaron Copland and George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Both pieces will feature pianist and longtime Carlson collaborator Alexander Tutunov.

The centerpiece of the program is Copland’s Symphony No. 3, which has sparked some interesting detective work on the part of Carlson. "This symphony is so American. I think of it in the very best and noblest sense of American patriotism.”

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Students put on a classical symphony orchestra
OSU Daily Barometer Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 7:51 pm | Updated: 9:31 pm, Tue Oct 21, 2014 • By Chris Correll

Corvallis-OSU Orchestra will open 109th season with symphony celebrating influential classical composers

Oregon State University’s student orchestra is playing their first show of the fall Wednesday, Oct. 22 in LaSells Stewart Center. Their performance will feature some of the most famous works of legendary composers Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven compiled as a symphony. It’s an opportunity for music enthusiasts and newcomers alike to experience a diverse collection of classical pieces.

“A lot of students go to these concerts, and they've never heard an orchestra play before,” Carlson said. “There’s just the general sense that a university is a cultural institution, and it needs to have opportunities for people to explore the greater cultural world than what they might not have done otherwise.”

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Symphony season opener features Haydn, cellist Anne Ridlington
October 16, 2014 2:06 pm  •  By Mike McInally, The E

Here’s why Marlan Carlson, the music director of the Corvallis-OSU Symphony, thinks Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C Major is a good fit for Anne Ridlington, the featured soloist when the symphony opens its season next week:

“It fits her personality,” Carlson said of Ridlington. “She has that personality that is quite nervy, a little bit quirky,” he said.

And technical skill doesn’t hurt, either: “You have to have tremendous technical facility to play this piece.”

Ridlington agrees with Carlson’s assessment: “I’ll take ’nervy.’ I’ll take that,” she said during an interview this week in her Corvallis studio.

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Educating with music
February 15, 2013 12:00 pm  •  By Mike McInally, The Entertainer

Big and bold and maybe a little over the top: Those are the watchwords for next week’s performance of the Corvallis-OSU Symphony Orchestra.

On tap for the orchestra’s performance on Wednesday night at the LaSells Stewart Center: A performance of Tchaikovsky’s well-known First Piano Concerto, featuring guest pianist Mariangela Vacatello, and a piece that is less well-known, Richard Strauss’ epic tone poem, “A Hero’s Life.”

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Sharing their love of music
November 30, 2012 8:00 am  •  By Mike McInally, The Entertainer

Marlan Carlson, the music director for the Corvallis-OSU Symphony Orchestra, likes to brag about the quality of the student musicians who perform with the orchestra.

So it’s not surprising to see Sunday’s orchestra concert — the annual “Holiday Favorites” affair, which also features OSU’s choruses – casting an unusually broad spotlight on OSU students.

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Just desserts
November 16, 2012 12:30 pm • By Mike McInally, The Entertainer

Marlan Carlson, the music director of the Corvallis-OSU Symphony, pleads guilty to an affinity for big monstrous slabs of music – the main courses, if you will, in any classical music lover’s well-balanced diet. But this weekend’s performance by the symphony finds Carlson and the orchestra’s musicians headed straight to the dessert trays.

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OSU-Corvallis Symphony revives ‘Potter’ through a musical tribute
October 29, 2012 1:10 pm • By Hannah Johnson, The Daily Barometer

Albus Dumbledore, in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” calls music “a magic far beyond all we do here.” The “Halloween with Harry” concert allowed fans to relive that magic through a rendition of whimsical score that accompanied the films.

On Sunday, Oct. 28, the Corvallis-Oregon State University Symphony performed at the LaSells Stewart Center. They performed music from the composer John Williams, who wrote the music for the Harry Potter movies. The symphony was conducted by Rob Birdwell, a guest conductor.

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Madly irresistible
May 17, 2012 5:00 pm  •  By Mike McInally, The Entertainer

In the world of television, May is “sweeps month,” a time when TV shows pull out all the stops with dramatic cliffhangers and suspenseful twists as they build up to their season finales.

It’s kind of the same story with the Corvallis-OSU Symphony Orchestra, which likes to save its biggest concert of the season for its finale. On Tuesday night, the orchestra tackles another huge undertaking, Mahler’s Second Symphony.

It’s a 90-minute mountain of music that requires 110 musicians and a couple of hundred singers, courtesy of Oregon State University choruses. Groups of musicians are stashed backstage – a touch Mahler himself called for in his program notes. Vocalists will be perched in the balconies at the LaSells Stewart Center.

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Cultural Coalition recognizes leaders in the arts, culture
March 10, 2012 10:00 am  •  Corvallis Gazette-Times

The Benton County Cultural Coalition has awarded grants totaling $11,500 to 15 local arts organizations and honored county residents and institutions for their contributions to culture throughout the county.

The coalition presented its annual awards — and announced this year’s grant recipients — at a recent gathering at the Benton County Historical Society in Philomath.

Sally McBride, a longtime mid-valley music teacher and a key organizer of the Corvallis-OSU Symphony’s annual concert for fifth-grade students, won the award for Lifetime Contribution to Culture. McBride started teaching music in Alsea in 1962, and before that served as the rehearsal pianist for the Robert Joffrey Ballet for 10 years and received a master’s degree in music education from Harvard. She continues to be a supporter of music education in the community.

Angela Carlson won the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts. Carlson is a longtime music educator in Corvallis and writes the notes for the Corvallis-OSU Symphony’s programs. She has served on the Majestic Theatre board of directors, worked with Opera Theater Corvallis as an accompanist and lecturer, and currently conducts opera preview lectures for the Linn-Benton Opera Guild, along with many other activities.

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A little night's jazz
March 08, 2012 5:45 pm  •  By Mike McInally, The Entertainer

The musical journey that brings singer Halie Loren to Corvallis tonight started in Alaska, as a curious young Loren pored through her mother’s album collection.

Geographically isolated as she was from the currents of the day’s pop music, Loren formed an early attachment to her mother’s jazz and blues records.

“I sort of developed my own musical tastes,” Loren said in a recent interview with the Entertainer. “I didn’t know anything about genres. I just knew what I liked.”

On Friday, March 9, Loren and her band perform a bunch of songs that she likes — including some she wrote — in a concert with the Corvallis-OSU Symphony Orchestra. It’s a benefit for the Symphony Society’s Student Musician Scholarship Fund, which supports OSU students who play in the orchestra.

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Corvallis-OSU Symphony celebrates the music of Prague and Eastern Europe
February 16, 2012 5:15 pm  •  By Mike McInally, The Entertainer

Marlan Carlson has a confession to make:

Although the official title of Sunday’s Corvallis-OSU Symphony Orchestra concert is “East of Vienna,” some of the music featured in the concert boasts Prague as its home — and Prague, as Carlson notes, is actually west of Vienna.

But it’s really the spirit of the concert as a whole that counts, and the idea is to showcase music from Eastern Europe — music that Carlson, the orchestra’s music director, says often gets ignored.

In fact, that’s part of the reason why Carlson was able to lure guest pianist Alexander Ghindin to Corvallis for this concert.

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Music for the holiday
December 01, 2011 6:15 pm  •  By Mike McInally, The Entertainer

CORVALLIS — The Corvallis-OSU Symphony, with some help from Oregon State University’s choirs, are serving up a buffet of music this weekend, complete with some meaty main courses and plenty of lighter treats in the form of holiday favorites.

The annual “Holiday Celebration” festivity gets under way at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, at the LaSells Stewart Center on the OSU campus.

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For 19 years, many have helped on children's orchestra event
November 19, 2011 12:30 am  •  Good Words

On Oct. 12, more than 1,000 fourth- and fifth-grade students from Benton County schools attended the 19th annual Children's Concert presented by the Corvallis-OSU Symphony Orchestra. This memorable event would not have been possible without the enthusiastic support of teachers, music specialists and administrators from the participating schools who helped prepare students for this unique musical experience.

Special thanks to the orchestra musicians and soloists and to Music Director Marlan Carlson and guest conductor Rob Birdwell for entertaining the children with their talented performances. And a great "Bravo!" goes to Sally McBride for organizing the program for 19 years and providing the educational materials to the schools to enrich the experience, and to Rebecca Douglas for her assistance.

We are grateful for the financial support provided by Jayne Ackermann, Jack and Kay Enbom, and the OSU Folk Club Thrift Shop Foundation.

Ken Krane

Corvallis-OSU Symphony Society


The 'Russian Masters'
November 17, 2011 5:45 pm  •  By Mike McInally, The Entertainer

CORVALLIS — There’s plenty of musical tradition on the menu for the Corvallis-OSU Symphony Orchestra’s “Russian Masters” concert Monday night.

With the spotlight on Russian music — from Prokofiev to Borodin and ending with Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 — some of that is inevitable, of course: One of the things that the orchestra’s music director, Marlan Carlson, admires about Russian composers is their “rootedness in their own culture and history,” and that’s bound to come through on Monday.

But Carlson also points to another musical tradition in the concert: The composer-pianist, as exemplified in this case by the towering figure of Sergei Rachmaninoff. Literally towering, and imposing as well: Rachmaninoff was once described by Igor Stravinsky (a friend) as a “6 1/2 -foot scowl."

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Mariangela Vacatello
November 10, 2011 4:45 pm  •  The Entertainer

When Claude Debussy’s “Twelve Etudes for Piano, Book 1,” were published, they came with this disclaimer: “The Etudes are a warning to pianists not to take up the musical profession unless they have remarkable hands.“

That’s not a problem for Italian pianist Mariangela Vacatello, who will play six of those 12 etudes during a concert scheduled for Corvallis on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 4 p.m. It’s the debut concert in this year’s Steinway Piano Concert series.

The concert, like the other two scheduled in this year’s series, will be held at the LaSells Stewart Center on the campus of Oregon State University.

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'Halloween with Harry'
October 27, 2011 7:00 pm  •  By Sarah Payne, The Entertainer

CORVALLIS — While the epic story of “The Boy Who Lived” has come to an equally epic conclusion in the “Harry Potter” novels and movies, the effects of his legacy and his impact are still leaving faint lightning bolt-shaped scars everywhere we look. 

And on Sunday, fans of the story can once again enter his world — hopefully in costume — when the Corvallis-OSU Symphony presents “Halloween with Harry: The Music of Harry Potter.”

The symphony will be playing the iconic music from the Harry Potter soundtrack in concert and will be assisted by OSU’s theater department for various aspects of the performance, which includes narrated excerpts from winning letters in the symphony’s “Letters to Harry” contest.

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1,000 local grade-schoolers attend 19th annual Corvallis-OSU Symphony free concert
October 13, 2011 11:30 am  •  By RAJU WOODWARD, Corvallis Gazette-Times

Clayton Van Dyke walked out of the auditorium at LaSells Stewart Center, and he was impressed. The Santiam Christian Elementary School fifth-grader started playing the trumpet less than a year ago, and Wednesday's performance by the Corvallis-OSU Symphony left him an inspired fledgling musician.

And for almost 20 years, that has been the idea.

Clayton was one of about 1,000 Benton County fourth- and fifth-graders who were treated to a 45-minute concert to mark the 19th year that the symphony has given a free concert to delight and inspire local elementary school students.

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