First of three vies for symphony director role

Nothing like a little pressure.

With the departure of David Upham this year, the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra is currently without a music director.

Its 2010-2011 season has been crafted around the search for a permanent replacement as three candidates vie for the position.

Wesley Schulz will guest conduct for the symphony’s season opener Nov. 13-14 at Bainbridge Performing Arts, bringing his animated, lively style to the task.

The program, Northern Lights Meets Southern Spirit,” is a collaboration. The orchestra envisioned a Scandanavian program and brought in guest pianist Dan Sabo. From there, Schulz was free to add his own influence, providing the orchestra and its artistic advisor David Wayne Waltman, a feel for his creative vision.

Schulz, who is assistant conductor of the Austin Symphony Orchestra and the Britt Classical Festival, went for “a contrast study,” combining the “lyricism” of the two Scandinavian composers, Jean Sibelius and Edvard Grieg, with a “toe-tapping second half” featuring Mexican composer Arturo Márquez and Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov who wrote a Spanish work.

“I am always in awe of the stillness Sibelius captures in his music,” Schulz said. “This brings great calm, especially with the lyricism that surrounds the spaciousness of his music. Grieg compliments this style, especially in the piano concerto, in his sensitivity to melody.”

Guest pianist Dan Sabo, who has operated a private music studio in Bellingham, and is a frequent performer on the West Coast, will perform Grieg’s concerto.

“Overall the first half of the concert is meant to envelop and relax the listener,” Schulz said.

The second half of the program has a livelier pace with Danzón No. 2 by Mexican composer Arturo Márquez followed by Capriccio Espagnol, Russian composer Rimsky Korsakov’s homage to Spanish culutre.

If you’d like to get to know Schulz and the music of “Northern Lights Meets Southern Spirit,” arrive about 50 minutes early for the pre-concert Q-&-A with BPA’s Managing Director Dominique Cantwell.

“I love walking out of a concert humming the music that I just heard performed,” Schulz said. “I promise Bainbridge that this will be one of those concerts.”


Southern spirit

Guest conductor Wesley Schulz and guest pianist Dan Sabo join the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra in presenting “Northern Lights Meet Southern Spirit” Nov. 13-14 at BPA, 200 Madison Ave. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Sat. Nov. 13 and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14. Enjoy a free pre-concert chat 45 minutes ahead of each performance. Tickets: $19 for adults, and $16 for seniors, students, youth, military and teachers at 842-8569 or


Symphony preview

A brass quintet, featuring two trumpets (Elija Pugh and Jeff Jensen), French horn (Richard Davis), trombone (Dick Heine) and tuba (Jas Linford), perform a free program from 5:30-6:45 p.m. today at The Pavilion, 403 Madison Ave.



Staff Writer

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