Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2014/2015 season ended with James Sommerville in Concert on May 23. The performance was a farewell to seven-season HPO music director, Sommerville, and had devoted concert-goers eager for the start of next season in September under the leadership of new director, Gemma New.
Hamilton Place was filled with an older crowd ready to see the closing show, with young couples scattered throughout. The optional (but free) hour-long talk prior to the show had Sommerville chatting with a much sparser crowd, explaining the instruments and background of the composers and pieces, an added bonus for dedicated music enthusiasts who appreciated the context and viewers who had some extra time before the show.
Conductor and horn soloist, Sommerville has had a successful 30-year career. He is Principal Horn of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, winner of the Munich, Toulon, and CBC competitions, and JUNO Award winner for Best Classical Recording in Canada for his disc of the Mozart Horn Concertos, among other accomplishments.
During this closing performance, Sommerville conducted Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 4, Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony No. 8, and Brahms’ Symphony No. 4.
28-year-old Gemma New will start the 2015/2016 season as HPO Music Director. The violinist from New Zealand became a professional conductor at only 19 years old. She is conducting a concert during the next season on February 6, 2016.
If you subscribe to the HPO’s 2015/2016 season by June 30, you’ll receive the “early-bird” discount (though discounts are surprisingly modest – a maximum of $16 savings), but you’ll know you have some great performances to look forward to.
The 9-concert package in section A is $482.40 if booked by June 30 (with a senior rate of $460.80); and the affordable price of $180 for section D ($166 for seniors). Seven, five, and three concert packages are also available.
2015-2016 HPO Series
September 19, 2015
Opening Night: Chopin & Beethoven
October 17, 2015
A Life in Song: Ian Thomas and the HPO
November 7, 2015
In Remembrance: Songs of Courage and Honour
November 28, 2015
December 19, 2015
Home for the Holidays with the Canadian Brass
January 16, 2016
An Evening at the Opera
February 6, 2016
Gemma Conducts Shostakovich
March 12, 2016
Cirque de la Symphonie
April 16, 2016
While the 2014/2015 season has ended, the HPO has organized other amazing events to keep music lovers satisfied in the interim.
In June, the HPO launches its Indie Series, a cross-genre series of classical and rock music that will bring members of the professional orchestra together with local artists. Each performance will include works by the local band reimagined for an orchestra ensemble and classical works performed with a rock twist inspired by the guest band. The Indie Series challenges the artists’ creativity in an attempt to create an innovative performance unique to Hamilton’s burgeoning art scene.
In addition to the Indie Series, HPO at the Library is a free series of talks at the Hamilton Public Library that will engage musicians and the community during lunch hour (12:45 to 1:30 pm on Sept 18, Oct 16, Nov 6, and Nov 27).
To end the summer, the Seven Sundays series in Gage Park on August 16 is the annual outdoor summer performance by the HPO Brass Quintet who will perform heart-felt music under the stars.
The HPO also offers dinner and a concert packages, partnered with local Hamilton restaurants.
Founded in 1884 as The Hamilton Orchestral Society, the HPO has been enriching Hamilton’s arts community and providing world-class music to viewers. Now, HPO events are appealing more than ever to a younger audience of Hamilton’s involved young professional community.
With the hpoGO program, people under 35 years old can purchase concert tickets for just $17 + HST for sections C or D.
In April, I attended Happy Hour with the HPO at the Baltimore House and was pleasantly surprised. The event paired cocktails with orchestral pieces in a comfortable space to socialize and enjoy.
It is gatherings like these that get me excited to attend more HPO events and hopefully start seeing crowds of young people out next season.
A night at the orchestra is as romantic as it sounds; it makes for a sophisticated evening of masterful music, a lovely night out with friends, and a perfect date night.