The Claflin Hill Sympphony Orchestra (CHSO) will premier “An Appalachian Trail Symphony: New England” written by Southborough native Keane Southard on Saturday April 28th at 7:30pm. The work was inspired by Southard’s hike of the New England portion of the Appalachian Trail in 2016. The symphony was commissioned by the ensemble and a consortium of New England orchestras including the Wesleyan University Orchestra (Middletown, CT), the Wellesley Symphony (Wellesley, MA), and the Sage City Symphony (Bennington, VT).
The Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra, directed by Paul Surapine, will also perform Aaron Copland's “Rodeo” and Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 “From the New World.” The performance is at 7:30pm. CHSO presents this final concert of its 18th season at the Milford Town Hall (52 Main St, Milford, MA 01757). The theme of the 2017-2018 is “Coming of Age.”
“This composition has been several years in the making” says Southard, who grew up in Southborough and graduated from Algonquin Regional High School, “and I am so excited to finally hear the work performed. In it you will hear some things from the trail depicted literally, like the songs of birds and the peaks of the highest mountains, but I also tried to depict what it actually felt like to be on this physical, emotional, and spiritual journey hiking the trail with its many ups and downs, literally and figuratively. My hope is that the symphony captures some of the beauty of the trail and the wilderness of our region while inspiring people to both enjoy and protect it.”
More than 700 miles of the 2200-mile Appalachian Trail pass through a total of five New England states, including 90 miles in western Massachusetts. The symphony follows Southard's journey from Connecticut to the end of the trail at Mt. Katadin in Maine, with one movement for each state.
“Often, the best part of a long-journey is ‘coming home’” said Maestro Surapine. We complete this whirlwind Coming of Age season by celebrating our own country – both from the perspective of a composer of the “Old World,” inspired on his first visit to America in the 1890s to pen his Ninth Symphony “The New World.” Dvorak’s work evokes the majesty, the beauty, the optimism and the possibilities of the American personality, accompanied by the “Dean” of American composers—Aaron Copland and his rambunctious and good humored “Rodeo.”
In addition to the orchestra's performance, Southard will be performing a free piano recital entitled “Piano Music from Four Continents” at Pilgrim Church in Southborough (15 Common St.) on Sunday April 29th at 1pm that will feature some of his own piano compositions as well as works by lesser known composers John Foulds and Camargo Guarnieri.
Southard, who now lives in New Hampshire, has been the recipient of many awards for his compositions, including the 2016 Colorado State Music Teachers Association Commissioned Composer Award, and 3rd prize in the Belvedere Festival Composition Contest. In 2013, he was a Fulbright scholar studying music education in Brazil and received his Masters degree in composition from the University of Colorado-Boulder.
For more information about the Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra, or to purchase tickets for its events, please visit www.claflinhill.org.
For more information about Keane Southard please visit his website at keanesouthard.instantencore.com.