Savannah Morning News; featured in Accent
Written by: Linda Sickler
July 24, 2014

Read original article here

Members of the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra are turning up all over the place.

“We are using musicians in all our advertising,” says Peter Shannon, conductor and artistic director.

“We’re showing that there are real persons behind the music.”

That is being done to highlight this year’s theme: “Live the Music.”

“We’re showcasing our musicians,” Shannon says.

“They’re living entities. We’re asking people to be a part of that, to live that. We think we’re a fairly lively bunch.”

Last year’s season was somewhat hard to top.

“Our last season was a landmark one for the philharmonic,” Shannon says. “Sold-out halls, increased giving and an orchestra and chorus that continue to go from strength to strength are a few of the wonderful things to look back on.

“This new season builds on that. The repertoire is a good mix of everything, and I truly believe there is not one concert that can be missed.

“In fact, it’s hard for me to choose a favorite, and this is proof positive that the philharmonic is on its way to more success,” he says.

“I cannot wait to get started.”

Shannon shares some highlights of the season, which will open with “Brahms, Rachmaninoff and Dvorak” on Sept. 13, featuring pianist Fanya Lin, who is joining the orchestra for Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.”

“The opening concert will have an incredible pianist,” he says. “She’s very young, very dynamic. She’s studying at Julliard.

“I saw her first at a piano competition. She literally blew the judges away. This concert is going to be a real showcase for the orchestra.”

Irish tenor Anthony Kearns will perform with the orchestra Nov. 20.

“We have compiled a tribute to Ireland and America,” Shannon says. “We are two Irishmen living and working in America and I think this will be a fun and meaningful concert.

“His show on PBS was the most viewed in PBS history. To have a guy like that come to Savannah and sing is amazing.

“He’s good fun, too,” Shannon says. “We grew up in Ireland at the same time and we know all the same people, and although we didn’t know each other, we have mutual friends.”

Other highlights include the Holiday Pops in December and an oratorio in January.

“The chorus is doing ‘The Creation’ by Haydn in January,” Shannon says. “We’re doing it in the cathedral, which is always beautiful.”

The season finale will be “Brahms, Wagner & Strauss” on May 9.

“It will feature pianist Michael Hauber performing Brahms’ “Piano Concerto No. 1.”

On the Sunday after each major concert, the symphony presents a chamber concert.

“We’ve very proud of our chamber music, too,” Shannon says. “It is a great asset to the orchestra.

“We have such great artists in the orchestra who can go into these chamber groups and hold their own,” he says. “Ticket sales are going incredibly well.”

Not all events are part of the series. Once again, the orchestra will perform for Picnic in the Park.

“It’s not St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s a huge open event for the whole city,” Shannon says. “It’s always fun doing that.”

All in all, the upcoming season promises to be outstanding.

“It’s a good mix and there is something there for everybody,” Shannon says. “There will be beautiful music throughout the season.

“When I go through programming a season, I think it’s going to be so hard to keep this up. Just getting the balance right is so hard.

“I think we’ve done a good job,” he says.

“It’s really pushing the envelope for the next year and is making me more nervous for the year after that, but the standard of the orchestra continues to grow. For a small city like Savannah to have a small orchestra of this standard is something to be proud of.”