July 16, 2015
The Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra’s 2015-16 season sets in motion the wheels of change as Maestro Kirk Gustafson prepares to take his final bow and four young and talented conductors vie to take his place.
After 28 years as Music Director of the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Kirk Gustafson is preparing to retire and spend more time pursuing his other passions. Gustafson has grown the GJSO exponentially not only artistically but also financially and as a respected community organization during his tenure.
A music director search committee was formed in January 2014 and spent nearly a year meeting weekly to discuss the future of the GJSO as well as to prepare a job posting that was sent out nationwide. Over 200 applications were received from across the nation and even the world and after months of meetings, interviews and deliberations, four highly qualified candidates were chosen with the potential of one of them being chosen as the new music director of the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra.
On Sunday, August 23rd, the concert season “unofficially” begins with an outdoor summer tradition, the 23rd Annual Wells Fargo’s An Evening Under The Stars. This year’s concert will be held in Stocker Stadium and is as always free to the public. The Grand Junction Symphony is partnering with the Grand Junction Rockies for the first time to bring together a day of baseball and music. The Grand Junction Rockies take the field at 4:05pm and the concert will begin immediately following the game at 7pm. Maestro Kirk Gustafson will throw out the first pitch of the game and Grand Junction Rockies mascot may pick up a baton during the concert.
Saturday, October 3rd at 7:30pm and Sunday, October 4th at 3:00pm at the Avalon Theatre, the GJSO presents World Premiere, which will feature fiery percussionist Lisa Pegher returning to Grand Junction in a world premiere percussion concerto by composer Richard Danielpour as well as Beethoven’s most famous 5th Symphony with Gustafson conducting.
Guest conductor Thomas Heuser, lives in California and is currently the Music Director of the Idaho Falls Symphony. Mr. Heuser joins the GJSO on Saturday, Oct 31st at 7:30pm and Sunday, November 1st at 3:00pm in the Avalon Theatre for Heuser Conducts Scheherazade. This concert will feature pianist Andrew Cooperstock from Denver performing Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, a piano concerto played entirely with only the left hand. The evening will also include pieces by Dvorak, Rimsky-Korsakov and Gershwin.
A classic Holiday opera, Amahl & The Night Visitors, will grace the stage of the Avalon Theatre on Saturday, December 12th at 7:30pm and Sunday, December 13th at 3:00pm. GJSO favorite soprano Christie Conover returns in the role of the Mother in a fully staged production of Menotti’s one-act opera originally written for NBC in the 1950’s. The Western Colorado Chorale will also perform as part of the chorus and as a featured ensemble in the second half of the concert.
On Saturday, January 9th at 7:30pm in the Avalon Theatre, make a stop on “the great white way” with Broadway by Request. Three multi-talented performers with extensive Broadway credits join the GJSO for an evening of Broadway hits chosen by the audience.
Guest conductor Matthew Steven Brown, lives in Maryland and was most recently Associate Conductor of the Canton Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Brown will join the GJSO on Saturday, January 23rd at 7:30pm and Sunday, January 24th at 3:00pm in the Avalon Theatre for Brown Conducts Sibelius, a weekend of performances which will feature GJSO Young Artist Competition Winner flutist Rachelle Crowell performing Gordeli’s Flute Concerto along with pieces by Actor, Tchaikovsky and Sibelius’s 2nd Symphony.
Guest conductor Charles Latshaw, lives in Ohio and is currently director of the Kent/Blossom Music Festival and the Kent State University Orchestra. Mr. Latshaw joins the GJSO on Saturday, February 13th at 7:30pm and Sunday, February 14th at 3:00pm in the Avalon Theatre for Latshaw Conducts Tchaikovsky. This concert will feature violinist Jinjoo Cho on Glazunov’s Violin Concerto as well as pieces by Marquez and Tchaikovsky.
Guest conductor Wesley Schulz, lives in Washington and is presently a conducting fellow with the Seattle Symphony and the music director of the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Schulz will join the GJSO on Saturday, March 12th at 7:30pm and Sunday, March 13th at 3:00pm in the Avalon Theatre for Schulz Conducts Gershwin, a weekend of performances highlighted by doublebassist Paul Erhard performing Nino Rota’s Divertimento Concertante for doublebass as well as pieces by Theofandis, Copland and Gershwin.
A Grand Finale, the final concert of the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra’s 38th Season and Maestro Kirk Gustafson’s end to his 28 year tenure will be Tuesday, April 19th at 7:30pm in Grand Junction High School Auditorium. A fitting end to Gustafson’s famed career with the GJSO with a performance of Verdi’s epic Messa de Requiem with the Grand Junction Symphony Chorus.
The 38th Season of the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra promises to be an unforgettable year with a world premiere performance, holiday and symphonic pops offerings, exciting guest conductor candidates and the end of an era as we bid farewell to Maestro Kirk Gustafson.
Season tickets are currently on sale and are offered at 50% off for new subscribers. Single tickets for all concerts go on sale Monday, August 17th. For more information, contact the Grand Junction Symphony office by phone at 243-6787, online at GJSO.org or stop by their office Downtown at 414 Main Street.