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Classics Series – Behind the Music: Symphonie Fantastique

Sat | Oct 15, 2022 – 7:30PM

Sun | Oct 16, 2022 – 3PM

Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra performs Edward MacDowell's Hamlet and Ophelia and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique


Hamlet and Ophelia by Edward MacDowell

Symphony Fantastique by Berlioz


Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra

Charles Latshaw, conductor

About this Performance

On Saturday, October 15, 2022 – 7:30 PM and Sunday, October 16, 2022 – 3:00 PM, the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra (GJSO) will perform Behind the Music: Symphonie Fantastique, under the musical direction of maestro, Charles Latshaw, at the Avalon Theatre in Grand Junction, Colorado! The program for this concert consists of Edward MacDowell’s Hamlet and Ophelia plus Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique.

The audience will enjoy an incredibly unique experience where these special works will be made digestible and understood throughout the concert! The stories told through sound will be interpreted, and themes such as the thumping of a heartbeat, a French waltz, and thunderous mountains will be highlighted. This immersive audio experience will include musicians moving throughout the Avalon Theatre for maximum listener enjoyment. Because many things get lost to the ear during symphony performances, this behind-the-scenes look helps to offer a new level of appreciation for this important music.

Best known for his Romantic piano works, often depicting scenes from nature, Edward MacDowell composed Hamlet and Ophelia using programmatic elements. His influences for this work included folk tunes from Native American and African American traditions, as well as the fairytales of Hans Christian Anderson. MacDowell uses short melodies to depict certain characters for both Hamlet and Ophelia throughout these two orchestral movements. The audience will be able to note his heroic sounding music, contrasted with more lyrical themes.

Once Hamlet and Ophelia has been performed, the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra will go on to play one of Hector Berlioz’s most popular works, Symphonie Fantastique. As a huge fan of William Shakespeare, Berlioz wrote this work after falling for the actress who played Ophelia in a performance of Hamlet in 1827. Symphonie Fantastique was his creative outlet for the despair he felt due to this unrequited love. Though he was less appreciated during his time, Berlioz’s music is often regarded now for its genius, intrigue, and entertainment. Similar to the music of Buddy Holly and Jimi Hendrix sharing proximity in time as one of few commonalities, so too were the works of Beethoven and Berlioz. It can be said that Berlioz wrote on a different planet entirely!

Ticket prices for Behind the Music: Symphonie Fantastique range from $25-$45 and can be purchased online at, by phone at 970-243-6787, or in person at 414 Main Street, Grand Junction, CO 81501. Tickets for students of all ages are available to purchase for only $5.

On Saturday, October 15, 2002 – 5:15PM the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra (GJSO), conductor and music director Charles Latshaw will host the Conductor’s Club at Carlson Vineyards Downtown Tasting Room. Latshaw will provide a brief informational talk about the music to be played during the weekend’s concerts. This pre-concert party is for newcomers and seasoned classical lovers alike! With light refreshments and an opportunity to socialize with members from around the Western Colorado community, this exciting event is one for all to enjoy. Conductor’s Club tickets are available for $35 per person at or at 970-243-6787.

Thank you to our concert sponsors Karen Combs and Lynn Wagener!

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