The San Juan Symphony, featuring guest conductor Blake Richardson and renowned cello soloist Inbal Segev will kick off Southwest Colorado Concerts' new season in a new venue - the state-of-the-art Montezuma-Cortez High School auditorium, on Oct. 4.
The San Juan Symphony is celebrating its 30th season this year, and is launching the 2015-2016 season with a performance of Brahms' Second Symphony.
Guest conductor Blake Richardson is director of orchestral studies at the University of Alabama and music director of the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra. Richardson is a Fulbright Scholar who received his doctorate in musical arts in orchestral conducting from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in August 2012, and joined the conducting staff of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in 2014. He has also served as principal conductor of the Wildwood Academy of Music and the Arts, and has received scholarships and awards from the Vienna Philharmonic, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the Chautauqua Institution and the National Opera Association. He was originally trained on violin, piano and percussion.
Segev, an accomplished cellist since age 6, made debuts with the Berlin Philharmonic and Israel Philharmonic at age 17. Since then, the Israeli-born cellist has performed as soloist with orchestras all over the world including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; Castleton Festival Orchestra in Virginia; the Bogota Philharmonic in Colombia; the Helsinki Philharmonic in Finland; the Dortmund Philharmonic in Germany; the Orchestre National de Lyon in France; the Polish National Radio Symphony; and the Bangkok Symphony in Thailand. This will be her third performance with the San Juan Symphony.
While the San Juan Symphony and Segev are the stars of Sunday's show, the silent co-star is the 450-seat Ralph E. Vavak auditorium.
The auditorium features rows of stage lighting and a drop-down viewing screen. Video projection equipment are all monitored and controlled from an enclosed booth in the back.
The state-of-the-art sound system features two large speakers that each contain 24 smaller speakers that can be fine-tuned and adjusted directionally.
Joyce Stevenson, Southwest Colorado Concerts' board president, says the nonprofit is "extremely excited" about having a high-caliber local venue for performers.
"What better way to introduce this beautiful new venue to the community than with the magnificent sound of a full symphony orchestra, and the Four Corners' very own San Juan Symphony orchestra at that," said Stevenson.
"We're also quite honored that this concert will provide the dedication of the venue as the Ralph E. Vavak Memorial Auditorium," she added. "Mr. V" was key to bringing music to our community in so many ways."