Maryland Symphony Orchestra
13 S. Potomac St.
The symphony office is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. After Labor Day, it will be open until 5 p.m. It also is open from noon to 4 p.m. on concert weekend Saturdays.
The Symphony Store of the Symphony Guild is open during business hours and on concert weekends.
By KATE COLEMAN / Staff Writer
Elizabeth Schulze had two reasons for moving to Washington County at the end of last summer, a few months after she was chosen as music director of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.
Reason one: She wanted everybody to know that she was committed to the community and to the orchestra.
Reason two: It's one of the most beautiful places in the country, she said.
"I love living here."
As she prepares to start her second season with the MSO, Schulze said she was surprised at how easy her first year has been. It went unusually smoothly, she said. "Everyone works together."
Alan J. Noia, who is completing his two-year term as president of the board of directors, also appreciates the MSO's teamwork. The MSO is a "fine organization, a great bunch of people" - board, players and staff, he said. Chairman and chief executive officer of Allegheny Energy Inc., Noia will continue working with the MSO as chairman of the orchestra's endowment committee.
He said he is most proud of the orchestra's successful search for the music director, as well as the symphony's first year under Schulze's direction.
Because of that success, Noia believes that there is an increased awareness and appreciation of the MSO. "The challenge for Bennett Rubin will be to keep up the momentum, keep on going and continue to generate interest," Noia said.
Rubin, who will take the board's presidency in July, is ready for the challenge. He has been involved with the MSO since 1983, and chaired the search committee for the new music director.
Among his goals is expanding the orchestra's efforts in education, which include the new family concert, expanding the MSO's partnership with Hagerstown Community College, the Symphony Music Center and working with schools. He also wants to continue to improve the quality of the symphony.
The subject of a Maryland Symphony Orchestra recording is under discussion, according to Rubin, who has produced Grammy-nominated jazz albums. "We think it would be a good thing to do," he said.
Until that dream comes true, there will be plenty of opportunity to hear, to experience the music of the MSO - live.
A new season
The 2000-2001 season, the orchestra's 19th, offers five MasterWorks concerts, featuring soloists on piano, guitar, cello and violin - as well as "The Symphony's Own," MSO first-chair soloists on oboe, clarinet, French horn and bassoon.
The season's first MasterWorks concerts will be dedicated to the memory of Robert Grab, "a beloved member of the orchestra," Schulze said. Grab, a trumpeter, played with the orchestra since it was formed. He died in March at the age of 43.
There will be a pops concert with a 1940s feel, the annual holiday concert and, for the first time, a family concert. "It begins the ritual of concertgoing," Schulze said. It will help to develop the future audience, she believes.
A variety of audience tastes have to be accommodated in planning a season's programs. People have asked Schulze to be "courageous" in programming music of the 20th century and work by women composers. Others want only to hear the music of Mozart, Beethoven and Gershwin.
She believes that the music on this season's program is a good mix. The aim is not only to entertain but to give new vistas and new possibilities, she believes.
Schulze said she loves people coming up to her in the grocery or hardware store to tell her they enjoyed the concert. "I need that kind of reinforcement," she said. She believes that even people who don't attend MSO concerts are proud and feel enriched by having the orchestra in their community.
The MSO is a young orchestra, its players stretched in many directions, Schulze said. Yet a sense of ensemble, an identity and a sound that is unique to the Maryland Symphony builds and culminates toward the end of the season.
"There is work to be done," Schulze said. There is great potential to develop and grow.
"We do have plans."