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Maryland Symphony Orchestra brings together art, music and seasons in weekend concerts

November 07, 2012|By KATE COLEMAN |
  • Tim Fain is the featured soloist in the Maryland Symphony Orchestras Masterworks concert this weekend.
Submitted photo

Don’t let the smaller number of musicians fool you.

“A Soloist for All Seasons,” the second masterworks concert in the Maryland Symphony Orchestra’s 31st season, will pack a multimedia punch that promises to stimulate more than just the audience members’ sense of hearing.

This weekend’s performances will feature a chamber ensemble — six first violins, five second violins, four violas, four cellos and two basses. Violinist Tim Fain, who performed with the MSO in 2007, will return as solo guest artist to join the MSO players in performance of Antonio Vivaldi’s “Le Quatro Staggioni” (“The Four Seasons”) and “Cuatro estaciones Porteñas” (“The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires”) by Astor Piazzolla.

The musicians will take care of the ears.

Food for thought will be provided by Washington, D.C.-area radio and television personality Robert Aubry Davis, who will read Vivaldi’s sonnets — one for each of his season concertos. Davis has selected and will read four poems by Argentine poet, essayist and short-story writer Jorge Luis Borges to complement each of the tango movements in Piazzolla’s suite.

Advanced art students from the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts created visual impressions of the music. Their work will be displayed in the lobby of The Maryland Theatre and photographic images will be projected onstage.

The multidimensional program is the vision of Music Director Elizabeth Schulze, said Tamara Nuzzaci Park, MSO executive director.

“I was really glad when Elizabeth wanted to do this program in Hagerstown,” Fain said in a recent phone interview, his 3-year-old daughter providing the background accompaniment of happy chatter and squealing.

“Elizabeth wanted to get the community involved in such a wonderful way,” he added.

The weekend program is aptly titled: Fain will solo on the four seasons of each composer, something Park called “a monumental task.”

The seasons will alternate between Vivaldi and Piazzolla. “Because we’re in two different hemispheres, the seasons are separated by half a year and the alternation reflects that,” Fain said. “It starts off with Vivaldi’s ‘Spring’ and finishes with Piazzolla’s ‘Spring.’ It’s a really amazing effect spanning hundreds of years of music. I think it’s a pretty great program.”

Fain was in Montana, a “beautiful, beautiful” place, where he and his wife spend time when they can — when they’re not in New York or when he’s not on the road performing, which, he said, is during the better part of the year.

The artist is not unaccustomed to multimedia situations. He has performed onstage with two dancers, he was behind the scenes playing violin for Richard Gere’s on-screen violin in “Bee Season,” and he and his violin appeared in the 2010 film ‘Black Swan.”

Fain’s “Portals,” which he recently performed in Australia, is “an evening-length, multi-media, musical exploration of the human longing for connection in the digital age,” according to The production interweaves films, piano performances, dance films and the words of Leonard Cohen with the music of five other composers. The centerpiece of the show is the Partita, a seven-movement, 32-minute-long new work written for Fain by minimalist composer Philip Glass.

Music always is at the forefront for Fain. The way things sound is what fascinates him most, he said. But, he added, he’s comfortable admitting that the visual and auditory effects are intertwined and working together.

In “Portals,” Fain set out “to create a piece that is not only very much of our time … music that expresses something about our age, but also to bring those pieces into the world of digital technology while keeping the sense of a live performance.”

One of his biggest goals for “Portals” and one of the most important things to him in general is “the idea that nothing will, that nothing can really replace the vibe or the energy of a live performance,” he said.

What goes on between the performer and the audience is a two-way communication, Fain explained. It is “something that I really enjoy and something that I really look forward to when I come onstage.” 

He’s also looking forward to the concerts in Hagerstown.  

If you go ...       

WHAT: Maryland Symphony Orchestra Masterworks 2 concert, “A Soloist for All Seasons”

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11

WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown

COST: Adult tickets cost $15 to $49. Students in kindergarten through 12th grade are admitted free to all Masterworks concerts. 

CONTACT: Go to, call 301-797-4000, or go to the MSO office at 30 W. Washington St., downtown Hagerstown.

Rush tickets, if available, for college students (no reservations accepted) may be picked up at The Maryland Theatre box office before each performance for $5. Seat selection is at the discretion of box office personnel. 

MORE: Program notes and audio clips of the musical selections are available at

Music Director Elizabeth Schulze and guest artists will talk about the program and composers one hour before Saturday and Sunday’s performances during “Prelude.” The half-hour presentation is free for ticket holders.

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