After two months of silence from the Altoona Symphony Orchestra when it came to public performances, the string ensemble is gearing up to make some noise and welcome the spring season.
The ASO's strings will present their "Rite of Spring" program at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Mishler Theatre in Altoona.
"Even though we had a pretty mild winter, we are bursting with energy to welcome the new growing season," Maestra Teresa Cheung wrote in an email about the upcoming performance. "The ASO has so much to share with our audience in terms of music and ideas."
Altoona Symphony Orchestra maestra Teresa Cheung will conduct the group’s string ensemble in a performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Mishler Theatre in downtown Altoona.
The program for Saturday's concert features five pieces: Antonio Vivaldi's "Spring" from The Four Seasons, Divertimentos by Einojuhani Rautavaara and Wolfgang Mozart, Franz Schreker's "Intermezzo, Op. 8" and Antonin Dvorak's "Serenade for Strings, Op. 22."
Cheug described the Vivaldi piece as "colorful, playful ... with descriptive adjectives like bird songs, running brooks and thunderstorms," and the Divertimentos as both "lively, energetic and youthful" with bright composition and full of expression.
But only Schreker's opus earned the title of "rare beauty" from Cheung.
If you go
What: ASO's "Rite of Spring" concert
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Mishler Theatre, 1208 12th Ave., Altoona
Tickets: $33 for adults and $13 for students; they can be purchased at the Mishler Theatre box office from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays, by calling 944-9434 or online by visiting www.mishlertheatre.org
"I got to know Schreker's music last summer through his opera 'Der ferne Klang (The Distant Sound)' and have been trying to find something accessible for our audience," Cheung wrote. "I think this is a good introduction to his music."
The program ends with Dvorak's Serenade, which Cheung said is "the music of beauty, lushness and lyricism."
Cheung said she chose a program that signifies spring and the awakening of the senses. This being a strings-only performance will compliment that, she added.
"It's amazing how lush the strings can be, especially in the Dvorak," she wrote. "Also, the program contains diverse but complementary music to one another. ... [It's] quite a unique way of discovering how string music varies from one country or composer to another."
Chrissey Wagner, executive director for the ASO, said it's nice to be able to feature one section of the orchestra. She added that Saturday's performance will feature violinist Andrew Sords, from Newark, Del., who will act as concertmaster.
"We haven't had a concert since the holidays, so this is a nice way to get everyone back into the symphony and provide a fresh, spring-type atmosphere," Wagner said.
With the theme of the program and the opportunity to hear the largest of the four instrument families "up close and personal," Cheung said locals should make it a point to come to the show.
"After a long winter, it is important to reawaken one's senses with beauty and lyricism," she wrote. "We work hard to take care of our bodies by exercising and eating right, why not tune in our inner being and our soul with wonderful sound vibrations?"
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.