Tovey triumphs in Philharmonic concert

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If the Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra needed any assurance in their decision to hire conductor Bramwell Tovey, all they had to do was attend the first two concerts of the 2019-2020 season.

Not only did Rhode Island get a world class conductor who knows how to get the best out of his orchestra, we also got a charming personality who knows how to entertain an audience, both with his music and his wit.

Tovey has been around. His resume is second to none. In his travels with the top orchestras in the world, he has befriended some of the world’s top talent.

He brought one of those talents to the Vets Saturday night. Canadian violinist James Ehnes, who with Tovey is a Grammy recipient, bedazzled the audience with his performance of Barber’s Violin Concerto one of the more difficult pieces in any musician’s repertoire.

After a lengthy ovation, Ehnes treated the audience to two encores, a rarity in any circles.

Tovey opened the evening with his own brief composition, “Urban Runway”, which he said was inspired by the shoppers bustling around the streets of New York City and Los Angeles. His explanation of the piece was as entertaining as the piece itself.

The highlight of the evening was the magnificent interpretation of Holst’s “The Planets”, with the women of the Providence singers adding their talents to the finale, “Neptune, the Mystic”.

There were a few empty seats in the second balcony (which, by the way, is a wonderful and less expensive place to experience the orchestra), and in the back corners. With the quality of the orchestra, its brilliant conductor, and the outstanding guest artists, every performance should be a sellout.

Mark Saturday, November 16 at 8:00 p.m. on your calendar for the “Romantic Tchaikovsky” concert, featuring guest pianist Anne-Marie McDermott performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto, No.2, and after intermission, Tovey will lead the orchestra in Shostakovitch’s Symphony No. 10.

Call 248-7000 for reservations.

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