To kick off its 17th season, the acclaimed Mill Valley Philharmonic is brewing up a community collaboration with the emerging Throckmorton Chorus, a two-year-old sonic venture from the stalwart Throckmorton Theatre arts organization.

For the first time, Throckmorton Chorus, which launched in 2014 as a group of 30 singers and is now headed by Choral Director Richard McKinley, will join the Mill Valley Philharmonic to perform Ralph Vaughan William’s “Serenade to Music,” Leonard Bernstein’s “Make Our Garden Grow” (the finale from Candide), and the world premiere of “Love Songs,” with music by Beth Custer and lyrics by Bernard Weiner.  MVP’s symphonic piece is Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9 in Eb, op. 70.
Katrina Zosseder, leader of Throckmorton Chorus’s soprano section, will join the orchestra as the featured soloist in the world premiere of “Love Songs,” three songs by Beth Custer (music) and Bernard Weiner (lyrics). Katrina’s sister Elisabeth will join MVP again on harp. Custer is a well-known San Francisco clarinetist, singer, and composer. In addition to more than 35 recordings with her four ensembles, Custer has composed for theatre, film, dance, television, installations and the concert stage. Weiner, Custer’s lyric partner who also commissioned the work, is an award-winning playwright and photographer and formerly the San Francisco Chronicle’s theater critic for nearly two decades. 
The symphonic work in MVP’s Fall program is Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9 in Eb, Opus 70. Since Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, composers have been cowed by its masterpiece, and societies by its impact. The Soviet government expected Shostakovich to compose a large, majestic ode to commemorate the Soviet Union’s World War II victory. Shostakovich was caught between celebrating the Russian victory over Nazism and complying with Stalin’s demands. He produced a playful, abstract and mocking symphony. This difference—between expectation and product—offended the Soviet government so deeply that they banned the work, pointing to the composition’s “ideological weakness’ and its failure to reflect the true spirit of the people of the Soviet Union.” The ban on the symphony was lifted after Stalin’s death in 1953.
All concerts are free. Walk-in seating. Free advance tickets for November 6th concert only, available in October.

Dates, Times and Venues for Serenade and Salute

  • Friday, Nov. 4 at 8pm, Mt. Tam United Methodist Church, 410 Sycamore Ave., Mill Valley

  • Saturday, Nov. 5 at 4pm, Mt. Tam United Methodist Church

  • Sunday, Nov. 6 at 2pm, Osher Marin JCC, 200 N San Pedro Rd., San Rafael

Go here for more info or call 415.383.0930.

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