Mill Valley Philharmonic closed out its 2018-19 season in May at Mt. Tamalpais United Methodist Church. Courtesy image.

The Mill Valley Philharmonic kicks off its season-long 20th anniversary celebration later this month with its first three of a dozen performances that run through May 2020.

The 2019-20 season of the nonprofit organization, whose mission of MVP is “to enrich the cultural life of the Bay Area by offering orchestral programs to people of all ages and means in their own communities,” comes on the heels of the retirement of its founder and artistic director Laurie Cohen in 2018, the arrival of a new executive director in Richard Aldag and the subsequent selection of Dana Sadava to be its new artistic director.

The 20th anniversary season begins with “Epic Romance,” featuring music by Gabriel Faure, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Jan Sibelius. The program is presented in a free open dress rehearsal on October 16 (7pm), followed by concerts on October 18 (7:30pm) and October 19 (4pm). Joining Sadava and MVP as soloist will be violinist Tom Stone (formerly of the Cypress String Quartet).

Program: The “Epic Romance” theme was drawn from the music on the first half of the program. Faure’s Pelléas et Melisande is based on a story of a forbidden, doomed love by the Belgian Symbolist poet and playwright Maurice Maeterlinck. The music is the suite from Faure’s incidental music for an 1898 production of the play in London. Continuing the passionate theme are Beethoven’s two Romances for Violin & Orchestra, works that focus on the lyrical nature of the violin.
Following intermission, Sadava and MVP will perform the Symphony #1 in E minor, Op. 39 by the Finnish composer Jan Sibelius. Composed between 1898-99, Sibelius’s Symphony #1 was considered something of a battle cry for the people of Finland as they fought to free themselves from the rule of the Russian Czar at the turn of the 20th century.

The 411: Mill Valley Philharmonic kicks off its season-long 20th anniversary celebration on Oct. 16 with a trio of performances of “Epic Romance” at Mt. Tamalpais United Methodist Church, 410 Sycamore, Mill Valley. Tix $20. MORE INFO & TIX