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Forte: Looking back, looking forward


Maestro Lawrence Golan cues the antiphonal brass on Respighi’s Pines of Rome, performed by the Yakima Symphony Orchestra on April 7, 2018, at The Capitol Theatre.

YAKIMA, Wash. -- One of the great things about traveling is that one more fully appreciates what one has at home. At the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, we proudly brought our audiences on “A Musical Voyage Around the World” during the 2017-18 season. Highlighting various world-renowned composers and pieces, we also shined a light on the incredible talent here.

Our wonderful orchestra and chorus shone in “The Austrian Empire,” with music from the classical music mecca of the world, Vienna, and works by Mozart, Schubert and Brahms.

The Veterans Day concert reminded us all what it means to be an American, with the Yakama Warriors presentation and Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” bringing the audience to tears.

Guest violinist David Kim, concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, joined the YSO in “South of the Border,” a concert of music from Mexico, Cuba, Brazil and Argentina, and he dazzled the audience in “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” by the great tango composer Astor Piazzolla.

Our St. Patrick’s Day concert offered Mendelssohn’s classic Symphony No. 3, the “Scottish,” coupled with Shaun Davey’s “The Brendan Voyage.” Davey’s work, a retelling of the ancient Irish legend of sixth century monk St. Brendan’s crossing of the Atlantic to the Americas in a leather boat, featured the amazing artistry of guest uilleann piper Jerry O’Sullivan.

If the thrilling surround-sound brass in Respighi’s “The Pines of Rome” didn’t (almost literally) bring the house down, then our brilliant guest pianist, Roberto Plano, certainly did with his rendition of Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1. The Yakima Symphony Chorus, joined by talented members of the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers, returned to help us close out the Rosemary A. C. Gottlieb 2017-18 season with Prokofiev’s famous film score to Alexander Nevsky.

The YSO had a lot of fun with the Gilbert Orchards Pops Series, which offered a diversity of styles, from mariachi music to holiday favorites and disco. One of the highlights of the series was “The Magical Music of Harry Potter” concert, at which we performed music from each of the eight films in the iconic series.

We now look ahead to the second year of performing in our new outdoor summer venue at Cave B in Quincy. Our first concert, on June 24, combines classical and pops favorites with Beethoven’s “Eroica” (Heroic) symphony and John Williams’ heroic scores to “Superman” and “Star Wars.”

Then, on Aug. 19, “Battling Napoleon” will feature musical depictions of some of history’s great battles. Complete with surround-sound military drums, bugles and artillery, the concert will include Tchaikovsky’s beloved 1812 Overture and Beethoven’s Wellington’s Victory.

That concert will also mark the debut of the Yakima Symphony Chorus at Cave B, singing Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, honoring Admiral Nelson’s historic defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of the Nile.

On behalf of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, chorus, board and staff, thank you to all our fans, patrons and supporters for another wonderful season. We look forward to continuing our journey together for years to come!

• Lawrence Golan is The Helen N. Jewett Music Director of the Yakima Symphony Orchestra. Learn more at

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