By Ellie McKinnon For the Idaho Press
There’s a moment of electric silence between the tuning of an orchestra’s instruments and the conductor’s signal to begin playing. Then with a flick of the baton, music spills into the air, notes shimmering and falling, filling the space and transporting the audience into a new realm of sound and imagination.
Have you felt that excitement and experienced the timeless magic in music that weaves performers and audience members into a tapestry of sound? The Boise Baroque Orchestra turns that tapestry into a magic carpet soaring through time and connecting contemporary audiences with the compositions of masters like Handel, Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart and Haydn whose music has ignited passion, sparked imagination, and touched the hearts of listeners since the 17th and 18th centuries. The Boise Baroque Orchestra, a finely tuned ensemble of professional Treasure Valley musicians, however came into existence far more recently in 2003.
The orchestra’s new artistic advisor, Robert Franz, is no stranger to Boise’s music scene. Formerly the music director of the Boise Philharmonic, Maestro Franz is an awarded educator, musician and sought-after conductor. In addition to his appointment as artistic advisor, he is also conducting Canada’s Windsor Symphony and is the associate conductor of the Houston Symphony. There are reasons for his success: in addition to his musicianship, this is a man with vision, energy and the capacity to draw the very best from the musicians with whom he works.
Ever optimistic, he employs a highly positive, energizing approach when conducting that seems to draw the best from the musicians with whom he works. At a recent rehearsal, he paused the music and told the orchestra they were, “... just one hair shy of super exciting!” And, with renewed enthusiasm, the orchestra members moved forward working with him, shaping the tempo, shading the mood and articulating the notes. As they worked, he cheered their efforts frequently with exclamations of “Yes! Yes! Yes!” and “Bravo!”
Franz feels that each musician has something to say with his/her own musical voice and as conductor his task is to ”help refine and amplify and ultimately combine that voice with the other musicians in the ensemble.” Watching him conduct the orchestra’s combined voice seems to delight the audience — he seems part conductor and part dancer as he responds to the rhythms and feeling of the music.
His vision for the Boise Baroque includes presenting historically informed performances of the music of the baroque and early classical periods. Stringed instrument players are able to more genuinely replicate the interwoven melodies and musical ornamentation of these periods due to the use of an orchestral set of baroque bows. The bows, a gift from generous patrons, weigh less and are shorter than modern bows, have a convex shape and strings made of gut. Their use provides a light, soft sound that allows musicians to offer a glimpse of how orchestral performance of the 17th and 18th centuries might have sounded. Orchestra members have mastered techniques needed to effectively use the bows, but concertmaster Dawn Douthit hopes to learn much more. Supported by an Alexa Rose Foundation Grant, she will be studying Baroque techniques in depth with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Canada next year.
Eager to share rich musical experiences, the Boise Baroque Orchestra partnered with the Boise Philharmonic Master Chorale for the season-opening concert. In November, the orchestra and Opera Idaho will collaborate to present George Frideric Handel’s opera, Acis and Galatea.
Franz is reaching out to high school students as well. This year, talented student musicians from Boise High School will work with Franz and select students will be allowed to use a second set of baroque bows. On occasion, the students will perform with the orchestra. Students from other high schools will have similar opportunities in the future.
Other highlights coming in the 2019-2020 season: on Feb. 28, 2020, audience members will hear internationally acclaimed Baroque violinist Monica Huggett performing with the orchestra. And Franz has announced that the orchestra will be making its first commercial recording featuring the orchestra in concert with renowned oboist, Bhavani Kotha.
For performance locations and detailed information for the orchestra's current season, go to the website: boisebaroque.org.
You can also send questions via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Dana Oland from the Idaho Statesman
Robert Franz the new artistic advisor for Boise Baroque. Kyle Green KGREEN@IDAHOSTATESMAN.COMBoise’s chamber orchestra, under the leadership of Artistic Advisor Robert Franz, the former Boise Phil music director, opened its season on Sept. 15. This season the group is moving toward the roots of a traditional, self-directed chamber group, where artistic leadership is shared among the musicians. The music may also sound a bit different, too, because the musicians will be using baroque-style bows.
The Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra has named Maestro Robert Franz, widely esteemed conductor, award winning educator, audience builder and former Music Director of the Boise Philharmonic (2008-16), for its Artistic Advisor in the 2019-20 season. Maestro Franz will assist the Boise Baroque in its transition from long-time Music Director, Daniel Stern.
“I am thrilled to be joining Boise Baroque,” says Franz. “This talented group of musicians fills a very important niche in the Treasure Valley, and I look forward to creating historically informed performances of the great music of the 17th and 18th Centuries with them. I am very grateful for the dedicated and thoughtful work of my predecessors, Maestros Roller and Stern, who shepherded this ensemble to where it is today.”
Boise Baroque Board President Russ Buschert noted, “Over the years Dan Stern’s contribution to the classical music community in the Treasure Valley has been enormous. Those of us associated with the Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra are most grateful for his 14 years of leadership that has transformed the organization into a highly capable, very accomplished chamber orchestra.” He added, “We expect this reputation to continue and grow with the appointment of Maestro Robert Franz who has been collaborating with the musicians and staff to create a wonderful series of concerts for the upcoming season.”
Critics, composers and audiences of all ages acclaim Franz’s appeal as a first-rate conductor and enthusiastic award-winning educator. He currently serves as Music Director of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra and Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Houston Symphony and Founder and Music Director of the Idaho Orchestra Institute. In demand as a guest conductor, Franz has led some of the most prestigious orchestras in the U.S. and abroad, including The Cleveland Orchestra, the Baltimore, St. Louis and Phoenix Symphonies, and the Orchestra da Camera Fiorentina in Italy.
The Boise Baroque Orchestra was formed in 2003 with the goal of bringing the best of the baroque and classical repertoire to the Treasure Valley. The musicians are professionals in the area, many of whom perform in the Boise Philharmonic, the Boise Philharmonic Master Chorale and Opera Idaho.
Still to come this season:
• Guest Conductor Yaniv Attar and violinist Denise Dillenbeck with the music of Biber, Bach and Mozart on March 15 and 17 at the Cathedral of the Rockies
• Music Director and Conductor Daniel Stern’s final performance before his retirement. Haydn’s The Creation featuring the Boise Phil Master Chorale, with soloists Michele Detwiler, Thomas Glenn, Daniel Scofield and Emily Workman on April 21 at the Egyptian Theatre.
By IDAHO PRESS STAFF email@example.com
The Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra will open its 2018 — 19 season the night of Oct. 19.
This season marks the final one to feature Daniel Stern as the orchestra’s director, and will also feature violinist Geoffrey Trabichoff, according to a news release from Hugh Shaber, spokesman for the orchestra. Trabichoff is the former concertmaster of the BBC Scottish Symphony, and former of the Paragon Ensemble of Scotland. He has also served as the concertmaster of Germany’s Mannheim Chamber and Hanover State Orchestras, according to the release.
The season’s first two concerts will take place 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19, and 2 p.m. Oct. 21, both at the Cathedral of the Rockies, 717 N. 11th St. in Boise. The orchestra will perform “Sinfonia for Double Orchestra” by Johann Christian Bach, Violin Concerto No. 2, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and “Water Music” by George Frederic Handel, according to the release.
Tickets are available at the door, as well as at boisebaroque.org
By IDAHO PRESS- TRIBUNE STAFF
Dr. Daniel Stern, music director, conductor and until recently general manager of the Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra, has announced his intention to retire at the end of the 2018-19 season.
Stern has led the orchestra since the 2005-06 season, all but two years of its existence.
Boise Baroque is in its 15th season, having presented professional Baroque and classical music for the Treasure Valley since 2003. The orchestra performs 10 concerts a year at the Cathedral of the Rockies in Boise.
The next concert features Mozart’s Piano Concerto 22 with Boise pianist Del Parkinson as featured soloist on Feb.9 and 11.
Stern stated that by announcing his retirement now, a smooth transition will be assured, maintaining the orchestra’s growth into the future.
After several years of teaching, Stern came to Boise in 1974 as music director of the Boise Philharmonic, a post he held until 1987. He is credited with initiating steps that led to the Philharmonic’s becoming one of the foremost orchestras in the region.
Stern has also served on the faculties of Boise State University and The College of Idaho, conducted numerous performances with Opera Idaho and Ballet Idaho and guest conducted orchestras in the Northwest, Central America and New York.
In 2014, Stern was awarded the Governor’s Award in the Arts for lifetime achievement for his many contributions during his 40 years in Idaho. In 2015, he was honored in Rochester on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his graduation from the Eastman School of Music.
Rachel Barton Pine is know as one of the top violinists in the world. In Boise, you also can hear her play her viola d'amore with the Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra at Cathedral of the Rockies. BY DANA OLAND
Don’t miss this opportunity to see one of the best violinists in the world play in an intimate venue. Rachel Barton Pine will perform with the Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra at three concerts this weekend. Pine is a true virtuoso, with a dazzling technique that allows her to soar on a classical concerto, and in turn shred on a piece by one of her favorite bands, Metallica. She plays with power and passion that will transport you. Pine will perform Locatelli’s Violin Concerto in D, and she also will bring her viola d’amore, a 14-stringed viol instrument that has a bright and rich sound, for Vivaldi’s Concerto for Viola D’amore.
By Dana Oland
Ballet Idaho’s Daniel Ojeda creates movement with dancer Adrienne Kerr for his new ballet “The Monster and the Gift,” a new work created with original music and visual art. KATHERINE JONES KJONES@IDAHOSTATESMAN.COM
Creativity can be difficult. In fact, it can be downright scary, especially when the material’s focus is the creative process itself. Just ask choreographer Daniel Ojeda, who is at work on a new ballet about the relationship between art and the artist.
“It’s the most personal thing I’ve made so far,” Ojeda says. “It’s about what I do. Putting personal things on stage is difficult. I relate to the artist character, her struggles — they are my own.”
Now, add the fact that Ojeda is working with original music by Idaho composers Jeremy Stewart and Daniel Kerr, and the stakes go even higher. It’s the first time in memory that Ballet Idaho has commissioned original music for a new ballet.
You can see and hear Ojeda’s “The Monster and the Gift” as part of Ballet Idaho’s Winter Repertory concert on Friday, Feb. 10, and Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Morrison Center.
Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra will play Stewart and Kerr’s score for the performance as well as Bach’s Concerto in D minor for Two Violins for a staging of Balanchine’s “Concerto Barocco.”
The evening fulfills a promise Ballet Idaho Artistic Director Peter Anastos made when he took over the company in 2008: to regularly pair live music with dance.
By Dana Oland
Boise arts benefactress Esther Simplot, right, spoke with National Endowment for the Arts Chairwoman Jane Chu during Chu’s Boise visit in 2015. Simplot recently endowed Ballet Idaho, Opera Idaho and the Boise Philharmonic with $3 million. Now, she adds to that with a $90,000 gift to the up-and-coming Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra. KYLE GREEN IDAHO STATESMAN FILE
Esther Simplot and the J.R. Simplot Foundation announced a grant of $90,000 to the Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra. The funds will be spread over three years and will be used to boost musicians pay and develop the group farther.
This is the first large gift Simplot has made to Boise Baroque. It comes after she established a $3 million endowment for continued support for Ballet Idaho, Opera Idaho and the Boise Philharmonic in May.
“The Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra has been an important part of the Boise arts scene for over a decade and has experienced exceptional growth and development,” Esther Simplot said in a press release. “This seemed to be an important time to take the next major step forward.”
This gift is a huge vote of confidence for the group, its music director Daniel Stern said.
Simplot is the widow of Idaho agriculture magnate J.R. Simplot and a longtime supporter of Boise’s arts community from dance to art to music. She built the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy and Annex in 1996, which houses the ballet, philharmonic and opera rehearsal studios, offices, costume shop and performance space on Myrtle Street between 8th and 9th streets in Boise.
The Boise Baroque Orchestra was founded in 2003 under conductor Richard Roller. Stern took over in September 2005 and has led the group since. The group has grown over the years. Its members also play with the Philharmonic, 208 Ensemble and other Boise classical groups.
By Dana Oland
Voilinist Rachel Barton Pine returns to Idaho in March to perform with Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra. This is a rare chance to see this renowned artist in an intimate chamber setting. LISA-MARIE MAZZUCCO
It’s lucky 13 for Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra. The group landed renowned violinist Rachel Barton Pine for its 13th season. She will perform with Boise Baroque Chamber Orchestra in March.
This marks the renowned violist’s sixth time in Boise and second engagement with Boise Baroque. A favorite of local audiences, she last played with this chamber group in 2013 for its 10th anniversary.
Pine is a rare and unconventional artist. A true virtuoso, she can soar on a concerto and shred with her heavy metal band Earthen Grave. She also can fiddle like the devil and play the heck out of “Happy Birthday” (see the video below).
In March, she will play Locatelli’s Violin Concerto in D and Vivaldi’s Concerto for Viola d’amore.
Viola d’amore is a Baroque-era instrument that is similar to a violin, yet even sweeter and warmer in sound. Pine’s playing of it is spellbinding.
Other season highlights include Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in February and Vivaldi’s “Gloria” in October with the Boise Philharmonic Master Chorale.
Boise Baroque also will join Ballet Idaho for its “Winter Repertory” concert, playing Bach’s Double Violin Concerto for the company’s performance of Balanchine’s “Concerto Barocco” at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, and Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, at the Morrison Center.
By Dana Oland
Jim Cockey. Photo by Hollenbaugh Photography
by DANA OLAND in the IDAHOSTATESMAN
When Boise Baroque Orchestra artistic director Dan Stern commissioned a piece inspired by the Jewish liturgy from Jim Cockey, the composer had no idea of the personal journey he would embark upon.
The early discussions about the work began centering on the Holocaust as a possible topic because April is Holocaust Remembrance Month.
“I just ran with that,” Cockey says, but it took him somewhere he didn’t expect. Cockey realized that he is Jewish, a fact that was hidden by his mother when he was growing up.
“I remember when I was very young my brother told me we were Jewish and not to tell anyone because if something bad happened they would come for us,” Cockey says. “I realized my mother in Idaho in the 1950s was still terrified of what might happen. It helped me understand the power (the Holocaust) has to affect generations.”
The piece for orchestra, baritone and choir starts in darkness and transcends toward hope through the stories and poetry of Holocaust survivors. Cockey’s score mixes musical lyricism with contemporary dissonance, inspired by Eastern European folk music.
Boise Baroque Orchestra, Opera Idaho Chorus and baritone Jason Detwiler will perform at 7:30 p.m. April 24 and 2 p.m. April 26 at the Cathedral of the Rockies, 717 N. 11th St., Boise. $25 general, $20 seniors and students at boisebaroque.org and at the door.