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