Regional orchestras epitomize YIMBY. Yes, in my backyard, musicians work hard. In yours too. We should enjoy—and support—them.
Family-friendly, modestly priced concerts can be found on any weekend, almost anyplace, outside of Boston. If you live there, regional orchestras are one way to experience classical music. At least a dozen orchestras from Hyannis to Gloucester can brag about 75 anniversaries or more, and there’s a reason. They survive on love.
If you love music, deep inside you lives a regional orchestra musician. Even if you’re a professional musician. So make sure to see one performance this year, leave some money at the door if there is no charge, and spend some time with your neighbors.
In MetroWest, Bruce Hangen leads Littleton’s Orchestra of Indian Hill (indianhillmusic.org) in its 45th season, opening Sept 21. Violinist Rachel Barton Pine performs the Sibelius concerto. Pianist Aristo Sham (Saint-Saëns Fifth) joins the orchestra Oct. 26.
Worcester’s Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra (masymphony.org) performs in some of that town’s most striking venues, including Tuckerman and Mechanics Halls. Half-a-dozen pianists concertize on the orchestra’s two Steinways in the season opening gala Oct. 26. The Metrowest Symphony Orchestra (metrowestsymphony.org) opens its season Oct. 27 with film favorites at Natick High School, under Peter Cokkinias. Claflin Hill Orchestra (claflinhill.com) under director Paul Surapine, opens its 20th concert season Nov. 9 in Milford Town Hall, with works by Ravel and Holst.
A 25th anniversary gala begins Newton’s New Philharmonia Orchestra (newphil.org) season. Francisco Noya leads subscription concerts at the First Baptist Church. Noya also directs the Boston Civic Symphony’s Nov. 3 opening program at Jordan Hall, a concert featuring pianist Jonathan Bass playing Tchaikovsky’s first concerto, and Marti Epstein’s “Celestial Navigation.”
The incomparable pipa virtuoso Wu Man solos in Lexington Symphony’s own 25th anniversary season opening concert, Oct. 5 at Cary Hall (lexingtonsymphony.org). She performs a work written for her, Zhao Jiping’s second concerto. Music director Jonathan McPhee returns for the anniversary season.
Longtime Boston Symphony Orchestra cellist Jonathan Miller performs the Elgar concerto with Max Hobart’s Wellesley Symphony Orchestra Oct. 6 at Mass Bay Community College Auditorium (wellesleysymphony.org). The Longwood Symphony’s first concert (longwoodsymphony.org) Oct. 5 includes music of Mendelssohn, Maxwell Davies and Brahms. Ronald Feldman conducts. The upcoming LSO season also features two works by Joan Tower, and John Harbison’s “Remembering Gatsby.”
The New England Philharmonic (nephilharmonic.org) begins its season Oct. 2 under director Richard Pittman, featuring music of Hannah Lash, Gunther Schuller and Hilary Purrington at Boston University’s Tsai Performance Center.
Cynthia Woods’ Cambridge Symphony Orchestra (cambridgesymphony.org) performs music of Tower, Adams and Beethoven with concerts in Lowell (Nov. 9) and Kresge Auditorium in Cambridge the following day. Director Steven Lipsitt’s Bach, Beethoven and Brahms Society (bbbsociety.org) offers concerts at Faneuil Hall. The season begins with guitarist Eliot Fisk on Oct. 20, playing Rodrigo’s popular “Concierto de Aranjuez.”
The Waltham Symphony (walthamsymphony.org) will reemerge as a chamber orchestra this season (a name change is coming as well), and is still working on program details. The Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra (proarte.org) also has yet to publish its upcoming season.
Tucked away on the North Shore, Donald Palma’s Symphony by the Sea has a terrific home in Beverly’s Cabot Theatre (symphonybythesea.org). SBS’s season opens Oct. 6 with violinist Irina Muresanu performing the Bruch concerto.
The Cape Ann Symphony (capeannsymphony.org) opens Sept. 28 (Manchester Essex RHS) and Sept. 29 (Ipswich High School) with film music from Korngold, Rozsa and Williams. The North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra (nspo.org) opens Nov. 17 at Swampscott High School under Robert Lehmann. Melrose Symphony Orchestra (melrosesymphony.org) begins its second century on Nov. 2, with music director Yoichi Udagawa leading a program including Mendelssohn’s violin concerto (Adrian Anantawan).
Venturing south, Hingham’s Atlantic Symphony Orchestra (atlanticsymphony.org) performs Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and Dvorak’s Eighth Symphony under director Jin Kim on Oct. 19 at the Thayer Academy Center for the Arts.
James Orent’s Brockton Symphony Orchestra (brocktonsymphony.org) begins its 72nd season Oct. 20. At Christ Congregational Church, youth concerto competition winner Katherine E. Liu performs Saint-Saëns’s second piano concerto. Quincy Symphony Orchestra (quincysymphonyorchestra.org) brings pianist Jun Toguchi to the Lloyd Hill Performing Arts Center Stage Oct. 27 to perform Brahms’ first concerto.
On the SouthCoast, the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra (nbsymphony.org), under recent Solti Award–winning conductor Yaniv Dinur, opens its season Oct. 5. Dinur leads from the keyboard in Mozart’s piano concerto no. 20, and is joined by brilliant soprano Liv Redpath in Mahler’s Fourth Symphony.
Cape Symphony Orchestra (capesymphony.org) opens its ambitious season at Barnstable Performing Arts Center Sept. 21 and 22, with a multi-media nature program including Beethoven’s “Pastorale” symphony and Stella Sung’s “Oceana.”
And as has been custom recently, an unofficial survey of this fall’s orchestral music in the greater Boston area shows orchestras programming 15 works by women composers, out of 198 total pieces. At just more than 7 percent, that total is higher than a recent international poll showing less than 5 percent.
Keith Powers covers music and the arts for GateHouse Media and WBUR’s ARTery. Follow @PowersKeith; email to firstname.lastname@example.org.