he Columbus Symphony Orchestra will highlight a new instrument in its free, season-opening concert Oct. 22 at the Bartholomew County Public Library Plaza: an imaginative piece of architecture.
That seems fitting since German writer and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once called architecture “frozen music,” a comment used in a couple of local music-and-design panel discussions of the past.
Yet, before the mostly volunteer, 65-member ensemble ultimately decides on its layout for the performance, tuba player and orchestra vice-president Chris Clerc has suggested putting musicians on Exhibit Columbus’ multi-level, disc-shaped, temporary installation called Conversation Plinth by IKD’s Yugon Kim and Tomomi Itakura.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Clerc said of the arts-and-architecture blend, especially with designer Chris Cornelius’ teepee-style Wiikiaami installation right across the street from the plaza. “Exhibit Columbus (architectural exhibition) is about bringing people together. And we want to be a part of that.”
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The conversation about where players actually will fit, and where music director Josh Aerie can clearly see them for the presentation of “Bon Voyage” will be finalized sometime before the show, meant as a fresh way to attract new listeners.
Aerie called it simply “creating ways of enhancing our standing.”
The orchestra can aim for that in the company of guest musicians The Skylark Horn Quartet, on hand to play Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 31 “Hornsignal.” The name was affixed for the prominence it gives four horns in the four-movement work, trimmed to two movements for this event.
Aerie thought of the quartet since he has been friends with two of its four members — one of whom, Kevin Miescke, played at Aerie’s Columbus Symphony audition concert in February 2015.
“We just hit it off,” Aerie said.
“He and I have since done a few different projects together.”
For those new to the orchestra, Aerie is happy to see the group grow to its largest membership size in years.
“The larger ensemble not only means we get a bigger sound, but it means we’re able to play pieces that feature a larger instrumentation or demand a bigger sound,” Aerie said.
“I hope the growth is at least partly because we’ve been doing adventuresome and exciting programming, and that we’ve tried to create an atmosphere of friendliness and acceptance (of new people) while adhering to high standards.”
Although the symphony’s players, coming from all walks of life and professions, serve as volunteers, Aerie refers to them as high-caliber musicians.
“We’re all there simply because we love what we’re doing,” Clerc said.
Aerie and Clerc acknowledged that the orchestra continues to work on building its audience, with attendance normally around 200 people. Attendance has climbed as high as 400 for special events such as the annual holiday concert, which this season is slated for Dec. 3 featuring a Parkside Elementary School choir.
Aerie mentioned that orchestra aims to be a source of cultural enrichment to its musicians and audience alike. And in the case of the season opener on the library plaza, it even can enrich other art — such as Exhibit Columbus, running through Nov. 26.
What: The Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s opening of its season, “Set a Course for Danger! Romance! Virtuosity!” with the concert “Bon Voyage.”
When: 3:30 p.m. Oct. 22.
Where: Bartholomew County Public Library Plaza, 536 Fifth St. in Columbus.
Highlights: Guests artist The Skylark Horn Quartet performing Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 31, “Hornsignal,” with the orchestra; and the symphony with Howard Hanson’s Symphony No. 2, “Romantic.”