Philharmonic kicks off new season with many happy returns

A rising keyboardist and singer who has solidified a favorite artist relationship with local audiences, both in the intimate Cabaret at The Commons setting and with a full orchestra, returns to town soon.

Jazz pianist and vocalist Tony DeSare will help the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic kick off its 33rd season Sept. 14 at Judson Erne Auditorium, 1400 25th St.

DeSare last appeared with the city’s professional ensemble for 2017’s sold-out season opener “I Love a Piano.” And he was so popular that Republic reviewer J. Kevin Butler wrote, “Judging by the response of the packed auditorium, most of the audience would have renamed the event ‘We Love Tony DeSare.’”

David Bowden, the philharmonic’s music director, acknowledged he loved DeSare after seeing him perform at the orchestra’s Cabaret at The Commons series in March 2015.

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“He was stunning,” Bowden said, adding that the singer’s self-deprecating humor only added to the overall package. “It was an astonishing performance.”

DeSare will be performing tunes by Frank Sinatra and other legendary performers.

And if sheer entertainment isn’t quite enough to get you to the concert hall, consider this motivation, from scientific music studies and related research, recently posted to the Philharmonic’s Facebook page for the season: “Life hack: Attending one of our concerts can make you happier, lower your stress level, strengthen your memory.”

So here’s to raising your glass to raising the baton.

And here’s an overview of other ticketed concerts, with a strong theme of other returns besides DeSare’s:

7:30 p.m. Oct. 19: Philharmonic cellist SeungAh Hong performing Robert Schumann’s passionate Concerto for Cello.

7:30 p.m. Nov. 9: The Philharmonic Chorus will join regional high school choirs to present George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah,” long a favorite with the ensemble’s audiences. Bowden highlights the major work for its “dazzling solos, fiery instrumental passages, and some of the most glorious choral writing of all time.”

3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14: Columbus native Madelyn Lego returns from her current home in New York City for what is billed as “Philharmonic Holiday Pops.” She will appear with the Columbus Indiana Children’s Choir. The concert will include such tunes as “Christmas at the Movies,” a rocking “Little Drummer Boy,” and what Bowden calls a “fabulously jazzy” “Frosty All the Way.”

7:30 p.m. Feb. 1: Norman Krieger, internationally-celebrated American pianist, performs among the most poetic of Beethoven’s piano concertos. “The concerto is imbued with other-worldly beauty that is simply entrancing,” Bowden said.

7:30 p.m. March 28 at Clarence E. Robbins Auditorium: Violinist Soh-Hyun Park Altino and cellist Leo Altino, featuring the Philharmonic Chorus and the Columbus Indiana Children’s Choir, present “Jubilate Deo,” a new work written by composer Dan Forrest, a longtime friend of Bowden’s, about “all lands” in a wide variety of exciting international styles. Forest’s compositions are well-known to Philharmonic audiences.

7:30 p.m. April 18: Young pianist Drew Peterson, whom Bowden acknowledged “wowed Columbus this past season with his sublime musicianship and effortless virtuosity,” returns with a range of pieces from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s emotion-laden repertoire.

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Single tickets are available online at, or they may be purchased by phone at 812-376-2638, ext. 1 or at the or in person at Old National Bank, 501 Washington St. second floor in downtown Columbus. Season tickets are priced at $65 to $300.

Single tickets are priced from $10 to $35 for students; from $25 to $60 for adults; and from $20 to $55 for seniors.