The Saratoga Orchestra Opens 10th Season Oct. 29 – 30

Posted in Community News, Music

Sept. 28, 2016

The Saratoga Orchestra of Whidbey Island, under the leadership of music director and conductor Anna Edwards, will open its tenth anniversary season on October 29 and 30 with an “Out of This World” program of symphonic music inspired by the grandeur and mystery of outer space. Performances will be held on October 29, 2:30 p.m., Oak Harbor High School and on October 30, 2:30 p.m., South Whidbey High School.

Outer space and music have a long history together. In Ancient Greece, Pythagoras (mathematical genius of the day) believed in the “harmony of the spheres.” He theorized that all the planets and stars in the universe moved according to mathematical equations that could be translated into relationships of musical notes, scales, and harmonies. Throughout Western history a great variety of composers have been inspired by the work of Pythagoras. Starting with 13th Century’s visionary Hildegard of Bingen, the list goes on to include Gustav Holst, Karlheinz Stockhaussen of Germany, Henryk Gorecki of Poland, and a team of contemporary Americans such as John Cage, George Crumb, Philip Glass, Kyle Gann, Steve Reich, and Terry Riley. In addition, popular music of today includes an enormous proliferation of electronically generated “space music” used for relaxation and meditation. Literally, “The sky’s the limit!”

Saratoga Orchestra’s program will feature music from Alexander Courage’s “Star Trek,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and John Williams’ “STAR WARS Suite for Orchestra”  in a tribute to some of today’s most popular Sci-Fi movies. Also featured is American film composer Bruce Broughton’s “Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra” with Andrew Abel, a young virtuoso player and regular member of the orchestra, as soloist. “Sizzle” (2000), by award-winning American composer, Margaret Brouwer, will be performed as part of a Women Philharmonic Advocacy grant.

Implemented last season, the popular pre-concert chats both days will begin at 1:45 p.m. and feature a discussion with astronaut and Whidbey Island resident, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Captain (USN). Selected as an astronaut by NASA in 1996, Captain Piper is a veteran of two space flights: STS-115 on the space shuttle Atlantis in September 2006 and STS-126 on the space shuttle Endeavour in November 2008, logging over 27 days and 15 hours in space. She has completed five space walks, totaling 33 hours and 42 minutes of Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) time.

Throughout the 2016-2017 concert season, Saratoga Orchestra will feature an outstanding variety of programs: a chamber orchestra concert featuring Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 5” and principal flutist, Wendy Wilhelmi performing Malcolm Arnold’s “Flute Concerto No. 1”; a collaborative program with Whidbey Island Dance Theater in March 2017; and the return of “Peter and the Wolf” by Prokofiev on a free December holiday children’s program presented in Langley, Oak Harbor, and Coupeville. For complete program information and location details go to

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