Young cellist Hayden Idson plays prelude concert March 24

Come early for a Young Artist recital

At 7:15, before the orchestra concert at 8pm, you are invited to hear Hayden play a short recital. He was one of the honorees in the 2018 Ehlers Young Artist Concerto Competition. Free admission. (Even if you have tickets for the Friday orchestra concert, you can come to hear the Saturday prelude recital.)

Program for Saturday March 24, 2018 at 7:15pm

Camille Saint-Saëns, Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33
Hayden Idson, cello; Mana Tokuno, piano

Hayden Idson is 12 years old and a seventh grader at the Park School in Brookline. He began his cello studies at the age of four and a half with Sandy Kiefer at the Longy School of Music, and has been a student of Michael Bonner since 2013.

Hayden appeared as a soloist for the first time at the age of 10 with the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra, playing the first two movements of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor. In the subsequent year, he was invited to perform Tchaikovsky’s Pezzo Capriccioso, Op. 62 with both the Sharon Community Chamber Orchestra and the Brockton Symphony Orchestra.

In 2017, Hayden was the winner of the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra Young Soloist Competition and he will be performing the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto with the orchestra in March 2018. He was also a winner of the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition and will be performing in their opening concert of the 2018-19 season. In addition, Hayden placed second in the Philharmonic Society of Arlington Young Artists Competition and New England Philharmonic Young Artist Competition.

In his free time Hayden likes to play the erhu and piano, run track, and compose music.

Share with your friends
Tagged with: ,

Oboist and program annotator Richard Porter has died

The  orchestra mourns again this month. This time it is for one of our own. Richard Porter was a member of the oboe section and wrote extensively researched program notes for the orchestra for over 40 years. He was a generous and good-natured man and was a pleasure to play with and to work with. He died in late January.

Boston Globe obituary

Online memorial at

An overview of music history through his program notes

His program notes were impressive and very informative. During rehearsal, the orchestra members would get multi-page versions that were far too long for the printed concert program. The historical background put the music in context.

He collected his program notes into a volume of 243 pages, published in 2016, which is available on Amazon.

“Music in Concord is a compilation of Program Notes written for concerts performed by the Concord Orchestra (Concord, MA USA) from 1975-2014 . These notes include biographical information on over 120 classical and modern composers, as well as an interpretation and commentary on selected works by each composer.

“The author, Dr. Richard Porter, is both a medical doctor and a musician. His involvement with the Concord Orchestra spanned 40 years, and included participation as both an oboist and annotator of the concert Program Notes.”

Share with your friends
Tagged with:

Our beloved jazz singer Marlene VerPlanck has died

The whole orchestra is saddened to hear of the passing of Marlene VerPlanck in January. It was such a pleasure to have her perform with us. Her performance was polished and gracious, and her jazzy style was perfect for the arrangements that Bernie Hoffer made especially for her appearances in Concord with the orchestra.

Violinist Sharon Lamprecht left a tribute on Marlene’s Legacy guest book:

“I had the privilege to meet Marlene in Concord Ma when she sang for us in the Concord Orchestra. What a joy to hear her voice singing my favorite jazz songs to the Bossa Nova rhythm so perfectly. Her velvety voice soothed us musicians and audiences alike. I always hear her voice now whenever I play those jazz tunes. Thank you Marlene.”

Read the Washington Post obituary.

Read a personal tribute by Steve Ember, whos is photographer, voice actor and friend of Marlene VerPlanck.

Share with your friends
Tagged with: , ,

Young Artist Winners

We still have the January concerts coming up on January 26 and 27, with Steven Ansell playing the Walton Viola Concerto, plus the Brahms 3rd Symphony, as well as How the Solar System Was Won by Matthew Browne.

However, we’ve got some breaking news…Winners have been selected for this season’s Ehlers Young Artist Concerto Competition. There aren’t many details yet, but here’s what we know:

First place winner

Violinist Alexander Goldberg, age 17, will play the Prokoviev Violin Concerto No. 2 with the orchestra on March 23 and 24, 2018. He is from Andover and his teacher is Angelo Xiang Yu.

Other competition honorees

  • Cellist Hayden Idson, age 12. He is from Jamaica Plain, and his teacher is Michael Bonner.
  • Cellist Hotin Chan, age 17. He is from Natick, and his teacher is Mark Churchill.

We’ll have more news later about possible pre-concert recitals by the honorees.


Share with your friends
Tagged with: , ,

Learn more about the Walton Viola Concerto

In January 2018, we’ll play the magnificent Viola Concerto, written in 1929 by William Walton. Our soloist is Steven Ansell of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I’m always thrilled to discover new music that I’ve never played before. I think you, as audience, will be thrilled too.
Sir WILLIAM WALTON 1902-1983 Composer lived here

Here are some links with information about the concerto:

Viola Concerto (Walton) in Wikipedia

Artosphere Festival Orchestra playing the Walton Viola Concerto with Roberto Diaz, Viola on YouTube

A personal reminiscence of William Walton in the Guardian

About William Walton on his Oxford University Press webpage

You can also search for Walton’s music on Spotify, or Pandora, or in Naxos Music Library (a subscription service).

Image: Blue plaque erected in 2009 by English Heritage at Lowndes Cottage, 8 Lowndes Place, Belgravia, London SW1X 8DD, City of Westminster

Share with your friends
Tagged with: , ,