Spring Concert Season gets nod


Spring Concert Season gets nod

By Kediesha Perry
Observer writer

Thursday, May 23, 2019

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Franklin Halliburton, conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Jamaica and organiser of the 2019 Spring Concert Season, said he was pleased with the turnout of this year's staging.

The event, now in its sixth annual staging, was held at The University Chapel at the University of the West Indies's Mona campus in St Andrew last Sunday.

“This year has been most successful on many different levels. We see a steady increase in the number of patrons who have come out for the concert. You'll see the chapel is near full to capacity. We understand that when people hear that it is an orchestra show it doesn't sound appealing, so therefore we know that the uptake is going to be a little slow but more and more persons are catching on to it and even in terms of how the players are playing — I think the orchestra is growing steadily,” he said.

Halliburton said the concert has been achieving its mandate.

One of our mandates as the Philharmonic Orchestra is really to showcase a wide array of music; not just classical music but also primarily the music of our local composers, our local musicians. There are many people within the music fraternity in Jamaica who are creating music for the orchestra but, of course, there is very little outlet for them to express this creative imagination, so that really is behind the whole genesis,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

The event featured acts, including guest conductor Peter Ashbourne, Rafael Salazar on clarinet and oboist Althea Neblett.

The orchestra also treated guests to classical pieces courtesy of Wolfgang Mozart, Dmitri Shostakovich, Maurice Ravel, and Johannes Brahms.

“I would say the highlight for me is the Bolero. It was 17 near 18 minutes. It was an achievement; not for the orchestra to be playing that long but for the audience. There are people who jumped to their feet in rapturous applause and gave standing ovations,” said Halliburton.

The organiser believes classical music has earned a foothold in Jamaica.

“Andrew Howe, our chairman, myself and Dr Althea Neblett, who is also the associate director of the orchestra, we came together to create that sort of vision and it has caught on. We have been able to attract musicians of the kind of esteem...Paulette Bellamy, she's a household name in Jamaica in music, she's a music educator, performer par excellence for over 40 years and she plays within the orchestra in our string section and she writes music, composes, arranges for us, etc,” he said.

Guests gave the concert high marks.

“This year's concert is my first concert so I can't compare it to any other concert, but I'm loving it. I came here with my two children and my wife. The children are a bit young, nine and six, but they are also enjoying the performance so yah, I'm really loving it. I'm not an expert on music; I don't really know much but I really love how the orchestra comes all together, all the different parts of and that's the most impressive part of it,” said lecturer Dr Enrique Okeneve.

Banker Donna James likened the pieces to those “classics” heard on the radio. She said she was “extremely impressed” with the production.

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