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Northern Neck Orchestra will open season with all-Beethoven program

Conductor Michael Repper rehearses music by Beethoven with the Northern Neck Orchestra at St. Clare Walker Middle School last week. (Photo by Kent Eanes)

On Saturday, October 15, the Northern Neck Orchestra (NNO), under the baton of Michael Repper will open its 2016-17 season with “Beethoven Lives Here.” The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Lancaster Middle School Theater on School Street in Kilmarnock.

Repper is beginning his first season as music director and conductor of the NNO. A conductor-in-residence at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Repper is the Conducting Fellow of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, an assistant to Marin Alsop. Along with his engagements at the Peabody Institute and Stanford University, he travels to conduct in Europe and South America, including a debut with the São Paulo Symphony in July 2016.

The program consists of three exciting and well-known works all based on battles—for freedom, for conquest, and for life itself, said program editor Nancy Rowland. This music is from Beethoven’s highly-productive “middle” period (1804-1813) at the end of which he was both prosperous and acclaimed as the greatest living composer.

First on the program will be the overture to Goethe’s play “Egmont,” staging the struggle of the Dutch for freedom from Spain in the 16th century. The music is intricate, powerful, and expressive. The battle theme continues with “Wellington’s Victory” (1813), a patriotic potboiler of a work and a huge popular success in its time. At the premiere (conducted by Beethoven), the applause “rose to the point of ecstasy,” according to a contemporary account.

Following the intermission, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony will take center stage. Possibly the most famous piece of Western classical music, its opening motif broadcast by the BBC became a powerful symbol for Allied forces during World War II.

A subscription to all three of the 2016-17 performances is $60; single-concert tickets are $25. Students are admitted free with online reservations.

Reservations and tickets, and information about supporting or participating in the orchestra, are available at or by writing to the NNO at P.O. Box 263, Kilmarnock, VA 22482.

posted 09.28.2016

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