Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, March 25, 1999

Courtesy Honolulu Symphony
Al Jarreau performs in September.

Stars shine in Pops,
Ohana series

By Tim Ryan


Using the phenomenal success of the recent Yo-Yo Ma concert to announce its 1999-2000 season, the Honolulu Symphony has created in its upcoming Classical, Pops and Ohana concerts what may be the orchestra's most ambitious and artistically diverse schedule to date.

The Halekulani Classical Masterworks series at the Blaisdell Concert Hall will feature the divergent styles of guitarist Christopher Parkening, vocalist Denyce Graves, pianists Awadagin Pratt and Andre Watts, and violinist Sarah Chang.

Music director Samuel Wong starts assembling a wish list of performers six months before an announcement, during which time availabilities and prices are determined. Now in his third year as musical director, Wong believes that as the symphony's reputation spreads, it's becoming easier to attract top talent.

There's no way to measure how much talented performers like Yo-Yo Ma influence the orchestra's playing. But if you were at the Ma concert, you might believe the symphony never sounded better.

"The word is getting out that not only is this a beautiful place to perform but has a wonderful aloha spirit and and an enormously talented orchestra," Wong said.

Under the leadership of Wong and executive director Michael Tiknis, the symphony celebrates its centennial with the 1999-2000 season.

It will again offer the Tesoro Ohana series, which allows the orchestra to expose children to the value and enjoyment of music. Conductor Stuart Chafetz will lead all five performances as follows:

Bullet "Beethoven Lives Upstairs" By Classical Kids, Sept. 25

Ludwig van Beethoven has moved in upstairs. At first, young Christoph resents their new tenant but slowly he comes to understand the genius of the man, the torment of his deafness and the beauty of his music.

Bullet "All I Got For Christmas," Dec. 26

The music of Christmas is brought to life on stage by the Honolulu Dance Theatre. Also features a symphony sing-a-long.

Bullet "The Adventures of Maui," April 29

A musical story for narrator and orchestra recounts how the god Maui gained his magic powers and how he lifted up the sky, harnessed the wind, predicted the weather, sailed farther out to sea than anyone ever had before, and how he became a great hero to the people throughout Oceania.

Bullet "Hawaii's Best and Brightest Shine," May 13

The winners of the Honolulu Symphony Youth Talent Competition show off their talent.

Bullet "Phantoms of the Orchestra," May 21

The Magic Circle Mime Company brings the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" to life. The maestro and his terrified assistant must use the power of a silver baton to control the "phantoms of the orchestra" and lead them in concert.

Children and adults are invited to the Instrument Petting Zoo one hour prior to each performance to meet the musicians and learn about the instruments they play.

For the United Airlines Pops' concerts, there will be seven weekends at the Blaisdell Concert Hall; four Starlight Series' concerts at the Waikiki Shell; some "special performances" at the Shell; and a new production of "A Merry Christmas with Friends and Nabors" at Hawaii Theatre.

Pops artists scheduled are:

Bullet Kenny Rogers. Sept. 3 and 4

Bullet Al Jarreau. Sept. 24 and 25

Bullet The Brothers Cazimero. Dec. 10 and 11

Bullet Diana Krall, Jan. 7 and 8

Bullet Patti Page, March 24 and 25

Bullet Monica Mancini, April 21 and 22

Bullet Keali'i Reichel, May 19 and 20

The symphony is also in discussion with the Moody Blues.

Subscription s for the Tesoro Ohana series are $52.50 and $65.

Honolulu Pops subscribers receive preferred seating. Subscriptions for those seven concerts are $98, $126, $168, $203 and $294.

MasterWorks subscription prices for 14 concerts Sunday afternoons or Tuesday evenings are $175, $245, $343, $413 and $588.

For more information, call the symphony ticket office at 538-8863.

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