Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Kicks Off Summer Season with Annual Star-Spangled Spectacular at Oregon Ridge, July 3 & 4

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The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will kick off its summer season and the region’s Independence Day celebrations with its annual Star-Spangled Spectacular, conducted by Maestro Robert Bernhardt on Wednesday, July 3 and Thursday, July 4 at 8 p.m. at Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Maryland.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will kick off its summer season and the region’s Independence Day celebrations with its annual Star-Spangled Spectacular, conducted by Maestro Robert Bernhardt on Wednesday, July 3 and Thursday, July 4 at 8 p.m. at Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Maryland. The evening’s program opens with the National Anthem sung by the winner of this year’s “O, Say Can You Sing?” competition, followed by patriotic classics including Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. In addition, soprano Katie Van Kooten joins the BSO for Broadway classics such as “If I Loved You” from Carousel and “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables. The program closes with a dazzling display of fireworks. Gates open at 5 p.m. Please see below for complete program details.

For more than 20 years, the BSO at Oregon Ridge has been a Baltimore‐area summer tradition, drawing tens of thousands for family fun, music and fireworks in the wooded enclaves of the park. Concertgoers are invited to bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic dinners for a full evening of entertainment with the BSO. Dinner, drinks and desserts from local venders are also available for purchase. Each concert concludes with a brilliant fireworks display.

The celebratory program will feature Tchaikovsky’s monumental 1812 Overture. The piece was originally written in commemoration of the Battle of Borodino, in which the Russian Army triumphantly defended Moscow against Napoleon’s troops, however, it is best known as an Independence Day classic. Tchaikovsky called for the use of cannons in the score, making this work a natural accompaniment to an evening of fireworks. The performance will also include Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever, a powerful and patriotic composition that is also the official march of the United States. This year, soprano Katie Van Kooten joins the program, performing popular music as “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas and “Think of Me” from Phantom of the Opera.

Robert Bernhardt, conductor
Conductor Robert Bernhardt brings a unique combination of infectious enthusiasm, a style of ease and a depth of musicianship to the podium. Equally at home with symphonic masterworks, opera and popular music in a variety of genres, Mr. Bernhardt’s conducting activity reflects his versatility and broad musical taste. He is Music Director Emeritus of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, having recently completed his 19-year tenure as that orchestra’s music director. Mr. Bernhardt also holds the title of principal pops conductor of the Louisville Orchestra where he celebrated a 30-year association during the 2011-2012 season. He has previously served as artistic director and principal conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic (1995-1998), music director and conductor of the Tucson Symphony (1987-1995), and principal guest conductor of Kentucky Opera (1991-1996).

Mr. Bernhardt began his professional career with the Louisville Orchestra in 1981 as assistant conductor and has worked with the orchestra every year since. For the past 15 years, he has served as its principal pops conductor, collaborating with a wide variety of artists and entertainers. In addition to conducting the pops series, Mr. Bernhardt also hosts and conducts a three-concert series he founded in the late 1980s titled “NightLites” which presents themed programs of a variety of musical genres in a creative, informative and engaging format.

As a guest conductor, Mr. Bernhardt enjoys a special relationship with the Edmonton Symphony where he appears several times each season conducting Light Classics, pops and holiday programs and hosts their four-day Symphony Under the Sky Festival during Labor Day weekend. He is also a frequent and regular guest conductor with the Boston Pops. In December 2009, he made a highly successful debut with the Cincinnati Pops, leading their first holiday concerts since Erich Kunzel’s passing. Other guest conducting engagements include appearances with the symphony orchestras of Colorado, Detroit, Houston, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, St. Louis, Seattle, Tucson, the Pacific Symphony and the Iceland Symphony, among others. Mr. Bernhardt made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1978 in a series of concerts with PDQ Bach.

Katie Van Kooten, soprano
American soprano Katie Van Kooten’s operatic and concert appearances continue to thrill audiences and earn her praise for using her “powerful, gleaming soprano” to bring vibrancy and life to all of her performances.

After a highly acclaimed run of performances as Elisabetta in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda opposite Joyce DiDonato at Houston Grand Opera, Ms. Van Kooten returns there to begin her 2012-2013 season as Mimi in John Caird’s new production of La Bohème. This season also marks a company and role debut as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Opera Grand Rapids, and soprano soloist in A Sea Symphony by Vaughan Williams with the Sioux City Symphony.

Operatic highlights from past seasons include Ellen Orford in Britten’s Peter Grimes in a new production by Neil Armfield at Houston Grand, her house debut in a new production with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and her Oper Frankfurt and role debut as Vitellia in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito. Ms. Van Kooten made her house debuts at the Metropolitan Opera in the Nicolas Joël production of La Rondine as Magda and at Houston Grand Opera as Helena in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She made her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 2004 as Magda in La Rondine and return performances there have included Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann opposite Rolando Villazón and led by Antonio Pappano, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Mimi in La Bohème, and Marguerite in Faust. She made her Japanese debut as Micaëla in Carmen under the direction of Seiji Ozawa, and her United States debut performing Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust with the Metropolitan Opera.

A graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, Ms. Van Kooten studied voice with Rudolf Piernay. She received her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Biola University, where she studied with Dr. Jeanne Robison and is a graduate and perpetual member of the Torrey Honors Institute.

Star-Spangled Spectacular
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 8 p.m. – Oregon Ridge Park*
Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 8 p.m. – Oregon Ridge Park**
*Rain date will be July 4 concert.
**No rain date for this concert.

Oregon Ridge Park, 13555 Beaver Dam Road, Cockeysville, Md. 21030

Robert Bernhardt, conductor
Katie Van Kooten, soprano

Tickets are $18 for adults and $9 for children (in advance) and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 410.783.8000 or If purchased at the gate, tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Free parking is available at the Verizon lot on Shawan Road with shuttle to the park. Permits for onsite parking can be purchased for $12 in advance from the BSO Ticket Office or for $15 at the gate.

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Alyssa Porambo
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
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