Patriotism Rings as the Reno Philharmonic Commemorates Bicentennial of National Anthem

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New Season Opens with 200th Anniversary of “The Star-Spangled Banner"

Photo Credit: Mark Clague

200 years later to the exact date, the Reno Philharmonic opens its Classix Series Sept. 14 with a performance celebrating the anniversary of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Sept. 14, 1814, “The Star-Spangled Banner” was penned by Francis Scott Key following the raising of the American flag during a crucial victory of the War of 1812. Now, 200 years later to the exact date, the Reno Philharmonic opens its 2014-15 Classix Series Sept. 14 with a reprise performance of the original composition by Michael Gandolfi, “Chesapeake: Summer of 1814,” a celebration of the 200th anniversary of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The Reno Philharmonic commissioned "Chesapeake" especially for the bicentennial and premiered it in March 2013 receiving an overwhelming positive response and national attention. Composer Michael Gandolfi and visual artist Anne Patterson teamed up to create a compelling new multi-media composition. Under the direction of Jackson and backed by the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, the original piece combines a symphonic score, historical melodies, choral songs, timed lighting, supertitles and projected imagery to pay homage to the anthem by depicting the story of its creation through the performance.

“Our Classix One performance celebrates both the song’s bicentennial and the power of music in American life,” Jackson said. “The piece is designed to paint a musical and visual picture of the history and impact that “The Star-Spangled Banner” played in our country’s early foundation. Our collaboration was designed to capture this moment in history.”

The Reno Philharmonic finds itself in good company as the nation turns its attention to the milestone anniversary. Recent articles have appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and others. While the actual 200th anniversary is in September, the July 4 Independence Day holiday saw celebration performances by the National Symphony with Maestro John Williams, the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Pops and a recital by baritone Thomas Hampson at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, among others. Written histories, songbooks and CDs have been released, and the Star-Spangled Music Foundation, a nonprofit educational resource, is encouraging teachers to adopt Sept. 14 as Star-Spangled Music Day in schools across the country. The Reno Philharmonic specifically planned its 2014-15 season premiere and its music program to coincide with the anniversary. The Reno Philharmonic and Jackson were pioneers in commissioning a new work to bring awareness to this important national anniversary. As the Sept. 14 date approaches, they are pleased to offer the community and the entire nation a musical journey through the dramatic events leading to the creation of the national anthem.

Also included in the Classix One program is Dudley Buck’s whimsical variation on the national anthem and classic Gershwin songs performed by guest soloist Albert Lee, a University of Nevada Reno voice professor. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F major, op. 68 “Pastorale,” illustrates the composer’s recollection of life in his own beloved nation and tranquil country life in Vienna, rounding out the finale of this patriotic performance.

Classix One performances are Sept. 14 at 4 p.m. and Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. Pre-concert talks take place with Jackson Sept. 14 at 3 p.m. in the Concert Hall and Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Exhibition Hall.

To purchase tickets or for more information on the Reno Philharmonic visit RENOPHIL.COM or call 775-323-6393.

About the Reno Philharmonic Association
The Reno Philharmonic is northern Nevada’s largest performing arts organization. Beginning its 46th season, the orchestra, led by Music Director and Conductor Laura Jackson, is comprised of more than 80 professional musicians who perform more than 30 concerts annually throughout the Reno, Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe region. Musicians of the professional orchestra, youth orchestras, various ensembles and education programs offer more than 60 performances each year, playing to more than 50,000 people. The flagship of the Reno Philharmonic concert offering is a six-concert classical music series, Classix, performed Sunday afternoons and Tuesday evenings at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. To learn more about the Reno Philharmonic, its events and discover all that the Reno Phil has to offer, visit RENOPHIL.COM.

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Katie Matheus
RAD Strategies Inc.
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