Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates its 50th season

The Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra kicks off its 50th season on Friday, Oct. 21. (Courtesy of the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra)

The Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates its 50th season with a program of “Romanticism and Impressionism” at 7:30 pm Friday, Oct. 21, at the UNM Continuing Education Auditorium.

Starting off the performance is Gioacchino Rossini’s “Overture to An Italian Girl in Algiers,” George Enescu’s Roumanian Rhapsody No. 1 in A, and finishing the concert will be Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 in D

“The Rossini is really famous and it’s just a really fun piece that has you kind of enjoying yourself,” said Wendy Cieslak, Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra concertmaster.

There will be second concert 3 pm Sunday, Oct. 23, at V. Sue Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho.

“The Sibelius symphony is absolutely glorious you know,” Cieslak said. “They have a very lush, romantic piece that has really exciting times and down times in it.”

Though symphonies are typically adult-themed, kids also enjoy themselves listening to the orchestra.

“We have actually had students who’ve gone on and, years later, tell us this has inspired them to be more interested in music to go to concerts,” Cieslak said. “What’s special about that this year is we’re doing ‘Peter and the Wolf’ which has a narrator and it is just a favorite among kids.”

“Peter and the Wolf” is part of the March 3 and 5, 2023 concerts at Immanuel Presbyterian and Cleveland High School..

Cieslak said some kids even get to contribute to the concerts.

“We have classrooms from kindergarten through high school, where the teachers have volunteered to participate,” Cieslak said. “Kids do artwork while listening to the music so we have, from little kids with crayons up to high school, students with photography and we even had one class do papier-mâché one year.”

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A lot of kids hope for the chance of having their art shown.

“What we do is we have their real artwork in the lobby, when we do our performances, and we project it on over the orchestra screen behind the orchestra,” Cieslak said. “That way, they can see how they let the music inspire them.”

This being the orchestra’s 50th year in existence, they have plans to end the season in style.

“Both grand finale concerts are going to be big, and we are going to have cake and have a real celebration kind of thing,” Cieslak said. “We have actually rented the National Hispanic Cultural Center, which is expensive for us, but it’s incredible acoustics and can hold a really big orchestra.”

The orchestra is also looking to branch out as it initiated a partnership with the Cherry Hills Library, allowing small groups of musicians to perform there at regular intervals for free.

“Our first concert in September attracted a crowd of about 120 people,” Cieslak said.

Details on the orchestra’s 2022-2023 schedule and more event dates can be found at abqphil.org.

‘Series I: Romanticism and Impressionism’

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