BlueWater Chamber Orchestra presents "A Hope for Spring": Ken Johnston

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“A Hope for Spring” is the title of BlueWater Chamber Orchestra’s third concert of the 2016-17 season.  The program will be presented on February 18, 2017, at 7:30 PM at The Breen Center for the Performing Arts, Saint Ignatius High School, West 30th and Lorain Avenue.  Led by Concertmaster Ken Johnston, a reduced ensemble of BlueWater musicians will perform without a conductor the original chamber versions of Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll and the Sinfonietta of Benjamin Britten.   The performance is a continuation of BlueWater’s Near West Neighborhood Series, sponsored in part by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.  BlueWater will repeat portions of the program on Discovery K-8 educational concerts to be held in February at Urban Community School.

Although now found in the repertoire of major symphonies, each of the diverse works to be presented on the February concert was originally written as a chamber work for an ensemble of 13 or fewer musicians.  Choreographer Martha Graham and philanthropist Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge commissioned Aaron Copland to write a ballet with an American theme.  The result was Appalachian Spring, which tells the story of a young pioneer couple setting out upon their life together.  Prominently quoted in the work is the Shaker tune and dance song “Simple Gifts.”   The Siegfried Idyll was composed by Wagner as a birthday present for his wife Cosima.  It was first performed on Christmas morning 1870 by an ensemble playing on the stairs of Wagner’s villa and awakening Cosima with the strings’ opening strains.  Benjamin Britten wrote his Sinfonietta at the age of 18, while a student at the Royal College of Music.  Modeled after Schoenberg, the work is scored for 6 winds and 5 strings and is published as his Opus 1.

BlueWater Chamber Orchestra is a group of professional, local, world-class musicians committed to bringing a transformative musical experience directly into the neighborhoods of NE Ohio.  Dedicated to engaging new and diverse audiences through high-level educational programming, community outreach, collaborative partnerships, and artistic excellence, BlueWater shares the luminous world of inspiring music in an inviting and accessible manner.  Founded in 2010 under the creative leadership of Artistic Director Carlton R. Woods, BlueWater is in residence at The Breen Center for the Performing Arts at Saint Ignatius High School and also presents its series concerts at Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights.

Concertmaster Ken Johnston is active as both a performer and teacher of the violin.  Also concertmaster of the Erie Philharmonic, he has also played with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra and with the Akron, Canton, Youngstown, Wheeling and Virginia Symphonies. In addition, he has also been a member of the nuevo tango band The Oblivion Project.  An inspiring teacher, he has served on the faculties of Ohio State University and Mercyhurst College, where he conducted Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute.  He has taught and performed at the Luzerne Chamber Music Festival.  Johnston graduated from CIM, where he studied with David Updegraff and served as his teaching assistant.

BlueWater Chamber Orchestra concerts are family friendly, lasting about 75 minutes and played without intermission.  The Breen Center for the Performing Arts is wheelchair accessible.

Tickets may be purchased at the door:  $25, $20 seniors, $10 student.  A special Family Ticket (2 adults, 2 students) is also available for $50.  Tickets may also be ordered online at or by phone 440-781-6215.  Discounts are applied to advance purchases.

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