Attention GenXers (and your friends and neighbors): The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra wants you to hear the kind of music they put out - in a way most compatible with your lifestyle. They're starting a series they call Happy Hour next Thursday, Jan. 19. Of course the name fits the time: 5 to 6 p.m. for typical happy-hour libations in the Hilbert Circle Theatre lobby and 6 to 7 p.m. for the actual concert. This will be the first of three such concerts through this spring.
The ISO, the largest performing arts organization in the state, is attempting to show that classical music need not be considered elite, artsy-fartsy, old-people's music. To help accomplish this, the concert's being narrated by Indy pop musician Jennie DeVoe, who will also perform in the lobby.
"I am excited that the symphony thought I'd make a good host," DeVoe said. "They've seen me talk to my audiences at my own shows and that seemed to be part of what they were looking for. Someone who's not afraid to talk. That's me. I'll do a lobby acoustic show; then I'll host; it'll be fun. I believe I'll be bantering a bit with the conductor at some point. Hopefully, together, we'll add a bit of humor to the night."
The guest conductor for this first Happy Hour concert is Lawrence Renes, who holds the post of opera director at Bremen Theatre and general music director of the Bremen Philharmoniker. He's guested for the ISO's Classical Series several times previously. His program will be mostly Mozart, actually part of an ongoing festival celebrating the 250th anniversary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's birth (yes, 1756) in Salzburg, Austria - at that time part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.
We'll first hear Mozart's Concerto in A Major for Clarinet and Orchestra, K. 622. (The K. stands for Köchel, a 19th century type who catalogued all of Mozart's music.) Then we have Wolfgang's Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550. The orchestra caps the concert with Variations for Clarinet and Orchestra by Gioacchino Rossini - best known to the general public for his galloping ending to the William Tell Overture. The ISO's principal clarinetist, David Bellman, will do the solo work in this one - and in the concerto.
Please come as you are: no dress code, no ritual formalities. Think of it as a music-club concert in a larger venue with a different sound. It will cost you $15 general admission, no reserved seats. Lobby drinks are free. Call 317-639-4300 or 800-366-8457 for ticket info.
Note: The ISO's volunteer group of young professionals, FORTE - mostly GenXers themselves - is helping to promote the concerts through an e-mail video produced by Cantaloupe Shows.