Happy Hour at the Symphony 

A nearly full house on the nicest evening in weeks proves if you plan it right they will come. The "they" is a young audience arriving from work for an hour of socializing with food and beverages catered by downtown establishments, followed by an hour-long concert introducing works by composers across centuries, including the 21st, who moved music "out of the norm." Conductor Sean Newhouse communicates musical concepts with grace and ease. He showed why even Beethoven and Bernstein respectively had to overcome criticism for their Symphony No. V and Candide. Glinka's spirited "Rusian and Ludmila" Overture exemplifies his romantic and folk music influences on Russian composers of the 19th century. Charles Ives, better known as an insurance salesman than as a composer, was tongue-in-cheek with his Variations on "America". William Grant Still, the first African-American composer to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra, "merged musical aspects of his African-American heritage with traditional European classical forms to form a unique style." Gabriela Frank's "Hero Brothers" from her ISO commissioned work, "Peregrinos," was preceded by a clip from a documentary explaining her decision to connect Mayan mythology with a contemporary story of brothers who live in Indianapolis, and to give the music a feel of an action-filled ballet. The audience "text" voted for Copland's "Hoedown" over Wagner's "Lohengrin" for the encore. The ISO players seemed to be having as much fun as the audience.

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Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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