Festival Youth Orchestra (FYO) is a three-week full symphony orchestra program open to intermediate to advanced-level strings, brass, winds, and percussion between the age of 13-18.
Tonight, Ben Bolter, former FYO faculty (in photo right), will be taking the podium leading Festival Youth Orchestra in their 14th Season. With a background as a player in NEC’s Preparatory School and College orchestras, Ben first appeared as a conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra, and is currently Director of Orchestras at Chicago's Merit School of Music.
A highlight of tonight's program is the world premiere of Jeremiah Klarman's Boston Strong, an orchestral work he wrote to commemorate the Boston Marathon bombings and the resilience, courage, and compassion displayed by Bostonians in the aftermath of the tragedy. Besides Boston Strong the concert program features Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro Overture, Sibelius’ tone poem Finlandia, symphonic excerpts from Bernstein’s West Side Story, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 “Eroica.”
The Program (subject to change)
Mozart: Overture from Marriage of Figaro
Klarman: Boston Strong
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 'Eroica'
Boston Strong: Program Note by composer Jeremiah Klarman
When I was asked to compose a piece in memory of the tragic events that occurred during the Boston Marathon, I faced a mix of emotions. On one hand, I was honored to have the opportunity of creating a musical response to this terrible tragedy. At the same time, I felt an uncertainty and responsibility; how would I be able to adequately voice what I and so many other people were feeling?
After some contemplation, I decided to write directly from my own inner experience. I adopted the phrase that many are using as an unofficial city slogan, Boston Strong, as the title of my piece. I also included a musical cryptogram for the main theme that spells out Boston Strong in musical notation, as well as a middle theme that spells out these words backwards.
The piece opens with anticipation as the Marathon day dawns and the race begins. As the runners approach the finish line, the bombs explode and the second theme is introduced as a mournful lament. This theme is transformed into a menacing melody, as the police chase begins. The growing terror culminates in the dramatic shootout and capture of the remaining suspect. The main Boston Strong theme then returns as the crowd celebrates their city’s courage and support for each other and the piece is elevated to its rousing conclusion.
It has been a sincere honor and privilege to offer this gift to the city of Boston, which I am so fortunate to call my home, and to share this gratitude with the wonderful young musicians you will hear tonight. I hope this music will serve as a reminder of our immense strength and courage that sometimes only the darkest events can bring to light.