POCATELLO — On Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Jensen Concert Hall of the Stephens Performing Arts Center, the Idaho State-Civic Symphony will open its 2019-2020 “Storied Season” with “Americana Stories,” a program featuring composers inspired by the American experience and celebrating the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Tickets are $13 to $40 and are available online at www.thesymphony.us or by calling the Idaho State University box office at 208-282-3595.
This season-opener features the trailblazing Florence Price’s “Symphony No. 3,” a piece that was commissioned by the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Music Project during the height of the Great Depression. It was the first symphony by an African American woman to be performed by a major American orchestra. The program also features Grant Still’s “Afro-American Symphony,” the first symphony written by an African American man and performed by an orchestra. Grant Still and Florence Price’s legacies are remarkable “both for the barriers they broke and the inventive works they wrote.”
Also on the program is the world premiere of “Transcend” by composer Zhou Tian, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. This piece was commissioned by 13 American orchestras — located along the route of the railroad — that have premiered this new work across the country. The Grammy-nominated Chinese-American composer wanted to capture the “contribution of thousands of strong Chinese and Irish work(ers) who toiled in severe weather and cruel conditions ... and who perished” in the process. The piece also celebrates “those who stayed (and) brought traditional art and music into the fabric of American culture.”
Audience members are also invited to kick off the symphony’s new season with a pre-concert “Symphony Tailgate” at 5:30 p.m. in the foyer of the Stephens Performing Arts Center. Join all the ISCS “super-fans” for barbecue and live music by Red Hill Junction Jazz and cheer on the orchestra before the concert. Tickets are $25. Reservations must be made in advance through the symphony office at 208-234-1587 or www.thesymphony.us.