MSOC reschedules Conductor Cheung Chau’s debut

By Karen Greer
For the Journal Inquirer
November 17, 2011

MANCHESTER — Mother Nature stole the show on the opening night of the Manchester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale’s 52nd season, forcing the rescheduling of its first concert at Manchester Community College to Saturday, Nov. 19.

MSOC was already preparing for a memorable evening, with the debut of the orchestra’s new music director, Cheung Chau. That night will be remembered in Manchester, but for the extraordinary October snowstorm.

As MSOC President Pete Bradley recalls, “If we had to postpone the concert, I wanted the weather to be conclusive. I guess I got my wish.”

The heavy snowfall continued to make trouble as MSOC scrambled to reschedule the concert. Many of the orchestra members had lost power and couldn’t be reached via e-mail.

More than a week after the storm, Manchester High School reopened and the orchestra resumed rehearsals. Only then was it possible to set the new date of Nov. 19.

Cheung Chau
Cheung Chau will lead his debut concert Saturday as music director of the Manchester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale.

Bouncing back from an unexpected event is nothing new to conductor Cheung Chau. After a hand injury temporarily interrupted his cello playing, he took up conducting and then went on to earn a double doctorate in conducting and cello from the New England Conservatory in Boston.

Chau is currently director of orchestra at the University of Connecticut and cellist with the Atma Trio.

He has embraced his dual roles as performer and conductor, saying, “Nowadays I enjoy doing both; they complement and help each other.”

The delay hasn’t diminished enthusiasm for the concert or for the orchestra’s new director. “Everyone’s really excited about this show” says Bradley. “Cheung is a really exciting conductor to watch, and he’s brought amazing energy to the group.”

Beethoven’s “Eighth Symphony” is the major work on the program, which also includes orchestral selections from Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,” Bizet’s “Carmen,” and the musical “Candide” by Leonard Bernstein.

Says Chau, “All the works in the program are wonderful music, very different, at the same time very accessible, and I think familiar to the public as well.”

Meet Our New Conductor will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the SBM Foundation Auditorium at Manchester Community College.

All tickets for the original concert date will be honored. Tickets are $18; $15 for seniors and students, and free for those under 18 years of age.

Tickets can be purchased at the door. For more information, call 860-646-0047, e-mail MusicSix [at], or visit the Manchester Symphony Orchestra Chorale on its Facebook page or: