Manchester Symphony to open season on Friday the 13th

By Karen Greer
Special to the Journal Inquirer
November 12, 2015

Yumi Ito

MANCHESTER — The Manchester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale expects good luck on Friday the 13th — Nov. 13 — when Joseph Hodge conducts the Manchester Symphony in the opening concert of its 56th season in the SBM Charitable Foundation Auditorium at Manchester Community College at 7:30 p.m. “A Weekend in the Country” features Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, the Pastoral.

Beethoven struggled with one of the greatest misfortunes that could befall a musician, deafness. He cherished his time in the countryside, away from Vienna’s noise and the society he could no longer participate in without difficulty. Another work on the conceit program, Rainbow Body by Christopher Theofanidis, explores realms beyond the natural world, incorporating a chant written by the 12th-century mystic Hildegard of Bingen, whose visions inspired her writing and also her music.

Just as composers bring their individual perspectives to the music, so do performers. “I believe whatever experience you have in your life becomes a part of your music,” clarinetist Yumi Ito, the guest artist for the concert, said.

Ito’s current success was shaped by a chance event, though it wasn’t obvious at the time whether it was good luck or not. “When I was 16, I switched to the clarinet because the high school band I wanted to play with had enough trumpet players and they needed more people to play the clarinet.”

She will perform a concerto by Carl-Maria von Weber, who had had quite the opposite experience. When von Weber became the personal secretary of a wealthy duke, his father embezzled the duke’s money and both father and son spent time in prison.

Though the younger von Weber was soon released, he had to leave town and thus his job at the local opera company. Perhaps this misfortune gave him time to devote to his Clarinet Concerto No. 1. It was first performed a year later by the virtuoso Heinrich Baermann, and remains one of the most popular pieces for clarinet.

Tickets for the show are $ 18; $ 15 for seniors, $10 for students, and free for those younger than 18 years of age. For more information, phone 860-646-0047, e-mail, or visit:

or the Manchester Symphony Orchestra Facebook page.