Folk themes, youthful allusions in upcoming String Orchestra of Rockies concert

Cory Walsh

Folk themes, youthful allusions and composers who all picked up the bow themselves tie together the next String Orchestra of the Rockies concert on Sunday, Nov. 21.

Mark O’Connor’s “Appalachia Waltz” is hopeful and uplifting. Benjamin Britten’s “Simple Symphony” builds on themes he wrote as a child, which you’ll hear with the addition of student players. And Antonin Dvorak’s String Sextet is built on Czech folk music.

“In addition to coming out of the pandemic, there’s just a joyfulness when you have a roomful of string players coming together,” said Maria Larionoff, the artistic director.

O’Connor, who crosses genres from Americana to classical and jazz, has “founded an entirely new school of violin technique and school of violin playing,” Larionoff said.

Coincidentally, his son Forrest O’Connor, attended Hellgate High School, and the family’s group, the O’Connor Band, won a Grammy in 2016 for best bluegrass band for their record “Coming Home.”

The lengthiest piece on the program is Dvorak’s String Sextet. In an unusual move for the composer (who was a violist), he wrote this piece very quickly, Larionoff said. It’s harmonies are “sunny, they’re very rich, they’re very melodious,” and don’t hide his love of folk music.

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