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Pembroke Symphony Orchestra: Celebrating Women
7:30 PM on Saturday Mar. 2nd
Festival Hall Theatre - Centre for the Arts, 401 Isabella St., Pembroke

The Pembroke Symphony Orchestra celebrates the International Women's Day with a unique repertoire, showcasing compositions with seven women composers of various nationalities. The concert opens with an Overture by Fanny Hensel Mendelssohn, the German composer, who is mainly famous for her short piano compositions and songs.

This overture is striking for its extravagant invention. Written in the conventional sonata form, Fanny treats it with a master's touch, just as her brother, Felix Mendelssohn's best works do. The Piano Concerto by Canada's Larysa Kuzmenko is performed by the Ottawa-born piano virtuoso Christina Petrowska Quilico. The engrossing concerto earned her one of her four Juno nominations. Toronto Star critic William Littler, who reviewed a live performance of this concerto, called it "the undoubted hit of the evening,” and was impressed with the “broad, sweeping gestures and strong melodic profile of a concerto in the romantic tradition." Adagio for Strings by Cindy McTee, the American composer, was composed in the wake of events following the horror of September 11, 2011.

The piece gradually exposes a hauntingly beautiful melody from Krzysztof Penderecki’s Polish Requiem, with occasional references to Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings. "D'un Soir Triste" by Lili Boulanger of France was written shortly before her premature death at the age of twenty-five! It would be improbable to think that when Lili was writing this sad piece, she was not thinking of her own impending death. The music is at times uplifting, causing one to believe that possibly the impending doom can be overcome even in death. "Tomorrow" by Suad Bushnaq, the Jordanian composer, is a movement from her Suite for Orchestra, Hakawaty. The Hakawaty, or the Storyteller, is an icon of the world's oldest cafe, Al Nofara, in Old Damascus, Syria. Hakawaty tells stories that are woven from reality and imagination, cleverly spun around the lives of those who listen. Maya Badian, the Canadian composer of Romanian origin, is showcased with her Multimusic Canada, a unique composition that portrays the ethnic and cultural complexity of this huge country, Canada.

The concert ends with "Courage," conducted by Elena Semenets of Chalk River, Ontario. "Courage" by the American composer, Adrienne Albert, is a bold composition with an optimistic outlook, marching forward with vigour and energy, ending this special celebratory event on a high note!