Free premiere at Strand kicks off Landmark Orchestra’s season

Tomorrow, Friday, May 24, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra (BLO), led by its conductor and music director Christopher Wilkins, will premiere a work it commissioned by Grammy-nominated, Boston-based composer Michael Gandolfi at the Strand Theatre. The free, hour-long concert geared to introduce students in grades 4 to 6 to orchestral music kicks off a series of free concerts in the neighborhoods and at the Hatch Shell.

This program titled “Gandolfi: A Wizard’s Guide to the Orchestra” will feature Dot and Mattapan students on stage and in the audience.

“Community activist Hubie Jones once said that we can be one city through art and culture,” said BLO Executive Director Harron Ellenson. “This is a major initiative of the orchestra to engage youngsters in our mission of using the common language of music to bring people together.  Students in public, parochial, and charter schools, coming from diverse neighborhoods of the city, will be involved,” she continued. 

The Dorchester schools attending include Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy and the Roger Clap, Edward Everett, Martin Luther King Jr. and Holland Elementary schools.

Mr. Gandolfi’s new composition, which is for double orchestra, was created through a collaboration between the composer and students from the Conservatory Lab Charter School in Brighton. Students brainstormed with the composer and attended workshops to better understand the composing process. The school’s Dudamel Orchestra, under the direction of Adrian Anantawan, will play the new work alongside the Landmarks Orchestra. Landmarks musicians have been attending rehearsals at the school to help the youngsters become “performance ready.” The Dudamel Orchestra, which includes Dorchester and Mattapan youngsters, will also play music from The Lord of the Rings. Other works included in the concert will be Mr. Gandolfi’s Garden of the Senses Suite from The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, a composition that earned him a Grammy nomination in the Best Classical Contemporary Composition category in 2009.

Students from Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy, under the direction of Fine Arts Director Mary Swanton, will narrate Benjamin Britten’s “A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” with Mr. Gandolfi. Introducing the various instruments will be PJP2CA’s Angela Augustin, Kira Fernandes, McKenzie Jeanette, Sarcenas Jean-Phillippe, Jolyenne Limontas, Chloe Lucien, Gloria Pieree and Khalil Roberts.

The BLO, conducted by its music director Christopher Wilkins, is a professional orchestra that provides free concerts in the summer that bring together Boston’s diverse communities through the common language of music.

In July, salsa musicians join the orchestra for “A Night in the Tropics” concert inspired by Latin American music and dance.

On August 21, the orchestra will team with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company to perform a concert version of Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me Kate,” based on Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.”

Then a week later on August 28, the 50th anniversary to the day of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, artists, schools, and organizations from throughout the region celebrate one of the greatest orations in American history. Music, imagery, the spoken word, a musical setting of the speech, and a performance of Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait will serve as a tribute to Dr. King and his vision. More details at