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The annual Juneau Symphony Showcase is the time of the year when the orchestra members venture off into whatever strange new lands happen to strike their creative fancy. Last year, the performance featured two nine-instrument ensemble pieces.
This year, it includes a bassoon piece translated into trombone; a virtuoso Bach concerto featuring the distinct call of the harpsichord; and the rare grouping of the violin, piano and French horn.
"A lot of this is really created among the musicians," said artistic director and symphony flautist Sally Schlichting. "What happens is that people come up with their own ideas. We allow a lot of freedom for a lot of the musicians to show off something they have, as well as the opportunity to play in another venue."
Both performances, 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, will be held at the Aldersgate United Methodist Church. Tickets are $10 at the door.
Both showcases begin with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's (1756-1791) "Bassoon Concerto," starring not the bassoon, but the trombone. Jack Hodges will play, with Sue Kazama on piano.
juneau symphony featuring works of bach, mozart, dvorak and duvernoy
when: 8 p.m. saturday, dec. 3, and 3 p.m. sunday, dec. 4
where: aldersgate united methodist church
tickets: $10 at the door
"It's accessible to the trombone," Schlichting said. "The trombone and the bassoon share the same range, but perhaps some of the movement will be a little more challenging."
That's followed by Mozart's "Kegelstatt Trio for Piano, Clarinet and Viola," with Karen Blue, clarinet; Julia Bastuscheck, viola; and Sue Kazama, piano.
After a short intermission, another strange combination: "Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano," by the famed French composer and horn player Frederic Nicolas Duvernoy (1765-1838). John Schumann plays the horn; with Steve Tada, violin; and Sue Kazama, piano.
"That's another unusual combination of instruments that you don't get to hear that often," Schlichting said. "The nice thing about this program, which is something that I've been waiting to have for some time in the showcase, is that we have more combining of different instruments from the different families of the orchestra. We have brass and strings and winds getting together and doing pieces."
Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904) is next, with his romantic "Trio in F minor," featuring Tada, violin; Mary Riles, cello; and Mary Watson; piano.
In the finale, Kazama will be featured on harpsichord in Johann Sebastian Bach's (1685-1750) "Brandenburg Concerto No. 5." The piece also features solos for the flute, Schlichting; and the violin, Lisa Ibias; as well as the chamber work of three violins (Tada, Bob King and Franz Felkl), a viola (Bastuscheck), a cello (David Seid) and a bass (John Staub).
"We go chronologically, and when we get to the end of the program, we get to Bach, which is really back at the beginning of things," Schlichting said. "That's the largest piece on the program, and it makes for a nice finish."