Greensboro Symphony Orchestra returns to Guilford College

The Greensboro Symphony Orchestra partnered with Southwest Guilford High School in a performance that took place this past Thursday, Oct. 25 in Dana Auditorium. // Photo By: Finn Williamson/The Guilfordian

On Oct. 25, the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra performed at Guilford College. The event began at 7:00 p.m. in Dana Auditorium, when Southwest Guilford High School’s student orchestra opened with four pieces, starting with Concerto in G Major, composed by Antonio Vivaldi.

GSO partnered with Southwest Guilford recently, having several members of the orchestra perform alongside the high school students. This allowed students to receive firsthand knowledge from the professional orchestra members. After their performance, the high schoolers were able to learn from watching the GSO performance.

“For this concert, we’ve been given a very special opportunity to get in a partnership with the Greensboro symphony,” said Joel Wenger, the conductor and teacher of the Southwest orchestra.

The high school group performed the event as a chamber orchestra, which meant Wenger was playing alongside his students, rather than conducting.

GSO also recently partnered with Cone Health. Members of the choir have been going to pediatric centers at Cone Health to play music for patients and visitors.

“Some of the musicians here have been coming to the pediatric center and playing music for the children and their parents,” said Mary Jo Cagel, the chief operating officer of Cone Health. “We’ve had some amazing results and received some really touching letters from those children.”

GSO began playing at 8:00 p.m. They performed two pieces, the first of which was Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Major, composed by Tchaikovsky. For this piece the performers were joined by guest pianist Barry Douglas. Douglas is an Irish pianist who earned a gold medal in the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow.

The second piece was Symphony No. 8 in F Major, composed by Beethoven. Both pieces for the event were created during times when the composers were at odds with people they cared about.

“Both of these symphonies were born out of rifts with people they love,” Cagel said. “Hopefully this will lead you to make amends with someone you love.”

GSO’s conductor for this event was Dmitry Sitkovetsky, who has been a musical director and conductor for the orchestra since 2003.

GSO will be moving to the Tanger Center for the Preforming Arts in the coming years. Surveys were passed around the audience in preparation for the changes. The surveys asked audience members about their interest levels, attendance and what or whom they would like to see in future events.

“We really like to hear from (our audience), because we are booking for the next two years right now,” said GSO President and Chief Executive Officer Lisa Crawford. “We need your input to hear what you’re thinking.”

GSO’s next performance will be their Pops Series, performing the music of Paul McCartney. The concert will be held on Nov. 17. GSO is currently celebrating their 59th season of being a part of the Greensboro community.

“They are a vital part of our community,” Cagel said. “And they are part of what makes Greensboro such an important place to work and play.”