Mariposa Symphony Orchestra at The Ahwahnee

I found out today that the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra is giving a free concert at The Ahwahnee featuring New York violin virtuoso, Lewis Wong. Fascinating, because until this point I didn’t know that there was a Mariposa Symphony Orchestra. The concert is going to take place in the Great Lounge from 1-3pm on Sunday, April 26. Seating is first-come, first-served, and I haven’t been to a Symphony Performance in ages, and I’d love to drop in. Sometimes the things that go on here in Yosemite can be quite surprising, and not quite what I expected.

MSO and the Return of Lewis Wong

The April 25th and 26th concerts of the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra will
feature New York virtuoso violinist Lewis Wong in two pieces: Bach’s
A-Minor Violin Concerto and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ haunting “The Lark
Ascending.” The orchestra will also perform other works including Antonin
Dvorák’s Symphony #9 in e minor “From the New World.” The concert will be
presented twice: on Saturday, April 25th at 7:00 PM in the Fiester
Auditorium of Mariposa County High School and Sunday, April 26th at 1:00 PM
in an historic presentation in the Great Lounge of the Ahwahnee Hotel in
Yosemite National Park.

MSO Founding Music Director and Conductor Les Marsden will open the
concerts with a brief new piece he’s composed for the occasion: his
orchestral Fanfare: “Range of Light.” The work is an impressionist musical
thumbnail of the Sierra, using the name John Muir coined to describe the
mountain range. Johann Sebastian Bach’s Concerto in A-Minor for Violin and
Strings with Basso Continuo will feature Lewis Wong. The concerto dates
from the period of 1717 – 1723 and is both striking and familiar, with a
song-like middle movement and a final ‘gigue’ movement that demonstrates
Bach’s mastery of dance music. Wong will return to solo in a piece
appropriate to the Ahwahnee’s pastoral setting: Ralph Vaughan Williams’
1914/1920 “The Lark Ascending” for Violin and Orchestra. One of the most
atmospherically evocative pieces ever written, the sheer pastoral quiet
beauty of this music – as well as its use of very gentle British folk-like
music – combine in a piece that leaves a deep impact on the listener. The
MSO alone will then play Jan Sibelius’ moody, inspiring and ultimately
triumphant tone-poem “Finlandia.” The concert will close with one of the
true landmarks of music: Antonin Dvorák’s Symphony #9 in e minor “From the
New World.” Its second movement’s haunting Largo was later turned into the
song “Goin’ Home” but this symphony is best known for giving birth to what
is known as the “American” sound.

This special concert will be presented twice: Saturday evening, April 25th
at 7:00 in the Fiester Auditorium of Mariposa County High School – tickets:
the Mariposa County Arts Council, Inc. (209) 966-3155 (Monday – Friday,
9/AM-5/PM) at 5009 Fifth Street (adjacent to The Pizza Factory.) The
MSO’s always-affordable prices: $6 for adults and $4 for students; tickets
are also available at the Mariposa County Visitors Center at the north end
of town across from the Miners Inn; call the Visitors Center at (209)
966-7081 for hours.

Sunday afternoon, April 26th the concert will be repeated at 1:00 in the
Great Lounge of the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. PLEASE NOTE:
Suggested donations only, but seating will be limited and is only available
first-come, first-served. Marsden notes, “I extend my appreciation to the
National Park Service management and Delaware North Companies Parks and
Resorts at Yosemite Inc. as well as Ahwahnee Hotel Manager Chance Jorgensen
and staff. The Ahwahnee has graciously offered to donate a portion of the
price of concertgoers’ Sunday brunch at the Ahwahnee to the MSO. A voucher
the diners will present to the wait staff will be available at the MCACI
offices; for more information call (209) 966-3155.

The musical depiction of nature – in nature. The sound of America – in
the most beautiful location in America. Your Mariposa Symphony Orchestra
and the birth of American music. (L. Marsden – 4/6/09)