With the last Jacksonville Symphony performances over the Memorial Day weekend, the members of the orchestra look forward to their summer break. They won’t be back in Jacoby Symphony Hall until September 30 for the start of the 2016-2017 season, but they all will be busy. Here’s a little insight to what the musicians and staff are up to this summer.
For Music Director Courtney Lewis, the Austrian Alps beckon as he journeys to Salzburg for six weeks to assist composer Thomas Ades with an opera production. Ades’ piece, Asyla, was part of the last Florida Blue Masterworks concert of the season. Lewis says that he has admired the work of the composer since he was a teenager in Belfast. After that assignment and taking the month of August to recharge, Lewis will be moving to Jacksonville at the beginning of September, into the house he has just purchased here.
For Assistant Conductor Nathan Aspinall, summer means a chance to make the truly long journey to his home in Australia. After a visit home, he will come back via Santa Cruz, California, where he will be working at a local music festival.
Many of the symphony musicians are part of ensembles during the season. Sometimes they join forces over the summer. This season, violinists Clinton Dewing and Aurelia Duca will be joined by oboe player Eric Olson and his wife, Ellen, a member of the viola section, to tour Europe. They will start their tour in Oxford, England, and move on from there. The unique twist on this tour is that Eric and Ellen Olson are bringing their daughter along and she will be able to babysit for three-year-old Sienna Dewing.
Derek Hawkes, second trombone, and Brian Osborne, third trumpet, plan to spend part of the summer building a garage microbrewery at Osborne’s house. Both musicians are beer aficionados and look forward to crafting their own brew.
Principal flutist Les Roettges will be just about everywhere this summer. He will be joining the group going to England, playing at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro and recording music with the All Star Orchestra in New York City. In between all of that, he’s off to Malibu for his son’s wedding!
For Jorge Peña, violist, it’s about a music festival in our own backyard. He and Jin Kim-Peña are the founders of the St. Augustine Music Festival, which celebrated its 10th season at the Cathedral Basilica starting June 16.
Some musicians start the summer with a vacation. Bass player Todd Lockwood and his wife, Shannon, cellist, will be off to visit New Zealand for a little hiking and sightseeing. Peter Wright, principal clarinet, plans to continue his obsession with roller coasters by visiting a few more.
So what is the symphony staff doing during the summer? Besides some well-deserved vacation time, staff will be preparing for the upcoming season. Tickets will be mailed, Encore magazine will be developed, the Jacksonville Symphony website will be updated, and plans will be made for a variety of programs ranging from educational to community engagement.
To keep up with us over the summer, visit our website jaxsymphony.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
By Amy Rankin